Come work with us in Special Collections!

Posted: April 26, 2019 9:00:00 AM CDT

You might think working in a library would be boring and all you would do is shelve books. However, modern libraries are bustling centers of traditional collection management and next level technology solutions.

Working at Bell Library Special Collections offers something for everyone. Students interested in History can apply their skills researching and describing archival collections while being exposed to data management and networked systems. Students who are more technology oriented can work on digital projects and help develop our online presence for sharing the digitized content of our physical collections.

The library needs students who want to use and extend their skills in research, communication, data management, website development, and customer service. If you are interested, see our current job advertisement on Handshake.

The GLAMorous world of libraries

Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums (GLAM) are all mission-driven institutions seeking to preserve and provide access to the knowledge and heritage of the world. These institutions are not just repositories of books and dusty old objects. They are also incubators of innovative technology and applications.

Illustration of the acronym GLAM featuring famous works of art.
Illustration of the acronym GLAM featuring famous works of art. Image by Glamlogo.jpg: User:Husky and h3m3ls, Mischa de Muynck and Niels, used under a CC-BY-SA license.

GLAM institutions currently undertake activities like

You don't have to take my word for it...

Kelly Oniha is a TAMU-CC graduate student pursuing a Master’s in Business Administration. He has been working as a graduate assistant and contributing to the important work of the Special Collections department at Bell Library. I interviewed Kelly to see what he thinks of working at Special Collections and what he gained from the experience.

Kelly Oniha, a graduate assistant in Special Collections
Picture of Kelly Oniha.

Please introduce yourself.

My name is Kelly Oniha. I am the youngest out of four siblings. I was born and raised in Nigeria. I got my Bachelor’s in Accounting at the University of Ilorin, Nigeria. I graduated with a GPA of 3.83.

Ever since I can remember, I have always been passionate about two major things that has had a significant development in my career growth: Accounting and Research. I hold an Accounting certificate called ACA which means Associate Chartered Accountant. I also hold CFA institute Investment Certificate in Texas. I have taken it upon myself to make public my research for free at Researchgate.net to help researchers who are working on similar projects. Research has always been one of my hobbies and one I intend to continue if I am less busy.

Giving back to the community through service has also been one of my personal philosophies, and I try to do that whenever I can. As an employee, I abide by the five codes of conducts a professional Accountant in Nigeria must possess: objectivity, confidentiality, professional standards, competence and skill, and integrity.

Because my plan is to obtain a Ph.D. degree in the future, I wanted to apply for a MBA program that would strengthen my application whenever I decide to apply to a Ph.D. program. Although I looked at schools in Canada and the U.S., only in TAMU-CC could I find a University that ticked all the boxes when it comes to affordability, weather, housing cost, and service impact. I applied and got in. I currently work as a Graduate Assistant at Special Collections and Archive.

What do you do at the library?

I create and associate descriptive information with digital collections items, thus facilitating their use by researchers. I have also helped measure historical maps with the library specialist and entered map information into Microsoft Access.

Why did you apply to this job?

I vividly remember my volunteer experience at the library in my undergrad and I missed something unique and somewhat “personal” about the library, and that was customer service. Customer service means providing value and helping someone in need. Quality customer service must include 4Ps (promptness, politeness, professionalism and personalization). Although, I have worked at KPMG and IRS and provided customer service, but due to the nature of the job, it lacked that personalization and politeness usually seen in customer service. Like I said, I love to learn and grow, and this is an example. I also felt I possessed the experience with spreadsheet software such as Excel to fulfill this role.

You've said you enjoy working at the library, what do you like about working here?

My favorite parts of this job include the ability to work independently (trust from employers) and the people I work with. It’s great to work with people that care about this department and doing a good job. It’s hard to find that environment today because so many people just don’t care about honesty, hard work and integrity. I also like the fact that you will always be complimented whenever you perform a good job and will be encouraged whenever there is room for improvement. That serves as an extrinsic motivation to perform diligently.

Have you learned anything by working at the library? Tell us about it.

I got to learn so many things. For starters, I got to learn how to use Wordle and Voyant applications to create amazing and unique word cloud art with ease. This is a useful presentation tool that easily shows what the presentation is all about. I also got to learn how to use a Microfilm ScanPro and help researchers with it whenever called upon. I also have observed the improvement in my typing speed, this is as a result of working with metadata. I have been able to grow as not only an employee but as a person.

Word art created in Wordle showing prominent words from Special Collections department
Word Cloud presenting the names of people who appear in photographs in the Dr. Hector P. Garcia Papers.

What would you have missed out on if you did not work at the library?

Aside from the opportunity to boost my customer service skill, I will miss the employees and the little things that matter, such as lunches, student appreciation week festivities, the mentorship, advises and the work environment.

What are your goals after graduation?

My goal after graduation is to complete my OPT program, after which I commence my Ph.D. program and maybe a CPA license, depending on resource availability.

About the author

Ed Warga is a librarian at the Mary and Jeff Bell Library. He grew up on New York's Long Island and has a Master’s degree in Library Science from the University of North Texas. As digital collections librarian, Ed provides public access via the Internet to the unique collections of TAMU-CC. As Science and Engineering liaison, Ed supports the research efforts of students and faculty alike.

By: Ed Warga

Category: Hello, from the Staff, Behind the Scenes, Tech in the Library