The Spotlight is an occasional feature that will profile a Libraries staff member.
Grace Hamilton grew up in Indiana and earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Evansville in Indiana. She moved to St. Louis in 1988 and began working at Christian Hospital Northeast, first as an accountant and then as an internal auditor. After working as an auditor at Laclede Gas, Grace decided to change careers and became a library assistant at St. Louis Public Schools. She was hired at WU in 2003 as a library technical assistant in the order unit, ordering books, DVDs, and placing other firm orders. Later that year, she moved to her current position, electronic resources assistant in collections and acquisitions. Grace lives in St. Louis with her husband, Tim.
How has your job changed over the years? I focus specifically on journals and individual journal subscriptions. We used to get so many journals, and they were all shelved on Level 1 of Olin or sent to the departmental libraries. Over the years, more publishers found that it’s less expensive to provide online access. It also makes it more convenient for more than one patron to view and use a resource if we can provide it online.
Has the technology improved? Yes, and it continues to evolve. The publishers call them platforms. For example, the University of Chicago Press often updates the look and feel and the search capability of its platform. Publishers can also provide us with usage statistics that are helpful for librarians making purchasing decisions.
What do you like most about your job? I’m often the middle person between the university and our vendors or publishers. EBSCO is our subscription agent — they handle the majority of our subscriptions — so I deal with our representative from EBSCO to find answers. I love to solve problems. I think some of that goes back to my accounting and auditing experience.
Have you been involved in any big projects recently? It’s kind of cyclical. I just wrapped up submitting our renewals. We have a Sept. 1 deadline with EBSCO, so I have to renew, cancel or sign up for new subscriptions.
Any other big changes? The world of serials is changing and evolving all the time. There are often title changes, and you could see that easily in print. That can be trickier to find online. The number of journals transferred among publishers has increased over the years and requires follow-up.
What do you like to do in your free time? We love to travel. Some of our best trips have been to the national parks. We love to camp and hike. I think Bryce Canyon (in Utah) is my favorite — the color, the trails. It’s just a beautiful place.