By Alison Spencer, UCB Student Intern, UCOP. Following Tasha Bales’ six years in the Air Force, she took a vocational aptitude test. She was surprised to see the results, which recommended library work as a good fit for her. “I’d imagined it as just a very quiet job,” Bales said. Later, while pursuing a degree in classics at UCSC, she found that working in the library allowed her to explore her enthusiasm for technology. “I’ve always been really interested in the tech aspects of jobs, working with details and databases,” said Bales.
Now as an IT systems librarian at UCSC, Bales takes care to see that library catalogs are up-to-date. “Over time, as practices change and local procedures come and go, things can go awry,” Bales said. In order for patrons and staff to find the materials they need, these records have to be accurate and consistent with established standards. One of Bales’ current projects is adding a button to the online library catalog so that users can report any errors they find. “We got the idea from the UCSD catalog,” Bales said. “I’d love to see more systemwide collaboration.”
Besides being helpful to patrons, having accurate records is very important for the annual statistics the library sends to UCOP. This record-keeping also allows the library to assess costs for lost materials or insurance purposes. Additionally, the university examines this data to see which items get most utilized.
Bales has found that her master’s degree in library and information sciences gave her the foundation she needed to succeed in an IT role. “My military background, and the fact that I enjoy attending to details, made it a good fit for me,” she said. She appreciates the challenge and variety that comes with trying to make library services and data management more efficient.
Likewise, Bales seeks out interesting challenges in her personal life. She has been trying to get more involved in her community by volunteering at a local homeless shelter and an organization that supports the wetlands. She’s currently reading Stephen King’s novels in Spanish to practice the language. Bales and her family enjoy hiking and taking care of their five pets, including two foster dogs.