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Chrissy and Rob stand in front of one of the first sections of shelves they’re filling.

Our December Staff Spotlight is a double feature! Chrissy Hursh and Rob Klecker are not two faces you’ll see roaming around campus very often. Instead, they’re the powerhouse duo responsible for running the Verona Shelving Facility. We visited them out at VSF and got an intense look into their fast-paced day.

**Stay tuned for an inside look at the facility’s operations in a special video, coming in early 2015.**

How long have you been with the Libraries and how did you get your start?

Rob: I was hired in September 2014, so a very recent addition to the Libraries. I had been keeping my eye on available positions in the UW system for some time and finally got my opportunity.

Chrissy: I’ve been with UW for 2 months, though I’ve worked in other libraries (both public and academic). I was a student worker while I was in school back in Indiana, and after I graduated got promoted to a full-time permanent position.

What drew you to the Verona Shelving Facility?

Rob: After 10 years in the public library system I wanted a change and a challenge. What we do at Verona is VERY different from any other library experience I have had.

Chrissy: I get to move around, and have a variety of tasks throughout the day, instead of sitting in front of a computer for 8 hours. I also get to drive a picker!

002So, what DO you do?

Rob: We shelve and retrieve books in a high-density facility. We are more concerned about maximizing our space usage, so we are very detailed about item control with respect to the size of the item, not the intellectual content. The change in attention to detail per item took a lot of getting used to.

Chrissy: Shelving facilities hold books that are rare and rarely used. They are very different from other libraries in the way that items are organized on the shelves. Instead of using subject area and call number, books are organized by their size. This is to maximize the space available.

What’s the most interesting part of your job?

Rob: The size of the facility. It is what most visitors to our facility comment on immediately. Huge does not begin to describe it.

Chrissy: The facility is brand new, and this is the first of its kind at UW-Madison (and in the state). We have a great opportunity to develop work practices to fit our specific needs, and experiment with different ways of arranging work.

How do you see your role evolving?

Rob: Verona just opened in October, so we are still discovering best practices for everything we do. Our work procedure can change from day to day at this point. Currently our items are not available to users, so we are not having to retrieve anything from the shelves. Everything will be made available again in the near future, meaning our daily routine may change drastically again.

Chrissy: We’ll get faster and more efficient at processing materials. Once we go live it will be interesting to see how many borrowing requests we get.

What do people often not realize about Verona?

Rob: Everything put in the facility will be made available to users in the near future. Users will not notice any abnormal delay to accessing the materials.

Chrissy: We share the same warehouse with SWAP! Lots of cool stuff comes through there.

007Do you ever get to step away from work for some fun?

Rob: Summers you can find me playing softball, hardball, vintage baseball (I am on a team that plays using the 1878 baseball rules), or fishing. Winters are for staring out the window waiting for spring.

Chrissy: I enjoy getting some physical activity and/or getting outside every day. So that comprises most of my free time – hiking, biking, running, playing in the snow, etc.

Nobody would ever guess that one time I…?

Rob: Lived in England.

Chrissy: Was a volunteer park ranger at Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico.

Favorite thing about the libraries…GO!

Rob: When I was a public librarian I loved when small children would see me out in public and recognize me. I hoped to make an impact on their lives and I feel that I did. Do you remember your librarian when you were a kid?

006Chrissy: So many university services! Not only having access to the UW library system’s excellent collection, but also attending lectures and special events happening on campus.