Sitting at Craig’s work station is a small notebook, filled with dates and numbers dating back to 2005. Craig, a page assistant at the King County Library System’s Shoreline branch, has kept a tally of his productivity during every shift for nearly a decade -- making note of how many books he is able to assess and shelve during his three-hour shifts. Today, he has re-shelved 411 books -- nearly one book every 20 seconds.
“He really pushes himself to get as much work done as he can so his coworkers can focus on tasks other than holds,” says Mary Lamkin, Craig’s job coach through Northwest Center.
Each day, Craig works independently, pulling and shelving books that have been placed on hold, rewinding and doing quality assessments of books on tape, and filing totes for shipment to other library branches. “It’s a complex job,” says Northwest Center’s Senior Manager of Client Services, Edith Savadove. “It’s not just checking in books. Sometimes the books have an exception on them and you’ve got to print a new slip, or put them in a different place, or put them in a different box, or it’s damaged and you have to know what to do with it then.”
During his tenure, Craig has mastered not only the shelving process but also two complex computer programs unique to King County Library’s operating system that are used to track the movement and status of millions of books.
“The job has a lot of little parts to it. There’s a lot of nuance to the programs and I think Craig has been able to learn all those complexities of the job with time,” says Savadore.
Most important though, says Craig, is that he is able to be a helping hand to his fellow workers.
“Craig enjoys working with and helping others. He is the first to volunteer to help out if someone needs it and he loves to joke around with his coworkers. He really loves to learn -- he wants to know how to do everything in the library so he can help out everyone,” says Lamkin.
Looking toward his future, Craig says he hopes to someday be a librarian at the Shoreline branch, leading others and fostering their growth like his manager and team have done for him.
“I really love books, plus it’s close to my home, so that is good,” he says.
But for his job coaches and the employment services team at Northwest Center, Craig’s future aspirations and his current successes are just one example of the power of inclusion in the community and in the workforce.
“Most of the work environments of the consumers I work with really benefit from working alongside a supported employee. It gives them a chance to learn about working with someone new and different and see their great qualities,” says Lamkin. “It changes their perspective on people with disabilities in the work force.”
Craig shelves books and audio tapes at King County Library’s Shoreline branch.
Reading Recommendations from Craig: The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth
Northwest Center is passionate about equal rights, anti-ableism, and full inclusion for people with disabilities. Thank you for reading.