Katie Quirin Manwiller
Lehigh Valley Chapter member,
CRD Membership Liaison
Tell us about your journey to working in libraries.
I spent much of my childhood going to public libraries with my grandmother, who volunteered at my local branch – the Mifflin Community Library in Shillington, PA. My first introduction to interlibrary loan came as a tween, requesting books online from the other Berks County branches. I did not, however, know at that point that I wanted to be a librarian.
I figured it out (mostly) while in undergrad at Gettysburg College. I so thoroughly enjoyed my time in their Special Collections and working with the librarians that I decided library school at the University of Pittsburgh was my next step. I focused in archives, and worked two years as a lone arranger before realizing instruction and outreach was where I would rather be. I’m now the Evening Public Services and Assessment Librarian at DeSales University and deeply enjoy my work.
How are you staying productive and motivated to work from home?
Lists! I’m generally a list person, but it has been extra helpful now that I’m working from home. I use a paper planner to keep track of daily to-dos and meetings. Being able to physically cross something off a list makes it feel like I’ve accomplished something each day. I also have an on-going Word Doc of what I’ve completed on a daily basis since work from home started. I use this Doc to write a weekly to-do list for myself, deleting tasks as they’re finished. These lists help me stay on track with what I need to get done and acknowledge my contributions to my library, which are sometimes less visible in the virtual environments.
What activities or hobbies are you enjoying during this time?
A bit stereotypical for quarantine, but I’m baking more than usual. I’m learning how to bake macarons though, not bread. They are extremely finicky to get right, but still taste delicious when they aren’t perfect, so it has been fun to try to figure them out. Here’s the basic recipe I’ve been using.
I also finally started reading ebooks, using Hoopla and Libby. I have been using both apps for a while for audiobooks but was an ebook hold-out until the pandemic ended getting print books from my local public library (Lower Macungie Library). I am now ahead of schedule for my reading goal for the year!
How has your PaLA membership helped you?
PaLA has been my home within the professional library community. When I started my current position, I needed to develop my skills as an academic librarian and turned to PaLA’s College and Research Division for help. After slowly building my knowledge through CRD’s Conference programming, workshops, and Virtual Journal Club, I joined the CRD as a Member-at-Large and eventually the Membership Liaison. PaLA has given me a way to gain experience and actively contribute to the profession in a manageable and constructive way. I have found it to have an array of opportunities for involvement and education in an environment that is less overwhelming than national organizations. My PaLA colleagues and experiences have helped me gain confidence as a librarian and give back to our larger library community.