Library Features...

Volunteer Profile:
Making a Map Collection More User-Friendly

Branch: Branciforte

Jules Resnick
Volunteer Jules Resnick spent hours
getting the map collection in order
at Branciforte Library; as a result,
patrons are using it more.

Jules Resnick's path to volunteering with the library began more than a decade ago when he retired from his computer-programming job at Stanford University. He and his wife wanted to move near the coast and wound up settling in the Live Oak area of Santa Cruz County.

"We've been involved in local activities ever since we got here," he said. "This area really acts like a community, unlike some other places."

After doing volunteer work with the Red Cross and Live Oak Neighbors (with which he's still involved), Resnick offered his services to the library system when the new Live Oak branch opened. His first assignment was directing traffic on opening day.

"It was pouring rain," he recalled. "About all I did was stand there and point to where the parking spaces were."

Shortly afterward, he was asked to help at the Branciforte branch on Santa Cruz' east side. When he got acquainted with its workings, Branch Manager Linda Gault asked him to straighten out the map collection, which needed some attention.

"I have quite a collection at home," he said, "at least 200 road maps, so it's something I was interested in. "It took much longer than I thought it would — probably four months of coming in at least once a week."

Resnick, who describes himself as "detail-oriented," worked with Gault to catalogue and cross-reference the maps, weed out the duplicate and inappropriate materials, and rearrange and relabel the collection. He also put bar codes on the maps so they could be checked out, where before they could only be viewed in the library.

"It was a very valuable service," Gault said. "We didn't have the staff to keep the collection up to date and well-organized. Jules put it all in order so it's used more often now because it's easy to access. It's a good example of how a volunteer can take on a labor-intensive task that needed doing."

Resnick continues to volunteer at the library on a weekly basis, staying on top of the map collection and the branch's phone books, and doing searches for books that are reported missing.

"The only downside to the job," he said, "is that as I go down the shelves, I keep finding books that I want to read, but I don't have the time."

story by Mike Wallace