Here to Help: Greg Ferguson ’94 and Sarah Buck Kachaluba

Greg Ferguson and Sarah Buck Kachaluba

Meet Greg Ferguson and Sarah Buck Kachaluba. As the integrated library system (ILS) program manager and a subject specialist, both play an integral role in connecting the Library to our colleagues, partners and community. Their dedication to building collaborative relationships is essential in helping our users reach their academic goals.

Greg Ferguson ’94 (he/him)

Integrated Library System (ILS) Program Manager

Tell us about your role at the Library.

As the ILS program manager, I oversee behind-the-scenes software systems the Library uses to manage our collections and services. You can think of the ILS as a digital hub that connects across functions and enables the Library to provide a dependable and efficient experience for our users. Anytime you search for or check out materials, the ILS is at work! Maintaining and developing the ILS is a truly collaborative effort. I oversee a team of Library employees (across acquisitions, analytics, cataloging, circulation, electronic resource management, resource sharing, serials and the public online catalog), who work independently and together to ensure that the system is reliable and accurate. I am also directly involved in the setup and management of integrations with the Library’s ILS, including, but not limited to, BorrowBot, San Diego Circuit, our self-checkout machines, and several in-house developed applications and campus systems.

What excites you most about your work?

I love problem-solving. A super complex system like an ILS will occasionally have a hiccup. The fun part is figuring out what is happening, why it is happening and how to fix it. Sometimes, the process is quick and easy, but other times, it takes a lot of trial and error. I enjoy that process and always look forward to that “Eureka” moment!

Tell us about a collaboration you worked on recently.

This past year, I partnered with colleagues in Spaces, Lending and Access and Technology and Digital Experience to activate the BorrowBot for circulating pieces from the Library’s Tech Lending collection. Beyond the machine’s ILS integration, I spent a considerable amount of time evaluating the BorrowBot’s unique software settings and customization options, testing functionalities and working with the vendor to resolve identified issues. I also played a lead role in the evolution of the product’s management software and customer interface for future expansion of BorrowBot services. I always find it very exciting to be part of bringing new services to the Library and our users!

What accomplishment are you most proud of during your time working at the Library?

Well, looking back at my 35 years with the Library, two things come to mind: Patron Load and Systemwide Integrated Library System (SILS). When I started at the Library, patron records were each typed by hand into the ILS. This occupied hours, if not days, every fall quarter. When I became the circulation module coordinator in 1997, improving this process became my primary goal. It took some time and a lot of collaboration with campus IT and Library staff, but eventually, we created Patron Load, which automates this process. More than 20 years later, the program, though enhanced over time, continues to run. Decades later, I served as the implementation coordinator for our campus when the UC Libraries migrated to SILS. The new system went live in July 2021, and I am proud that we were able to execute this massive team effort remotely during the pandemic, not only across our Library but throughout the entire UC Libraries consortia. To add a lighthearted touch to project communications, I composed monthly updates for Library colleagues, each with a unique theme, such as Star Wars, Sesame Street, Disneyland and Bob Ross. I am proud of those too.

Contact Greg:    

Sarah Buck Kachaluba (she/her)

Subject Specialist for Latin American Studies and Anthropology

Tell us about your role and what excites you most about your work.

Among my responsibilities, I select library materials from countries all over the world in many languages — including indigenous — and in many formats, such as maps and atlases; datasets; zines and rare books; archaeological site surveys and drawings; and collections of artwork. I also organize events and build exhibits. My favorite work is meeting one-on-one with students to help them turn their general ideas into specific, researchable questions. Together, we identify the kinds of sources they need to answer their questions and review how to draw on and cite the sources in their academic projects.

How do you partner with colleagues across departments?

I constantly learn about new topics and research tools since the questions I get come from so many disciplines and fields, including humanities, social science and interdisciplinary topics in the programs for climate studies, digital and underwater archaeology, and global public health. I also collaborate with my brilliant Library colleagues, who have expertise in areas and methods that intersect with mine, such as data, international relations, economics and business, marine biology, medicine and health, media and visual arts, and geographic information systems (GIS).

Tell us about a collaboration you are proud to have worked on.

An important partnership I have helped build over several years is a collaboration with Subject Specialist Librarian for Medicine Karen Heskett to support researchers in medical and biological anthropology and global public health. We have co-taught and helped students by drawing on our complementary knowledge and research methods as medical and social science specialists. This collaboration requires significant communication and planning to provide an effective collaborative educational service. Our measure of success has been the overwhelmingly positive responses from the faculty and students we have worked with.

What engagement activities have you organized to connect with the campus community and beyond?

Since winter 2023, at the request of the Latin American Studies graduate program coordinators, I have designed and facilitated a series of quarterly workshops to support and guide master of arts students through the process of developing their theses — transforming them from vague ideas to unique and significant scholarly products. In June 2022, I collaborated with Department of Literature Associate Instructor Andrea Zelaya and Library Exhibits and Events Coordinator Scott Paulson to curate a display of Latin American-themed zines handmade by UC San Diego students and various Latin American artists and writers. Additionally, in February 2020, I worked with the Department of Literature’s Associate Professor Gloria Chacon and Assistant Professor Kathryn (Katie) Walkiewicz to organize a two-day conference with indigenous writers and literary scholars titled Indigenous Writers and Their Critics, an event that yielded participants from all over the Americas. Programming included morning musical and poetic blessings that exposed and immersed the audience in the presenters’ cultural values and practices, as well as readings and discussions of a wide range of genres and topics. The conference was recorded and can be accessed via the Library’s digital collections at

Contact Sarah: