It is my pleasure to introduce our community to Bay Area Cancer Connections’ new online library catalog. Our catalog works just like the one at your local public library, displaying our materials, which are focused on the needs of breast and ovarian cancer patients, caregivers, and loved ones. We have books on everything from risk factors and diagnosis, to treatment and survivorship, as well as complementary therapies, emotional support, and personal stories written by others who have been there. We also offer a wealth of CDs for both mindfulness meditation and guided imagery to provide comfort as you move through your treatment. Clients can call our Helpline to reserve a book.
This library catalog was made possible by the work of two very special volunteers: Judy Atterholt and Yael Hod. Judy and Yael are both professional librarians who graciously donated their time, creativity, and expertise to this project. Bringing high energy and good humor to our office, Judy and Yael plowed through the library, entering every book, CD, and DVD we have in the library catalog—about 1,100 titles! The work they did will make a meaningful difference in our clients’ ability to access Bay Area Cancer Connections’ resources, and we are deeply grateful. I had the pleasure of working with both of them, and of interviewing them for this article. My questions and their answers follow:
How did you get involved with Bay Area Cancer Connections?
Judy: My friend Mira needed help creating an online catalog for the library materials. Since I am a librarian and have had breast cancer, I wanted to help out.
Yael: Judy introduced me to Mira, and I learned about the library at BCC.
What was the highlight of working on the Bay Area Cancer Connections catalog?
Judy: I really enjoyed the process of sitting down as a team to figure out how we were going to set up the catalog and make it as accessible and user-friendly as possible.
Yael: The sense of satisfaction when I realized that between us, we had gotten the entire collection into the catalog.
What would you tell someone who is considering volunteering at Bay Area Cancer Connections?
Judy: It’s a great place to volunteer. The work is important and the staff is smart, dedicated and big-hearted.
Yael: Everyone is extremely nice and helpful. They do incredible work and support each other.
What would you tell a friend who has been diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer about the Bay Area Cancer Connections library?
Judy: I would tell them that rather than searching for information on the web, which will most likely frighten and overwhelm them, they should go to the BCC librarian, who will help them find accurate and useful information about their cancer diagnosis and treatment options.
Yael: Speak to Mira and Erika. Whether you are looking for medical or dietary information, or for emotional support, they will help you find it.
What keeps you busy when you’re not volunteering?
Judy: I am a librarian at a K-5 elementary school and I work at my local public library on occasion. Outside of work, I enjoy being outdoors – biking, walking, or hiking. I also play the piano and enjoy going to concerts, plays and classic movies.
Yael: I work in acquisitions at the Stanford University Library—mostly in the Judaica and Literature collections. I have four kids who keep me very busy. I also love to read, and I try and find time to run.