Friday, December 8, 2023

Meet a Roadrunner: Ammi Bui, UTSA Student Success Librarian

Meet a Roadrunner: Ammi Bui, UTSA Student Success Librarian

Bui is UTSA's first librarian dedicated to student success.

(Oct. 23, 2018) -- Under the guidance of President Taylor Eighmy, becoming a student success model with exemplary student persistence and success rates has become a priority destination for UTSA. To achieve the university’s vision, many employees working across different spectrums are preparing students for graduation and to enter the workforce as leaders in their fields.

Ammi Bui was recently hired as the university’s Student Success Librarian. She is based on the Main Campus in the John Peace Library. And like many UTSA students, Bui was a first-generation college student. She pursued her bachelor’s degree in history at the University of California, San Diego.

“In my case, graduating came with a sense of relief, like whew, I didn’t fail at the first step,” she said. “Being able to graduate, find steady employment, go on to grad school for my Master’s of Library and Information Science and find this job validated my parents’ decision to back me up on my choices, especially my decision to be a humanities major instead of a STEM major like my extended family wanted.”

We spent time with Bui recently to understand the role of a Student Success Librarian and to learn how she plans to assist UTSA students as they advance toward their careers.

Why did UTSA’s Student Success Librarian opening appeal to you?

I hope this doesn’t sound nonsensical, but I have always seen myself as a crew member on DS9, a remote “frontier” outpost that becomes an important stop in space, rather than on the Enterprise, despite its status as the darling of the fleet. This job at a campus with a large percentage of first-gen students that is steadily improving its graduation rates appealed to me more than some other librarian jobs at larger universities did because there is a lot of room to grow here and try out new ideas. The community is pretty great, and we are all working to help our students realize their enormous potential; they need our assistance to push past the small things that are holding them back so they can become more engaged, focused and successful in their personal and professional lives.

What is a Student Success Librarian?

Librarians have specialization areas, and Student Success is a new area of expertise. It’s so new that it’s developing each day I come to work. The duties will change and adapt as we better understand what works to help the students and what doesn’t work.

I plan to work closely with our students through student groups, our peer mentors, the residence halls and other campus services offices. There are so many opportunities for collaboration. I hope to build, grow and maintain these connections with and for our students to further their engagement and immersion in learning.

What difference do you hope to make in the lives of other first-generation students?

I want them to know that UTSA faculty and staff, including librarians, are available as resources, and they should feel comfortable seeking us out for help and support. I want them to be more aware that certain services, such as the various services that the library offers inside our facilities and virtually, exist and they should make use of them. I would also like to encourage undergrads to spend these early years thoroughly exploring different fields of interest and meeting people in their own department, outside of it and in the surrounding community, just to see that there are a variety of perhaps not so linear pathways that are open to them.

Students are constantly learning and absorbing things, and they’re eager, energetic and enthusiastic. I think we really have a chance to help undergraduates here do a lot of good work and contribute positively to society.

How do students best reach you?

The best way is to book an appointment through the library website or to send me an email at

Finally, what are you currently reading?

I am reading a manga called Barakamon and Jacques Cousteau’s memoir The Silent World: A Story of Undersea Discovery and Adventure. I’m in love/obsessed with the sea, especially with what’s in the deepest parts of it. The ocean and coastal life feature heavily in both of these works, albeit in different ways, so they’re very comforting and fun to read.

Pamela Lutrell

Learn more about UTSA Libraries.

Learn more about the UTSA Student Success Initiative.

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University of Texas at San Antonio receives ‘transformational’ $40M gift

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