Women in IT (Part IV): The other side of Olin Library

Oct 21, 2013

I have seen the soul of Olin, and it is impressive.

I met with Holli in the lobby of Olin so she could show me around where she works. Now, I’m familiar with the 2nd and 3rd floor, and I’ve done my time in the A and B stacks, but those environments are so different from the areas of Olin Library that you don’t get to see. The areas you don’t get to see unless you have a special escort, that is. 🙂

We started on the main floor. Holli took me behind the circulation desk to the area where the subject librarians have their offices. After saying hello to some people, we took an access-protected elevator down to the belly of Olin. This is where Holli’s office is. She introduced me to her colleagues, including a man who had just started working there that day. Then she had one of her colleagues let us into the room where all the servers are kept. The man in charge of the servers told me what he does with them and how they work. That was interesting for me because usually I’m dealing with programs and software, but there I was in a room full of hardware. And when I say full of hardware, I mean literally rows and rows of servers stacked almost to the ceiling. Some of them were in use, some of them weren’t. I wish I had taken a picture. Here’s one I found online to give you an idea of where I was. Imagine many rows of these.

Next, we sat at Holli’s desk and she showed me the new design for the library database she was working on. I asked her a few general questions, like if they’re in charge of the wi-fi (they’re not; that’s a different WashU department), and before I knew it the hour was up and it was time for me to go.