Library News

Introducing Melanie Bullock, Tech Services Assistant

Have you ever wondered how a book gets from its publisher to a library shelf? Well, a book’s journey is an interesting and complicated one, so for today I’ll just zero in on one area in the Library: Tech Services. This also gives me the opportunity to introduce you to Melanie Bullock, Tech Services Assistant, who gets the books from the box to the shelf.

Yes, Melanie has what many of us might consider a dream job, well I do. One of her key tasks is to open the boxes full of brand-new books, fresh off the press. Every day is like a birthday! Melanie is the first to handle the books—when they still smell like ink and their cellophane wrap still glistens! Lucky gal!

However, there is serious work to be done in Tech Services, and Melanie is the perfect employee to do it. First, let me explain that Tech Services is a department in any library, and while its name might make you think it has to do with technology (hardware, WiFi, Mbps, etc.), it doesn’t. Instead, the Technical Services area is where a library’s collection is acquired, organized, catalogued, and processed. Melanie is our star processor.

Our Tech Services staff works diligently to first order the books and other items (that you’ve requested or we’ve chosen) to add to our collection. Once received they process each item so it appears in our catalog with the proper author, title, subject headings, call numbers, key research terms, and location.

Initially, an item is put into our catalog as “available soon,” which means we have it, but you can’t, not yet anyway. Not until Melanie checks it over, adds the bar codes, adds the security tags, and applies labels indicating its genre and status, e.g. NEW. Then Melanie pushes her cart full of new items, now in the systems as “on shelf,” and takes them to the stacks, where they’ll await your review, interest, and check-out.

You may also find Melanie in the stacks conducting another important Tech Services task: deselection. As you can imagine, a book checked out by hundreds of users suffers wear and tear. Books grow out of fashion, too, just like your wardrobe which requires an occasional review of what you no longer wear. Melanie readies these books for mending, reconsideration, or de-commissioning. Decommissioned books go to the Friends of the Sedona Library Book Store where they’re available for sale at the best price in town.

So, who is Melanie? Melanie began as a volunteer eight years ago but quickly moved into her current position. According to Library Director Judy Poe, she is an “awesome” employee. “Always upbeat, and focused, even in the hectic Tech Services area.” We asked Melanie our key questions to help you get to know her better.

What is your Sedona story? “My parents had a timeshare, and our family gathered here quite often. We’re all hikers, and West Fork was a favorite. Years later, when it came time to retire, Sedona was on the top of our list.”

Where were you born? “I was born in Van Nuys, California, and my family also lived in Boulder City, Nevada. I pretty much grew up in the southwest.”

What was your first job? “In high school I worked as a Page in the Boulder City Library. While ‘page’ was the job title, I mostly shelved returned books and helped wherever needed. I also worked in the circulation department at Hayden Library at ASU when I was there earning my degree in speech & hearing.”

What did you do before you joined the library? “My husband and I lived in Eagle River, Alaska for 30 years before moving to Sedona. I taught kindergarten for most of those years on the Fort Richardson Army Post. We loved so many things about living in Alaska, but the winter darkness was not one of them, so the sunshine of Arizona was a welcome change when we moved here in 2016.”

What book has most influenced you and why? “There is not really a particular book that has influenced me, but a genre: I love children’s picture books. My friends and I love to share new book finds, and we gift our favorites to each other. Storytime was always my favorite time of the day when teaching. It was so much fun sharing the love of books with the students and seeing them so engaged with the story. There’s nothing like sharing a good book!”

Are you on Team Dog or Team Cat and why? “I have to say both, since we have one of each, but dogs will always hold a special place in my heart. Our kitten is named Kenai, after a place that we love in Alaska, and Sierra is our 13-year-old West Highland Terrier.

Have you ever seen a ghost or a UFO? “No, but a patron once told me he saw an angel beside me.”

What is your favorite/earliest library story?

“I remember going to the Boulder City Library with my mom and brothers and picking out books to read. There were so many good books to choose from, and I always came out with an armful.”

Thank you, Melanie, for helping us maintain our collection, and doing it with such kindness and patience. You make it look so easy!

Sedona Public Library is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Donations supplement the funding and support we receive from the City of Sedona, Coconino and Yavapai County property taxes, and Friends of the Sedona Library. Visit to share the love.

As published by Red Rock News

Library News Column for March 22, 2024  
Written by Anne Marie Mackler, Development Director


Library News appears each Friday here and in the Red Rock News.