The ever-changing world of libraries

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By Kirsten Laskey

A lot has changed since Jerilynn Christiansen worked as Library Specialist I in the mathematics and physics library at Princeton University. Card catalogues have vanished, microfilm is untouched and the computer has become the key resource.

Christiansen changed along with the evolutions in libraries, creating a career that started at the University of Utah and currently exists at the Mesa Public Library, where she has been for 20 years.

Christiansen graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in elementary education and a minor in library science. She pursued library science working in the mathematics and physics library at Princeton for five years. Christiansen also working at the Princeton County Day School as her husband did his graduate work.

While at the university library, Christiansen said her boss predicted that technology smaller than a typewriter would be sitting on their desks to do their work. He was right.

The prediction didn’t scare off Christiansen; in fact, she worked with the new technology. When her family moved to Los Alamos and her husband worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Christiansen worked with a group that did the first on-line database at Aspen Elementary School.

It was a big project, she said, information needed to be entered manually, but it morphed into the program that is used today.

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