WiLS September 2017 Member Interview: Heather Weltin, University of Wisconsin-Madison
One of our greatest joys at WiLS is hearing our members tell the stories of the big and important work they are doing – interesting new projects or initiatives, or even interesting and new approaches to old projects. And, in addition to hearing about it, it makes us even happier when we can share those stories with other members. Each month, WiLS is proud to feature an interview with one of our library members. This month, we interview Heather Weltin, Director of Collection Management & Resource Sharing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Why did you, personally, choose to work with libraries?
I wish I had this elaborate and epic story but for once in my life, something was quite boring. I started working in the Interlibrary Loan Department of Memorial Library towards the end of my first year of college and literally never left. After graduation, I scored a permanent position there and with a little pressure from colleagues, decided to go to library school. Actually, it took a lot of pressure.
I think it is safe to say when I was younger I viewed it only as a fun job with funny co-workers. While it is still fun and my colleagues get wittier every year, I truly enjoy what I do. My job is filled with rethinking library collections, Google, collection and stacks management, shipping, project management, and my first love, resource sharing. Sometimes I even have the chance to get my hands a little dirty and they let me send requests or pull books.
What is unique about the culture of your member libraries? How do you influence it?
While we are like many academic libraries, one thing I think sets Madison apart is the way we embrace fun while working. Although there is always a time and a place for seriousness, we try hard to make sure meetings offer time for breaking the ice through humor or hold events to build comradery. If you have not met me, you can rest assured I will be the first one trying to break a boring meeting or tension with a story or joke, but I am not alone.
If you have not met me, you can rest assured I will be the first one trying to break a boring meeting or tension with a story or joke, but I am not alone.
Of course, time and place. Still, it really makes coming to work easier.
What do you think is important to know about the community you work with? What helps you understand their needs?
As part of a large campus, in a larger city, our community is constantly changing. While change is often for the better, it certainly does come with some challenges. And as we all know, change is hard.
I would say that as a campus, UW-Madison embraces change. Campus and the libraries offer a variety of ways to participate in change management and facilitate the many discussions surrounding it. I constantly try to participate in library, campus, and community events in order to learn more about the changes happening around me. While I definitely cannot learn it all, broad participation has certainly helped me learn more about what is needed from all of the communities I participate in.
While I definitely cannot learn it all, broad participation has certainly helped me learn more about what is needed from all of the communities I participate in.
What big ideas are being worked on in your library system? What problems are being solved?
UW-Madison is currently rethinking our libraries through consolidation. Like most libraries, we are interested in developing unique spaces and services but are limited to our current footprint and buildings. We started the process in late 2014, and are still working through what our new services, spaces, and collections will look like across our future campus libraries. While this is a major change for campus, it is also a unique opportunity for the libraries to play a crucial role in developing the future UW-Madison campus. I am excited to be a part of it.
These interviews are part of a series of interviews with both WiLS library and vendor partners. Your feedback is appreciated. If you have any to offer on this article, or suggestions for upcoming interviews, contact Andrea Coffin at .