According to many of the students here at Reinhardt, if any single person makes the Hill Freeman Library and Spruill Learning Center "the place to be," it's Nikki Preslock. That's not just because the part-time library assistant has been known to bring in yummy homemade treats for our patrons, or even for the lively conversations she strikes up. It's because Nikki, a former Reinhardt student herself, knows where they're coming from.
"I like helping students because I remember when I was in their situation," Nikki says. "I've been there, done that."
Nikki started working for the library back in July of 2006, when she was still a student herself. She was initially hired for a special project, although she's now segued into wearing multiple hats at the library. (That's not a reference to her St. Patrick's Day hat, but be sure to check that out next Tuesday). Library director Michael Martinez says Nikki originally came on board to help with the retroactive conversion project.
According to Martinez, about five years ago the library changed from its previous cataloguing program to the one it currently uses. "The vendor said it was supposed to be a 'seamless' migration," Martinez says. "What happened was we lost about 50% of our titles." In other words, half of the library's collection was no longer listed in our computers, and there was no quick and easy way to figure out which ones had been lost. Someone had to go through each book in the collection individually and check to see if it was listed. If it wasn't, the book had to be added.
It's been a painstaking process, and one which Nikki says is very close to an end.
"When it's done, all of our holdings should be catalogued in our database," Martinez said.
The job hasn't been without its rewards, as Nikki says she's discovered some interesting things in the collection over the past couple of years.
"I actually find really cool old books, some signed by famous people like the past college presidents and some of the original Reinhardts," Nikki says. "Those go into our archives when I find them.
"I also find money in books sometimes. I find old notes and love letters."
Nikki also repairs old books for us, and works evenings and weekends helping in reference and circulation. Martinez says Nikki is going to get to work on developing course guides in the future. She is going to work with some of the new programs starting up at the North Fulton campus, such as the Homeland Security program and fire and police professional development.
Nikki, a Biology major at Reinhardt who also studied dietics at Life University, says her true passion is for science, and her ultimate goal is to be a park ranger at a fish hatchery. In the meantime, she definitely keeps the library hopping and running smoothly.
"Nikki's a great worker," Martinez says. "She's friendly, courteous, kind and very nice. She seems to have quite a following of people who come in here on Sundays just to see her."
She's also this blogger's dear friend and officemate. I can personally attest to what others have said about Nikki. When she's here, the library is a much more pleasant and friendly place!