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Staff at Offsite Library Location Takes on Extensive Reclassification Project

The Dewey Decimal System is out at Millersville’s renovated library!

The offsite library location, with palletized boxes on one side of the warehouse and the rows of shelves of reclassified books on the other side.

Extremely busy, often unpredictable and quiet are a few of the factors that contribute to the overall feeling of the offsite library location at the Greenfield Corporate Center, described by Dr. Marjorie Warmkessel, coordinator of technical services. The team, comprising three library faculty members and seven support staff, are responsible for all of the library’s technical including the acquisition, cataloging and processing of materials.

The warehouse, 10 offices and an open workspace houses the majority of the library’s books, bound periodicals, microfilm and much of the special collections. Warmkessel also notes that the new location has a different feel, “Since there are no students at the off-campus site, it’s a very different environment from being on campus.”

The acquisitions staff ensures that subscriptions are renewed in a timely manner and orders for new materials are placed. The staff works directly with library vendors and enters information into various accounting systems for tracking expenditures. When new materials are received, the cataloging staff catalogs and processes them, making them available for use. Cataloging librarians are also responsible for maintaining the integrity of the library’s catalog, and all cataloging staff enters holdings into an international database so that other libraries know what the Millersville University Library has. In addition, cataloging faculty and staff are taking on a major reclassification project of portions of the library collection still using the Dewey Decimal system. Since 1997, the library has used the Library of Congress (LC) system for new materials, but there are approximately 100,000 volumes still classified in Dewey Decimal.

“Over the years we gradually reclassified certain sections of the collection to make it easier for students and faculty to find things,” said Warmkessel. Also, the staff that is working with these older materials are repairing slightly damaged books in house and sending other materials to the bindery for more extensive repair.

A typical day at the Greenfield location consists of a constant workflow for the reclassification project that includes pallets of books being unpacked, opened and scanned in sequence. Using a hand-held scanner, a staff member scans the barcode on the front of the book in order to make routine changes in the record that will allow those doing the actual reclassification to work more quickly. In most cases, the reclassification process takes only a minute or two per volume. A more complicated item can take 10 minutes or more.

The staff at this location include Warmkessel; Teresa Weisser, cataloging and metadata librarian; Anne McGillivray, cataloging librarian; Thelma Eckerd, library technician in acquisitions; D’Ann Ressler, library technician in acquisitions; Sue Rohrer, library technician in cataloging; Loree Strickler, library assistant in cataloging; Gemma LaSpada, library assistant in cataloging; Sally Levit, library assistant in both cataloging and acquisitions and Jacob Gehman, temporary assistant in both cataloging and acquisitions.

Most of the work at this location is ongoing and will continue even after the renovated library building is ready for occupancy. “We would love to have all of the Dewey volumes reclassified to LC by the time we return to the library building,” said Warmkessel.

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