In the months leading up to the annual BC Library Conference (May 2016) the member spotlight will showcase several library technicians/assistants who are presenting in a panel looking at the current state of the profession and its future.
Where are you currently working?
Abbotsford Regional Hospital & Cancer Centre (ARHCC) Library
Can you tell us a bit about this position
I am one of three library technicians in Library Services in the Fraser Health Authority (FHA). We work with five librarians to serve our physicians and staff. The library I work at also serves the Abbotsford BC Cancer Agency staff and physicians and one of their librarians is on-site 2-3 days a week. My site is the only one where we serve patients and the public. The library technicians do article retrieval, literature searches, inter-library loans, compile book orders, catalogue and process new and donated items. One of my responsibilities is to handle our OPAC requests. I also maintain ARHCC consumer area’s pamphlet collection and help patients and the public find online resources for their health-related concerns.
Our searches and article retrievals may be done for research, education or direct patient care. It is such a great feeling when I hear that a book or article I found helped our staff help a patient! I really enjoy helping patients find credible information on their health concerns, especially as this is a face-to-face interaction. They appreciate the information and often just having another person to speak to about the subject helps them walk out a little less stressed.
How did you become interested in being a Library Technician?
I volunteered at the library at my children’s elementary school. I really enjoyed the tasks I was able to do and being involved with the kids. The teacher-librarian encouraged me to go back to school to ‘get paid for what I seemed to love doing. It was a bonus that one of the schools where it was offered was just up the street. My intention was to work in a school library but one of my practicums was in a hospital library. I discovered that, although I do miss working with kids, it offered everything I enjoyed as well as the opportunity to search for those nuggets of information that can help others.
I graduated from the UFV Library and Information Technology program in 2009. Since then I have continued ‘stretching my brain’ by learning on the job and by taking workshops and attending conferences offered by Library Associations and my employer.
What about outside of work? What are your hobbies/interests?
I enjoy reading, doing puzzles, sewing and cheering on the Vancouver Canucks and BC Lions. I would love to add some kind of regular exercise to this list but it wouldn’t be truthful. I am working on that missing piece and my husband and I try to go for long walks when the weather is nice.
Any advice for new technicians or people interested in the field?
Take advantage of any practicum opportunities even if you don’t think they would interest you. They are invaluable! There may be more to a job than you think. You may also be able to apply that experience in other jobs in ways that surprise you.
Think outside of the box! Libraries aren’t the only places where we can apply our skills. Library technicians have done contract work in several departments in Fraser Health and the Lower Management Facilities Management group has employed a full-time library technician for the last 3.5 years.
Are you on the LTAS Executive? In what position?
Fraser Valley Chapter Co-chair
Is there anyone you want to nominate to be showcased in our Member Spotlight? Maybe yourself? Please fill out this form, and you could be next month’s member spotlight!