This piece originally ran on Washington County's employee news site in December 2017.
They talk like a team, they work like a team, but, most importantly, they feel like a team.
Marti Nystrom, Char Haukom, and Luann Corcoran are the people behind the scenes at the Library Administration offices in Woodbury. The three office support generalists are the hub of activity with material and supply distribution for the library branches. They receive any new library materials destined for library branches, including materials from MELSA, the metropolitan consortium to which the Washington County Library belongs, unpack them and prepare them for processing.
"We get to see all the new materials here first-hand," Luann said, lengthening their lists of what to read or watch.
Once the materials have been cataloged, they are returned to the team, and then sent to the branches. The same is true for any necessary supplies, mail sent to the library, magazines that are available in the libraries, and any items that come from other county facilities for distribution.
The whole team has been together for at least 14 years, when Char, the "newbie" joined Luann, who has been in her position for 20 years, and Marti, who has been at her post for 17 years. Luann came to the position from within the library, and the other two from work experience outside the county.
No day at work is like another for them, the three stress. In addition to the daily work behind the scenes at the library, they have also taken on special projects, such as examining patterns of use of magazines in libraries and helping to update the collection in the Law Library. They were also looking forward to the inclusion of the Lake Elmo Library into the county system in January, which added another challenge to their work.
That task was reflective of the work that they did when the new Hardwood Creek branch opened in Forest Lake, said Marti, a welcome learning experience to stock that collection. The three added that their work provides them with an opportunity to continue to learn as they go, which they appreciate.
The team recounts their variety of the work, and their ability to back each other up, regardless of the task before them.
"We work very well together," Marti said. "We're very in tune with each other." And, she said, "We are friends." Char added, "We solve each other's problems. We are each other's counselors."
They are able to "bounce off of each other" to complete tasks, share ideas, and take over if someone is overwhelmed by a particular task.
"It's a huge advantage that we know each other that well," Char said, allowing them to see when one or the other needs assistance, or a break.
Their work is also challenging in a way that keeps them engaged, Char said. If needed, they will work on the public floor of the library, and shelve books.
"We see a different side to what they do out there," said Marti.
Char Haukom, Marti Nystrom, and Luann Corcoran have worked together behind the scenes at Library Administration in Woodbury for more than 14 years.