Information Update - Fall 2010

New Cataloging/Metadata Librarian Joins Staff

Sheli McHugh joined the staff of the Weinberg Memorial Library as the cataloging/metadata librarian, as of June 1. As head of this department, Sheli is responsible not only for taking on the traditional role as head cataloger, Sheli McHughrecently left vacant due to the retirement of Donna Ramos, but she will also be exploring ways to integrate appropriate emerging technologies into current cataloging practices. These technologies include the library's digital collections, electronic resources, as well as others yet to be determined.
 
Prior to coming here, Sheli was the head cataloger at the Scranton Public Library where she had worked since 2006. Sheli completed a bachelor's degree in media studies with an emphasis in film and television from Pennsylvania State University, University Park, in 2002 and was awarded a master's degree in library science from Clarion University in 2005.
 
In a recent interview, Sheli discussed her future plans for the library's catalog as well as her interest in emerging technologies with Acquisitions Librarian Narda Tafuri.
 
What got you into this profession? "I was working in my parents' restaurant (Nana's Pasta House in Moosic) and people would come in and give me ideas of what to do with my life. Then one day my high school principal's wife, Dr. Kathleen Ruthkosky, associate professor of education at Marywood University, suggested that I get a degree in library science. So, I "Googled" it, and found an article about a librarian in Los Angeles for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences that advised Hollywood producers. Since film was my undergraduate degree, I thought it sounded cool, so I said, "Okay,I'll do it."
 
What do you like most about cataloging? "I'm like a puzzle person. I like crossword and jigsaw puzzles so it's like the same. It uses the same part of the brain and it is suitable for how I think. You have to think about how to fit all of the information in and make it available."
 
How do you see the library's online catalog evolving in the future? "One thing we are working on with the ad-hoc Emerging Technology Committee is incorporating the catalog into a mobile app, which would make the catalog available from cell phones so that students can have access to it all of the time. Also, the way the OPAC is now, I plan on really enhancing the features that are available to us like the tagging and incorporating more social features like perhaps Library Thing, down the road."
 
Do you have a project that you are currently working on? "Right now, I'm just trying to process a backlog of gift books the library has received. Also, I'm serving on the Library Research Prize Committee. This is a new committee that will be creating a competition to get students to use, and explain the use of, the library's resources. We're hoping that the competition will take place this fall."
 
What is the most interesting thing that people should know about you? "Professionally, I think that it is interesting that I'm a cataloger, which is a "behind the scenes" kind of job, however, I have done a lot of public committee work such as co-chairing Scranton Reads. Personally, I'm really into using Twitter and I organize local "Tweet-ups" to meet other local area Tweeters."
 
How many Tweet-ups have you organized? "I organized eight in the last year. I have made a lot of friends in the area through these meetings."
 
How has emerging technology affected the work that you do? "It has helped me engage with library patrons. If it weren't for blogging, tweeting and Facebook, I wouldn‘t have that direct communication with patrons on a day-to-day level."
 
Where do you see emerging technology going? "The big trend right now is location-based stuff, such as Foursquare and Gowalla. It's like Twitter but with geolocation. It allows people to show their friends a map of where they are. You can add tasks and games that people can do at locations, like the library. You can share neat things about those locations with people that are using those technologies."
 
How do you like it here so far? "It has been very nice and everyone has been welcoming."
 
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