ASSOCIATES (2011, July, v. 18, no. 1)


In addition to your standard duties. What opportunities exist in your organization for you or other library support staff to contribute to the development of the library service?

Jackie Mushinsky
Collections Management Associate
Gordon Library, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester MA

As a Collections Management Associate at Gordon Library, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), my main job responsibilities are acquisitions and cataloging, which I have always found interesting and enjoyable. I feel fortunate to work at a library where there are many opportunities to develop new skills and to be part of a variety of events and activities, including serving on committees and working on general library projects. A variety of opportunities exist for all staff members, and I would like to share some of my opportunities and experiences.

I have been at Gordon Library for almost 7 years and during that time, I have received encouragement from my Supervisor and other staff members, including our Director, to attend training and to take on tasks in addition to my Collections Management responsibilities. I have then been able to apply my new or enhanced skills directly to my standard duties and in other areas.

The continuous training I have undertaken, has led to the development of my technical skills, which have then applied to additional tasks, such as creating slideshows and videos, as well as signs for displays and special events. For example, I have created informational videos related to the library on topics such as “New Books” and “Handbooks and Manuals”. I have also participated in “Tech Petting Zoos” at MLA and ACRL/NE conferences, demonstrating electronic devices from our library, such as flip videos and iPads.

I am a member of the library Exhibits Committee, and have had many opportunities to work not only with the Gordon Library staff, but with the WPI community as a whole, and members of the greater Worcester community. I have worked on exhibits in the library featuring WPI faculty and staff, as well as displays by local artists. These displays are often related to our library collection, focusing on specific subjects. I recently collaborated with our Access Services Librarian to install an “Adventure” display that includes mountaineering, hot air balloons and airships. In February and March of this year, I collaborated with two other departments on campus and created two short slideshows, one for Black History Month and one for Women’s History Month. These shows featured resources in our collection related to the theme for that month. The slideshows were run on a large plasma screen that we have in the lobby of the library, along with other library and informational technology slides. I have also coordinated a display showcasing the works of women artists at WPI.

As I take on extra tasks, I always give priority to my regular responsibilities. When necessary, I spend time after work hours, to work on some of the tasks that are not directly related to collections management. As I enjoy being involved with special events and activities, I don’t mind putting in the extra time. If I am creating a video, the time I put in is valuable in the development of my technical skills.

I have had opportunities to be on other library committees, such as, the web page re-design committee, and most recently, a committee working on developing policies for lending iPads. I have also had the opportunity to add posts, promoting new acquisitions, to our library blog. This is a voluntary task and is open to all library staff through our Research and Instruction Department.

I take pride in my collections management work and also in the additional challenges that I take on in other areas of the library. I am always happy to work with other departments, whether in the library or another part of the campus, and I strive to contribute when time and my skills permit. Because I process new books and check our e-book resources for duplications, I am familiar with our new acquisitions, so I can easily promote them. Overall, many of the “extra” tasks I take on are either directly or indirectly related to my primary responsibilities. It adds depth to my job responsibilities, and hopefully, my contributions benefit the library as a whole.

In these times of continuous technological changes significantly affecting libraries, I am very appreciative of opportunities to develop my skills, particularly in technological areas. I think it is beneficial to have opportunities for growth, as all of us adapt to the changing role of libraries, and I greatly appreciate the opportunities at Gordon Library.