By Estelle Baik
Working at O'Neill Library for three years has been like the movie Inception, entering the levels of a "dream within a dream" in order to access the target's subconscious mind and extract information.
My first level of dream began when I was a freshman. I followed the Boston College Libraries' application process without luck. Everybody knows library jobs are hard to get because so many students apply for them. Believing I would be jobless, I consulted a friend about working elsewhere. However, my friend happened to be working at O'Neill Library and introduced me to his boss. There I met my first target, Paul Bridden, the daytime supervisor in the Access Services Department. With a little bit of luck and a prayer, I was hired and entered the first level of O'Neill's dream - the main floor on Level 3. My daily adventures consisted of traveling extensively across the shelves of books, magazines, journals, etc. making sure that everything was in order and shelved properly. Sometimes, Paul assigned special duties like sitting at a computer and making lists of books with their call numbers. At other times, I was assigned to scan documents from books for professors' classes. After a year of extracting information and skill on the main floor, I entered a different layer of the dream.
My second level of dream was working during the O'Neill Library's nightshift and entering the world of Jeff Kohl, the night time manager. It was an interesting adventure working the evening shifts with Jeff, Dallas Burkhardt, and Kevin Saffo. My prime task was to sit at the computer, next to the printers, and make sure that the printer stations worked properly and paper did not run out. Evening shifts were interesting. Towards the end of the semester, I witnessed a student running around the library with only a pair of Speedos on! Of course the security guard had him leave the building, but do you think that would have happen during the daytime? Oh, I miss the evening shifts.
After being M.I.A. for a semester studying abroad in Russia, I came back to O'Neill's third level of the dream to work in the Government Documents/Microforms Department under Kevin Tringale, my current supervisor. My daily routine consists of checking the Interlibrary Loan (ILL ) e-mails looking for articles that need to be scanned from the microform collection, re-shelving materials after they have been used, and making sure that any new government documents in print are properly processed, labeled and shelved. Sometimes while shelving government documents I get distracted and stop to read the contents of the document. The latest title that I found fascinating was "China's Exchange Rate Policy and Trade Imbalances". As a Slavic Studies major who is interested in Far Eastern Russia, I cannot help myself but to read a little bit about China. Will China's trade imbalance affect Russia's foreign economic policy in the East? I cannot believe that some students graduate from BC without taking advantage of the Government Documents/Microforms Department. Perhaps majors in Political Science or History come often because information about past events is easily found here! For instance, on microfilm The New York Times goes as far back as 1851 and The Boston Globe to 1872!
The end of second semester is almost here and I have no idea how "Inception" will take me further. Since freshman year at BC I have been working in O'Neill Library, each year in a different department. The question is, how am I going to get out of the O'Neill Library's dream? Will I survive? Where will I end up? Who knows? I still have another year to figure it out before facing reality.
Estelle Baik, Arts and Sciences, '12