Amanda Mack (California)

Busy Bees


Cross stitch with buttons
Stitched by Amanda Mack / Plant patterns designed by Susan Bates

“When I was first starting to think about ideas for this project, I came up with the metaphor: Catalogers are the bees of the library world. Like bees, we do a lot of important work without most people noticing or stopping to think about it. Our work allows research to happen, but I don’t think many people are aware of the amount of work that goes into creating just one catalog record, especially for unique materials. There is a lot of thought that goes into it ranging from devising a summary to choosing appropriate subject headings. I’m not sure everyone is aware that it is people creating the records they rely on to find materials.

As a catalog librarian, I really try to think about how people will be looking for materials and the best way to catalog them to make them more discoverable. This past year, I have been working on a project that has forced me to look at our discovery system from the user perspective, and it really drove home the point that if we didn’t do our job cataloging materials, people really wouldn’t be able to find what they needed. That realization is where the text on my piece comes from. In addition to the bees, I chose to embellish it with succulent plants, instead of wildflowers, to make it a bit different since I work with audiovisual materials. I wanted people to be aware not all librarians work with books or other print resources, and these materials often come with their own sets of problems and complications when it comes to cataloging.”


Amanda Mack is a film and television catalog librarian at the UCLA Film & Television Archive in Los Angeles, California.

This cross stitch includes three succulent plants on the bottom with a garland on the top. Three bee buttons buzz among the plants. The words “Without cataloging there is no discovery” are stitched in the middle in shades of blue and pink.


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Unseen Labor by Ann Kardos is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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