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A journal of social practice & professional engagement for the Antioch community

“It couldn’t be any better”: Anthony Maldonado at the Olive Kettering Library

Throughout the 2023-23 academic year, I have served as a part of the Olive Kettering staff–first as a part-time worker and then full-time as a co-op student. Before my Co-op, I felt that the library was more of a position, where I just check-in/out books to students, functioned as a cashier for the C-store, and get mail/packages when they arrive. Fortunately, my Co-op includes these responsibilities as well as a number of exciting additional projects and tasks. To give you an understanding of what I do, I would like to explain a week on Co-op as an official library assistant and member of the Olive Kettering Library.

With my position being considered a Co-op, I expected to be busy every minute and tasked with a long list of responsibilities that would take up my whole day. This is certainly the case, but in retrospect as I near the end of my Co-op, I realise the work I do is much more than a job. There is an agenda to address in terms of work and time; but there is also the feeling of supporting a community through my presence and regular engagement.

 In terms of tasks, on a normal basis I am in charge of the circulation desk and the duties that come with being in the front. Members of the Library team, like Emily Samborsky (Director of the Olive Kettering Library) or Scott Sanders (Antioch College Archivist), also task me with other responsibilities. Additionally, a week may consist of me doing some type of high priority project that must be carried out in a timely fashion. This type of schedule is more than fine with me because I am a flexible person and I like to do a variety of things. I also understanding that others’ workloads can be arduous and so I try to be as accommodating as I can. I also like being busy since it means that I am counted on to help with the workload and what is needed to be done. 

In terms of community, the feel of the Library matches the kind of work I like to do every week. On a calm, normal day without any special projects, I’m stationed at the front desk to request/search for books for students, staff, and anyone looking for books or information. This position includes tending to the C-store, grabbing packages to send to the mailroom, offering help at the circulation desk, and more.  I would be there from 1-7 PM from Monday to Thursday, and 6-10 PM on Sundays, in front of the circulation desk to help whoever needs it. It does sound simple, but being in the front does help the members of the Library and our community in general accomplish whatever they need to take care of.  Most of the time, the staff is busy with new projects and advancing the remodeling that is happening with the periodicals area. We are also always involved in making improvements for the archives collection upstairs in the library. By being present and helping people who come in, the building can run steadily throughout the week.

 Although I do enjoy the calmness of a routine day, the fun part of the Co-op is the changing agendas and projects. To elaborate, I was able to help with cataloging and withdrawing various VHS tapes that we hold. I catalogued about 180 VHS tapes during my third week of the Co-op. Now that we have the ISBN and name of the VHS recorded in a spreadsheet for the Library, the director of the Library can determine the fate of each individual title.

A week later, the carpeting on the right of the Library had to be replaced since the shelving needed to be removed. Other remodeling projects were going on, so periodicals  (newspapers and journals) needed to be moved out for reconsideration. I helped with these tasks so our maintenance crew was able to uninstall the bookshelves and remove the carpeting.

Although I like the work and the projects that come out of the Library, I really enjoy the learning process that comes out of organizing books and other holdings. For instance, Scott Sanders on the 4th week taught me about the Microfilm machine and how to operate and access the documents/articles we have in collection. This is just one of the things I learned in the library–an example of what I appreciate every single time I’m here.

From the first day to now, I do feel like I’m a learner who is getting the opportunity to learn even more about this building and the history of this campus. I feel like I’m refining my understanding of the field of library science and my ability to work independently. I have lots to be happy about!. As of now, this is Anthony Maldonado, and I hope we see you in the Olive Kettering Library.


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