February 16, 2018

Jeff Trzeciak | Movers & Shakers 2004


The Regionalist

2004_Jeff_ Trzeciak

Jeff Trzeciak is the tech hotshot at the Wayne State libraries. He oversees instructional technology for the entire campus community, library technology services (with over 1000 workstations and 30 servers), digital library services, and the help desk. It’s clear he loves his work. His passion, though, is creating online collections that document Detroit’s rich history, drawing on the resources of the city’s many museums and libraries.

‘It’s all interrelated,’ Trzeciak explains. ‘Once you have these computers in the classroom, what can you do with them?’ In developing digital content about Detroit, Trzeciak is responding to the curriculum. But it’s his avocation as well. ‘While this may seem like work to you, I really see it as my hobby,’ Trzeciak says.

‘Detroit has a reputation as this big city with a history of problems, but we also have some of the country’s leading cultural institutions, with some of the richest resources,’ he says. Digital collections serve online researchers, from Wayne State students to faculty in France. ‘These projects also bring together Detroit institutions to promote the region,’ says Trzeciak.

The Virtual Motor City, Trzeciak’s first project, was a partnership between the Walter Reuther Library and the university library. Funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), it brought online 15,000 photos from the Detroit News
and chronicles the city’s history, prominent figures, and art and architecture. Trzeciak’s latest initiative, also backed by the IMLS, is a web-accessible database of historic clothing. Drawing on the collections of the Detroit Historical Museums, Henry Ford Museum, and Meadow Brook Hall, it includes everything from everyday wear to the haute couture of Detroit’s leading families.

Trzeciak appreciates ‘discovering these gems of collections and making them readily available,’ as well as the challenge of bringing together ‘disparate people to share a common vision.’ Digital content initiatives also improve librarian relationships with teaching faculty. ‘We’re seen more as partners now,’ he says. ‘We help faculty develop support material, consult on web design and usability issues, resolve copyright, and identify funding opportunities.’

Trzeciak began in the library’s computer room while still in college. He credits Arnold Hirshon, then the library director at Wright State University, Dayton, with jump-starting his career. ‘He made me head of automation services at Wright State while I was in my 20s, naïve, and inexperienced. Suddenly I was on panels with people I recognized from journals.’

For his next ‘hobby’ Trzeciak intends to create ‘Women at Work,’ using images from the labor archives at Wayne State and Georgia State University. Individually, we may be ‘financially strapped,’ Trzeciak says, ‘but together we can accomplish great things.’




Current Position: Director, Library Computing and Media Services, Wayne State University Library System, Detroit
Degree: MLS, Indiana University, 1991
Web Site: The Virtual Motor City, Images from the Detroit News (dlxs.lib.wayne.edu/cgi/i/image/image-idx?c=vmc;page=index)
Best in Show : His four Cardigan Welsh Corgis