Rajia Tobia, Executive Director of Libraries, has announced her retirement effective January 8, 2016. Rajia has been employed in various capacities in the library for over 35 years. She began working at the UT Health Science Center in 1980 as the librarian for the Robert B. Green branch library and in 1984 became the Assistant Library Director for Public Services. In 1998, she became Associate Library Director for Collection Development during the time when the library began migrating its print collection to online formats. In 2008, she assumed the role of Executive Director of Libraries.
During her career, Rajia has been instrumental in developing the library’s electronic collections of journals, books, and databases and has worked with several library consortia to increase the buying power of academic libraries by working cooperatively on acquisitions of electronic content. She has been active in developing outreach services for the South Texas region, helping to establish library services at the Regional Academic Health Center in Harlingen and the library at the Laredo Regional Campus. Most recently she assisted with developing library services for the new UTRGV School of Medicine.
Over the years, Rajia worked on a number of projects funded by the National Library of Medicine and the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, South Central Region to improve access to health information by health professionals and the citizens of south Texas. In partnership with the Center for Medical Humanities & Ethics, Rajia has been a strong advocate of the One Community One Book program. This program has introduced the campus and community to books such as Mountains Beyond Mountains, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Final Exam: A Surgeon’s Reflections on Mortality, Barefoot Heart, and most recently Redeployment, winner of the 2014 National Book Award for Fiction.
Rajia has been active as a member of the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL), the Medical Library Association and its regional chapter as well as with the South Central Academic Medical Libraries (SCAMeL) consortium. Rajia is a distinguished member of the Academy of Health Information Professionals (AHIP). The Academy of Master Teachers honored Rajia for her 35 years of service to the university during the Second Annual Faculty Showcase of Innovations on October 30.
Rajia began her career as a health sciences librarian at the University of South Alabama Biomedical Library in Mobile, AL where she met and married her late husband, Danny Jones, who was also a health sciences librarian. She received her master’s degree in Library Science from the University of Michigan and her bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University. Her retirement plans include herding her three cats, gardening and home repairs, Jazzercise at hours other than 5:30 a.m., managing a book club, enjoying live music, volunteer work, and travel.
A search committee chaired by LeKeisha Johnson, Director of Student Life, is conducting a national search for Senior Director of Libraries.