November 2009, Volume 1, Issue 11
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Dec. 12 deadline
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Jan. 14, 2010
Jan. 15-19, 2010
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March 23-27, 2010
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In Focus — Acquisitions Librarian Jean Peterson
I’m the Acquisitions Librarian and recently had the privilege of being given the Support Staff of the Year Award at SDLA in Aberdeen. I was truly surprised and humbled to receive this award.
I grew up on a farm near Marcus, Iowa. Mom and Dad always made sure we made it to the library in town to pick out our books. The Saturday trip to town for groceries usually included a stop at the library. In grade school, I sometimes supplemented that trip and my supply of books with a walk to the library during our lunch hour.
Among my favorite authors were Laura Ingalls Wilder and Bess Streeter Aldrich. Note the theme there, I loved reading historical fiction, and still do, but I’ve added mysteries to the list also. My sister Julie wrote a poem, about reading Laura Ingalls Wilder that also imparts my feelings; although, I’ve never attended the DeSmet pageant. My recent favorite title, not in either genre, is, Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson.
After graduating with a B.A. in Library Science from the University of Northern Iowa, I began my library career in Madison, SD as a school librarian. I met my husband, Alan, in Madison. After four years there, we moved to Pierre where I began working at the State Library. Except for a year that I took off to be at home with our son, Adam, I’ve been here ever since, totalling 32 years. I’ve worked in documents, reference, circulation, cataloging, and now serials and acquisitions.
I’m one of the last two people on staff who can remember working in the old building — an old grocery warehouse — in downtown Pierre. So my first experience with moving the State Library collection was in 1976 when we moved into this lovely new building with its blue, green and orange walls and brown carpet. We actually had a moving company to help us with that move though, so it didn’t even compare to the moves we’ve made in recent years.
After more than 30 years, the blue, green and orange walls were changed to white. The carpet was the same old brown but with a few holes and a few pieces of orange patched in where it had gotten wet and shrunk. It was time to get the library ready for its new direction. We had to move 80 percent of our collection out of the building. After a massive weeding project, we boxed up most of the books we weren’t keeping. Most of these boxes were distributed to school, public and academic libraries throughout the state. All boxes had to be out of the building by a certain date — either given to the library that wanted them or sent to storage to be picked up later. After we finished, I never wanted to see a 40 lb. box of books again, but we made it through it.
At the same time we were doing this, we also had to reduce our paper serial holdings by one-third. Titles selected for withdrawal were pulled and prepared for recycling. When we finished with this, we moved what was left and ourselves to our temporary home on second floor. Done, right? Just wait out the remodeling and we could move back down to our newly refurbished home. Not that easy. We still had too large of a serial collection and too many microfilm and microfiche files. We had to cut what was left of the paper in half, but we managed to get that done before we moved back downstairs.
I couldn’t include every little step here, tearing apart the first floor shelving is a whole other story, but I do need to include two of my more traumatic move experiences. Did you know that book carts, especially old book carts, probably do have a weight limit? If you overfill one with heavy reference books and then try to push it over a bump, it will collapse (see above photo). I also learned that shelving with newspaper racks on one side will fall over when touched after the bracing is removed.
We have finally moved to our new beautiful home on the first floor. We’re enjoying the temporary peace and quiet. Sometime in the next couple of months remodeling will begin on the second floor.