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A Day in the Life of Five Librarians, Part 4
Posted On November 5, 2019
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Justin Hoenke, team leader of Libraries and Community Spaces for the Wellington City Libraries in New Zealand, has been talking to all types of library staffers for A Day in the Life, his column in Information Today. Among other things, he asks them about their typical days, moments that made them proud, their current projects, and how they balance their library work with the rest of their lives. Here’s a look at his columns from April 2019 to September 2019, which have been lightly edited and condensed for the web. 

Part 1 of this series is available here.

Part 2 of this series is available here.

Part 3 of this series is available here.

You can read the full interviews in Information Today, starting with the September 2017 issue.

If you’re doing something exciting at your library that you’d like to share, email or tweet @ITINewsBreaks.

Creating Relationships

Heather McCormackThe world of ebooks confuses me, but there’s one person out there I do pay attention to, and that’s Heather McCormack, VP of collection development and publisher relations at bibliotheca’s cloudLibrary.

When I think of Heather’s approach to helping librarians build their ebook collections, the word “holistic” comes to mind. With Heather, you’re not getting someone who tells you what’s out there just because it’s the latest and greatest new thing—instead, you’re getting a person who will connect with you, attempt to understand you and your community, and give you the tools and items you need to build something truly amazing.

What does a typical day of work look like for you? How do you aim to constantly keep getting better at your job?

In general, I spend a lot of time thinking about how best to curate ebooks and digital audiobooks for librarians in our buying tool. Day to day, week to week, this thought process translates to maintaining cyclical lists like Top New Releases, which entails drawing on my regular communications with publishers’ marketing departments and creating special lists in response to the explosive new cycle. While doing that, I maintain existing relationships with book publishers and negotiate contracts with others so that cloudLibrary is always growing in terms of quality and volume.

I am a big believer in consuming everything that has to do with books internationally, whether it’s trade magazines like Library Journal, news resources in the guise of Publishing Perspectives, librarians’ Twitter feeds, and podcasts from NPR, The New Yorker, and independent bloggers. It’s important to understand how the business of publishing works, what might help it grow, what’s hurting it, and how librarians’ important work ties into it. Really, I am an advocate for both professions, and I want to help them collaborate in ways that are mutually beneficial. This means spending more time thinking about usage models.

What’s the best library initiative you’ve ever seen that combines a traditional public library with today’s modern library?

I admire, from a distance because I have never “been” as a patron, what Biblio-Tech does down in Bexar County, Texas. It’s all digital in terms of collections but offers the public physical spaces in which to do the work they need to do. Their staff strives to meet the needs of Spanish-speaking immigrants and other people on the fringes of American society. Being that they are not far from the Mexican border, that’s essential work.

As a curator, I am awed by The New York Public Library’s attempts to reach all of its readers, via their procedures for selecting books and their brainy readers’ advisory. Sure, they have the money and resources, but they are doing things of value with them.

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Justin Hoenke is a human being and a librarian. He's worked in public libraries all over the U.S. and is now based in Wellington, New Zealand, where he works as a team leader of libraries and community spaces for the Wellington City Libraries. His professional interests include creativity, public libraries as community centers, and music. Justin likes to make music when he's not in a library:

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