home NEWS My work in the library at Aanischaaukamikw

My work in the library at Aanischaaukamikw

by: Annie Bosum

Annie will be retiring from her library position in the
coming few years so we asked her to write a few words about her career so far.

Me (right) and my colleague Laura (left) in front of the beautiful Aanischaaukamikw building in June 2018.

My position as Library Technician at the Aanischaaukamikw
library has been a rewarding experience. In addition to the cataloguing, circulation, book weeding, and all the other
responsibilities that come with maintaining the library, my work includes
writing blogs, articles for our regular Air Creebec inflight magazine feature, contributions
to journals and reports about the library.

One of the articles I wrote for the Air Creebec inflight magazine.

Our collection relates to the history, culture, language of
Eeyou Istchee, and has expanded rapidly since our grand opening in November
2011. Some of the retired anthropologists who lived and worked within the Eeyou
Istchee territories donated their research material publications to the ACCI
library. Today, we continue to receive
donations from retired or deceased anthropologists and priests. We also
purchase materials and have a unique Rare Books Collection. As of April 2020,
we have over 4300 items in our entire library collection which includes a
circulation collection, a rare books collection, periodicals, audio and visual
materials and digital items. In addition to this we have a reference collection
that is not catalogued yet. 

Some of the books in the library. 

Ashley Dunne, a former library assistant, and I co-wrote an
article about the Brian Deer Classification Scheme which was published in the periodical
Collections Management in 2017. The Brian Deer Classification Scheme is the classification system I use
to classify the library material collection. I’ve been invited to speak about
using this system at conferences across Canada. I wrote another blog about attending the 2019 Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre conference ē-micimināyakik

An example from our BDC system – our current version is availableon a blog I posted in Spring 2017.
Giving a talk at a conference in Saskatoon in May 2019 – see my blog post for more information.
Giving a talk at Concordia in 2018 for the Quebec Library Association.
 I participated in our talking circle at the 2018 Canadian Museums Association conference in Vancouver.

It is hard to choose
between writing and cataloguing in my work (my love of poetry writing is
something that is very special to me) but for the sake of work I have to say
that cataloguing new books that arrive at the library is like Christmas to me!  I love immersing myself with a great book and
looking at the old photographs especially when it is about the people of Eeyou Istchee.

Our book shelves are getting full! 

To some people (more particularly for people who don’t have
cataloguing training) the task of cataloguing may look repetitive and boring,
but for me, I find it fascinating. What I enjoy the most is when I have to
research to find accurate cataloguing information, especially for the old
publications published before the 1970’s. Cataloguing older books is most challenging when the International
Standard Book Number (ISBN) is missing.  The
ISBN is the easiest and quickest way for the librarian to find a book in order
to accurately classify and catalogue the item and this number means I can do
copy cataloguing of the record which makes me efficient at my job.

My main achievement in 2019 was completing our first full
inventory. I began the inventory of the circulation collection (approximately
2000 books) and periodicals in September 2019 and completed it in March 2020. I worked on the inventory whenever I was not
occupied by other tasks. For instance, visitors
who came to the library are important clients and had to be given first
priority because I am usually the only staff member present who is
knowledgeable about our library collections.  

Working on the inventory.

Working on the inventory was very exhausting physically
and emotionally. I say ‘emotionally’ because when I did not find a book I
worried that it was missing, ha ha! Sometimes it turned up on a different
shelf. For the next time, I will use a laptop so I can have it with me amongst
the shelves to check and update records immediately. I felt a lot of time was wasted
by going back and forth to the shelves to fetch the books and my desk to check
on our library database, M2L, and looking at my printed inventory list. Kyle from
MINISIS, the database company who provide M2L, and my colleague Laura helped me
make the inventory report. I used my book carts a lot to take books back and
forth to double check their catalogue records.

Using my book carts for the inventory.
In action – checking the inventory.

I remember the day I completed the inventory. I was so happy
and it was so rewarding to finally complete such a huge task on my own. We do
the full Inventory every 2 years so I will probably do it one more time before
I retire.   

Whenever we can go back to work after the pandemic I’ll start
cataloguing the Reference section. For now, I am working from home on and
enjoying time with my family.