Career Profile: Associate Librarian, Technical Services


Karen Neville

Title of current position:

Associate Librarian, Technical Services

Current employer:

Colorado Christian University

Please provide a brief description of your job including a general overview of your responsibilities.

  • All cataloging including copy cataloging, enhancing vendor records, creating original cataloging records, retrospective record conversion, and maintaining accurate holdings in OCLC WorldCat. Oversee deletion of records for physical and electronic materials.
  • Development and maintenance of cataloging policies and practices; ensure compliance with cataloging
    standards and best practices of consortia partners.
  • System administration for the Sierra Integrated Library System (previously Millennium) and online catalog: maintain patron and circulation records, manage circulation rules and policies, run statistical reports, and troubleshoot problems.
  • Maintenance of EDS journal discovery tool.
  • Ongoing website maintenance, updates, and usability testing.
  • Digital repository liaison, assisted in metadata and user interface design and development of local implementation procedures.
  • Staff “Book a Librarian” services and online chat reference service.
  • Management of course reserves.

How did you choose your specialty (i.e. music cataloger, metadata specialist, technical service manager, etc.)?

I came from a software development and project management background. I initially expected to find myself in a library-adjacent software field, but I fell in love with cataloging and tech services. I was fortunate to find a job that allows me to wear a number of different tech services hats.

What specific skills, aptitudes, training, or education does your specialty require?

MLIS with emphasis in cataloging, experience in cataloging. Background in software development definitely a plus.

In what ways did your formal education prepare you for your career? What did you need to learn outside of this?

The most important part of my formal education was that it required me to have an internship in a library. Without actual practical experience in cataloging, I would have found it difficult to find a job after graduation.

What do you find rewarding in your career?

I love being in a library where while my primary job is in technical services, I still get to work with patrons and answer reference questions.

What do you find challenging in your career?

Being a very small library, I have always had to seek mentors and advisers from outside of my library—sometimes it would be nice to be able to ask questions of my own colleagues.

How do you keep up with trends in the field (i.e. involvement in professional organizations, email lists, publishing and research, professional reading, etc.)?

Primarily, I stay up-to-date by teaching cataloging. This forces me to stay up with the latest trends, practices, and ideas in the field. Also, being a part of a library consortium is great because I get to see what other institutions are doing.

What advice do you have for those considering a career in your specialty?

Do whatever practical work you can—internships, volunteering, etc. Practical work experience is so important.

This career profile is one of 14 developed by the Cataloging & Metadata Management Section (CaMMS) Recruitment & Mentoring Committee in 2017. To view a list of all profiles, see Career Profiles in Cataloging, Metadata, & Related Fields.

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