Every bookworm looking for their next great read has thousands of choices to browse at the Churchill County Library. But there’s only one Joe Salsman, the Information Technology Librarian. Since 2017, Joe has been spending his days helping the library expand its reach into the community with innovative resources for everyone from pre-teens to senior citizens.
As IT Librarian, Salsman’s job is to assist library admin with the library’s technical systems and lead the library’s technical programs, highlighted by 3D printing, Virtual Reality, and computer training classes.
The Virtual Reality is a particular hit with middle school students, Salsman said. In addition to the new Hidden Cave VR tours, other VR activities include video games.
“That covers a lot of ground and depends on what the user wants to do,” Salsman said.
Twice each month, visitors can attend the drop-in 3D printer workshops and learn how to make a variety of things. Salsman said a popular activity lately for many users is making chess sets. The classes instruct users on how to print their own designs for artistic and experimental purposes. “You can make basically anything useful that’s made out of plastic,” he said.
On Fridays, Salsman takes his expertise a few blocks down Maine Street to the Pennington Life Center to help seniors with their electronics skills. Common subjects include setting up email accounts, selling things on Craigslist, basic computer troubleshooting, using library resources, and changing the settings on their phones.
Originally from Berkeley, Calif, he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in linguistics from UC Davis, then a Master’s in Library & Information Science from the University of Wisconsin. While going from linguistics to IT may seem like an unlikely career path, Salsman said that background actually serves him well. “Most public librarians will tell you everything you learn comes in handy in this job.”