Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Architect of Information

A Spotlight on the Dean of the Library
Dean of the library, Mike Garabedian, sits in front of what he thinks best describes himself.


The dean of the Rio Hondo Library, Mike Garabedian, is a walking historian with a vast expanse of knowledge and wisdom. A published author of two books, Whittier: Images of America and Whittier: A Postcard History, Garabedian didn’t always dream of becoming a librarian, however.

A Literary Scholar’s life

Growing up in Whittier, Calif., Garabedian had always been into literature, even making it his area of study by the time he graduated high school. This took him across the U.S., studying for his Bachelors in English Literature at Whittier College, as well as an MA in American Literature from Northwestern University. He would finally go forward to pursue a PhD at the University of Chicago.

“I was actually going to get my PhD in American literature and found my heart wasn’t in it,” Garabedian said, “During my time in grad school, my grades weren’t exactly the best to look at.”

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Like many other people living their lives figuring out what they want to do for their future, their first choice wasn’t going to be the thing that they would become. This goes the same for Garabedian, having decided not to continue pursuing his career as a professor in literature, but instead working under tutelage with several librarians he had met along the road. He would continue to work in a bookstore he sought employment in when he attended the University of Chicago.

A New Career Path

This bookstore, known as Heritage Book Shop, would be where Garabedian would gain his interest in becoming a librarian in the future. During his time working in this bookstore, Garabedian had come across many of these librarians with different backgrounds and each time he would interact with one his interest would grow.

“These people seemed pretty laid-back, and so that’s how I started to pursue a career in the library,” Garabedian said.

This new pursuit had taken him all the way from Chicago, Ill. to Los Angeles, Calif. to attend UCLA in pursuit of an MLIS (Master of Library and Information Science). Though he didn’t become a librarian right away, he would work with others like him in collecting rare material from all four corners of America and the world including one of the surviving 48 copies of the Gutenberg bible.

Dean of the Library

Garabedian is now the dean of the library. He still has a love for collecting rare books as seen in his office, however now he had a different pursuit. To help in making it easier for students to collect and gather information for their research.

His plans are to further expand Rio Hondo’s archives and digitize sources for easier access to help students with receiving information from the books they search for.

“That’s our job, to provide the resources for those who need it,” Garabedian said, “No matter if it’s in digital form or in physical paper and ink, we’ll be there to provide it.”

Garabedian knows the strength and weaknesses of both physical and digital and knows what the library could do with both. Garabedian is currently pursuing a PhD in Library science.

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Christopher Castanon
Christopher Castanon, Copy Editor

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