So Quiet You Don’t Know They’re There

Chances are, there’s a group in your library that keeps such a low profile, you hardly even notice them. When their work is executed perfectly, they become invisible. And that means they don’t get nearly enough love from their colleagues!

I’m talking about your library’s Technical Services Department. You use them to order your books, keep track of the money you’ve spent, process your materials and get them out to your patrons as quickly as possible. Most of all, you rely on them to come up with records that you use constantly, and if they have done what they try to do, you don’t ever think about them at all. We take an excellent catalog record completely for granted, and we only think about it if we can’t find something we’re looking for.

Think about it: How many times do you send emails saying that a record needs to be fixed compared with how many times you send emails saying, “Awesome record!” “I sure could find what I was looking for because you took the time to enter the names of all of the short stories/songs/episodes!” “Thanks for adding those notes–I never would have found what I was looking for otherwise!”

If you’re like me, the answer is a ratio of something like 15:1. But now that I oversee Technical Services as part of my job, I get a lot more of a look at this self-effacing, highly dedicated, very thoughtful group, and I just want you to know that they deserve some love too, even though they would probably tell you that they prefer to go quietly about their business in the back of your library. Valentine’s Day is coming up–now’s your chance!

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