'An invaluable colleague'

The staff has spoken. Melinda Wallington is the 2020 RCL Staff Service Award recipient
Author: Matthew Cook
Melinda Wallington

Few people go about their work thinking, “This will get their attention.” Most of us are so focused on the work itself—getting it right, doing a good job—that we don’t think about who’s noticing or even caring.

People notice. People care.

Melinda Wallington, library section supervisor in Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, experienced this truth when she learned she is the recipient of the 2020 River Campus Libraries Staff Service Award.

“When I heard I was receiving the award, I was overcome with gratitude,” says Wallington. “To receive the award this year, of all years, is a true honor. When I got the library assistant position in Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, it felt like winning the lottery. That feeling has only grown stronger over the last seven years. I am so blessed to work with such wonderful people.”

Almost everything you need to know about Wallington’s work and why she’s an asset to the River Campus Libraries fits into the criteria for this award. We share it with you, as told by Wallington’s nominators.

Initiative, innovation and/or creativity

“…has been in the vanguard of new methodologies that have completely revolutionized how we interact with and assist on-site researchers through room management protocols. She has embraced and learned new—and often rapidly implemented—technologies, including Slack for intra-department communication and Google Forms for paging materials.”

“…innovative oversight of the RBSCP social media continues to expand the audience for the department and RCL activities and collections, and she has significantly improved our outreach by learning best practices in writing styles and presentation to thoughtfully communicate complex topics.”

Service that consistently exceeds expectations

“…went above and beyond to provide information to students when she could, and she connected with them on a personal level when she could not. She managed their remote work projects and was tireless in her efforts to find work for them that matched the library’s new priorities.”

“As a consequence of Melinda's experienced and thoughtful hiring skills, our student staff represents the diverse population of the University—meaning that all visitors looking through the front doors of RBSCP can literally see themselves as welcome in the space beyond.”

Contributions to an environment characterized by collaboration, cooperation, tolerance and mutual respect

“...keeps her eyes firmly on its future and how we can make our policies, services, and outreach activities ever better.”

“Whether working at her desk in RBSCP or from her home, Melinda is consistently creative, forward-thinking, and conscientious.”

Excellence in overall job performance 

(includes at least one major contribution to an individual department, program, unit, or the University as a whole, i.e., service enhancement, significant process improvement, cost reduction or avoidance, etc.)

“…did the lion’s share of work creating a social media policy for the department, and she is currently leading a team that is charged with creating new social media content focused on the women in our collections. Managing social media accounts takes a combination of creativity, technical skills, organization, and scheduling prowess.”

“…administration of the student staff at the RBSCP front desk and Pages in the RBSCP workroom is nothing short of breathtaking: it requires superlative organizational skills, endless patience, steadfastness in communicating complex practices, and the ability to instill a sense of responsibility and collaboration.”

“I have seen and appreciated the work of many recipients of this award, and know that Melinda measures up to their contributions.”

“I cannot think of anyone more deserving of the River Campus Libraries’ Staff Award than Melinda Wallington.” ∎

If you’re interested in learning more about Melinda Wallington’s work, feel free to contact her directly at mwallington@library.rochester.edu. Enjoy reading about the University of Rochester Libraries? Subscribe to Tower Talk.