Happy National Library Week!
Have you ever wondered what library workers do all day? Strictly speaking, not everyone who works in a library is a librarian. Like a hospital has doctors, nurses, and several types of technicians and assistants, employees in various roles make a library run. Their duties and training differ, but all of them love working with technology and people.
Most of the employees behind the desk in OCLS’s sixteen libraries are known as Circulation Clerks. All clerks must have a high school diploma and at least one year of customer service experience when they are hired. They work at the circulation desk, where they process materials, handle money and respond to all kinds of questions. They spend a lot of time helping patrons use the public computers, though in many branches computer assistance is overseen by the Customer Service Tech, who shares most of the same responsibilities.
“If I had to pick a favorite part it would probably be the staff. Every staff member I have met is open and welcoming. Everyone brings their own style and sense of humor to the workplace, making it extremely comfortable and fun!” – Janette, Branch Customer Service Lead (Winter Garden)
In some branches the clerks are required to plan and lead at least one event every month. It can be a craft, concert, storytime, language lesson, cooking demonstration or anything that would enrich our attendees. Sometimes staff may recruit a presenter to lead an event. These staff also work on special projects such as forming reading lists, preparing the online branch newsletters and contributing to the library's marketing efforts.
“My favorite memory was my first program. At the end the parents wanted to take a picture all together with me and the kids each hugged me like they knew me even though they had only met me an hour before.” –Laura, Customer Service Tech (South Creek)
Each branch has one librarian, but the Main Library has several. All librarians are required to complete a master’s degree from a program accredited by the American Library Association before they are hired. In library school they learn important skills including research, management, and reader’s advisory (matching readers with the right books). In the branches, they focus on planning and leading events. At the Main Library, librarians primarily work on the fourth floor and focus on answering in-depth reference questions—questions that require very involved research—and manage the online resources used by the entire system such as our LibGuides and The Right Service. They are also involved in special projects like the Career Online High School, EPOCH, the Adult Summer Reading program and Orlando Memory. The Collection Development Librarians focus on choosing materials for the collection in all the branches. Their most notable special project is ePULP, an e-book platform developed in-house by OCLS.
“My favorite part of my job is when someone needs help finding specific information or a specific book, and I am able to help them locate it. I also really enjoy doing reader’s advisory, especially with our younger customers.” – Rebecca, Main Reference Librarian
The work of dozens of other OCLS employees could literally fill its own book! The library employs about 400 people including trainers who teach technology classes, the technical services clerks who process brand new materials, IT professionals, graphic designers, web developers, storytellers, event planners, and the managers who supervise all of these workers. They all work together to “connect our changing community to the evolving world of ideas, information and technology,” a vital piece of the OCLS Mission Statement.