Branch Out

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Ashley Atkinson
Editor, Branch Out

Try Your Hand at Tech Ops

Try Your Hand At Tech Ops

By Erin Chernisky, Volunteer Services Program Manager

The library’s Technical Operations division, referred to as “Tech Ops” by staff, is a bustling hub where new library materials arrive to be processed and sent to individual branches. In a typical month, Tech Ops staff receives and processes between 8,000 and 10,000 new items; however, those numbers have been increasing lately, sometimes even doubling or tripling!

To help with the workload, Receiving Supervisor Billie Jo McGhee enlists the help of several volunteers. “Our volunteers have been an absolute lifesaver helping us stay on top of the mounds of books and other materials arriving each day.” Volunteers are trained by library staff to unbox items, carefully match the contents with work slips and correctly label each individual item. It takes a very particular kind of volunteer to do this work. In addition to being able to handle the physical nature of the work, volunteers must also have attention to detail, a strong focus and good manual dexterity.

Sybil Touré began volunteering at Tech Ops earlier this year. “I’ve been able to master several different tasks and been promoted to new responsibilities. It helps that I am a very organized person and get a great sense of accomplishment doing this work.”

After graduating with a degree in fine arts in 2019, Sybil is now pursuing a Master of Library and Information Science degree with the hopes of working with teens and young adults for a public library. She particularly enjoys the chance to be behind the scenes of public library operations while volunteering at Tech Ops. “Having this experience is helping to better prepare me for
my future career.”

Sybil also has a passion for graphic novels and comic book art. “It’s such a treat to be able to see the works of new authors and illustrators before materials are sent out to the libraries. I’m always jotting down items that I want to check out.”

Thanks to Sybil and the other Tech Ops volunteers, new materials can get into the hands of library customers more quickly. For more information on volunteering at Tech Ops, contact Billie at

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