Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Library work: My first 500 hours

Cynthia M. Parkhill sits holding a book, cross-legged on the floor. While looking toward the photographer, she is seated to face shelves with books on them.
Shelving books during move-in at the new Middletown library
When I added up my time spent in professional and volunteer capacities, I discovered that I’d logged the first 500 hours in my library service career.

My cumulative experience includes 304 hours in Bellview Elementary School library during the 2013-2014 school year, 158 hours in the Middletown and Lakeport branches of the Lake County Library, 29 hours in Jackson County Library Services and 79 hours in the Sonoma State University library.

And there’s even more involvement and effort that the total does not reflect:

Most of my counted effort has been in Access Services, defined by the American Library Association as “those functions in a library which enable the use of the collections.”

Among “Access Services” functions, the ALA includes circulation of materials, filling patron “hold” requests, “shelving and reshelving of materials and stack maintenance.” I’ve found these functions to essentially be identical in public and school libraries.

In addition to contributing to library Access Services, I created exhibits and designed marketing materials. I recommended titles, both as additions to the collection and candidates for removal.

With patrons who knew what they were looking for, I helped locate items on the shelves. For patrons who didn’t, I put effort into learning about items that I could recommend.

What makes this milestone especially rewarding is that for years, I envisioned library service as an “alternate-universe” career. I’m glad I took steps to anchor it firmly in my “universe-prime.” I look forward to accumulating many more hours of working in a library.

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