January 29, 2009

Thank You, Karen

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — tsladmin @ 11:18 pm

My first job out of library school was as a reference librarian at the Calumet City Public Library in Chicago’s south suburbs. I was a total noob, and I look back now and laugh at how green I was. But I was lucky enough to have a great mentor and boss who taught me a number of things – customer service, patience, and how reference worked in the real world. In fact, she’s pretty much responsible for my customer service ethic.
And that fateful day in what I think must have been 1993, when I discovered the Library had a CompuServe account that no one ever used, she said, “Sure, go ahead and play with it – see what you can find.” Yes, that fateful day, I found a recipe for Irish soda bread online for a patron, and I’ve been hooked ever since. She encouraged me as I expanded my knowledge into email, gopher, archie, telnet, and then the web, and she indulged my crazy ideas about how we could use all of these tools in our work.
Truly, I wouldn’t have accomplished everything I have in my career if Karen Bala hadn’t been the best first boss a baby librarian could have. So thank you, Karen – you made a big difference in my life, and I wish I’d had another opportunity to tell you that.

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