Olympiaarea librarians Nono Burling, Julie Nurse, and Kelsey Smith have between the three of them held almost every library job imaginable in the South Sound. They dish about the many things they wish they’d learned in library school and offer their take on a new and improved “syllabus” (p. 7). In a similar vein, library work is compared to bartending (p. 14), social work (p. 15), and Calvinball (p. 10). And speaking of humor, if you’ve ever looked at the WLA Annual Conference program and wondered what the kittens “Society Gaius Julius Solinus v. Washingtonius” was, wonder no more (p. 12).
Some of your stories celebrate the practical education that comes from stepping up to get the job done. Dusty Waltner, director of the Columbia County Rural Library District, reflects on how her position at a small, rural district encompasses all the jobs: collection development, programming, weeding, reference, circ, and even a tiny bit of local celebrity (p. 15). We also see how duties were recently juggled behind the scenes at Gonzaga University’s Chastek Law Library (p. 25), and how moving from a paraprofessional to a professional position in Technical Services is an education unto itself (p. 17).
Sometimes we form close bonds with our colleagues and patrons and that’s when library work can be bittersweet. Miriam Wnuk finds that mentoring young employees is not unlike being an aunt (p. 21), and Suzanne Carlson-Prandini interviews an Outreach Services provider on the grief that sometimes accompanies this important work (p. 20).
One thing that those new to the profession quickly learn is how many opportunities there are to do really exciting work for their communities. The Everett Public Library’s experiments in podcasting are turning out some fantastic content (p. 28), and the last weekend in February is quickly becoming the kid lit event of the year in Northwest Washington with the annual Children’s Literature Conference and nErDcamp Bellingham (p. 32). And Samantha Hines explores the professional challenges of serving on ALA’s Policy Corps (p. 22).
In our regular features, John Sheller wraps up the 2018 legislative session (p. 5), and Kari Whitney shares how social media is a way to keep Library Snapshot Day alive all year (p. 33). The Puget Sound Council for the Review of Children’s and Young Adult Literature takes a look at new STEM titles perfect for summer experiments (p. 36) and David Wright pulls back the curtain on the arcane (and deeply satisfying) art of weeding (p. 38). And of course no issue would be complete without checking in on the Swellville Public Library, whose HR department has just updated their training plan (p. 39)!
Finally, WLA President Craig Seasholes points out that library work and WLA work are both endurance events that never reach the finish line (p. 3). The vitality of our organizations depends on our ability to not only pass the baton but to recognize when it’s our turn to accept it. As you browse this issue, consider if there are areas of WLA involvement you’d like to explore. I promise you that association engagement is as rewarding as it is educational, and there is no end to the things you can learn.
Alki Editor: Sheri Boggs
Alki Editorial Committee: Frank Brasile, committee chair; Kris Becker; Suzanne Carlson-Prandini; Karen Diller; Anna Shelton; Kelsey Smith; Mindy Van Wingen; Dusty Waltner
Design: Sonya Kopetz, KB design
Cover attribution: photo by Steve Debenport for iStock Photo
Download the full-color PDF issue below.
Published July 2018
by Craig Seasholes
by Sheri Boggs
by Carolyn Logue
by Nono Burling, Julie Nurse, and Kelsey Smith
by Alex Byrne
by Kirsten Edwards
by Lisa Cox
by Emily Henson
by Dusty Waltner
by Whitney Buccicone and Morag Stewart
by Suzanne Carlson-Prandini
by Miriam Wnuk
by Samantha Hines
by Sharalyn Williams
by Kris Becker
by Cameron Johnson
by Adam Shaffer
by Kari Whitney
by Brooke Shirts and the Puget Sound Council for Review of Children’s and Young Adult Literature
by David Wright
by Darcy McMurtery