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November 30, 2010 / Christian M.

Has It Been A Year Already???

Did I really write this my first week on the job: “It’s a new day in my professional life….and I could not be happier to see the sun rising each morning with more opportunities for continued growth.” Hmph, it was raining hard this morning, and I was NOT trying to get up.

Today marks one year as a Library Associate in this public library system – and what an interesting year it has been.

What I have learned:

People skills are of utmost importance – sometimes more important than knowing who wrote the novel “Hooker to Housewife,” (Joy King btw), the most recent book published by Danielle Steel (Southern Lights), Dale Evans birthdate (October 31, 1912), or where to find “that drug book” on the shelf (ummm, what kinda drugs are we talking about here?).

Anything can happen, because everyone is allowed through that door. Be prepared to interact with:

  • All ages & races & socioeconomic backgrounds
  • Various levels of education & technology skills (in youth & adults)
  • The mentally ill (on & off their medication)
  • People who are “under the influence” of something other than God (i.e drugs/alcohol)

Sometimes you don’t know until that moment what the right response should be, but you definitely learn as you go. Everyone should be treated with the same respect and pleasant attitude (whether they are in or out of their mind). Just be aware that if you are a woman, some men may misinterpret your niceness.  I have been proposed to, had multiple men request my number, and had a man leave his number and then come back the next day asking why I hadn’t called him (‘cause I threw it in the trash fool!).

A brief message to customers:

I have also observed some reoccurring themes in the questions and ideas the community has about our library and resources, and I just want to address a few:

  • Yes, library cards are free, and there is no charge to borrow materials. But you do have to be a resident of DC, MD, or VA to receive a card in this system … and I’m sorry sir, but Delaware does not count, even though it is “so close.”
  • No, you are not bothering me. No question is too dumb or repetitive. And you can keep coming back to the information desk (or calling) as many times as you need to.  However, I am not your doctor, lawyer, therapist, or babysitter. Please seek those services elsewhere.
  • That computer is not yours. You are sharing with everyone else. When your reservation ends, it automatically goes to the next person waiting – even if you refuse to move from the chair.
  • I appreciate that you feel so comfortable here at the library. You are welcome to stay as long as we’re open. But please do not spit your sunflower seeds on the floor, bring your own beer, paint your fingernails, play music without headphones, have loud conversations, or let your children run wild.

Despite all of the above, I do enjoy my work here at the public library. Every day I learn more about what it means to be an information professional. The specific tasks may vary based on the environment and clientele, but the basic premise remains the same. I am a teacher, an encourager, a guide, and a seeker of knowledge and truth. I help people find the information that is important to them, and offer resources to cultivate their literacy skills. So whether I am reading Duck Rides A Bike to preschoolers, showing an adult how to “copy and paste,” or finding books for a teen that are similar to the Pretty Little Liars series, it all fulfills a need within the community.

So rain or shine, I will try to stay cheerful….take any opportunity for professional growth….and try to be on time for work (hey, it’s a new day – anything is possible).

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2 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Lesley / Dec 16 2010 12:21 pm

    Congrats on your 1-year anniversary! Right now I’m reading the book free for All: Oddballs, Geeks, and Ganstas in the Public Library– have you read it yet?

  2. LibGirl09 / Dec 16 2010 12:39 pm

    No, I haven’t read it yet. There was a waiting list when my library system first ordered the book. Thanks for reminding me! I’ll check it out this week. 🙂

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