Broadly speaking, as a librarian at Leeward Community College, I work to provide access to information resources that are useful to our patrons, teach people how to use those resources, facilitate library operations, and serve the college and the university. Specifically, I am the Systems Librarian (also known as an automation librarian), which makes me responsible for all matters of computing in the library. From November 2002 until June 2008, I also served as the Circulation Librarian. From August 2006 until July 2011, I served as Head Librarian.
I am a tenured member of the college's academic support faculty, and I hold the rank of Associate Professor. Being a faculty member has a significant impact on my working conditions and duties.
As the Systems Librarian, I'm responsible for the library's use of the Hawaiʻi Voyager library automation system, which handles our circulation, cataloging, and online catalog functions. I deal with hardware, software, and networking issues; train staff; serve on committees that influence the operation of the system, and contribute to decisions about the library's use of the system by sharing my knowledge of how it works, its capabilities, and its limitations. I also provide similar support to the UH - West Oʻahu Library. University of Hawaiʻi - West Oʻahu is an upper division school (i.e., 3rd and 4th year of undergraduate studies) that shares the LCC campus, and their library is located within the LCC Library building.
I directly manage much of the computer equipment in the library, and I work with other people on campus who take care of the equipment I don't manage. I perform minor repairs and maintenance. I teach library staff members how to use computer equipment and applications. I also take care of the technical aspects of the online research databases we subscribe to. My job involves a lot of troubleshooting, record keeping, and teaching myself new things very quickly.
I'm also called upon to provide assistance with other forms of technology. I gather information, assess needs, and provide advice on technological matters. I deal with audio-visual equipment. I extract stuck coins from the copier machine. Basically, if it uses electricity or has more than two moving parts, there's a good chance I'll end up dealing with it somehow.
What is it like to be a systems librarian? It can be very interesting, and a lot of fun. It can also be quite challenging at times.
As the Circulation Librarian, I oversaw the operation of the circulation department, which handles checking library materials in and out, keeps the bookshelves in order, and provides a wide variety of other services to library patrons. I supervised the department's civil service staff. I was also responsible for providing library services to "distance education" students who take online or televised courses.
Like systems work, circulation work can be rather unpredictable, as situations can arise at any time that require immediate attention. This can make time management really challenging.
I'm also a reference librarian, typically spending several hours a day at the reference desk. Reference work involves helping students with their research; teaching students how to use the library, and how to use computerized research tools (an experience that has convinced me that the need for human librarians will never disappear); and helping faculty, staff and administrators with their information needs. I find the experience valuable for doing systems work because it keeps me in touch with how real patrons seek information and use computer systems.
I participate in library instruction activities. My activities include developing and conducting workshops and class presentations that teach students, faculty, and staff how to use effectively conduct research and choose and use various information resources. I support the Instruction Librarian in maintaining and updating the library's formal instruction program, and assist other librarians with using presentation technology like video projection equipment.
I participate in collective efforts to manage library services and resources. I sometimes have a role in personnel recruitment and equipment procurement activities. I contribute to the development of the library's collection by assessing needs and suggesting books and other material to acquire.
I also do things like serve on college and university committees, including personnel committees, and over the years, various campus computer committees. I spent three years serving on the Faculty Senate. I've also served on university-wide committees, including the Circulation Committee, which deals with our use of the Voyager circulation management system and other issues related to our efforts to provide circulation services seamlessly throughout the system; and the WebVoyáge Committee, which deals with the web-based public-access interface of the online library catalog.
Other college service activities include managing various web sites and mailing lists, and participating in campus events.
I designed and maintain the current library website, and designed and/or maintained earlier versions of the website since the mid-1990s.
I am a legally recognized expert in the field of library automation.
I am a member of:
I served as a director on the HLA board, 1999-2001.
I attend ALA conferences from time to time. For my impressions of the experience, check out my electronic postcards from the road.
For other organizations of which I am a member, go to my list of other memberships and activities.
My advice to aspiring systems librarians: