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A Day in the Life of Five Librarians, Part 11
by
Posted On October 1, 2023
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Making Lives Easier

In print and on the internet, we see the biggest and boldest projects in the headlines. But what we find out time and time again is that the work being done behind the scenes is what is keeping things moving in our modern society, so why don’t we talk about it more? One of the big reasons why I wanted to start this column was to showcase these unrecognized efforts, and here we are with the amazing and kind Caleigh Haworth. Since I met her back in 2014, I’ve admired the heart and soul she puts into helping library staffers grow and learn so that they can unlock new potential in the communities they serve.

TELL READERS ABOUT YOUR CURRENT ROLE AS ENGAGEMENT CONSULTANT IN THE NOVELIST DIVISION OF EBSCO INFORMATION SERVICES. WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?

Since June 2021, I’ve worked as an engagement consultant with NoveList (EBSCO). My primary responsibility is to develop and deliver NoveList product training and support materials to library employees. On a typical day, I’m working on help documentation (creating new or updating existing), creating training materials (tutorial videos or training webinars), and communicating with customers to help answer their questions or show them tips on how to use our products effectively.

Caleigh Haworth

YOU HAVE QUITE A BACKGROUND IN TRAINING LIBRARY STAFF ON ALL THINGS RELATED TO COMMUNICATIONS, OPERATION, COLLECTIONS, AND MORE.

I worked at the Okotoks Public Library in Alberta, Canada, for 12 years. I did a lot of staff training and built up a collection of training resources during my time there. This led me to my next position as training and communications coordinator with Marigold Library System, also in Alberta. There, I got to do more training on a larger scale for staff at 36 member libraries. I created training manuals, instructional brochures, web content, and training webinars. I also gave live training sessions as well as conference presentations. Library staffers are enthusiastic about their work, and having these chances to collaborate with so many people from so many different libraries and communities inspires me in many ways. My position at NoveList allows me to do this on a much larger scale, which is incredibly fulfilling.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES PUBLIC LIBRARIES ARE FACING IN 2023? HOW DO YOU THINK PUBLIC LIBRARIES CAN BEST REACT TO AND OVERCOME THEM?

Oof. This is a biggie. The challenges libraries have always faced have grown in vast and terrifying ways over the past few years. Funding, picking up the slack left by cuts to various social and economic support programs, and intellectual freedom are what I think of as the “big three.” It’s a lot of work and very mentally, emotionally, and physically draining.

I think the strongest way libraries can react to and overcome these challenges is by galvanizing community support. Get those who already know and love the library to become more vocal. Build your fan base. Gather the stories of how the library has helped people, how it benefits them in many ways, and how it has shaped or changed their lives, and share them loudly. These stories and support are the ammunition needed to prove a library’s value and offer the indisputable proof that a community suffers without a staffed, funded, and diverse library that represents all.


The Weezer Public Library

Over the last 10 years, we’ve seen a boom in various wild and wonderful niche wikis popping up all over the internet. Do you need to know something very specific about a show, movie, or band but can’t find what you’re looking for on Wikipedia? Fear not! There’s probably a fan wiki.

Who’s behind them? And how do they get so much great information packed into them? These are the exact questions I ask myself every time I’m on Weezerpedia, the wiki dedicated to collecting, preserving, and sharing everything related to the ’90s rock band Weezer. I got in touch with folks who have been a part of the Weezerpedia community, including Dylan “HMC” Gallagher. Dylan has done so much work not only on Weezerpedia, but also for the fan community at large.

Dylan GallagherHOW MUCH TIME DO YOU INVEST EVERY WEEK TO HELP MAINTAIN AND/OR ADD TO THE WIKI?

My weekly time investment to Weezerpedia tends to vary quite a bit depending on how busy I am with real life, but I typically devote at least a few hours a week. An evening here, a morning there. I’m certain I’ve spent some hundreds of hours over the last few years.

HOW DO YOU ENGAGE WITH AND GROW THE FAN COMMUNITY? HOW DO YOU WRANGLE THE COMMUNITY INTO CONTRIBUTING TO WEEZERPEDIA?

I started getting serious about editing Weezerpedia around 2018, and until the Discord server coalesced in 2020, I was content to be the guy doing all the legwork. Now there are more people contributing, so there’s a little more organizing and delegation that needs to go into the decision making. Luckily, the pool of active contributors is still pretty small, and most of the people who do contribute have a specific niche that they’re interested in, so it’s not too difficult to manage. That said, this community has taught me a lot about myself and my capacity to be a control freak.

DO YOU THINK THAT WEEZERPEDIA IS VITAL TO PRESERVING THE HISTORY OF THIS BAND?

Weezerpedia is absolutely vital to preserving the band’s history. Weezer’s fanbase has always skewed a little on the younger side, and as older generations of fans slough off, it becomes increasingly vital to document the information that might have previously been taken for granted (and examine how much of that knowledge was true and how much was hearsay). I started getting into Weezer as a teen in the mid-’00s, and I think a key factor in the longevity of my interest has been how many recordings are out there beyond just what’s on the band’s albums. There are tons of B-sides and bonus tracks that got released in other territories, there are tons of demos that the band put up for free on their website, there are songs that have been leaked and songs that were only performed live, there are thousands of recordings that Weezer front man Rivers Cuomo currently sells on his website, and so on and so on. It becomes even more important to document this stuff in the current music landscape; there are young fans now who weren’t even born yet when I became a fan, and music is consumed in a way such that if a song isn’t on Spotify, it may as well not exist. I feel a lot of responsibility to bridge these generations of fans.


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Justin Hoenke is a library consultant who is interested in public libraries as community centers, supporting youth services staff to help them achieve their goals, and video game collection development. You can learn more about his work in libraries at justinthelibrarian.com. Hoenke previously worked in public libraries across the U.S. and New Zealand in leadership and youth services.

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