About Marlene Harris

I’m a librarian with experience all over the map, both figuratively and literally.  I like to solve puzzles, so most of my working life has been spent in the back of the library house, in technical services; in cataloging, acquisitions, or collection development, or some combination, usually as a manager.

We are back in Atlanta and I am currently librarian-ing at TAPPI, the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry. They have a small but significant library on the industry, and I do a lot of document delivery while organizing the collection. I’m also, of course, working non-stop on Reading Reality.

In my most recent previous life, I was the Manager of Technical Services at the Seattle Public Library. What that meant in real-life terms is that I was head of the Cataloging and Processing departments. We were in Seattle for two years, moved once in the middle, and I’m not sure we ever completely unpacked. But I think we finally have this time.

I have also pushed downloadable collection development at the Alachua County Library District in Gainesville, Florida as the Support Services Division Director.  That meant not just doing collection development for both ebooks and audio, but also looking for sources, watching trends, monitoring the market, and mining the statistics.  The ebook revolution fascinates me, both from the user perspective (I am one) and from the usage perspective (growing geometrically if you manage it right), and because ebooks can either be our future–or our downfall.

At the Chicago Public Library, one of the largest public libraries in the U.S., I served as the Division Chief for Technical Services, where I supervised a division that successfully handled the outsourced cataloging and quality control for all of CPL’s shelf-ready materials, as well as in-house cataloging and processing. Meanwhile, CPL was in the midst of a major system migration and upgrade, and the ramp up of a new digitization effort that was handled in Technical Services.

And I have experience from the academic side, having spent three years as Head of Technical Services at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Yes, Anchorage. While I was there, in addition to the usual technical services activities, UAA was part of a grant funded project with the Alaska State Library and the University of Alaska Fairbanks to begin the digitization of images relating to the history of Alaska. I was UAA’s coordinator for that project, now known as Alaska’s Digital Archives. It is still going strong, and now has over 10,000 images, documents, video and audio clips, and has participating institutions all over the state. Being part of the team for the first two years of that project is something that I will always be proud of.

So, I have worked in middle-sized public libraries in Illinois (Evanston and Oak Park) and Florida (Alachua County), two of the largest public libraries in the U.S (Seattle and Chicago)., a medium-sized academic library in Alaska (University of Alaska Anchorage), and an ARL in Florida (Florida State University). And now we’re back in Georgia.

And I also worked in implementations for two systems vendors (Endeavor and Ex Libris) which is where I met Galen.

I’ve always loved to read for the fun of it.  Class assignments interested me less, since they were usually things I didn’t like, although I remember a few turning out to be pleasant surprises.  I read what I love.  I’ve never pretended not to love genre fiction.  And almost all of it.

Last, but certainly not least, I am currently co-owned by 2 cats, one of whom has a very strange foot-fetish. And the other is a hugger.

And that makes a good story, too.