Member of the Month

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Joshua Wilson

Mark Gottschalk
Public Services Librarian and Head of Circulation at South Plains College Library, Levelland, TX 

Professional experience
I started out working at the Washington State University Library Archives, which led to a job as a reference assistant at the local public library.  From there, I jumped full on into library school and have spent time in the Portland, OR area (senior reference assistant) and Charleston, SC (young adult specialist) before moving to West Texas, where I am currently the public services librarian and head of circulation at South Plains College in Levelland, TX, Here, I am focusing on establishing an embedded librarian presence.  Outside of my jobs, my career has been shaped by the practice of saying yes.  What I mean is I have said yes or volunteered consistently for extra activities as a librarian, and it has led to a lot of amazing opportunities and friendships, including serving on the statewide committee that brought e-books to most libraries in the state of Washington or getting to write a grant that brought Nancy Pearl to the library.  In Texas, I have said yes to serving my district (TLA's District 9 Councilor), yes to serving on TLA Committees (currently am the Vice-Chair on Professional Issues and Ethics) and saying yes to going up and talking with library folks about things they have done, best practices or really just to get to know them a bit.  This has allowed me to meet a lot of great librarians in my three years in Texas.  So if you see the giant, tall librarian with glasses and a beard, come say hi!

Innovative library practices
There are so many innovative practices that I have seen over the years, but one of my favorites is the growing trend of libraries checking out fishing poles and tackle boxes.  Being from the Pacific Northwest, fishing is just part of what you do, and I think innovative practices like this illustrate how libraries can provide access to information, materials, and experiences in a variety of ways.

Favorite literary character or book
My favorite book is The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zaphon.  It is the first book in the Cemetery of Lost Books trilogy, which takes place in post-Franco Spain. It paints a vivid picture of that world and the adventures of the characters. 

Most memorable TLA experience
Again it all comes down to the concept of saying yes.  I said yes to applying to TALL Texans and was fortunate enough to be selected as part of the class of 2015. While I joke that the reason I was included is because I am 6'10", it was truly a career changing moment.  Three intense days of learning and growing with 30 ambitious people in the library world.  You walk away with 30 new professional friends and mentors.  I encourage people to apply, to attend, and to ask for advice from former TALL Texan participants with the application process.  In a nutshell, say yes to getting involved in your workplace, your TLA District, or TLA itself. I promise you it will lead to hard but rewarding work and help you create your most memorable TLA experiences.  In my case, the annual conference in Houston this year was a whirlwind of meetings, meetups, and catching up with a new found group of awesome librarians I am fortunate enough to know.



Created on May 31, 2016 | Last updated September 01, 2016