Julia Ree

Librarian and Subject Specialist

Julia Ree

Julia Ree

UCR staffer and subject specialist, Julia Ree (’79) often quotes writer Neil Gaiman when talking about libraries and their importance in the digital age.

“Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.”

In an age where the internet has made information readily available, the librarian’s challenge, Ree says, is to “help [people] decipher information from the internet and elsewhere.”

For almost 30 years now, Ree has helped all kinds of people, including staff, faculty and students, find and decipher all sorts of things, from books to Web-based materials. In many ways, she and her fellow librarians operate as the “heart” of the campus, circulating accurate information throughout the university and ensuring that UCR professors receive the national and global recognition that they deserve.

Like many other UCR staffers, Ree wears multiple hats. She works as a cataloger, in the metadata and technical services department, and is a subject specialist for the Eaton Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy, where she spends about a quarter of her time.

She was chosen to select materials and literature for the collection about 10 years ago. Over the years, her budget – and spending, she jokes – has increased substantially.

“The real joy of working with the collection comes from the outreach that I do.”

For Ree, a lifelong fan of science fiction and fantasy, working in the Eaton Collection is about as natural to her as breathing. In particular, she has an affinity for “The Twilight Zone” and “The Outer Limits,” as the two television shows initially sparked her interest in the genres.

“As a baby boomer, I was babysat by television. Most of us were. And I’m grateful that my mother gave me permission to watch shows like ‘The Twilight Zone,’ which were really profound and tried to think ‘outside-the-box,’” she said.

In addition to her vast knowledge of all things fantasy and science fiction, Ree recently completed her master’s in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University through the Inland Empire Librarians Educated to Advance Diversity and Service (IE LEADS) program, which supports projects that encourage careers in librarianship and provides fellowships, internships and professional development support for partner, affiliate and regional library employees.

While working on her master’s, she was going to school and working full-time.

“It was really difficult, but I managed a 3.808 GPA through it all. I’m very proud of that,” she said. “It was a glorious opportunity and I know all of the scholarship recipients were very grateful.” She adds, “I’m glad to have an occupation that I’m passionate about.”

Though the internet may have changed how people gather information, Ree believes that libraries are now working toward a more open-access world.

“For libraries, change has always been a constant. And people,” Ree argues, “are still attracted to the ‘gravitas’ of paper, to the weight, the feel and the smell of books.” — Konrad Nagy

Interesting Facts about the Eaton Collection:

  •     The Eaton Collection is 44 years old.
  •     It is the largest publicly accessible collection of science fiction and fantasy literature in the world.
  •     The Eaton Collection contains more than just books, it consists of more than 300,000 different items, including movie props and toys.
  •     The collection is home to the 1517 edition of Thomas More’s “Utopia” and includes first editions of many seminal works including Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” (1818), Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” (1897) and H.G. Wells’ “The Time Machine” (1895).

Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-6049
E-mail: konrad.nagy@ucr.edu

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