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In April of 2000, Vince Prygoski joined the Thompson Library as our Interlibrary Loan specialist and Reference Librarian.
Shortly after that, our ILL services were transferred to the new online services originating on our sister campus in Ann Arbor, but that just provided Vince with more opportunities to serve the students and faculty here in Flint.
Vince, a native of the Detroit suburb, Wyandotte, grew up in a scholarly family.
His granddad immigrated to Michigan from Poland in the early 1900’s, finding work in industrial jobs, particularly chemical and steel mills. His original family name was actually spelled Przygocki and pronounced “ShaGOOTskee. It was later simplified to the current version Prygoski (Pri- GOS-key).
Both his parents attended CMU and became teachers — his mom working as a special education teacher and his dad as a middle school teacher. While that laid the groundwork for Vince to pursue a career in higher education and librarianship, it was the extra-curricular activities of his dad, his granddad and his Uncle Phil that guided him towards his love of sports.
His dad not only taught, but also served as a coach — along with his granddad — at Mt Carmel. His dad eventually became the athletic director there as well. With sports such a strong influence in his young life, it’s no wonder Vince developed a love of college and professional sports.
While he enjoys all sports, he is a big fan of women’s sports. Earlier in life he watched as girls were discouraged from competing, yet many he observed were exceptional athletes. Today’s women’s teams have many good players that exhibit outstanding teamwork frequently lacking in the men’s teams. Vince feels the women’s teams are under-valued and don’t receive the recognition for the quality of their players.
Vince received his MILS degree from UM (Ann Arbor). While there, he worked in the Serials Department as a student librarian where he did filing and provided reference service. He also assisted Dr. Slavens, one of the most beloved professors in the School of Library Science, helping him organize his extensive collection of library-related slides.
After receiving his masters degree, Vince worked for the next four years in the Circulation Department and Reference Desk of the Cooley Law School library. Over time, Vince did stints in the libraries of Baker College at their Owosso and Jackson campuses as a Reference and Bibliographic Instruction (teaching) librarian where he specialized in teaching students how to use the various low and high tech services of their libraries — skills that he now uses to the benefit of all on our campus.
Vince is currently the library liaison to several teaching departments and as such has created many of our new LibGuides (which organize library resources by discipline or subject areas), including Africana Studies, Education, Music, Social Work and Women & Gender Studies.
He also does extensive in-class presentations to courses within those (and other) disciplines. His presentations are vital in teaching our students (and often our faculty and staff) how to find and use the subscription-based databases and library tools available for conducting research within (and often exclusive to) this campus.
In addition to his work in the library and as a teaching member of our library faculty, Vince has also participated in several administrative faculty committees. Currently he is the chair of the Faculty Council, which will be considering a quality initiative directed at campus accreditation. He is the Flint campus representative to Faculty Senate in Ann Arbor and has worked on the Library Committee (a support and advisory body) as well. His dream is to gain an appointment to the Inter-collegiate Athletics Committee in Ann Arbor, but to date they have not had a Flint rep. That doesn’t stop him from dreaming.
Beyond participating in campus activities, Vince has authored several published articles and a book, with more to come.
His love of music allows him to knowledgably support the research needs of students in that field. He has written several articles in Popular Music and Society on a variety of musical genres, John Lennon (of Beatles fame) and others. He has published an article helps researchers find information on his all time favorite musical group, the Grateful Dead. Should you be interested in learning about pop music icons of the rock and roll era, Vince is the librarian to ask.
As for his personal interests, Vince enjoys books on and by authors from the Beat generation (precursors to “hippies”). He is active in social culture, describing himself as leaning decidedly to the left of center in politics and is an active member of the Green Party. He proudly points out that he is and has been a feminist for many years and is a strong and vocal supporter of gender equality in all fields.
Vince brings the UM Ann Arbor outlook to our campus, but he loves the small campus atmosphere of Flint. He feels strongly that UM-Flint is part of Flint and should be instrumental in bringing new life to the surrounding area, in giving Flint natives options and hope for future growth.
Asked what he likes best about working in the Thompson Library, Vince ponders the question briefly before saying simply that he likes helping people. He finds great personal enjoyment and reward in that his work helps people find enlightenment, which helps make the world a better place through education.
Vince, that’s a motto we can all live by.