"After ten years of waiting tables and playing in rock bands, I decided to go back to school with hopes of working in library science. I completed my library technology certificate, and also took classes in California history, business applications and web page design. I was pleasantly surprised by how invested the instructors were in our success. The program was rigorous and varied, and I left encouraged and wanting more. I always felt like the instructors were rooting for us.
I left DVC with a love for the library field and a desire to know more. I went on to get my Masters of Library and Information Science degree at San Jose State and then began my work at Pixar, where I have worked as an archivist since 2000. Since that time we have grown from a team of two with a collection that fit into a double office, to a team of six with a 20,000sqft climate controlled facility. I have had the opportunity to work with museums, publishers, documentary filmmakers, and be part of a team that has built two different archive facilities.
I owe a debt of gratitude to DVC. When I needed to start anew, the building materials were there for me to use. The Library Technology coursework was complementary to what I learned in grad school. As with anything, it’s the work that you put into it that makes the difference, and I did my best to soak up all that my instructors were teaching."
By John Sasaki, For Oakland Unified School District
Twelve OUSD library clerks who support at least fifteen different schools are now officially Library Technicians after graduating from an intensive program at Diablo Valley College. The program is designed to elevate the skills and qualifications of clerical library staff and provide a District-sponsored career ladder.
“The DVC Library Tech program has had a tremendous impact on my library,” said Clarence Holmes, Library Technician at Alliance Academy and Elmhurst Community Prep. “The knowledge that I have gained has led to improvements in my day to day operations, and has provided the intellectual resources to facilitate changes that can enhance the future success of my library.”
The clerks began their training in April of 2016. They spent Saturdays in classes on computer technology for libraries, library access and technical services, information literacy, reference and research services, cataloguing, storytelling and topics in librarianship, all while also working their jobs. Markham Elementary School Library Technician, Ponpoly Thy would travel 50 miles from her home in Tracy to attend the program. “The DVC classes were a great resource for book and media center ideas to make our library an inviting environment for our students,” she and her fellow Markham Library Technician, Janice McClure said. “We introduced self-checkout to empower the children to check out their own books, something they enjoy and look forward to doing.”
The program was the brainchild of retired District Librarian, Ann Gallagher and the non-profit group Friends of the Oakland Public School Libraries. FOPSL, as it’s also known, provided each Library Technician trainee a stipend to offset travel and other costs, while OUSD gave each of them a Chromebook and other supplies.
Maggie Rogers is Library Technician at Bret Harte and Montera Middle Schools. “The DVC/OUSD Library Tech program was invaluable to me as I embarked on a new career in school libraries. Through this program, I was able to learn so much more about the ins and outs of working in a school library than I had learned previously as a volunteer. In addition, getting to know my fellow library techs so well over the course of two years has enabled me to share ideas and learn from these amazing professionals,” she said.
The 12 Technicians graduated from the program and received their Library Technician Certificates on Saturday, February 24. “I deeply appreciate the time and effort each of our Library Technicians put into this 18 month program,” said Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell. “It took a major commitment from all these dedicated staff members, and it is already paying off. The knowledge they gained is making an important difference in the lives of our students and the education they receive in our schools.”
Todd Davis works at Manzanita Seed and Manzanita Community Elementary schools. “This program has meant so much to me. I never felt that I could go back to school after being out for 28 years. It has given me confidence in myself that I have been lacking for a long time. I have learned so much through these classes that I have been able to take back to my library and share with the students and staff that I have the pleasure of serving.”
These Library Technicians work at Hillcrest, Bella Vista, Allendale, La Escuelita, Think College Now, Manzanita SEED, Manzanita Community, Markham, Franklin, Sequoia and PLACE at Prescott Elementary Schools and Bret Harte, Alliance Academy, Elmhurst Community Prep and Montera Middle Schools.
Asase Omowale is Library Technician for La Escuelita and Think College Now Elementary Schools. “The DVC Library Technician Program proved to be an excellent opportunity for deepening learning experiences with colleagues, researching, analyzing and discussing the dramatic changes and new challenges to be faced in our new role as Library Technicians. The critical library knowledge and technological skills gained from participating in the program were meaningful, valuable and very applicable and will be shared with library patrons to further enhance their library experiences.”