Serving you: Passion for job began at early age

Barb Wainwright, of Waterford, has worked for the Washington County Public Library for the last 32 years. As a collection services librarian she is in charge of ordering and processing all the materials for the Washington County Public Library system.

Question: How did you get started working at the library?

Answer: I received my undergraduate degree in history from Ohio State and my master’s in library studies from the University of Hawaii. I moved back to the area after receiving my master’s and started out as a volunteer for the library. When a full-time position opened up they hired me and I’ve been here ever since. I’ve always loved to read, so I guess my passion for a job like this started at an early age. Growing up I would ride my bicycle two miles in the summer to the bookmobile in Watertown.

Q: Can you tell me a little about what you do?

A: My department is in charge of processing and ordering all the adult material for the Washington County Public Library systems. That includes the main building, the four other branches and the genealogy library. Mostly I’m involved in building and weeding the collection held at each of our branches.

Q: Did you have another position with the library before your current one?

A: When I first started working for this library, I worked at the circulation desk. I also spent some time working at the reference and information desk and on occasion I’ll still do that if they need me to. As the library grew the need for different departments arose, so we had to become a little more specialized as we became busier.

Q: How did it compare to what you are doing now?

A: I still enjoy what I’m doing. It’s just really evolved compared to what it was 30 years ago. There is so much more technology now and people have grown to expect us to keep up with it. It can be a struggle because there is always new technology to learn and implement. It becomes a constant job just trying to stay on top of it.

Q: Would you say that the number of people who use the library for technological purposes has increased?

A: We try to serve a variety of needs to those who use our services. There are a lot of people that come to use our computers because they don’t have one at home or don’t have access to quality Internet. I’d say that the number of people who use the library as a source for technology over the last five years has been very constant. We also have a computer class that has been very popular.

Q: What do you enjoy most about what you are doing now?

A: I really like being able to put materials in the library that people are going to use. There is nothing better than seeing people use our resources and enjoy doing so. Another benefit is that I’ve been here 32 years and the job is still exciting and fun for me. Everyday I can choose to do something different or am in contact with new people. Something is always changing in the library.

Q: Is this the job you want to finish your career in?

A: I can’t tell you exactly when I plan on retiring, but I can tell you that it isn’t on the horizon for me anytime soon. I really just enjoy what I get to do for a living.

Christian Hudspeth conducted this interview.