Meet Robert-Anthony Lee-Faison, new Information Technology Operations Fellow at Princeton University Library

Princeton University Library (PUL) is delighted to announce the appointment of Robert-Anthony Lee-Faison, Information Technology Operations Fellow. Lee-Faison is one of two Fellows who will participate in a two-year fellowship created through the PUL Early Career Fellowship Program. The program, in collaboration with Princeton’s Office of the Provost and North Carolina Central University (NCCU) School of Library and Information Sciences (SLIS), is part of PUL’s ongoing commitment to implement strategies aimed at recruiting and retaining staff from underrepresented groups. The aim is to address racial and ethnic disparities in the library and information science field. 

Profile photo of Robert Lee-Faison

Photo courtesy of Robert Lee-Faison

What did you study as an undergrad?

As an undergraduate, I was enrolled at East Carolina University of Greenville, North Carolina. There, my major was in Science with a concentration in Health and Technology Studies. 

What sparked your interest in pursuing a career in librarianship?

As a child, my mother would take my sisters and me to the library on weekends. We would either spend most of the time in the children’s section of the library, reading as much as we could while we were there or using the computers for education. Over time, I have become a knowledge-base of information for my family and friends, answering questions from how to connect devices and guiding them through to make sure that their needs are met. From childhood all the way up to professional positions that I hold now, I’ve always been interested in and gratified by assisting others through research. Literature is such a vital component to understanding the history of cultures and civilizations. To understand history is to understand the future. Continuously building and developing systems through librarianship will ensure that our past, present, and future, are preserved. 

What drew you to this role at Princeton University Library?

Completing courses in Information Sciences helped me to discover information regarding current trends and developments in technology. The PUL role encapsulated what I was seeking in a profession; blending my background, skills, and education to learn more about the structure of application maintenance and project management; software/systems analysis and design; and, the assessment, selection, and implementation process for new applications.  My curiosity and fervor for the aspects of this role will inspire me to continue to build my technical knowledge.

What do you hope to accomplish in your two years here?

During my two years, I hope to accomplish helping to build/maintain information systems and repositories that streamline the methods used to find any desired information. I strive to master the foundations of the DevOps lifecycle. This is a great, hands-on opportunity to learn the roles and tasks that DevOps encompasses. 

I am an individual who is devoted to learning and grasps at the opportunity of discovery. I hope that I am able to bring my unique set of skills and knowledge to be an asset to the team, and maybe even teach someone something along the way! And I hope to establish a lifelong camaraderie among my peers whom I have the privilege of getting to collaborate with and learn interesting information from. 

What aspect of the job are you most excited about?

I am excited to discover the multidisciplinary work that goes into deciding what information systems will be used to accomplish a goal or bring value to the library system of Princeton University. Going through the “trial and error” phase is a part of discovering what applications and programs work best and make the most sense cohesively. Learning about different projects that are being researched concurrently, and collaborating with different individuals from different departments to trade knowledge and bring fresh perspectives is exciting. 

What are your career aspirations?

I aspire to continuously be a knowledge-base for not only my family, but for the community and beyond. While growing up, I have used my technical knowledge as a service to others who may not know or may not be able to do for themselves. I see myself as a consultant for firms among different sectors, helping small and large-scale teams understand and recognize what it is that they are truly wanting so that conceptualization all the way through to implementation, and beyond, just makes sense to the clients. Contributing to the growth and evolution of a company would be extremely fulfilling. I see myself establishing a consulting firm, where research meets collaboration to ultimately aid in the creation of systems that promote productivity, inclusivity, community, and sustainability. 

Photo of Robert Lee-Faison on a hike

Photo courtesy of Robert Lee-Faison

What do you like to do in your spare time?

In my spare time, I enjoy being outside in nature (hiking, walking, exercising, biking); reading (typically thrillers and mystery novels); spending time with family and friends; playing video games; and surfing the web to learn new things.

Who inspires you?

I know this may sound “cliché,” but my family is my biggest inspiration to keep moving. When I was a child, my mother used to always say to me as I was heading off to school to “be a leader and not a follower,” “work smart, not hard!,” and “SMILE!” Having younger siblings, it just naturally comes to me to be an example for them, and for others around me. My family inspires me to keep pushing, keep striving, keep believing to achieve. Growing up in the country, you learn to appreciate the solidarity of small-town upbringings and smaller populations. However, I have always said that my dreams are much bigger than being in the same area from the time that you are born until your last breath. I seek the unknown and take risks, as any person should have the right to. The drive to discover what I do not know compels me to keep moving forward. 
Robert-Anthony will start the fellowship on July 1. He will be based in Charlotte, North Carolina (#GoPanthers!), and will be on campus July 17-22 for the Library IT, Imaging, and Metadata Services All-Hands meeting.

Published July 1, 2022

Interview by Stephanie Oster, Publicity Manager

Media contact: Barbara Valenza, Director of Library Communications