Celebrating Library technicians
26 May 2020 is National Library and Information Technicians' Day, a day to celebrate the great work that library technicians do and to gain a better understanding of their role in libraries. Elise O'Neill, Katy Roberts and Kristina Read share their interesting and varied work as library technicians at State Library of Queensland.
The most interesting part of my job - finding where something is broken and learning how to fix it.
I work in the eResources Management Team and have been with State Library for almost a year. Before that, I worked as a library technician in a special library for just over 7 years, so that’s about 8 years all together. It’s certainly been an interesting and varied career!
The eResources team consists of two people – my amazing Team Leader and me – so that makes our team meetings a breeze. We look after all the ebooks and online databases at State Library: Kanopy, Ancestry, PressReader, Lynda.com, all that online stuff that a lot of people are very interested in, especially now. We also manage the online resources for the Rural Libraries Queensland and Indigenous Knowledge Centres network, which include ebooks, eaudiobooks and music streaming.
A typical week for me involves some troubleshooting; sometimes database or ebook links will stop working and we're the ones who figure it out (or appropriately redirect the issue to our IT team). I also update ebook records to ensure they are accurate, which may not sound like much, but when you know there's over 200,000 ebooks in One Search (the library catalogue) it’s a bit more impressive. Part of this type of work involves teaching myself some basic coding to make this kind of data wrangling a lot easier. There’s a lot of testing involved in the job too; I have to be very knowledgeable about the resources and processes to be able to help people with problems and find solutions. Ultimately this is the most interesting part of my job: finding where something is broken and learning how to fix it.
A typical day for me involves selecting material to send out to libraries and Indigenous Knowledge Centres (IKCs) throughout Queensland.
I started my early working life as a Primary School Teacher – I have taught in Gothenburg and Brisbane. There are many parallels/transferrable skills that can be drawn between the teaching profession and working in Library Services. I commenced my library career as a volunteer for the State Library of Queensland’s Children and Young People’s Program in 2009. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of this experience - which confirmed my decision that this is the organisation and industry that I want to work for!
I worked as an Access Assistant for ten years before completing my Diploma of Library and Information Services through Box Hill Institute of TAFE. My current role is a Library Technician for the Access Services team, working with public library collections. It is a very rewarding and enjoyable role. I am part of a small team who are dedicated to delivering services to the public library network across Queensland. A typical day for me involves selecting material to send out to libraries and Indigenous Knowledge Centres (IKCs) throughout Queensland, processing new material, including books, DVDs and audio books, delivering a range of services to our clients; keeping information on our catalogue and webpages up to date and relevant, project work; and shelving.
When I am not working, I am the Ring Master of the Read family which consists of my husband, our 12 year old daughter, 8 year old twin boys and our Golden Retriever “Moose.”
While the library has been closed State Library's Ask Us research and information service is the way that we are connecting with people who need our help.
I have been celebrating Library Technician’s Day for 20 years now, since I began studying for a Diploma of Library and Information Science in 2000. I began my studies part-time at Southbank TAFE, whilst working full-time at Caboolture and Ithaca TAFE libraries. This did lead to confusion with some TAFE staff who knew me as a student and not as a colleague! Working as a Cadet Library Technician in a six-person library was a great way to experience the variety of library work. All hands-on-deck projects included re-cataloguing collections, and re-arranging the floor space by physically moving the library shelving. Keeping resources in order as they are moved is trickier than it seems.
Moving from a small library to State Library of Queensland, with a staff of several hundred, has been interesting and rewarding. Prior to the closure of State Library in March 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, my general day-to-day work had lots of focus on clients visiting State Library. Now I find that I am as busy as ever, as I am the only Library Technician working with three Librarians who are onsite for one week, then working from home the alternate week. I have been specialising on genealogy and local history information requests. While the library has been closed State Library's Ask Us research and information service is the way that we are connecting with people who need our help. From such a customer service focussed role to working in a near-empty library has been interesting, and I have been really enjoyed the opportunity to concentrate on working with some lesser-used resources.
Happy Library Technician’s Day to my colleagues who I now only see via Zoom meetings!