Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Central Library volunteer

Dalma Miller
July 24, 1925 to March 17, 2009

For years Dalma Miller used my desk and computer accomplishing her volunteer work at the Central Library. She worked for the State of California for over 53 years. Done with her day job she would walk the few blocks to Central and continue working for fun. I met a person recently who remembers her volunteering, after work, at the Arden Library in the 1970’s. I think she began volunteering with Sacramento Public Library after her husband, Lorne, died in 1972. Meanwhile, she continued working for the State at the Witkin State Law Library of California downtown in Library and Courts Building One.

Dalma’s work at the Central Library was an alphanumeric journey through the Sacramento Periodicals Index cards. She started in the A’s. Her job was to enter the index cards in a database which will eventually be used by all to find articles in old Sacramento area magazines. I think she may have even typed many of these original cards she was making electronic. Three days a week, from 4:00 to 5:00pm she would tenaciously enter information from each card into the computer. We started with a WordPerfect data file, transferred the information to a Paradox database, then to an Access database. She even worked in an Excel spreadsheet. For those who have been around, you can follow the adventure of Dalma’s work just by imagining yourself struggling with these various programs. She stopped in the S’s, over 35,000 records later.

She started working on this database with me when she was in her early 70’s. She would arrive smiling her way up and down the staff area, greeting many. She knew a lot of people who had worked, and were still working at Central. Often I would find a note, written in a fine cursive hand, telling me she would be out for a day, or was visiting either her brother in Nebraska or Arizona. If she wasn’t going to be in she would tell us. When she didn’t come in we worried. She was as much a part of our staff at Central as she was at the State Library. Everyone loved her. Everyone misses her. I miss her.

Gerry Ward

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

She is missed here at the State Library also. This was a very nice piece of her history. Thank you.