By Jason Widstrom, Chair, Employee Advisory Council
Ever wonder how all those books, DVDs, and CDs find their way to the many shelves of the Mary Riley Styles Public Library
? Meet Sue Tarakemeh, Technical Services Supervisor
, who has been maintaining those shelves for nearly 16 years. Her work includes selecting, ordering, cataloging, and weeding through materials for subjects like fine arts, biographies, languages, non-fiction audio, documentaries, and all the while supervising a staff of three other dedicated professionals that round out the library's Technical Services Department.
"My job requires me to wear many hats and learn new things," said Tarakemeh. "The most exciting aspect of my job is working with wonderful staff and volunteers." Working with volunteers is big business for our little library. Tarakemeh is responsible for coordinating the efforts of the 20 to 30 adults who volunteer at the library every year
For perspective, volunteers donate over 3,000 hours annually. Thousands of books, magazines, DVDs, and CDs are donated to the library each year. Tarakemeh makes sure each item is assessed for use in the library's collection. The items that can't be included in the library's catalogue are turned over to a group of volunteers who either price them for the library's book sale
, send them away for recycling, or distribute them to worthy charities. One can easily see why Tarakemeh won the City's Environmental Hero award in 2011. Over the past few years, Tarakemeh's work has distributed thousands of books beyond the limits of the Falls Church to veterans' rehabilitation centers throughout Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC so that the men and women have items to read while they are recuperating. She also provides foreign language magazines and newspapers to the foreign service library.
Tarakemeh says her work with the community has provided a great opportunity to meet a variety of different people. "Working with so many volunteers has been a positive experience and given me many new perspectives on life."