O'Neill to Kenny-Cottle and Back
My Job as a Student Courier

By Jackie Foster


Jackie Foster
Photo by Kevin Tringale

I have worked at the O'Neill Library for a little over a year and it has been a fantastic experience. I am a graduate student in the history department and will be graduating this May. My main focus of study is Modern Europe with a concentration on Germany, the Holocaust and gender studies. I was hired at O'Neill as a courier but I have been fortunate that my job has become much more than that.

Ever wonder how your requested books get to O'Neill? The student couriers. We use the shuttle to get to Newton but as a commuter, I use my own car. I take requested or returned books from O'Neill to the Law Library and Kenny-Cottle Library at the Newton Campus and vice versa. Requests for Kenny-Cottle or offsite books can be made in Quest on the Libraries website. Kenny-Cottle is only accessible by library employees; students cannot enter it. Kenny-Cottle requests from patrons are printed out at O'Neill, and I take them with me. At the site, I put books away, find the books and microforms, scan articles and then send them through email to patrons. At the Law Library, I drop off requested books and take returns back to O'Neill.

Kenny Cottle

Kenny-Cottle Library
Photo by Paul Bridden

Upon arriving back at O'Neill from Newton, I drop off requested books to either Interlibrary Loan, the magnificent Bill McCready or the glorious Paul Bridden, who then process the books that are then put on the hold shelves for patrons to pick up. Paul and Bill also request books for patrons that are stored at other locations which are then delivered to BC. I make copies of the requests and file them away. I then process books to be returned to our storage sites at other locations and I also create inventory lists of boxes to be sent back to storage. Every month, I calculate the number of requests and books delivered and returned to BC libraries. I do a lot of data input into Aleph, the database the library uses. Every week I do a couple of shifts at Reserves. I also help with shelving books, setting carts, current periodicals, shifting, pick ups, weeding and other projects Paul might give me. He has allowed me to do a variety of jobs and I have learned so many skills in a very flexible, stress-free working environment.


Kenny-Cottle Stacks
Photo by Paul Bridden

I always wanted to work in a library and after years in retail I needed a change. I just wanted to be surrounded by books and not be bothered by irate customers. The library has been a perfect fit for me. As I drive to Newton I'll throw on some Lady Gaga, retrieve and return the books, scan, come back, process the books and make a cup of tea as I work on the computer. I get a change of scenery, I get to complete various tasks and my days are never monotonous.

The best part of my job are the people I work with. Not only are the students wonderful, but behind the circulation desk, the staff are a fantastic bunch of people that students might not see everyday. Gail, Margie, Cindy, Amy, June, Kathy, Ginny, Linda, Carolyn, Jeff, Ron and Anna all work together and keep the library functioning. Whether it's Mike teaching me a little Russian, chatting with Ray about Steven Seagal or discussing the trials of being grad students with Dallas or Dominique, there is never a dull moment at O'Neill. Everyone is friendly, supportive, professional and dedicated to helping the Boston College community. There are also usually snacks around too!

So remember, if the book you want is not at O'Neill try to request it from an offsite location, we can usually get the book to O'Neill the next day. The next time you are reading a book for that paper worth thirty percent of your grade, think of the people at O'Neill and the other BC libraries that got that book for you.

Jackie Foster, A&S, History, MA, '10