Written By: Jazmine Cooper
When you go into the library, you tend to just glance behind the circulation desk. Sometimes, you don’t even do that. You walk right past the stairs to try and find your friends or a quiet place to work. But, if you happen to glance back into the offices that overlook the library, you will see two wonderful human beings who have dedicated their lives to literature and helping students. Emily Voelkers and Cheryl Salerno are their names and loving on books is their game! They are the librarians for Drake Library, and they love their job!
Cheryl dreamt of being a librarian since she was a little girl, perusing the shelves of the local library with her mother. And she waited patiently for a library position to open at OKWU, then Bartlesville Wesleyan College, because she felt God calling her here. Her first position at OKWU, though, was in AGS. She worked there while getting her BS in Business Administration, then was blessed with a library position. While working, she earned a master’s degree in Library Science. So, in total, she has worked at OKWU for the last 20 years!
A day in Cheryl’s life includes ordering books, DVDs, journals, and other materials to add to the library collection. She catalogs the items and labels them, all while managing the library’s digital databases. She works with the library budget as well. She says that it can be a busy job, but it is well worth it to help students develop into who God wants them to be. She loves that everyone is constantly working to help each other develop. The only thing she would change is having more time in the day to get things done!
That is Emily’s consensus as well! There is just not enough time in the day to get things done! Her and Cheryl work together on things, but their days do look a little different. Emily works more with people. She supervises the work studies that sit at the front circulation desk and makes sure they have things taken care of. She creates weekly schedules for student employees, monitors time sheets for them, and helps manage library policies. She runs statistical reports and answers any questions that students have, all while teaching online classes!
Emily actually has a master’s degree in Education that she received from OKWU, which gives her the chance to teach online. She first wanted to be a principal – thus the education degree. But after going through school and being an elementary teacher, she decided that she wanted to be a librarian. She received her School Library Media certification from OSU and has been a librarian here at OKWU ever since. She actually just celebrated her 1-year work-iversary in August!
They both feel that their job serves well to incorporate OKWU’s four pillars, specifically the pursuit of truth and the practice of wisdom. They impart students with the ability to search for the things they need. They teach students how to find answers, and how to evaluate if those answers are true. And they both agree that Christ is meant to be at the center of their jobs, and their lives. One of Cheryl’s favorite Bible verses is 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and discipline” (ASV). Emily also blessed us with a verse: Proverbs 31:26, “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue” (ESV).
I know that I thank God for Cheryl and Emily’s wisdom when I go into the library and have a question! The next time you stop into the library, stop by their offices and say hi!