Alumnus Chad Francisco Pursues Academic Library Career Overseas

Community Profile

Alumnus Chad Francisco, a self-described “travelin’ guy,” is fulfilling his dream of seeing the world while pursuing a career as an academic librarian.

Since April 2014, Francisco has worked as the academic librarian at Northern Marianas College, a two-year community college in the U.S. commonwealth of Saipan, in the western Pacific Ocean. His main job responsibilities are conducting information literacy trainings and holding reference desk hours.

He said what he enjoys most about working in academic libraries in general and especially at Northern Marianas College is working with college students and professors.

Francisco previously worked at Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan – his first stop after earning his Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree in 2012. Because of his interest in traveling and living abroad, he said, “I saw the job opening and the opportunity to be abroad, and went for it.”

According to Francisco, Nazarbayev University and its library are modeled after “Western-style” institutions. “The library, although new and still developing, is becoming very similar to that of any modern research library in the U.S., and will probably be comparable in terms of resources to many U.S. libraries in the near future,” he said. Likewise, Northern Marianas College is probably comparable to most small community colleges in the U.S., he added.

While enrolled in the iSchool’s MLIS program, Francisco lived in Tokyo. The fact that the program is fully online made it possible for him to earn his degree while living overseas. He did an internship at United Nations University in Shibuya, Japan, and credits that experience with helping launch his career abroad.

Reflecting on his adventures around the globe, Francisco said, “Being away from home is always a challenge.” However, the native of Salinas, California, went on to explain, “But I have my wife, Leila, and our daughter, Marzhan, by my side to support me.”

Francisco earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology and anthropology at SJSU in 2008. He always studied in the university’s King Library, where the idea of becoming an information professional first occurred to him.

“To be honest, I was more interested in libraries as a place rather than the LIS profession,” he said. “The King Library is this really cool library. So I thought, ‘Why not work in something like this?’ That’s how I decided to do the MLIS program.”

Knowing he wanted to work in an international academic library, Francisco followed the iSchool’s Academic Librarianship career pathway for his electives, and focused most of his papers on international topics as they related to academic libraries.

The appeal of living overseas, Francisco said, is it “lets me discover new things about people and myself. You essentially have to relearn everything about interacting with people, their culture, environment, etc. when working and living abroad – that’s basically why I love it.”

Favorite Things about the MLIS Program

“Being in a 100 percent online class environment forces you to becoming super techy. I think that along with some courses like INFO 240 Information Technology Tools and Applications were really helpful.”

Influential Instructors

Dr. Susan Maret and Derek Christiansen were great professors.”

Tech Tip

“Learn the open-source programs.”

Professional Affiliation

Commonwealth Association of Archives, Libraries, and Museums (CAALM)