November 2003    


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  Meet the Librarian

Library Staff
Kathy Gallo
Coordinator of Library Technical Services
Georgia Perimeter College Library

Georgia Perimeter College
Clarkston, Georgia

Kathy is the Coordinator of Library Technical Services at the Georgia Perimeter College Library in Clarkston, Georgia. Her department is responsible for acquisitions, cataloging, interlibrary loan, non-print (media), and systems. Georgia Perimeter College (GPC) is a multi-campus institution and Technical Services handles all jobs that are considered college-wide, as opposed to just campus level. She supervises nine full-time staff members and a number of part-time staff members ranging from student assistants to a part-time librarian.

Georgia Perimeter College Library
This September, Kathy celebrated her 32nd anniversary at GPC. Previously, she worked for a year and a half at the University of Georgia Library. She was hired at GPC first as a Clerk Typist and later as an Assistant Librarian until receiving her Master of Librarianship. Kathy earned her Bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Georgia and her MLn from Emory University.

Kathy's path to a career in librarianship was a natural one: she loves books and reading and gravitated toward libraries. Even in her earlier years, she was a student worker in her junior and senior high school libraries. When she was looking for a job in college, her first thought was the library and she was hired as a Student Assistant. After graduating, she became a Library Assistant.

Upon moving to Atlanta, Kathy again sought a job in a library and happened on one just down the street from where she lived, which at the time was DeKalb College (now Georgia Perimeter College). She recalls, "After a few years here, I was able to pursue an advanced degree. GPC is a great place to work, so I have never been tempted to leave."

"There are lots of good parts to my job," Kathy notes. "My favorite is all of the people I have worked with over the years. I have known some of them for a very long time." She also enjoys meeting the new people who come to GPC. Since Kathy's department works with all of the campuses, she gets to know and work with the staff at all of the locations. "I don't work directly with the students, but we always have Student Assistants working our department and I enjoy them, as well." She gleans much satisfaction at seeing the new materials they buy and catalog sent out to the campuses ready for the students and faculty to use.

Kathy's job can be somewhat challenging at times. Her department provides all of the technical services functions for their multi-campus structure. There are four GPC campus locations and each of the campuses has a Director and staff who provide reference, circulation, and library instruction. Technical Services provides the other services at a centralized location. "Resources are shared and all of the library materials are in one catalog and materials are circulated freely among the campuses through a courier service," Kathy explains. "We also meet frequently to ensure uniform service to all GPC students."

The challenges of her job can always be countered by the great department in which she works. Kathy beams when she talks about her staff. "I would say that the willingness of the staff to tackle all sorts of problems as a team is very important. People are willing to do what needs to be done to make things happen. The staff members have very good ideas and are able to implement them. We have good procedures and policies and revise them as the need arises to keep the work flowing."

"Automation!" Kathy exclaims about the biggest positive change that she's experienced over the years in the way work is done at GPC. "The Internet has brought so many new opportunities, whether it is online research, checking inventory in real-time, or ordering online."

"Our book collections are the most circulated but we also have a viable collection of videos, DVDs, and CDs, which are very popular with our patrons," Kathy says. Her department is responsible for the collection of the latter items. On many of GPC's campuses, the libraries try to draw students by holding library instruction classes, using eye-catching displays, and providing them with a healthy collection of popular books, DVDs, and CDs.

Kathy alluded to some of the challenges in cataloging materials. All of the materials at GPC are fully cataloged. They have followed this policy for some 30 years now. "We have a large collection of compact discs, audio cassettes, video cassettes and DVDs and all of them are cataloged as thoroughly as the books are although they are more labor intensive to catalog and to process. In years past, we had trouble purchasing them but in the last few years we have had good results ordering them from Baker and Taylor and are now using Title Source II for many of these items."

On the topic of outsourcing, Kathy was proud to say that all cataloging and processing are done in-house. "We have never seriously explored the possibility of outsourcing. Our procedures seem very time and cost efficient to me but it is always something that could be explored. I like the feeling of control that handling these processes in-house provides."

When asked about whether their budget has seen a shift from books to more audio-visual and electronic resources, Kathy stated that, "It's about the same. We have started getting into more electronic resources, but we have a great system that supplements this." This system is called GALILEO and it is an initiative of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.

GALILEO (Georgia Library Learning Online) is a web-based virtual library that provides access to multiple information resources. This program allows participating institutions (K-12 schools, public libraries, the adult technical institutes and colleges, and a group of private academic colleges and universities) to access over 100 databases indexing thousands of periodicals and scholarly journals. Over 2,000 journal titles are provided in full-text. Other resources include netLibrary e-book titles, encyclopedias, business directories, and government publications.

Like many institutions, GPC has been victim to budget cuts. Kathy has felt the impact in her department, where last year, her budget was cut multiple times. She had to let go of some part-time staff, as well as cut hours from other staff. Her supply and collection budgets were also affected. This year they are off to a good start, but she still voices some hesitation.

Georgia Perimeter College is a multi-campus two-year college with 18,908 students. It was founded as DeKalb College in 1964 by the DeKalb County Board of Education and became a member of the University System of Georgia in 1986. In 1997, the name was changed to Georgia Perimeter College. There are four campus locations in Clarkston, Decatur, Dunwoody and Lawrenceville as well as a center in Conyers.

You can visit Georgia Perimeter College online at and the library website at To learn more about Georgia's Virtual Library, GALILEO, please visit