Monday, June 18, 2012

Hello! Or, How I Got Here

If you frequent the library, chances are you’ve seen me at the circulation desk. I’ve been a circulation desk assistant since my freshman orientation almost two years ago. I’ve loved libraries, books, and reading since before I started kindergarten, so the library seemed like a natural place for me to find my on-campus job. I soon fell in love with working at the desk; I particularly liked when I got to go into the stacks to look for an item that a patron couldn’t find or that had been requested for Inter-Library Loan.

Also during my freshman year, I became an active member of ALLies, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Asexual, Intersex, Straight Ally, etc. group on campus. ALLies began looking to make reforms to campus policies to better protect the LGBTQ population, with the enthusiastic support of many members of the administration, including Dean Ramsey. To that end, I took an internship with Dean Ramsey last summer where my job was to look into the policies of Gettysburg’s peer institutions regarding their LGBTQ students.

During that internship, I found a website for another school’s ALLies club that included a link to a resource guide for the LGBTQ-related materials in the library. Unfortunately, the links were broken so I was unable to access the guide, but it got me thinking: maybe Gettysburg could have a similar resource guide. Upon my return to school, I made inquiries and ended up talking to Amy Ward, the head cataloging librarian, and Jessica Howard, the liaison librarian for the WGS department. They, and other members of the library’s administration, reacted positively and eagerly to my proposal.

Last spring, I started working in both the reference and technical services departments. In the reference department, I began surveying the collection to determine what books we already had on LGBTQ-related topics, and reading reviews of books so I could recommend titles we should purchase. In technical services, I learned the basics of cataloging and read articles on tagging and Library of Congress subject headings so that when it came time to organize the information I had amassed in reference, I would know how to organize it.

This summer, I have finished cataloging what we have in the collection and am preparing to organize it by topic. Last week, I began organizing information on my first topic: Transgender. I found titles in our collections of books, films, documentaries, and online resources. I started the process of updating the Muscat records for older books so that they will be easier to find in a keyword search. (The other reason is that I love working in the catalog and editing records. It’s just so much fun for a geek like me!) Later today, Jess will start teaching me how to use LibGuides, the program I will use to make my online resource guide. Hopefully, the Transgender LibGuide will soon be available on a computer screen near you!

Working in the various departments of the Musselman Library has taught me many things, but chief among them is this: I am 95% sure that I want to be a librarian for the rest of my life.

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