California State University, Long Beach
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Library’s Walker Chosen EOM

Published: December 19, 2016

Nancy Walker, a Library Services Specialist II in the University Library, was accorded a rare honor recently when she was recognized for a third time as employee of the month (EOM). Friendship Walk near the University Student Union was re-named Nancy Walker Lane for the month in her honor.

Walker, a 50-year-plus resident of Long Beach who joined the campus in 1999, expressed shock at her third visit to the winner’s circle.

“The library is filled with so many quality employees that I was positive the award would go to someone else this time and deservedly so,” said Walker, who earned the EOM honor in 2003 and 2009. “But I guess my co-workers thought otherwise. I really am just at a loss for words. It’s my last year here (she retired on Dec. 16) so maybe there’s a little bit of a fond farewell for me in there too. It’s just so surprising.”

President Jane Close Conoley praised Walker for her positive attitude.

“She is very resourceful in handling problems at the Access Services Desk and is a positive influence in that area,” she said. “She is a problem solver who has exceptional skills dealing with faculty, staff and students. She is always willing to go the extra mile to get the job done with a smile.”

Walker began her career at CSULB as an emergency hire in the University Library. She has risen from an administrative support assistant to her current position as a Library Services Specialist II.

Walker believes one reason for her career hat trick is a special quality of co-worker.

“It is difficult for me to fathom why I have been recognized like this. It’s very humbling. Such a huge honor like this is always difficult for me to receive. I’ve always been one to avoid the spotlight so this really takes me out of my comfort zone,” she said. “I think maybe the wonderful people that I work with see something in me that’s a little difficult for me to see in myself. I honestly don’t feel like I’m doing anything above or beyond what my normal job duties entail. But maybe there’s a lesson in here for me as well. Maybe this award really isn’t about how the person who gets the award perceives themselves or how well they think they perform. I don’t know. I guess all I can do is just try and do my best to receive it and trust that the job I do is very much appreciated.”

The Access Services Desk is a busy place where challenges abound.

“We serve a very diverse population here at the circulation desk so every day, the challenge is to effectively assist our students, faculty, staff and general public patrons with the services they require that suit their specific needs,” she said. “We are always striving to help them find whatever resources they need, whether it can be found in-house, online or through one of our resource sharing services like LINK+ or Beach Reach. So, being here as long as I have, what matters most is that the patron walks away feeling that they’ve had their questions answered, their academic needs met and confident that they can use the library with minimal assistance moving forward. The library can be an intimidating place for first-time patrons whether they’re freshmen, transfers or new employees, so I always do my best to give them the kind of attention that I’d like one of my loved ones to receive.”

Nancy Walker in left with CSULB President Jane Close Conoley
Nancy Walker (l) with CSULB President Jane Close Conoley

Walker has watched her responsibilities evolve since joining the University Library. “I guess I’d say that working in such a fast-paced and extremely diverse environment really helped me to become a much better-rounded employee,” she said. “When I first started, I was the only staff member working the daytime shift on Mondays which is the busiest day of the week for us historically. So that experience really helped me to develop my skills as a supervisor overseeing a crew of between five and seven student assistants. It also helped me to gain some much-needed confidence because when Dean Roman Kochan hired me, I wasn’t really sure I was qualified to work at a university. Over the years, our department merged with Reserve, Periodicals, added LINK+ and our robotic storage facility, ORCA. So, each new addition has helped me to develop new skills and keep me on my toes.”

When she isn’t helping the University Library to run smoothly, Walker enjoys baking, gardening and decorating her home to coincide with the seasons and holidays.

“But my biggest joy comes from spending quality time with my family,” she said.

Walker is glad she made the choice to join CSULB.

“Long Beach State University is a beautiful campus and the Library is a very warm and lively place to work,” she said. “The campus population is very friendly and colorful. “The Beach” is a great name for it because even though I work here, the environment makes it feel like I’m somewhere nicer.”

Walker received a CSULB sweatshirt, a $25 gift card for Mimi’s Café, a gift certificate for one pound of See’s Candies and two $5 gift cards for In-N-Out.