10. Books! -- to shelve and take off shelves, to check in and check out, to organize and arrange, never mind sneaking a peek at the front flap or scanning the back, and all of those chats with patrons, did you like this one? What's your favorite by this author? Ooh! I have been meaning to read this, do you recommend it?
9. We also have dvds and cds and magazines and newspapers, and then there's the array of digital resources. Did you know that with your library card, from the comfort of your own home, you can stream a movie, flip through a magazine, download a song or a book?
Yeah, me neither, until I started working at the library. (For reference purposes, see: Kanopy, Flipster, Hoopla, and Libby.)
8. But wait, how much does a library card cost? (This is an actual question I got the other day when I was working at the desk.)
The answer: It's free!
7. And speaking of library cards, this is one of my favorite things to do at the library. Give someone a library card. To the woman above who had apparently never been inside a library in her life. To the man from Brazil who had just moved here and proudly showed me his passport and utility bill with his address. To the four year old who wanted to check out her own books. To the two boys who were helping their non-English-speaking mom apply for her own card. I love that moment when I hand them their new card and the little brochure that goes with it and say, Welcome to the library!
6. This cool packing-up of books we have to do. (The library where I work is part of a consortium with a bunch of other libraries and all of the libraries work together to ship books out to each other, so every day we are fitting and stacking and organizing bins in this way that I totally get a charge out of.) I think because it reminds me of playing Tetris.
5. Questions. These are like puzzles and even the patrons asking the questions sometimes know that it might be hard to find the answer. For example: What's that book that was mentioned on NPR a few weeks ago or a few months ago and had something to do with a dog and a hurricane?
Did I read this book? (Fun fact: we can't actually answer that question because there's no way to see a patron's book-checking-out history. Which is a good thing, actually, because, the Bill of Rights.
4. Book Recs. I LOVE THESE! Usually it's a parent looking for a read-alike to a child's favorite book or a person waiting on a sequel and needing something else to read in the meantime. Sometimes it's just a lonely person who you can tell just
3. wants to talk, and guess what? They have come to the right person at the right place for that!
2. Because we are Open to All. See:
Those are the words etched in stone over the entrance to the main library downtown since 1907.
1. That day I was working in the Youth Services section and noticed the quiet little girl sitting by herself while her father was on his phone and I asked her if she wanted to do our famous Very Hungry Caterpillar Scavenger Hunt and she nodded, and I gave her the clipboard and she marched off quietly searching, and then I forgot about her for a while, and then she came back after finding all of the hidden items and had an extremely difficult time choosing a prize from our prize box, needing to touch every single item at least twice before making her final decision,
and that was only after I told her that if she came back another time, she could do the scavenger hunt again and pick out another prize.
A few days later when I was working upstairs, the same little girl marched over to the desk and held up her prize and spoke to me for the first time, smiling when she said:
"I came back."