Monday, April 24, 2006

Since I've joined a bunch of blog rings I might tell a bit more about how I earn a living (and it's definitely not by knitting or spinning or growing vegetables). I have been a librarian 30 years (shudder) starting in serial cataloguing at a large university library in the southeast. I then spent 2.5 years at The Big One, the Library of Congress, but I felt stifled there. I then spent 12 years at OCLC (and anybody who sees this and knows the library old-girls' network probably has figured out who I am by now) before I ran away to Australia to marry a wonderful man I met online. Originally we both hoped I wouldn't have to work, but with child support and my longing for a permanent home, I went back to work at the smallest library I've ever worked for, the National Library. I have worked in several different cataloguing positions and I currently dangle off the organization chart working on projects. The ones I am working on currently include: cataloguing old uncatalogued pamphlet material, both Australian and non-, correcting subject and name headings using the features of our new (2 years old) local system, finding and linking monographs in series that lost their connections due to data migrations, changes in cataloguing rules, cost-cutting measures in the past, etc., and removing Australian material from one area of the collection and moving it to another. Everything in the NLA is divided into Australian or overseas material and our goal is to be THE source for Australian materialso, if a user requests Australian material and it isn't where it's supposed to be, one has to hope that the folks in the stacks will remember to check everywhere it might be. My job is to fix as much as I can so they don't need to. I must admit that we also overdid it a bit much in the '60's and acquired much more than we could really adequately provide access to, so I spend some time picking and choosing so we don't waste time and space on, for example, the internal procedures of a child care centre in Darwin from 1965 at the expense of local histories or research materials that merely got lost in the shuffle. I've learned an incredible amount about Australia in the process and, while some of it is crashingly boring, much of it is fascinating especially since there is so much cultural history for me to catch up on. I love my job and only wish I had more healthy hours in a week to devote to it,

No comments: