— Biology Specialist Librarian —
— Technical Services Specialist Librarian —
— Talented Crafter —
— Devoted Kitty Mom! —
(Click on any photo to enlarge)
Another Flint area native — one of many among our staff — Beth Annie Szuch was born in Lapeer and raised in Attica where she grew up on a farm in the country. This may have influenced her choice of majors, but her choice of schools was natural; her father also attended UM-Flint where he obtained a teaching degree.
It was during her undergrad years at Flint campus that she met the young grad student Ernie Szuch during a field trip. She claims she was clueless as to why the handsome grad student followed her everywhere and arranged to pair off with her for cooking duty and… almost everything. Until, of course, the moment during a private nature walk when he turned to her and planted a big one on her lips!
Ernie and Annie married; Ernie picked up his masters in biology while Annie chose UM-Ann Arbor library school for her masters in library science . The young couple found an old house in Davison, a fixer-upper that gave them many years of fixing-upping. It should come as no surprise that they opted to build their dream home — a lovely, log home (NOT the log cabin of history!) — as a completely finished “turn-key” constructed. No more fixing upping! Instead they spend their free time on nature excursions doing research.
Annie and Ernie (now an instructor in the UM-Flint Biology Dept) have taken students on study trips and done independent research to some of the most beautiful spots on earth, including marine biology studies in the Caribbean (the students snorkeled the reefs), camping in the Great Northern Woods and several — such as their upcoming trip — to southeastern United States.
This spring Annie and Ernie will be hunting for salamanders in the Smoky Mountains. Salamanders? Ask Annie. She enthusiastically describes these colorful creatures and their wide range of habitats. Precursors of lizards, salamanders occupy an important niche in our wild environment, and Annie can easily describe size, color and locale of several species. Yuck? NO! Lovely, wonderful and very interesting creatures. Sure, Annie…
We were lucky that Annie had so many ties to the Flint area as she returned to Thompson Library in 1977, assigned to work with Ingrid in Technical Services. At that time Annie processed serials (incoming journal issues and outgoing volumes sent to bindery, maintaining journals on shelf and in the card catalog).
Over the years Annie has done almost every job in Technical Services. But she’s also worked regularly as one of our Reference Librarians, manning shifts throughout the week on the Reference Desk and fielding questions that are specifically in the field of biology.
Annie has also accepted, reviewed and processed all donated materials to the library for several years, no small feat. Each item donated must be checked against our current holdings for duplication or obsolesces due to newer editions. Items selected to be placed in the collection must then be cataloged, a call number assigned, a spine label created and applied, the cataloging record placed in the library catalog (no more card catalogs — Mirlyn is digital and fully online today). Then the item is placed on the “New Book Shelf” so people can catch all newly processed materials before it is finally placed on the shelf in the main collection.
All of this was good preparation for Annie’s latest duty assignment. Our long-time head of Technical Services — Dave Hart — retired last year after 30 some years working in Thompson Library. Annie was the logical choice for the job.
With the slow erosion of personnel in our Technical Services division, Annie is now the sole cataloger in our library. Along with Ahn Thach (serials), Annie places all new item orders via the library Acquisitions module of the library management software (ALEPH) located in Ann Arbor and of which Thompson Library is a part.
Once new orders arrive in our building, Annie oversees the labeling (printing the correct call number on a special labeling machine) and bar coding (bar codes must be placed in specific locations inside each item and recorded into the online cataloging module of Aleph) of each item, then sends them to the New Book Shelf for use.
Please stop in soon and visit with Annie to learn about Smudge, Petunia and Gracie the cats, her log home, her spinning and knitting volunteer work — or to ask her a library question!