Supervisor, Access Service is a new position in the University of Lethbridge Library, but the person occupying it is not new to the U of L at all. Jesse Malinsky (BA '98) assumed the role in August and is proud to return to his alma mater.
"To say I was pleased to be able to come back and work here is an understatement," says Malinsky. "The position offers me the opportunity to create and try something new in the library field."
Prior to returning to the University, Malinsky worked seven years with Medicine Hat College (MHC) Library Services. During his time there he functioned as the library services specialist. That position's responsibilities included delivering academic writing and library instruction, providing information services, developing and supporting library systems and web services, and more.
"MHC and the U of L are partners in the libraries' integrated library system. While there, I often liaised with the staff at the University," says Malinsky. "Before arriving here, I knew they were a dedicated and talented group. They are always asking, "How can we be better?" The needs of the students are always the first priority."
Returning to Lethbridge represents a return to his roots in the library. Before working in Medicine Hat, Malinsky was employed at Lethbridge College as the evening circulation supervisor before later migrating to information services.
"My role in Medicine Hat was arguably more analytical and technical in nature. My new position here requires those skills as well, but there is also a greater human dynamic when working in public service," he says.
As the supervisor of Access Service, Malinsky's responsibilities include overseeing the day-to-day operations of the General Services Desk, Document Delivery Services/Interlibrary Loans, stacks maintenance and participation in a variety of library committees.
"I am very fortunate to work with a great group of people, who are dedicated to delivering the best service possible to the patrons of the library," he says. "I was worried that I would lose touch with students because I wouldn't be in a classroom or in information services, but I'm pleasantly surprised that this isn't the case."
As the supervisor, he also has the opportunity to oversee 15 to 20 student assistants.
"They definitely keep me busy, and pleasantly so. It is good to have a keen group of students with a broad variety of studies – it helps keep me sharp and hopefully more in tune with students' needs," he says.
Malinsky is usually easy to spot in the library. You can find him zipping among the levels, and is almost always wearing a necktie.
"Yes, the tie is my signature," he says. "I've been wearing them almost daily for the past 10 years. At Medicine Hat, a co-worker said, "I started here five years ago and about 6 to 8 guys wore ties. You are the last." I took a little pride in that."
He has in excess of 50 ties in his collection, none of which have books or cartoon characters on them, and uses a variety of knots to tie them – though the Pratt/Shelby is his knot of choice.
While some may question the continuing value of libraries in today's easy to access information age, Malinsky does not hesitate to tout its virtues.
"I still see the library as an ivory tower," he says. "Academic libraries contribute to and facilitate academic/intellectual discourse. We provide human services to access, evaluate and organize information to enhance the academic achievement of our patrons. Though it is more complex than that, it is a sad day if we cannot find value in those simple concepts."
This story first appeared in the January edition of the Legend. For a look at the Legend in a flipbook format, follow this link.