Darlene Hutchinson is the office manager for the Center for Library Initiatives at the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, a consortium of the Big Ten universities plus the University of Chicago, whose offices are at the university.
Hutchinson started as a secretary III at the CIC in 2000. Prior to that, she worked at Christie Clinic for 15 years as a medical secretary and, before that, taught business and oversaw the yearbook at Newman High School for four years.
Born in Tuscola, Hutchinson grew up in Newman. After living briefly in Westville and Hume, she and her husband, Wally, moved back to Newman.
Hutchinson earned a degree in business education at Eastern Illinois University.
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR JOB.
As office manager for the Center for Library Initiatives at the CIC, I work with all the libraries of the Big Ten universities plus the University of Chicago. It’s kind of cool.
I manage the electronic licensing for the libraries, which is a lot more than I expected. I manage the calendar that details license renewal dates, so we renew on time and without loss of access. I work with the vendors to answer any questions anyone has about pricing, and I make sure the payments go out on time. We’ve got a database where we keep track of all the invoices. I always like it when those last numbers match up with what I’ve got!
I also manage all of our library listservs. We have well over 50 active subject-areas.
Right now, I’m working on setting up a lot of conference calls and face-to-face meetings for the director and assistant director. I also help set up some of their meetings and manage their travel, including transportation, hotels and registration.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT YOUR JOB?
The people. I just love working with all of the different people from the member institutions from different parts of the Midwest. That’s been great. I think it’s really fun meeting and talking with such a variety of people on a daily basis.
I also like that it’s always a different day when I come in each morning. There are always different e-mails to answer, different problems to solve.
WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE ON THE JOB?
Keeping track of so many things. There’s also generally a time element involved that can range from a couple of days, a few weeks or many months. My natural inclination is to get a job done when it’s handed to me, so it’s been hard for me to sit back and let it simmer while I wait for another piece of it to come back to me. That’s just my personality – to get things done right away.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO OFF THE JOB?
I enjoy spending as much time with my children and grandchildren as I can.
I love flower gardens, so I enjoy going over to the flower garden on Lincoln Avenue and seeing what’s in bloom. I’m working on perennial gardens at home, but I can’t say I’m very good at it.
I like to read, but I don’t have much time to read right now with taking care of our parents and keeping up with three grandchildren.
I also love to travel.
ANY FAVORITE DESTINATIONS?
Back in the early 1990s, I had the privilege of going to Europe. I had never been that far away from home before, being a lifelong Midwestern girl. We flew to Paris on Christmas Day, and then we went to London. London was my favorite of the two. The language was more of a barrier in Paris, and I hadn’t dusted off my high school French in a long time. London had so much history – seeing Westminster Abbey was a highlight. We also cruised up and down the Thames in a boat on New Year’s Eve, and got to see Big Ben and Parliament all lit up.
In the U.S., my husband and I got to go to Hawaii last year. That was a wonderful trip. But there are a lot of places we haven’t been to that my husband and I would like to explore.