My Cataloging Career by Peter Applin : BLOG

My Cataloging Career by Peter Applin

by LCS on 12/19/11

I guess I had similar experiences as Hunter.  How many of us grow up thinking, "I'm going to be a librarian someday"?  I grew up thinking I'd be a soldier or a sailor.  I wanted to be a frogman (early version of today's Navy Seals), but after seeing the rigorous training they had to go through, I knew that wasn't for me.  

My undergraduate work was in criminal justice.  I thought being in the FBI would be interesting.  To work for the FBI, I knew I'd have to do some police work first.  When I graduated in 1989, the starting pay for the local police was $12,000.  

While an undergraduate, I had started working in the school library as a student worker.  Upon graduating, a position became open and I was offered it, making $15,000 a year.  Since that was a bit more than the starting pay for the state police, my career took a different path.  

I worked as the night circulation supervisor for several years before transferring to collection development/acquisitions and later to cataloging.  I had a great supervisor in Bob Keating, who was really into cataloging.  He talked me into going to library school. He later left to become a supervisor at OCLC's TechPro.  When I graduated from LSU's library school, he said I should apply for a position at TechPro.  I did, and I worked there for fifteen years, eventually becoming a supervisor myself.  During my tenure there I worked with so many good catalogers and learned so much from them.  

For several reasons, projects began to dry up and people were laid off.  My turn came in 2010.  I guess the misfortune of being laid off was a blessing.  Hunter and I, who were both supervisors in TechPro, had said many times, "If we were in charge, we would do things differently."  Hunter was laid off the same time as I was, so we put our collective minds together, and Library Cataloging Solutions was created.  We could now work for a company with catalogers in charge of cataloging operations.  We could do things our own way, make quality a priority (versus making numbers and revenue a priority), and keep prices low by controlling our overhead.  All of this was a very, very refreshing change.  

We've made it through our first year, having many great libraries to work for and being able to do things our way.  Providing quality cataloging is very important to me, and at times I feel I become a part of the library's team.  Our client libraries come to us for various reasons.  Some don't have the staff to catalog their materials.  Others come to us for our format or language experience.  For me it is a good feeling knowing that I can help their patrons access the materials they need for their studies and research.

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