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Creating Order Out of Chaos

Creating Order Out of Chaos

Could you imagine the library without a catalog? Scary, huh? Get to know one of our cataloging librarians, Mariko Kershaw, in this Q&A.
Woman standing in front a waterfall

Editor's note: This post was originally published during Women's History Month and has been updated to celebrate Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month

We’re spotlighting some of our incredible staff who work diligently on the front line and behind the scenes to provide WCCLS patrons unmatched library services.

Meet Mariko Kershaw, a cataloging librarian (also known as “CATS”) who joined WCCLS in 2019. Without cataloging librarians, you would spend way, way more time searching for everything – books, DVDs, CDs. You’d have to browse the shelves looking for a needle in a haystack. Items would probably just be organized by title or author … or color or shape. 

Mariko, who identifies as Japanese-American, sat down to talk with the editor of this fine blog to chat about a few of her favorite things and her cultural heritage. Answers have been edited for length and clarity.

WCCLS: What is your favorite part of your job?
MK: Bringing order to all the chaos in the cataloging records.

WCCLS: What are you currently reading?
MK: Nobody Ever Asked Me About the Girls: Women, Music and Fame by Lisa Robinson. I enjoy reading female celebrity biographies. Most of their stories include overcoming adversity so it's interesting to learn about their winding paths to fame. 

WCCLS: Who is an AANHPI person you admire?
MK: I admire Patsy Mink because as a Japanese-American woman she achieved many "firsts," such as the first woman of color in the U.S. House of Representatives. She is best known for being the major author and sponsor of Title IX of the Higher Education Act, which was renamed in her honor.

WCCLS: Do you have a favorite cultural tradition?
MK: My favorite cultural tradition is Bon Odori, which is a type of Japanese folk dancing for Obon festival. It's fun to get dressed up in my yukata (summer kimono), eat yummy festival food, dance, and connect with the community.

WCCLS: What does a typical weekend look like for you?
MK: It usually involves baking sweets and walking in the nature park.

WCCLS: What pandemic habit do you plan to keep?
MK: I’ve been calling and video chatting with friends I hadn’t been previously. In some ways we’re more connected now.

More from our Women's History Month staff spotlights:

'Libraries Are at the Heart of Everything I Love'

Bringing a Passion for Social Work and Different Cultures to Youth Services

Too Much Fun