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Q&A with Jaime Healy-Plotkin

jaimePosition Cataloger Librarian at the Wisconsin State Law Library in Madison, Wisconsin

Describe your current job I create original catalog records and copy catalog materials including legal treatises, government documents, and periodicals as well as maintain our electronic resources records. All of the librarians at the Wisconsin State Law Library rotate throughout the week to provide reference assistance by phone, email, and at our public reference desk. On top those duties, I am the President of the Madison Public Library Board and represent that board on the South Central System Library Board of Trustees. I have had a long commitment to service to my community, especially the library community. Public and special libraries have an important connection and I am happy to bring my experience to both areas.

Previous professional endeavors My library career has made its way up and down State Street and around the Capitol Square in Madison, mostly within technical services. I worked at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum Archives and Research Center, UW Libraries, including Memorial Library and the Kohler Art Library, and the Wisconsin Historical Society. I have experience in large and small libraries and found my interest lies within small, special libraries.

Why did you decide to work in the library profession? I love to organize.

What is the favorite part of your job? Organizing! Cataloging has these wonderful rules to make items more accessible with common terms and I love to piece them together.

What is the least favorite part of your job? As part of my job is to provide reference assistance, my least favorite part is realizing that I cannot help everyone with every question asked. At times a patron will contact us asking for what is considered legal advice and as a librarian I am not qualified to give that advice. The information I provide is not always enough to satisfy the patron and that is a frustration for me.

Do you have a role model as a librarian? I do not have one librarian in mind, but over my years of working in libraries and with library boards, I have tried to glean knowledge from all the great directors and librarians with whom I have worked.

What is your favorite book of the last year? I recently enjoyed a fun non-fiction book by Michael Ruhlman titled Grocery talking about the habits of grocery stores and its customers. He has a creative way of engaging his readers in subjects that could be rather dry.

What is your dream vacation? A trip to France, which would include time in Paris to visit the museums and walk along the Seine, followed by relaxation in Southern France where I can sit at a café eating pastries and drinking a café crème while reading.

What are your hobbies? Outside of my library activities, I am a certified postpartum doula. I help mamas and babies adjust to life together after birth. You can check out what this means at my website Little Treasures Postpartum www.ltpdoula.com I also enjoying reading, walking, and spending time with my husband and six year old daughter.

Is there anything else you would like to share with your fellow AWSL members? I am excited to have been elected the AWSL vice-chair/chair-elect and I look forward to working with this group of special librarians.