In the Shoes of … Kathy, Chief Library Technician – Valois Branch

Pointe-Claire Public Library has a Central and Valois branch, and Kathy can usually be found at the Valois branch, in addition to bringing some of the collection to those who can not make it to the Library.

What are your main responsibilities?

My main responsibilities revolve around the daily functioning of the Valois branch. I also coordinate the shut-in program and the mobile library at Villa St-Louis seniors residence.

Describe a typical workday:

A typical day begins with organizing work for the staff followed by answering emails and messages. As I work at a distance from most of my co-workers, email is the method most often used to relay information between the Central branch and Valois. Helping patrons of course takes priority over everything.  As we are only two staff members working at a time, we provide a whole range of services such as help with the public computers, quick tutorials on how to use our databases, help finding materials in the library, registering patrons for activities and much more.  We are also responsible for the physical appearance of the library. That means we get to decorate! And create book suggestion displays…

On Tuesdays, I put on my other hat: I am reaching out to patrons in the shut-in service, selecting library material for the mobile library, or visiting Villa St-Louis seniors’ residence. The mobile library consists of 15 Rubbermaid bins filled with books and DVDs. These bins are transported to Villa St-Louis and set up on tables. On library days, residents can peruse the contents of the boxes and choose what they would like to read. I, with my laptop and barcode scanner, process their loans and returns.

What was your field of study?

I have a BA in Canadian history and political science, a certificate in archival studies and a diploma in Information and Library technologies.

What are important qualifications for your work?

Here is a list of qualifications that are useful:

  • able to multi-task
  • detail oriented
  • comfortable with all forms of technology (electronic devices, databases, printing troubleshooting etc.)
  • Being inquisitive in order to answer patron requests and to meet their needs
  • Having patience
  • Being multilingual (French, English, miming, and others)

What is your favourite part of the job?

Knowing that I am providing a service to the local community. I enjoy interacting with our patrons, trying to meet and/or anticipate their needs.

Having to provide all the library services: loans, returns, reader advisory, computer and electronic troubleshooting, explaining our online services, providing library related activities to community groups like brownies and beavers

Do you have a favourite work related anecdote?

My favorite time of year is Hallowe’en when the library is open until 9pm. Locals know that we have candy for all trick or treaters (young and old). Families pop in to warm up, get a drink of water and use the washroom before continuing on their route. Sometimes the hallway is so full patrons have a hard time getting through to the circulation counter. One year, three youngsters thought it was more fun to read a new book on the floor than to collect candy door to door. Mom was certainly happy to stay warm indoors!

 Is there anything you would like to add?

Working in small community libraries (Valois and Villa St-Louis) has its privileges: patrons are quick to share their life stories and locale lore.  You become a part of the community.

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