JCPL Staff Highlight: Cataloger Linda Blanton

Linda Blanton, cataloging librarian at the Johnson City Public Library, is retiring after 30 years. BJ Krug, our marketing specialist, sat down with Linda to talk about her legacy.

Over the course of a career many things change, and libraries are no exception! A library cataloger adds and maintains the information on a book or other library materials to the library catalog. Before the 1990s, that information was carefully typed onto catalog cards and painstakingly filed. It was easy for those cards to be lost or damaged, in addition to being hard to search. Now that information is stored in a computer database and accessed through our online catalog. In her 30 year career, Linda Blanton bridged that major change. She exclaims “How hasn’t the library changed! When I started here we were low-tech–typewriters at work desks, a card catalog with dozens of drawers of 3 x 5 cards, no computer system, and of course there was no internet.” Keeping up with the changes in librarianship were a major part of her work in making our materials accessible to everyone.

Another of Linda’s major ongoing projects has been family history. She has been a key member of the Watauga Area Genealogists (WAGS for short), and the library’s expert on local history. She still loves family research, and it will be something she will continue working on in her retirement. “I love chasing ancestors, not just collecting names and dates, but coming to understand the times in which they lived. I hope to have time to summarize my research to date and self-publish so that other relatives & future generations can read about our shared heritage.  Through research and/or DNA testing, it’s fascinating to find out our varied ethnic backgrounds.” She came by this passion naturally, studying sociology and anthropology in college. “I worked for 3 years on an Indian archaeological excavation in New Mexico before deciding to return to college for a graduate degree in library science.”

She says that although she’s not a native Tennesseean, she’s grown to love the area. “My husband and I relocated from Texas to Johnson City at the end of 1986 with no intention of staying for 30+ years.  However we quickly enjoyed the geographic area, the climate, the many restaurants, and the recreational activities. Later our son was born here (the first native Tennessean in the family) and we set down roots.” We’re thankful that Linda did set down those roots! Although she’s retiring from the library, we will benefit from her work for years to come.

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