Friday, January 13, 2012
I have been working my part-time job at the local library to gain experience and hands-on knowledge in hope of gaining a full-time library position to begin the next path in new found career. Although I am only doing work that is normally done by high school students, I am enjoying it and am very excited about gaining experience and being able to participate with true library experiences for course discussions when classes start back up later this month.
I work two nights a week for three hours and the 2nd Saturday of every month. Tomorrow is my first Saturday. I haven’t worked a full Saturday for the last 17 years when I was in retail, so it shall be interesting but I am still excited about the direction my life is leading. My primary responsibility is shelving the books that have been checked in, which can take up the entire 3 hours. However because I am out on the floor during that time, I do have a lot of interaction with the patrons.
Just last Monday, I was shelving the Children’s section and this little boy about 5, continue asked me where the books that are easy to read. In fact, he just would pick up a book and say “Is this one easy to read?” It was so cute J I eventually showed him to the Step-into-Reading books were and after reading (or just looking at – not sure which) approximately 20 books he asked by how to put the books back, Together we re-shelved his books.
He must have taken a likely to me because later in the evening when I was still shelving; he continually poked his hand around the corner each time with a different puppet. I would react and he would giggle. It was fun and great to laugh and enjoy work again.
The next time I worked, I had to cover dinner breaks, so was able to work behind the desk. I checked out my first patron, was able to answer a few general library questions and was able to interact and become acquainted with some of the other library staff. I haven’t had much time to talk with the other staff since I generally am out on the library floor.
There has been a lot of “library talk” in my graduate courses about the pros and cons of a Roving Librarian – librarians who roam the library to be more visible to the patrons to ask for help and to help those patrons that just look lost. I personally have never cared for the thought. I do not like pushing salesmen in stores and feel the librarians may give the same feeling. I like my libraries, like salesman, easy to find but not pestering. The patrons (should) know that if they need assistance the librarians are at the desk, which I do believe should be easy to find and very noticeable. I would prefer this, as a patron, than the idea of feeling like I’m being followed around as I browse – just in case I need help.
I bring this up because after a week shelving books, I realize I could be looked at as a Roving Librarian. The difference is that “roving” isn’t my primary duty and I’m not seeking to assist, but rather there if assistance if needed and asked of me. I like this idea MUCH better J
Besides the young boy that asked for my assistance, I also assisted an adult in using the on-line catalog. When it was discovered that the book wasn’t in our collection, I looked at an area library since they didn’t have it either I explained how interlibrary loans (ILL) work. He seemed to be satisfied with my assistance.
Even though it’s only been a week, this career change has been a plus, very rewarding and I continue to look forward to experiencing more, continuing school, and hopefully one day soon acquiring a full-time position.