Assistance(ts) available at library
Assistance can always be found at the Ed & Hazel Richmond especially when if comes from someone whose passion is books, whether in traditional format or by electronic means. Assistant librarian Patricia Miller’s love for her job is explained in the simple statement, “I’ve always loved the library and love being around books.”
Miller is a graduate of Rockport-Fulton High School, and worked as a library aide there, as well as at Rockport-Fulton Middle School. She is also an avid reader, and in 2005, when she heard about the assistant’s position at Ed & Hazel, she decided to apply. Now 12 years later, she is still doing what she loves, with the biggest challenge keeping up with changes in library technology.
For Miller, helping people find what they need and helping them navigate this new world of library technology is not just a job – it’s a passion. When she started at the library in 2005, there were five computers. Internet technology had started in the late 1990s, but it hadn’t really caught on yet. Miller helped some patrons with navigating the internet, but others still needed help the old-fashioned way, looking for books through the old card catalog system.
Miller said as computers became more prevalent, more people began purchasing home computers. The library also moved to cataloging books online as well as connected with other library to provide e-books for library patrons. She said the Aransas Pass library is connected with 17 other libraries. They each purchase books for their online catalogs, and “share” those books with each other.
The assistant said the local library now has 17 computers as well as Wi-Fi service. During the summer they mainly have a lot of children checking out books, but during the school year, there are more adults coming in and many bring their own tablets, and cell phones for assistance to get connected to eBooks, etc. Library staff provides a service by helping patrons navigate online not just for books, but with the technology itself, of using a computer, a tablet, a cell phone, etc.
Recently Miller spent some time helping a local patron track down information about a scientist for her son’s summer science project. Rather than give the information and let the individual find the books on her own, Miller helped search the shelves as well. She said, “I’m taught where things are so it’s a lot easier for me to find something.”
She explained, “I’ve been putting books up for 12 years,” adding she loves the library and being around books, “makes me happy.”
Miller also emphasized not all information is on the shelves, nor is it all online. The Ed & Hazel library staff has managed to merge the two systems to provide the best system possible for the local community.
The library also has a story time with Mr. Kippy which has been ongoing for 20 to 30 years. He comes in and reads to the children and provides other activities. Miller said his programs brought in 170 children in three sessions in June. After story time, many of the children browse through the books before checking some out.
The library added the service of DVDs in 2007-08, said Miller. She said it’s been a great addition, as it draws in people, and once they come in for movies, they also start looking at the books, and other library services.
Miller likes the library’s offerings of books, computers, DVDs, children’s programs, and all other services surrounding those programs, explaining, “It opens the door for everyone to come in.”
The assistant librarian likes the part of her job when she gets to order books as well. She admits “it’s like Christmas,” when a box arrives. She gets to be the first to stamp them and put the on the shelves.
For Miller, it’s not a matter of letting someone wander around lost, it’s about guiding them to the book/information for which they are searching.
She also loves helping people reconnect with books by figuring out what types of books they might like to read, and helping them find those types of authors – again, in either electronic or traditional format.”
Miller’s favorite part of working at the library? That’s easy, she said, “I get to read any book I want.”