Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Diverse Universe: Working for the State Department’s Office of Information Resources

By Chris Zammarelli
After I landed my first library job working as a cataloging librarian assistant at College of the Holy Cross, I dreamed of having the chance to build a library from the ground up. I figured it was more of a fantasy than a goal, but recently I had a chance to do just that.

Last October, I began work on behalf of ATSG as a contract cataloger at the U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Information Programs' (IIP) Office of Information Resources (IR). One of the main tasks of IR is to administer the Information Resources Centers (IRC) located in over 185 U.S. embassies. This includes hiring, training, and supporting Information Resource Officers (IROs). Think of them as foreign service librarians. They oversee the operation of IRCs and other American information spaces located around the world.

My main job as a contract cataloger is to catalog materials for IR’s virtual library. This virtual library is available to patrons of our information centers worldwide, and provides them with access to such resources as English as a second language materials, information on studying in the U.S., and resources on business and entrepreneurship.

As part of my work, I have created a collection development plan, worked with our vendors on designing and implementing our ILS and OPAC systems, developed a cataloging style manual, and, well, just cataloged materials like crazy. I hadn’t envisioned that the library I would get to build would be completely online, but it’s certainly nice not to have to make any decisions on carpeting and carrels.
Chris Zammarelli is a contract cataloger on behalf of ATSG at the U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Information Programs' Office of Information Resources. He is also a 2011 candidate for the SLA Board of Directors.

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