Marsha began working at the American Philatelic Society in March, clocking in three weeks as the Reference Assistant of the American Philatelic Research Library before beginning work from home during Pennsylvania's early lockdown. Since then, she has returned as part of the library's essential staff to answer research questions and assist members. If you haven't taken advantage of the library's fantastic resources, including the hardworking knowledge of staff members like Marsha, consider taking a few minutes to discover how your collecting experience can be enhanced by this APS research service.
Meet Marsha Garman
Erin: I know you are one our newest additions to the APS family and I know you might not have many stories yet, but they are still very important and would love to hear about your time so far working at APS. So can you share with our members your job and what you do at APS/APRL?
Marsha: I am the reference assistant in the APRL. I take phone calls and email requests to answer reference questions and check in serials and process claims for missing issues. I also rotate covering the circulation desk during lunch breaks, shelve books and, of course, learn a lot about stamps.
Thank you for the description of all of what you do day to day. So how long have you worked at the APS?
So that's interesting, because I've worked at the APS for about 9 months now, but after the first three weeks, which were in the library, and then I had many more working from home.
I'm glad you brought that up, because I'm curious how you have transitioned to working from home, especially in such a short amount of time. What does that look like for you?
Well, I've worked from home before, so I'm used to working from home–that's not a problem. But there are resources at the library that I need to look at, such as serial check-in cards, since I'm working mostly with serials right now. So, I'm making lots of notes and spreadsheets of questions. A few months ago, the building opened up again for employees on a reduced basis, so I've been back in the library again fairly frequently.
I know that it has been a short amount of time for you at APS, but what is the best part of your job?
I really enjoy the reference questions because I like solving mysteries and helping people, digging into things, and finding the answers. I also enjoy learning a lot, so whenever someone asks me a question, I look into it, and I learn a lot about the subject and it's helpful in that way. It's not just about the stamps, it's about the history behind the stamps.
We might have to make a new youtube playlist called "Mystery Solving of Stamps with Marsha" ... that would be really fun. You shared that you work mostly with reference questions and so with that in mind what is another good resource that members could use as well?
You can search the catalog and digital collection as well. And the website itself has so much information on it. Lately I have been attending the Stamp Chats and watching APS YouTube videos and I'm finding a lot of things interesting. I think if you go on the website and poke around, you will find stuff that is interesting and relevant to your collecting.
I think I did the same thing the first couple of weeks I worked here. I found a wealth of information and videos that were really captivating. I ask this of everyone and am wondering if you might call yourself a stamp collector after this short time at the APS?
Of course I'm interested – I tend to get interested in many things. Because of the history behind the stamps, I am really intrigued, and I do think I will start collecting.
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Marsha, soon after she started at the APS as Reference Assistant.
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Marsha is an avid hiker and camper, despite her mild-mannered-seeming profession.
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Hiking in the Adirondacks with a friend. Photo credit Marsha Garman.
I really enjoy hearing everyone's collecting interests and can't wait to see what your collection will look like someday. I would like to learn a little bit about you, is there a fun fact you could share with our members?
I’m a librarian and a copy editor ... those are the type of jobs that you might assume that I'm very quiet, and would enjoy curling up with books and reading. But frankly I am very active and enjoy being outdoors. I like to tent camp, hike, and stay very active. I guess that might be a little different than what you might expect of a librarian.
We will have to share some stories, because I enjoy hiking as well and have been backpacking before. So my last question is can you share what you enjoy about our members at APS/APRL?
Everybody is so nice. I haven't been here very long but everyone I have spoken to is so bright and knowledgeable about stamps, and that is very encouraging. You can see the excitement in everyone's face when they start talking about their collection and the APRL. I look forward to getting to know people better as time goes on.
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