National Library Week: Behind the Scenes at Hunter Library

by Grayson Blalock, Hunter Library Intern

photo of library entrance.

In honor of National Library Week, we are sharing some of the inner workings of Hunter Library and introducing some of the its hardworking employees–from those at the circulation desk that students see as soon as they walk in to those in the back that students may never see. Everyone within WCU’s Hunter Library has their own shoes to fill, and their roles are considered invaluable by everyone else within the workplace. Not only that, but every staff member has carved a different path to reach where they are today, and many of them are still furthering their education. Let’s meet some of the staff at the Hunter Library!

Tim Tweed, University Library Specialist-Reference Specialist

Members around the circulation desk have several tasks to take care of during the day. When you see them, they’re working the circulation or reference desk, but they may also be behind the scenes communicating with those who work in the back. Tim, someone who works around the clock around the circulation and reference desks, recounts his experience as a member of the library.

photo of Tim Tweed.

Tim’s focus is making sure that everyone who walks in is greeted and being quick and effective with everyone he assists. At the reference desk, he may consult people in person or answer questions over the chat function on the Hunter Library website. As part of the front-facing side of the library, he says that communication is key, and he is in constant contact with the back to solve any issues that can arise.

Tim is currently working on his master’s in library and information Science (MLIS), and to students, he says that “Library work can be challenging and stressful, but it’s incredibly rewarding when you can help a patron locate information or anything like that.”

Rebecca Saunders, Cataloging and Metadata Librarian

Rebecca, who works as a cataloger, discussed her time working at WCU. When she first began, she enjoyed the amount of staff that had diverse skillsets and knowledge and was pleased with her own ability to communicate with everyone. For her, the workload varies day-to-day, with the most notable duty to catalog books. Once the acquisitions department gets these books, those in the cataloging department make sure the books are put in the catalog, giving them call numbers and subject headings, which allows everyone to find any book they need on the Hunter Library website. She communicates with circulation quite often to make sure all cataloging regulations are met, as they can change somewhat frequently.

screen capture of a catalog record.

Rebecca studied English before obtaining an MLIS degree and tells students that “Subjects are your best friend when researching, and searching by subject is important. This can provide useful context for research topics and open new avenues of discovery.”

Ali Norvel, Collection Strategist and Resource Access Librarian

picture of new book shelves.

Within the collections department is Ali Norvel, who recounts her experience as someone who came from a very different environment to WCU. Having come from a smaller library, Ali experienced a learning curve for the community but adapted well. In collections, she handles donations, works with the acquisitions budget, and coordinates weeding out old and unused books and other materials. She is also a subject librarian in Psychology, which means she assists students with their psychology work when needed and focuses on accessibility for students. Ali also considers herself a liaison between subject librarians and her department, getting feedback from both places to each other.

Ali has an MLIS degree and says to students, “Lots of things happen behind the scenes, all designed to make things more accessible and are designated to help students be more successful.”

Jazmyne Baylor, Education Librarian, Research and Instruction Services

photo of Jazmyne Baylor.

Among our subject librarians is Jazmyne Baylor, the librarian for several topics such as education and parks and recreation management. When she first joined the library, she had experience working in public non-academic libraries. Although there was a very thorough training system she went through, she got accustomed very quickly. As a reference librarian, her priorities are to answer questions for students and assist faculty members. Jazmyne does a lot of outside work, having worked with Intercultural Affairs (ICA), Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), and visiting classrooms within her field.

Jazmyne is a student at WCU pursuing her Doctor of Education within our very own College of Education and Allied Professions and would like to tell students that “Despite being busy, I am available almost any time. At the end of the day, I am here for the people.”

Koral Alexander, student employee at Hunter Library 

photo of two books on a rush order.
Two books in a rush order

Hunter Library also values its student workers. Koral is a student at WCU, currently double majoring in English and German. When she first started, she found the library inviting and recounts that despite being a part-time worker, she’s gotten the opportunity to do a few projects here and there to get proper experience as a member of the Hunter Library. Koral works under the acquisitions unit and processes books before they reach circulation. She’s constantly communicating with circulation and cataloging, with occasional rush books and a constantly changing schedule.

To other students, Koral says, “The Library isn’t monotonous; it changes from day to day.”

Grey Jenkins, Front-End Web Developer

screenshot of library web page.

Where there’s a website to be handled, there’s a person behind the scenes making sure everything runs smoothly. Grey Jenkins is our Front-End Web Developer, and when he first started at WCU, he found it nerve-racking as it was his first job, yet he adapted well with his supervisor. In his environment, he enjoys the route of allowing new solutions, which allows him to quickly rectify any errors that come along. Like other faculty at the library, Grey’s day changes constantly, with several projects under his belt at any time, assisting anyone within the library with web assistance, such as creating websites, scanning for bugs, and handling any immediate projects that arise as the needs of the library changes.

Grey, who’s finishing his master’s in computer science, says to students, “Come in with expectations to pursue new ideas and technologies. Be a spearhead and a trailblazer.”

Heidi Buchanan, Associate Dean of Library Services

Within the leadership of Hunter Library is Heidi Buchanan, the Associate Dean of Library Services. When she first started, she worked frequently with the undergraduate freshman and sophomore English courses and taught information literacy workshops. Heidi’s job as the associate dean is a hefty one, from providing an internal blog where library departments can communicate with each other to assisting with marketing during events and doing fundraising–and is even a subject librarian for the history department. She’s also starting a formal paid internship program at the library. She puts emphasis on internal communication and believes that if her department is doing everything right, they’re being supportive and advocating for the library.

Heidi has an MSLS degree and says, “Libraries tend to do a lot more than people think. When someone’s starting a project, I want them to think: “What can the library do for me?” We have resources for them, and if there’s an academic problem, we have something to solve it.”

A Space for Everyone

Hunter Library employs staff of all types, from those with prior experience to new faces–even to students still working on their degrees. Where their credentials may be similar, their experiences all tell different stories, bringing new backgrounds to WCU and the library. Within Hunter Library resides many different perspectives, all putting emphasis on how they can provide the best assistance they can for students and visitors to the library. Everyone working within the library is invaluable, and everyone who visits the library has someone they can count on for their needs.

Grayson Blalock is an English Major in Professional Writing. He is completing an internship at Hunter Library.

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