This month on the blog and in our e-newsletter, we’re introducing you to our amazing staff from Tech Services and the Business Office! (If you’re joining us from our e-Newsletter, welcome to the blog!)
You might have seen these wonderful women around the Library, filling in wherever needed. You’ll often see Patty and Wendy in the Children’s Room (Wendy also does a great job at the Reference Desk), Christina at Circulation or in the Teen Room, and Weini at the Circulation Desk. Although they all work with the public frequently, the majority of their duties take place behind the scenes.
They place our orders with vendors, make sure our bills are paid (so that services can be delivered to you, our patrons), receive our book orders, process, and catalog our new items for all locations. In short, without their behind-the-scenes work, the rest of our work would be impossible.
Recently, we had a chance to catch up with most of the team and ask them a bit more about themselves. We’ve learned a lot and enjoyed hearing their SPL stories, so we couldn’t help but share.
Wendy (pictured with the guitar) is the Head of Technical Services. Her first SPL memory goes back 30 plus years! When she reported for her first day at her new job, the only person she could find was a nun in full habit, praying alone in the Cataloging Department. After a few moments, she enquired the way to the Business Office, and was silently pointed the direction to go. As the day wore on, she met all her colleagues at the West Branch, where she started as the Children’s Librarian. The staff there turned out to be a bit more vocal and colorful, and one of them even sported red leather pants and fairly high heeled shoes! Can you guess who that might be?! (Wendy says she still works here :))
After Wendy’s stint as Children’s Librarian at West, she became the Head of Audio Visual, and later moved to her current position as Head of Technical Services. She found each of these positions so interesting yet different from each other, and she reports being grateful for having had a broad spectrum of public library experience!
Over the years, Wendy has collected many, many memories, making it understandably hard to pick a favorite. Amongst her favorite activities were doing programming at the West Branch and sitting on the Arts Council and Somerville Educational Cable Council Boards while in AV. With the respect to the latter, she even met George, who later became her husband, when they collaborated on producing Educational Cable programs! Wendy also reminisces about her history of helping with the startup of so many new non-traditional circulating collections, from the VHS tapes and cassette tapes in the eighties to guitars and telescopes today! She sincerely hopes that the residents of Somerville uncover all that their library has to offer.
You might be surprised to know that Wendy has been to China a couple of times, and that her family is somewhat immersed in Chinese culture, as her daughter was born there. She enjoys traveling when she can, with the most recent trip being to Scandinavia this past spring.
When Wendy is not working, you might find her knitting, tending her family’s community garden, swimming or walking. She is kind of addicted to her FitBit, too, and can be seen walking the library balcony before work each day.
Weini (on the right) reports that her favorite memories at the library include the many friendships she has made with staff and patrons. As someone who comes from Eritrea, she found that working at the library has been a great way to connect with new people. Every once in a while, she is able to do some translating and help acclimate people from her country to Somerville, which is a great asset for the library!
Many years ago, Weini met an Italian woman, who suggested that Weini go to the library and apply for a job. That’s how Weini came to work here as a part-timer two decades ago. There’s also a funny side story. The man who gave her the application to work here is still at Circulation and now works side-by-side with her!
One thing that people might be surprised to know about Weini is that she has a really hard time taking time off. She enjoys working at the library so much, that it is a struggle to convince her to take even one day off.
If Weini was not working at the library, she might be working at a school. In her past, she was an assistant teacher in a kindergarten at the Little Flower School, and enjoyed it immensely. She has also worked at the group home for the Walnut Street Center, and occasionally still fills in there when needed. Lucky for the library, she has CPR and First Aid Certifications!
Finally, Weini never stops moving! In addition to her full-time library job, Weini is always cooking for someone or for some occasion. There isn’t a week that goes by that she isn’t cooking for someone who isn’t feeling well or for some sort of a holiday or special occasion. She is an awesome cook (she didn’t say so herself, but we all agree!) and specializes in traditional Eritrean food.
Christina (on the left) is our Business Librarian, also known as Accounts Payable. She pays for the majority of materials and services here at the Library. She orders supplies and furniture needs for all the branches at the Library. She works closely with the City of Somerville as well as our vendors, making sure we seamlessly renew our contracts, yearly subscriptions, and databases subscriptions.
She started in her new position as the Business Librarian on July 2016, but has worked with us since the fall of 2012, when she originally started as a part-time shelver. The Somerville Public Library was her first job.
Christina says she was very picky about what she read back in middle school--when she first fell in love with reading books. In middle school, she read mysteries, thrillers, and suspense stories. She also admitted that when in high school she indulged in the “cliché heartbroken teenage paranormal romances.”
These days, she reads a mixture of things, deciding not to limit herself to the typical genres of fiction. For example, instead of just traditional romances or mysteries, she enjoys thrilling fantasies, suspenseful romances and paranormal horror. You’ll see her reading from every department: Children’s, Teens, and Adult. She’s also dabbled in graphic novels and manga, particularly if a book is going to be made into film or a television series.
Christina said that if she was not working at a library, she would have probably looked for work at a bookstore. She knows what she likes, right? When she isn’t working, you can find her binge-watching shows, catching up on her to-be-read list, or seeking out new library books to read. She also spends time writing stories of her own.
Thanks for taking the time to get to know our staff a little better. When you see them around, be sure to say hello and feel free to ask them about their areas of expertise!