Meet Denzil Phillips, Library IT Operations Early-Career Fellow

Princeton University Library (PUL) is delighted to announce the appointment of Denzil Phillips, as Library IT Operations Early-Career Fellow. A member of the Library IT Operations Team. Phillips is originally from the vibrant city of Cape Town, South Africa. He relocated to Elizabeth City, North Carolina, before settling in the bustling community of Durham, North Carolina. Phillips recently graduated from North Carolina Central University, earning a Masters in Information Science.

Denzil Phillips

​​What did you study as an undergrad and why did you choose it?

I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of South Africa, graduating with a bachelor’s in International Relations and Diplomacy. My concentration was in macroeconomics and ethical information and communication technologies for development solutions. I chose this course because I always had a peculiar interest in learning about aspects that make a country successful and competitive in the global economy.

What sparked your interest in pursuing a career in librarianship?

My interest in pursuing a career in librarianship was sparked by my experience working in the public library space. Engaging directly with library operations and assisting patrons opened my eyes to the profound impact that libraries have on communities. This hands-on experience inspired me to pursue a Master’s in information science so that I may contribute to knowledge dissemination, support lifelong learning, and empower individuals through access to information and resources.

What drew you to this role at Princeton University Library?

In 2020 and during the pandemic, I worked at the public library in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Many of the services offered to the public at the time were either cancelled or restricted and there was a growing need for patrons who wanted help navigating the library’s equipment, from computers to printers. I realized that that there was more to this career, and I also enjoyed working with technology. My interest for this role was sparked during an information session during one of my Information Science classes at North Carolina Central University (NCCU). I was introduced to the PUL roles, and I immediately knew that I wanted to be a Library Information Technology Development Operations Fellow.

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

My objective is to acquire and master the essential skills necessary for this position including proficiency in continuous integration and deployment, automation, infrastructure management, and ensuring efficient collaboration between development and operations teams. My goal is to contribute to streamlining processes and enhancing the overall efficiency and reliability of our library's technology infrastructure.

I am committed to learning and implementing best practices in DevOps to support the Library’s overall objectives and goals.

What aspect of the job are you most excited about?

I'm particularly enthusiastic about the opportunity to immerse myself in the realm of DevOps within a library setting. The prospect of integrating technology solutions to enhance library services and operations is truly exciting to me. I look forward to learning and developing skills in automation, continuous integration, and infrastructure management. I also look forward to collaborating with various teams and departments and exchanging valuable insights and experiences.  

What are your career aspirations?

My career aspirations are driven by a dual passion: first, to contribute meaningfully to the development of rural communities through technology-driven projects, and second, to continuously expand my knowledge and skills within the DevOps domain. I've always felt a strong calling to use my technical expertise to make a positive impact where it's most needed, particularly in underserved communities. I envision myself leading and participating in projects that leverage DevOps principles to enhance infrastructure, streamline processes, and improve access to essential services in these communities.

In addition to my dedication to community development, I am committed to deepening my proficiency in DevOps practices. This role presents an exciting opportunity for me to learn and apply cutting-edge technologies in automation, continuous integration, and infrastructure management. I am eager to collaborate with diverse teams to innovate solutions that not only meet technical requirements but also align closely with the needs and aspirations of diverse communities.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

In my spare time, I find joy in visiting the public library to explore and borrow books. Additionally, I immerse myself in simulation games like Transport Fever for entertainment. When I seek more active pursuits, I frequently participate in local environmental initiatives focused on cleaning up waterways and parks in and around the city of Durham, North Carolina. I also enjoy long road trips to the beach, soaking up the local culture and food in small coastal towns.

Who or what inspires you?

I was born in South Africa, and I often humorously tell my friends that I embody true southern hospitality. What truly inspires me is the ability to connect with people authentically and make a positive impact using my southern charm. Whether through my professional endeavors, active participation in community environmental projects, or my dedication to continuous learning at the library, I am driven by the opportunity to foster relatability and understanding.  I am inspired by opportunities where I can make a significant change and empowering others through knowledge and innovative thinking.

Published on June 27, 2024

Interview by Brandon Johnson, Communications Strategist

Media Contact: Stephanie Oster, Publicity Manager