When people hear the word “library” a few things typically come to mind; namely, Librarians and books. But the Library is run by people working in many different roles. They’re all helping community members with much more than book recommendations. Our series Spend a Day with a Library Worker takes you inside the lives of library staff in different roles and follows them on a typical workday.
Written by Shaun Davidson, Branch Manager, Forest Park Branch Library
Teryk Darks has worked at the Forest Park Branch since 2015. As a Library Services Assistant, Teryk does a little bit of everything to keep the branch running smoothly.
Library Services Assistants (or LSAs) perform a wide range of tasks. Most often, they are the friendly faces assisting you at your local branch or helping you over the phone. However, they also do a lot of things not regularly seen by most customers.
Teryk’s day usually starts by emptying the book drop and checking in all of the movies, books, and music albums that were returned overnight. Then, he’ll do a quick sweep of the branch to make sure all of the public computers are on and that everything is ready to go for a busy day.
In the morning, there is often a line of people eagerly waiting for the Library to open. “You never know what the next customer will need help with,” says Teryk. “It could be helping them create a resume, looking for the next book in their favorite series, or even finding a recipe. That’s what makes this job so exciting.”
Several times throughout his shift, Teryk pulls items from the Forest Park Branch’s shelves to send to other locations throughout the County and even throughout the State. These items are then sorted into bins that get loaded onto one of the Library’s delivery trucks. Just think – when you request an item to be picked up at your home branch, it may be Teryk who helps that item to get to you! Items that are requested for pickup at Forest Park also travel by delivery truck and are unloaded and made ready to check out.
On weekdays, the energy in the branch picks up when school is over and students start to come in to use computers, attend after-school events, and meet with the Homework Help Aide.
Homework Help Aides provide this free service at many of the Library’s locations to students in kindergarten through 8th grade. They are there to answer questions on assignments and provide skills building assistance on any subject. Homework Help is available during the school year Monday-Thursday at participating branches and seven days a week at the William Hueneke Homework Center at the Main Library.
The kids who come in after school make up one of Teryk’s favorite aspects of working at the Library. "I love watching the kids grow. We’ve known many of them for several years, and it’s fun to see them become young adults."
These are just a few things that typically make up a shift for a Library Services Assistant. What is Teryk’s favorite part of working at the Library? "The best part is making a welcoming environment for our community,” he says. “I really enjoy going above and beyond for our customers."