National Library and Information Technician’s Day 2019

Library and Information Week is here again, running from Monday 20 to Sunday 26 May in 2019. Each year Library Technicians have a day to celebrate, on the Tuesday, and we like to remind everyone of the important work that we do. Back in 2015 I wrote about my day, and here is an update.

Three people sitting, two people standing behind

State Library of Queensland, Visitor & Information Services’ Library Technicians

I am part of a team of five Library Technicians in the Visitor and Information Services section, and we work with Librarians and Visitor Services Assistants. We are the first contact that the public have with State Library, so it is important that we are prompt and professional.

My life is ruled by the all-important roster and my work day begins with checking my roster for unexpected alterations. Each week’s roster is available the week before, but there may be last minute alterations.

I work at the Information Desk on Level 3, a hub of information requests. This is where everyone comes to ask everything. At this desk we sign up new members, issue membership cards, lend and return items, make sure that all the computer users are happy, all equipment is working, and we do lots of reference queries. These can involve simple requests, such as locating a known title, to more complex queries involving scientific terms – and I sometimes quickly ‘Google’ the term to help me understand the query! High school students are frequent library users, and I have become very familiar with the resources needed for every essay topic.

I also work at the Micrographics Desk, assisting family history researchers, local historians and students looking for primary source material. Researchers come in many categories – everything from the ‘regulars’ who are very experienced and familiar with State Library resources and require little assistance; to the ‘beginners’ who are new to research and using library resources. As a result of the Home: a suburban obsession exhibition there has been an increased interest in house histories, and I can expect requests involving Post Office Directories and historic electoral rolls as the house owners are traced back through the years.

State Library holds current daily newspapers from around Queensland and interstate and many newspapers on microfilm. I help our visitors to locate the title and date required of the newspaper they are looking for. I then help them to load the film on the microform equipment to view and scan a copy, such as that front page of a local newspaper for Granddad’s 80th birthday, or the wedding photo for the Golden anniversary.

Library Technicians are employed across State Library. They have a very diverse skill set. They can be found checking catalogue records as new resources are added to the collection – both in print (books & magazines) and born digital; as well as accessioning serials and copy cataloguing. They may be describing photographic images or sorting through and describing our ephemera collection to add to the One Search catalogue, or promoting our collection through social media such as flickr and blogs. They are sourcing and supplying information for our clients, both in Australia and overseas, or requesting and solving complex issues relating to the location of an item. That image that you requested as a high-quality photograph?  A Library Technician helped source that.

And a Library Technician’s life isn’t all about celebrating Library Technicians’ Day on Tuesday. Some of us will be preparing for the National Library and Information Technicians’ Symposium 2019, to be held in Melbourne between 13 – 15 November 2019. With the theme “Discover Diversify Dive in” it is sure to provide professional development opportunities for us all.

Katy Roberts

Library Technician, Visitor & Information Services

#LIW2019

Further reading:

Previous blog – http://blogs.slq.qld.gov.au/slq-today/2015/05/25/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-library-technician/

Home: a suburban obsession – https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/whats-on/home-suburban-obsession

National Library and Information Technicians’ Symposium 2019 – https://www.alia.org.au/events/17266/national-library-and-information-technicians-symposium-2019

Australian Library Information Association (ALIA), Library Technicians – https://www.alia.org.au/library-technicians