Staff Profile: Paulette Feld
|Some people may swear to put as many miles as they can between themselves and their alma mater after the years of work necessary to nab their diploma. Paulette Feld (’79), on the other hand, returned to UW Oshkosh a mere six months after graduation, and has since become a valuable member of the Polk Library team over the last 33 years.|
Paulette, born and raised in Sheboygan, began her college career by earning an associate of arts degree from UW Sheboygan before transferring to Oshkosh her junior year. She worked at the university library for both schools while a student and ultimately earned a bachelor’s degree in library science. Paulette said her love of reading and learning how to find answers to questions led her in the direction of library science – not to mention the fact she did not want to do the same thing her sister and many other women were doing at that time: becoming a teacher.
After graduation, Paulette was first hired by Polk Library as the night and weekend supervisor of the circulation desk. She then took on more technical roles as computers became an integral part of the library, including taking care of the mainframe computers in the building. This type of work has always come naturally to Paulette because her father encouraged her from an early age to try to fix things. So long as they were already broken, that is.
“A lot of it is self-taught and learning through baptism by fire,” she jokes. “This printer has a jam? I will stick my hands in there. I have never been afraid to do that.”
Luckily for Polk, Paulette’s positive attitude has allowed her to adapt as technology has continued to alter her role within the library. Currently, Paulette assists other staff members with their computer system needs through her desktop support role.
“There is no similarity to what I did in 1980 and what I do now,” she says. “As soon as I start getting bored with my job, something changes and I learn something new and I am not bored anymore.”
Paulette’s involvement on campus is not limited to the library. She served several terms on the Classified Staff Advisory Council, which she helped create as a way to increase the involvement of classified staff members on campus. She has also worked on numerous search and screen committees as well as the EAP Advisory Board. Her desire to help and mentor classified staff brought her to the highest levels in public employee organized labor.
She has been a board member of the Wisconsin State Employees Union for the past 15 years and currently serves as president of the over 20,000-member union. Paulette has been involved with politics from the time she helped her father campaign for the county board when she was eight years old. After experiencing the historic turmoil in the aftermath of Act 10, Paulette continues to work to improve the position of state employees.
Paulette is also a member of the statewide Wisconsin Humanities Council that reviews and approves grants for humanities-based programs throughout the state.
When she finds free time, Paulette enjoys snowshoeing in the winter and traveling the country in the summer. She also knits, gardens and participates in her church.