300: UT library specialist helps researchers discover the unknown

Ashley Salinas

When researchers around the globe journey to the Perry-Castañeda Library, they often need a guiding light in the form of a library specialist — like Andrew Poggioli. 

Poggioli helps patrons beyond just the students cramming for a test or looking for a place to nap. His typical day includes helping alumni, professors and visiting scholars attain the materials they need.

“It’s really fascinating because you get to meet people from other universities and even other countries,” Poggioli said. 

Poggioli’s love for libraries started at an early age. He recalls certain scientific books that sparked his interest as a child.

“I remember reading books about animals and dinosaurs,” Poggioli said. “That’s where it all started.”

He attributes his passion for books to his parents, who are also voracious readers.

“My mom reads a lot (of) detective novels, and my dad is a history buff,” Poggioli said. “My love for reading comes from them.”

Poggioli worked his first job at a library during his undergraduate years as an English major. It was this experience that lead him to choose a career as a college librarian and dedicate his life to research. 

“I really like working in a university setting,” Poggioli said. “I wanted to wind up in academia somehow.”

Although he is originally from New York, Poggioli was drawn to Austin after several of his friends visited the city. Their words piqued his interest, and an online search lead to a job at UT and a new life in Texas.

“The University has a great reputation,” Poggioli said. “I wanted to try something different, so I came here, and I love it.”

Scholars enter the PCL to conduct research on numerous subjects. Poggioli said his favorite part of the job is learning about unconventional topics from the researchers he works with. 

“Someone recently was making a website about farming in Kenya, and another person was researching the history of tea,” Poggioli said. “It’s interesting to hear the things they’re working on.”