RUSA - STARGazing: Meet Sue Kaler
1. What is your institutional affiliation?
The Massachusetts Library System
2. What’s your OCLC / Docline symbol?
We borrow for about 150 requesting libraries using the MLN symbol and lend from Minuteman Library Network under that symbol. We borrow for about 300 requesting libraries using the OCD symbol and lend from Old Colony Library Network under that symbol.
3. What would the title of your autobiography be?
How to Herd a Flock of Chickadees (because I affectionately call the requesting libraries we serve chickadees).
4. How did you get involved in resource sharing (or access services, etc.)?
I worked for a small publishing company library while going to library school. I did ILL, among other things, for them. I also distinctly remember borrowing some items while an undergraduate which was before OCLC had spread beyond Ohio. Presumably someone looked up holdings in the NUC! My first professional job was as the ILL guru for NELINET, teaching libraries in New England how to do ILL. ILL has continued to be a strong theme in my positions since then.
5. What are you passionate about? How does that passion inform your work?
I was stunned by the rich holdings of my undergraduate library. I love helping patrons from the smallest libraries in the Commonwealth (only open 12 hours a week) gain access to such materials. I also love the detective work aspect of ILL.
6. What do you feel are the benefits of your STARS membership, and why would you encourage others to get involved?
I’m often the voice of the small public library in STARS activities. I would encourage anyone from any type of library to get involved with STARS. It’s a fun group to meet with at conferences, too!
7. What do you wish you’d known when you started out in resource sharing (access services, etc.)?
Like many people, I knew nothing in the beginning. I’d sit at an OCLC terminal and make bets with myself whether the return message was going to be “Request Impossible” or “Message Not Clear.” Those were the only error responses at the time. OCLC has come a long way since then! I wish there had been ShareILL and Everything You Always Wanted to Know About ILL in those days!
8. How has your STARS membership helped you do your job?
Resource sharing folks are, by nature, sharing nurturing people who will help their colleagues grow and develop. It’s wonderful to have such a group to reach out to when you need to be pointed in a direction to get up to speed on something new to you.
9. What are you reading?
I love mysteries. I am currently re-reading (via CDs) Tess Gerritsen’s Rizzoli and Isles series. I don’t think I read them all as they came out. I particularly love books set in different locations that bring that area to life. Favorite examples include the Tony Hillerman and Louis Penny mysteries.
10. Personal Fun Fact
I love to travel. The most exotic spot I’ve visited is Easter Island. Love those crazy giant heads!