Operations & Access Services: Our story

Cedrika Haynes helps a student.

You may have heard the name “Operations & Access Services” but do you know who we are? Do you know what we do?

July 15 was the one-year anniversary since this department re-organized under Access Services and changed its name from Security to Operations & Access Services.

Our mission is to provide the Emory community with a safe, secure, welcoming environment that enables and enhances learning and studying. We support the mission of the library by ensuring collections and resources are secure, fostering goodwill and an understanding of policies, and providing operational support to all departments.

Operations & Access Services interacts with an estimated 6,500 students, staff, faculty and visitors per day and provides over 5,700 operational support hours per year. We also complete approximately 69,000 service transactions per year, including registering visitors, information/directional assistance, lost and found inquires, loading dock access, gate alarm, programming access cards, programming doors and elevators, facility work orders, loading parking passes and elevator access, and handling compact shelving service calls.

Events such as Twelfth Night are a speciality for Operations & Access Services.

Additionally, we provide event support for library, university, and student functions. The functions include Twelfth Night, the Board of Trustee annual meeting, the Corpus Cordis Aureum breakfast in the Matheson Reading Room, President Carter visits, student fundraisers and many others too numerous to list.

According to Trish Sudlow (associate director of advancement events), “It has been a pleasure working with the team on the Corpus Cordis Aureum Breakfast (for alumni graduating 50 years or earlier from Emory)  in the Matheson Reading Room the morning of Commencement. In fact, last year they personally called me to ensure that everything we needed from the Operations & Access Services team was being provided.”

The Security Desk, where visitors are greeted every day.

Our areas of responsibilities are the Woodruff and Candler libraries, WHSCL, the Science Commons, the Computing Center at Cox Hall, and the Library Service Center. The scope of our work includes public service and information, manual and electronic access services, facility operations, and emergency preparedness and response. As new members of Access Services, our role will soon also include some Library Service Desk functions.

According to Erin Mooney (instruction and outreach librarian), “Whatever mood I’m in when I arrive at work or leave to go home, I am always cheered by the smiling face of the person I see at the security desk. It’s a good reminder to me to try to be as nice to others as the security team is to everyone because those moments of kindness make a difference.”

Public service is one of the most important aspects of our job. We value the interactions with the entire Emory community, especially the student population. We develop a great rapport with the students starting when they arrive as freshmen to the day they graduate, and often receive positive comments from prospective students’ parents regarding our presence in the library. They appreciate knowing that the library has staff watching out for their child’s safety.

Bobbi Patterson.

We recently received these kind words from Bobbi Patterson (Emory professor of religion), “My job as a teacher and researcher regularly puts me in the library. But even when you love your work, getting there can be tough some days. It’s the team at the front desk that makes all the difference. Their caring “good mornings,” small talk, and helpfulness when I’ve left or lost something is the bridge – and it makes all the difference.”

Our department also looks for every opportunity to enhance the student experience in the library, such as providing free blue books during crunch time, opening classrooms (including the Jones Room if needed) to provide additional study space during peak times, and offering words of encouragement during stressful periods.

We understand that exam period is very stressful for many students and we look for warning signs when a student may be in trouble. Last semester, we recognized a student that was in distress and suffering from dangerously low blood sugar. Our staff acted quickly to get her immediate medical attention. A few days later, the student returned the library to thank us.

Thank you from an Emory student.

We often receive a lot of “thank you” cards from students at the end of the year expressing their gratitude for our service – most of the cards thank us for saying “hello,” “good night,” and “how are you?'”

Another service we provide is reconnecting lost and found property with its owner. Throughout the year, we receive hundreds of lost and found items.  Last year, a University of Michigan student lost her wallet with $2,500 cash inside. We contacted Michigan’s registrar office, asked them to inform the student that her wallet was found and could be picked up.  She was extremely thankful that we took the effort to track her down.

Emory students appreciate the help of Operations & Access Services.

A few years ago, during winter intersession, an elderly couple and their son knocked on the library doors just as it was closing. The couple explained that they were from out of state visiting their son for the holidays and it was their last day in town before flying out the next morning. They had come to see the exhibit in the Schatten Gallery. Instead of turning them away and saying “sorry, we’re closed,” we invited them in for a private tour of the exhibit. They were very grateful.

We here at Operations & Access Services are grateful as well. Our staff is dedicated to Emory Libraries, and we enjoy the pleasure of helping people accomplish their goals and objectives.

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