Staff Spotlight - Introducting Shelby Hoek, User Services Assistant
Learn more about Himmelfarb Library staff members. In this issue we lintroduce you to Shelby Hoek, User Services Assistant.
Where are you from and what brought you to Himmelfarb Library?
I'm from Issaquah, Washington (just east of Seattle) and I moved to DC to attend graduate school here at GW. I'm finishing up a master of public health program in epidemiology at the Milken Institute School of Public Health. I applied to work at the library part-time while in school and I've been here about 2 years now!
Tell us about your current position and what you do.
I'm a user services assistant, which means I'm the person you'll see sitting at the Circulation Desk. I assist library patrons with anything they may need, whether that's checking out books or other materials, answering any questions they may have about the library and our services, helping them print using the WEPA kiosks, or helping to redirect people if they may need assistance from different library employees.
What about your job do you enjoy most?
I enjoy getting to interact with so many different people on a daily basis, it keeps things exciting and unpredictable. My fellow library staff are also great. Not only are they funny and kind, but they are also extremely supportive.
What’s been the biggest challenge?
Though I wouldn't say it was too much of a challenge, there is a learning curve with this job in terms of adjusting to the breadth of questions you'll get. Patrons will ask all kinds of questions so it can be difficult to anticipate someone's needs. It takes time to become familiar with all of the many services the library provides, how to access them, and those that it doesn't. It helps to have familiarity with medical terminology as well as knowledge of other services the university provides, such as those offered by classroom services, the IT department, or other SMHS departments. When questions come in about services that might be provided elsewhere, I want to be able to direct the patron accordingly.
Working evenings and weekends you get a different perspective on life at Himmelfarb. Do you have any interesting or unusual stories about your time here?
Nothing that unusual comes to mind, generally evenings and weekends are quieter than regular business hours. I do like working Saturday mornings, though, because there would often be food left over from SMHS weekend events in Ross Hall. And I'm all about free food.
What do you like to do in your time away from work?
Though I've lived in DC for 2 years now, I still feel fairly new to the city so when I'm not at work and I'm not working on my final project for school, I like to attend events in the various neighborhoods of DC to get to know the city better, such as festivals or seasonal events. I've got a DC bucket list I'm working on. I also like to go hiking and get outdoors as much as possible, but that can be difficult without a car. Recently I've been dog sitting on the weekends to get my dog fix, which has turned out to be a great way to get to know other parts of the city. And as I really love food, I also enjoy trying new places to eat. I'm much more apt to be social when there's food involved.