Carey Gibbons


Carey Gibbons

MLIS 2020
Circulation and Tech Services Manager
Washington District Library
Washington, IL

What I am doing now.

In August of 2019, I was hired to the position of Circulation and Tech Services Manager at the Washington District Library in Washington, IL, after working as a Reference Specialist for seven years at a neighboring library. My library is small, but I love it and the community so much. In December of 2019, I finished my MLIS. In January of 2020, a fine free proposal I cowrote with my director was passed by the board. It was supposed to go live in April, but the world imploded. I was also voted Chair of my consortium’s Circulation Policy Subcommittee this year, but again, the world imploded.

In this age of Corona, I’m working with the rest of management daily on new policies and procedures. New day, new draft. We’ve been closed to the public since March 18th, but started curbside hold pickups on May 26th. I think things are going well so far? I’ve had to help make some rough choices that nothing ever prepared me for. No shade, SJSU. If the library were running normally, I’d be overseeing the library life of a book (or whatever). I’d make sure it was processed and cataloged, and responsibly go from one patron to the next, until it fell apart or got weeded. I’d also be in charge of handling material that got lost or damaged, and dealing with the patron. I would oversee the issuance of library cards and maintain records. I’m a master serials and softcover books processor. I’d be in charge of hiring and training new staff to the department. I’d be working with the rest of management to develop new policies and procedures. I’d be attending consortium committee meetings. I’d be telling teens not to wrestle in the stacks and eating a gross lunch of Spaghettios with my work friends.

Also, I adopted a cat. She’s all black and her name is Eleanor.

What are the most valuable skills I use in my job?

Everyone at my library wears a lot of hats, so these might seem scattered.

  1. UX or patron experience. Everything about the library should feel welcoming and intuitive. I’ve become good at efficiently getting the most for patrons with the least amount of effort on their part.
  2. Basic cataloging. This should be mandatory. Your life will be so much easier if you can easily read basic catalog records.
  3. Empathy. Seriously. Pay close attention to 200 and 204, and Collection Development. I use knowledge from these classes every day.
  4. Reference/readers advisory. I’m a circulation manager, but I still have shifts at the reference desk. Ready reference knowledge is a major time saver. So is keeping up with trends and best seller and awards lists.
  5. Flexibility (working well with others). I’m a circulation manager who has shifts at the reference desk. And in the children’s department once in a great while. Learn some of everything. Be a multi-tool.

Contact Permission

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Send email to: Carey Gibbons