The Kingsport Public Library is a place where people can find information about any subject, and when they need answers about all things tech, they turn to Eric Erwin.
Erwin is the library information technology technician. The job title means that he maintains the systems that make it possible for people to check out books and materials from the library. However, this is far from the full scope of Erwin’s responsibilities, as his role amounts to more of a one-man tech wiz for libraries across the whole region.
“I definitely wear a lot of different hats in my role at the library,” Erwin said. “I am an administrator for the ILS (Integrated Library System) not just for our library, but for every library in the Organization of Watauga Libraries system.”
The system Erwin helps oversee includes the Johnson City Library, Bristol Public Library and all five libraries inside of Sullivan County. With some of these libraries lacking full-time IT staff, it is up to Erwin to provide knowledge and info whenever and wherever he is needed.
Erwin doesn’t just provide technology help to librarians, though. Twice a month, he puts on a program called “Ask the Library Geek” at the Kingsport Senior Center, where seniors can schedule appointments to get answers to any technology problem they have, from issues using a new phone to basic tutorials on things like video calls or emails.
“Being able to help people in that way is a part of the job that I really enjoy,” Erwin said.
When asked about some of the new and exciting things going on at the library right now, he didn’t hesitate before praising the library’s new Maker Space — a resource where artists and engineers alike can utilize materials like Cricut machines and 3D printers for their own personal projects.
“It’s been really cool getting to help with those machines and see some of the amazing stuff that people make in there,” Erwin said. “I’ve had a lot of fun getting to play around with them.”
Erwin has been working for the Kingsport Public Library for more than five years, and he said the diverse nature of the work makes it a fun and rewarding role. He said his job affords him a high level of independence, which allows him to work hard on things he thinks will help the library and the city as a whole.
“I really don’t think there’s anywhere I would rather work than here,” Erwin said.