ASSOCIATES (2009, March, v. 15, no. 3)


The BEST part of my job … and the WORST!!

I work in cataloging.
My favorite part is almost any of it.
The worst part is repairing books. I need to be in the mood for it. I save the for a Friday afternoon and I call it arts and crafts. It seems to make me feel a little better. ;-)

Joan Scott / Cataloging
Shawnee State University
Portsmouth, Ohio

The favorite part of my job by far is cataloging. I love it. I especially enjoy the original cataloging. I have to agree with Joan. I think my least favorite has to be a tie between mending and repair and doing the monthly statistics … even though when I became the head of the department the first thing I did was put them on an Excel spreadsheet!

Susan Bell, Manager
Catalog Department
Governors State University
University Park, Illinois

Favorite part of the job: working with the students (academic library)
Worst part of the job: endless meetings

I work in a public high school library and my favorite part of the job is the students with which I work — and, you guessed it, on some days, the worst part of my job is … the students with which I work!

Sue Stringfellow

I work in the circulation department at an academic library and I’m right there with you, Sue!

Terri Brown
Administrative Services Assistant
William T Young Library
Lexington, Kentucky

It’s hard to say what my favorite part of my job is. I have been here over 20 years in the same department and my boss introduced me to someone a while back and said I do “everything”. My favorite part of my job is Database Maintenance because of the searching and puzzle solving. I have to do on a lot of it. I also do a lot of our product research, get bids, purchases, and set up new equipment. I enjoy the diversity of that.

My least favorite…supervising. Followed closely by giving a presentation in front of a group.

Connie Basquez
Wichita State University Libraries
Wichita, Kansas

I work in Circulation (or, as I’ve also heard it called, Lending) at the Ossining Public Library. My most favorite part of my job is meeting the public, which, in Ossining, New York, is probably one of the most diverse publics anywhere! Plus, because we have a relatively new and quite beautiful library building (two years old) and we have, I’m told by patrons from all over the county, a better library than their home library (partly the grass is always greener phenomenon), we get patrons from all over the county, since a Westchester Library System library card is good at all 38 libraries in the Westchester Library System. This permits us to meet the public from all over the county, which is a treat. I also love just being in a library, especially such a beautiful one as ours! And being paid for being in my favorite place!

The worst part of my job used to be patrons who were angry but I’ve learned how to deal with them by, in part, not getting scared and by pretending they are totally rational and in part by explaining that I don’t have any additional power beyond what I’ve told them and they need to get in touch with the head of the department who solves all the problems!

Helen Chuckrow
Sunday Library Clerk
Ossining Public Library
Ossining, New York

My favorite part —

Cataloging items for our special collections, which contain local history and rare books. Some very old and interesting things come through. I’ve had books dating back to the 1500s. Presently I have on my desk the following: Historiae Frisingensis II. tomi. [by] Karl Meichelbeck / Augustae Vindelicorum, 1724-1729. It’s a wonderful old volume illustrated by fabulous engravings and engraved head and tail pieces. It helps to know a little Latin.

My least favorite part —

Serials. Especially the title changes. GQ / Gentlemen’s Quarterly / GQ come to mind.

Laura Bundy
University of Missouri-Kansas City
Miller Nichols Library

My favorite part of the job:

1. Getting a student really interested in reading. I have one mainstream student who was very unhappy and sullen when he started here, but has become one of my most enthusiastic users. He’s probably read over 100 titles on audio!

2. Coming up with an idea that didn’t occur to anyone else. For example, when a supervisor went to a presentation and took a copy of the handouts on floppy disk, I labeled the disks in print and Braille. The blind participants were thrilled, as the disks were the first ones they had received that they could read! It turns out I was the only one who had put Braille labels on the disk.

My worst part:

1. The Braille menus. Every Monday morning I get calls from students about the current week’s menus in Braille. Since I often don’t get the print copy until Monday (which I have to retype, unfortunately as the original format cannot be translated by Duxbury, our Braille translation software) it isn’t always done right away and people get very impatient.

2. Equipment (Perkins Braillers and 4-track tape recorders) — particularly testing to make sure they actually work and sending them in for repair when they don’t. The Perkins Braillers weigh 10 pounds each — not fun to pack up!

