‘Serving the public’ is priority for Marvin librarian
March 10, 1990
By Lynne Smelser, Globe Staff Writer
And Cari Gilkison, Globe Intern
Not all of Marvin Memorial Library’s treasures are between the covers of books. Anyone who has ever been guided through the storehouse of words can attest to that.
Librarians have aided many a reader in information searches. Wanetta Finn has the longest record at Marvin, having worked there for 26 years.
Finn was born in Mansfield, but has lived in Shelby for 56 years.
After receiving her diploma from Shelby Senior High School, she spent a brief period in Cleveland where she worked in an office at General Motors.
While in high school, she worked part time for Shelby Insurance, where she returned to working for a brief period after returning from Cleveland.
Office work has always interested Finn, and although she may not have originally planned to work for the library, she always knew that she would in an office.
“I never really considered working in another career because I love office work and I just knew that I would do it,” she notes.
“When Finn spotted a want ad in the Daily Globe for a library assistant she decided it was the best place for her.
“I was pretty confident that I could get the job because I fit the qualifications,” explains Finn. “It was only a part time job at first.”
She began at 17 hours a week working the circulation desk and doing office tasks. After he children grew up, the time increased and her responsibilities increased did also.
Since 1979 Finn has been the deputy clerk treasurer at the library. In this position she is responsible for a multitude of tasks, including paying bills, filing out book orders, preparing budgets and reporting monthly to the library board.
When asked about her daily schedule, a visitor would normally get a smile followed by a sigh. “Well, it depends on the day, month and time of the month,” she explains. “One day I might be banking and the next I could be filling out orders.”
Her duties include typing book orders, purchasing office supplies, writing letters regarding shipment errors, attending board and deputy clerk meetings.
Finn isn’t thrown off track by such constant changes.
“It is the fact that it varies so much that keeps it from getting boring,” the clerk explains with a grin.
Finn’s daily routine is not the only thing that changes. Since she began work the library has been altered.
Finn has also taken note of several other changes in the library since her fist day behind the desk. Among them has been the increased budget, more pages, and more services. The new services include magazines, pictures, VCRs and tapes.
Patrons have also changed slightly.
“It seems that more children are using the library then when I first started working here,” Finn explains. “I think it has something to do with our programs for young children because it gets them comfortable with the library.”
The mother of three enjoys all the young people at the library and she especially liked working with the pages and watching them grow up.
“I probably could write a book of short stories about my experiences,” she says.
If she did favor a chapter in this book, it would no doubt be the opening of the 1964 addition to the library.
“We felt so big,” she exclaims. “It was all so pretty and new.”
Finn is looking forward to the opening of the newest addition, which should be completed by January of 1991.
One of the highlights will be a private office for the clerk, who now has only portion of a room divided up between a break area and a area for the board to meet in.
Other additions patron will note after the project is finished will be a new 40-car parking lot and a meeting room for the public. There will be more books and chairs and tables also.
In the meantime, staff workers are striving to keep things running as smoothly as possible.
Enjoying hard work is just one ingredient for a good librarian according to Finn.
“It is important for a librarian to be service oriented,” she says as she nods her head. “You see we are not selling a product so much as we are serving the people. We have to be able to work with the public to do this job.”
Deadlines present the biggest challenge to Finn. During January this becomes especially tough because the state reports and new financial appropriations must be worked out.”
“My daily routine is fine, its just every now and then when things come due that it gets to be pretty hectic,” she notes with a laugh.
In spite of difficulties, Finn enjoys the satisfaction of trying to get things to come out as perfectly as possible.
Working at the library does have its share of perks. Finn especially likes the days when new books arrive.
“When the new books arrive it is almost like Christmas,” she says with a large smile. “There are new boxes and interesting things inside of them.”
Someone considering the challenge of a job like Finn’s must learn to work independently and accurately, and be familiar and computers.
But it will be a while before anyone will be attempting to fill Finn’s shoes. She plans to enjoy the new building and to serve the public for at least a few more years.