It has been a fantastic week, thus far, in Libraryland!
Last winter I secured some study materials for an individual who was taking a Civil Service exam to advance in their employment. Unfortunately, these test materials are not always easy to come by. While lots of libraries buy copies, the fact is they are frequently not returned. Thankfully, I was able to get my hands on what this individual needed. Over the winter I saw this person once while they were salting a sidewalk. Stopping my car I shouted out my window “Are you studying?” Yes, they had been. The exam was taken and the waiting begun. Earlier this Spring I saw the person again. “Any word yet?” Nope. The results might not be in until June. Time marched on.
Tuesday I had a visitor. It was a very happy patron. They had passed their exam and had come in to thank me with a beautiful card and gift. Oh my goodness, what a great feeling it is to know that you have made a difference.
Also this week we have had the pleasure of welcoming a couple of very nice teenage girls who were simply stopping by to do some homework. As they worked away, they were respectful to each other, respectful to our space and respectful to me. I’ve enjoyed having them stop by and hope to see them again.
A couple of my tiny pals showed up yesterday. While there is never any question of just how important and necessary reading is to our quality of life educationally, socially and professionally, a question that does pop up from time to time on social media, news and professional sites, and blogs is just how relevant are bricks and mortar libraries in this age of kindles, tablets and IPhones? In my opinion, they remain extremely relevant.
My first public library experience was at the Fort Plain Free Library when every Friday night our family would “go to town”. My parents would drop me off on the corner of Willet and River Streets as they headed off to do the grocery shopping at the Red and White. The library director, Miss Charlotte Wetterau, ran a tight ship. The library was always quiet and we spoke in low, reverent tones as befitting her expected solemnity of the place.
What a treat it was to explore among the stacks, pulling off a book here and there, reading the dust jacket and wondering if it were a “keeper” for the week. Once my selections were finalized I would take them to the front desk for check out which was no cut dried affair. As Miss Wetterau carefully wrote my name on each card and stamped the date due we would enjoy some conversation. We’d talk about the weather, the books I had brought back, the books I was taking out, and what was going on in town.
Each and every visit required me to take ownership of my responsibility in borrowing materials, articulate my thoughts, speak up with confidence, and look Miss Wetterau in the eye when talking with her while all the time being polite, patient, and respectful. Those kinds of social interactions help a child develop their communication and related interpersonal skills.
Yesterday, as one of my pals sat quietly looking at a book, I approached the table and inquired if I might ask him a question. Looking at me, he very calmly replied “Yes, Dawn.”, and we chatted on from there. It was not just a matter of my questions and his answers, rather it was conversation. Heading out with a backpack full of books, I look forward to the family’s return. In the meantime, somewhere in my spare room, is a Millennium Falcon. Once I dig it out, it will find a new home with this Star Wars fan!
Finally, today I received some fantastic news. A young lady who volunteered here several years ago has returned to school to get her Master’s Degree in Library Science! Her mom wanted to thank Marta and I for inspiring herJ
I arrived among the stacks June 1, 1977. It is weeks like this that remind me why, after all these years, I continue to enjoy my work.