Elizabeth Hart
Library Technical Assistant
California School for the Blind
Fremont, California

I’m an original cataloger of all kinds of subjects in multiple formats. My favorite part of the job is putting a record in OCLC; I also really enjoy the authority work for names and proposing new subject headings.

As for what I like least–cataloging microfilm and microfiche! Heck, I once had a roll of film unwind and it took two people to help me re-roll it. Yuck! I guess I’m a real tech services type–you know anal retentive! Hee Hee.

Mary T. Kalnin
260 Suzzallo Library
University of Washington Libraries
Seattle, Washington

I supervise 5 student assistants, so working with the students is nice. Seeing them develop and mature during their 4 years at school and knowing I had a small part in who they are is rewarding.

People (professors and staff) wanting something ordered “yesterday” and not understanding at times it takes 4-6 weeks to get something ordered, received, processed and on the shelf ready for use.

My favorite part of my job is tweaking authority records to help people find resources that they need when they look for them.

The worst part of my job is supervising student clerks who are just putting in time on a job for which they have no aptitude.

Tina Gunther
Cataloging Technician
Biola University Library
La Mirada, California

My favorite part of the job is … working with the students I hire, and seeing what research aspects students and staff are doing each semester. I work in Interlibrary Loan.

The worst … paper jams.

Lori Wedig
ILL/Periodicals, IML
119 Karrmann

The favorite part of my job is scouring our catalog, our databases, and the Web for the best possible information to include in our LibGuides (subject guides).

The worst part of my job is reprimanding or firing our student employees — luckily, we have a great group of student workers, so I don’t have to deal with this very often.

Jenny Vitti
Research & Instruction Assistant
Brenau University Trustee Library
625 Academy Street
Gainesville, Georgia

My favorite part of my job is when I get to be an everyday hero. I fly to the rescue and find just the information or item that the patron needed (often with such vague direction as “the blue book” or “something about science.”) I leap problems in a single bound when I teach patrons a new computer skill that will make their lives easier from that point on. Makes me feel “more powerful than a locomotive.

My least favorite part of my job is enforcing the rules. I completely understand the need … but I don’t have to like telling people that they are laughing too loudly … even when it is in an area for quiet study.


The favorite part of my job is ….
Working with students to help them find what they need for their research, whether at the Reference or Periodicals Desk.

and the worst … !!
Administration making decisions without our (non-professional but highly trained) input.

Signe A. Evans, MSW
Periodicals Section
Thomas G. Carpenter Library
University of North Florida
Jacksonville, Florida

The best:
I still love the start of the new academic year – all those fresh faces keen to learn. To take these people on a journey were they learn that the answer is not always in google but in books and related web sites. Which offer scanned copies of perhaps 12th century maps and documents. To show students of all types how research works and how the essay or report at the end of it can be so much better than a dull cut and paste job from some spurious web site. Even to the extent that their piece of work is then referred to by others when the topic is researched further. I love it at the end of 3 years a student who arrived all fresh faced and worried graduates with a degree and comes and says to you ‘thanks for showing me how’. I love showing new library staff members how systems work and why they work, and perhaps devising some new ideas for improving them. Loyalty, trust and honesty are more than words – they are what can be what holds a team together. Without it any service becomes plain and lacking in any form of pride.

The worst:
I hate people who enjoy humiliating people – it does not matter if they are junior library staff, Directors or members of the public, it proves nothing but their own weakness. The playground bully is alive and well – which is why hate divides instead of uniting us. I hate paper work for the sake of paper work – who really needs endless reports and statistics if you can see that a library is empty – you are doing something wrong. So ask the staff and students what’s wrong, don’t form a committee and ask them. I hate people who don’t value respect and innovation – some of the best ideas have come from front line staff who can see practicality far better than a committee ever will. Most of all I hate people who cannot say ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ – the language does not matter but the sentiment does.

‘Library staff in a University somewhere in the UK’

The favourite part of my job is working with the extremely talented and creative staff here at the Parks Library – they are real “can do” people!

The worst part is dealing with disruptive and destructive children who run around, yelling and screaming, pulling books of the shelves, disturbing other customers, and being extremely rude and disrespectful to all adults (staff included)!

Angela Jones
Library Technician, Technical Services
Parks Library Council Office
Port Adelaide, South Australia

The favourite part of my job is: helping a client fix a problem.
The worst part of my job is: when everyone has a problem that needs fixing NOW!

Chris Roberts
Library Technician