Monthly Archives: August 2015

New Things! Or, “Look, I’m a Librarian!”


The job search is over! I recently began my new position as Resident Librarian at the Cook Library at Towson University. Sadly, that meant leaving my awesome colleagues at American University. *sniff, sniff*

New job. New city. New things to learn. I’m really excited to see what the next two years hold.

Albert S. Cook Library at Towson University

Albert S. Cook Library at Towson University

By way of explanation, a residency is an entry level professional position, usually designed to support new librarians in learning more about different aspects of librarianship. Much like medical residencies, my position will allow me to gain a broader picture of academic libraries, as I move between different departments during a rotation cycle. My first year will be spent in Technical Services, Research & Instruction, and Special Collections. I will work for roughly a semester in each department. I’ll spend my second year in the department of my choice, while also designing and completing a research project based on my professional interests. This research project will then be shared in some professional setting, as a presentation, paper, or poster.

I began my rotation in Technical Services last week. This division generally includes cataloging/metadata, acquisitions, electronic resources management, and materials processing. To date, my experience in academic librarianship has been primarily in Public Services. I know that there is magic that happens behind the scenes and I’ve heard a little about it, but now I get to find out exactly what that magic is and how it happens. I’ve started by working on a few smaller projects with the Baltimore Hebrew Institute (BHI) collection.

The Baltimore Hebrew University was a stand alone institution founded in 1919. It was committed to furthering academic scholarship in Jewish and Hebraic studies and was the only school of its kind in the state of Maryland. In 2009, BHU  became a part of Towson University as the Baltimore Hebrew Institute. The original buildings were demolished and the BHU library was ingested into the Towson collections as the BHI collection. It is comprised of journals and periodicals, monographs, special collections, visual media, and artifacts.

A large portion of the visual media items are in VHS format. Right now, I am working on searching for duplicate holdings of items in the BHI collection. In instances where we hold both DVD and VHS copies of the same item, the VHS items are being deaccessioned. I’ll be working on deaccessioning items in the catalog (TU uses Aleph by Ex-libris as an ILS).

The second part of my current work involves working with the BHI periodicals collection. Some of the print journals in the BHI collection are already bound, but many of them are not. I’m currently going through the collection and pulling loose journals and processing them to be sent to the bindery. This includes physically accounting to see which issues we have, updating catalog records in Aleph, adding item and holding records to the bib record (as needed), and cleaning up catalog records to comply with Towson and University System of Maryland and Affiliate Institutions (USMAI) cataloging practices. I mentioned the magic behind technical services. Fun fact: today I learned how to create a LC call number using the LC classification system, the LC cutter guidelines, and the LC subject headings. It felt a little like cracking a code. I know things. Mhuahaha.

Going forward, I’ll also be working on creating and editing metadata for a digital collection of newsletters published in support of Holocaust survivors. These newsletters are also a part of the BHI collection and are being digitized for greater access and preservation purposes.

I’ll likely be updating this blog more frequently to share my experiences as a Resident Librarian, so watch this space.