Valerie Busch has worked as the circulation manager at Grays Harbor College for the past 12 years. She also guides the planing and organization behind numerous art shows that adorn the hallways below and leading up to the John Spellman Library.
What does a normal work day look like for you?
My daily tasks are so varied I definitely don’t get bored with my work. Customer service is a large portion of what I do. Also included in my responsibilities are supervising, training and budgeting for student assistants, managing the art shows, helping with the everyday library functions — which include the college’s online course offerings — and coordinating with other departments to do so.
How long have you been involved with the John Spellman Gallery?
The library was being remodeled when I started at GHC, so for that first year it was difficult to do art shows from our temporary location in the Fireside room. We returned to the building in 2003 and were able to start using the gallery again. The library gallery is a wonderful space that seems to expand and contract as needed. When we have a small reception it feels intimate. Add more people and we just expand down the hallway and onto the balcony. The gallery feels comfortable regardless of the number of people it holds.
What are your favorite parts about your job?
I love my job and feel so fortunate to have it. I love the fact that I leave for work with a smile on my face, looking forward to doing my job every day. Library people are a little different (in a good way) they seem to have a built-in curiosity of the world around them, are good listeners, and are genuinely caring people. I feel that my co-workers, past and present, are an extension of my family. I am blessed.
I’m in a position to have a positive impact on people’s lives. Maybe in a very small way but everything helps.
I enjoy the art shows and getting to know the local artists. Although getting a group of artists to recognize a deadline is somewhat of a challenge, it always turns out all right.
Interacting with the student workers some days makes me feel young and other days helps me realize my true age. I was teasing with some of them last summer and said something like “Oh, you won’t remember this because it probably happened before you were born” and it had. Sigh.
What are challenging aspects to your job?
I am always learning something new and get to problem solve almost daily. In the last few years my boss, Stan Horton, was put in charge of e-Learning as well as the library at GHC. Consequently, I’ve learned a lot about online learning, including how to produce surveys and huge schedules. There’s always something new and different happening to keep us on our toes.
Did you always want to work in a library?
Actually, no I didn’t. I just kind of fell into it in the 90s. I was an aide at the Hoquiam library, then worked at the Aberdeen library, then both of them, before I got this job. I’ve always loved libraries though. We always visited the library where I grew up. We lived in the country and our source of entertainment were the encyclopedias. We didn’t have television back then when there were only two channels. We would sit down and open one to a random page and go “Did you know about this?” and learn something new.
What has been your favorite show at the Spellman gallery?
Just one? I guess some of the more unusual shows feature some of my favorites. We had a dinosaur display from our welding instructor here that they actually have to forklift pieces of into the building. We had a flying pterodactyl near the column. That was really cool. Every year, we have the Fall Gala and it’s one of the more special shows. There’s just so many people with usually around 20 artists part of it.
If someone who has never been here before asked you to sum up in two sentences or less what living on Grays Harbor is like, what would you tell them?
Embrace the weather — you can’t change it. After all, it is what makes Grays Harbor so beautiful year round … without the weather extremes.
Since it’s too cruel to ask someone who works in the library what their one favorite book is, do you have a favorite genre?
Thank you for not asking me the first one. I really like reading what I like to call my ‘silly mysteries.’ Lately I’ve been gravitating toward more light reading. Stuff that doesn’t give me anxiety, I guess. I also listen to books on tape while in the car.
What events are coming up at the library?
Our next show is the high school event coming up after spring break. It’s always a fun show. You really get to see the talent found throughout our area. It’s incredible to see what they have to offer. It really gives me a lot of hope for the future. From the high school art shows, I’ve known at least two people who entered the art show and ended up getting a scholarship from the art department to come here for college. I always encourage the schools, even if they don’t have an art program, to enter any talented individuals into it.