Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Fun at the library... (no really)

Everybody's asking me:

"Well, how is it?"

"How do you like it?"

"How's the new job?"

"Do you like being a librarian?"

"Do you wear those thick, black librarian glasses?"

Miu Miu | Cat eye acetate optical glasses:

No.

But I do really like the job..

It's only been about a month now that I have been working as a part time circulation assistant at our local library (but not the branch closest to me).  In that time I've learned to check books in, check books out, check to see if we have the book you want and where they are located in our massive building. Well, some of them. They do trick me sometimes. But I'm a whiz at issuing library cards.

But I've learned a whole lot more than that, too.

I've learned that print is not dead, despite what I've been told. People do still use the library. A lot. People do still read the printed word on printed paper and not just Smartphones and iPads and Kindles. People do still read books. Lots of them. Some more than others. One of our regular patrons is a rather elderly woman who checks out about two dozen hardbacks and paperbacks about every two weeks. And then she comes back for more.

I've learned that, if our library doesn't have the book you'd like to borrow on our shelves, we can borrow it from somebody else in the state or even elsewhere in the country. In fact, this will be one of my regular duties as I get more acclimated -- borrowing and sending books to libraries both in state and out. It's pretty cool, actually.

Libraries have kept up with the times. We know people do like to read on their Smartphones and tablets. So, yes, you can borrow e-books from the library on your device. No, really. After seeing the amount of money I spent on Kindle books last year, I'm very excited about this.

I''ve learned that youngsters still read books. And not just Harry Potter. The Diary of a Wimpy Kid books are rather popular, as are graphic novels of all types.  And they, too, check out more than one book at a time.

Parents still believe in starting their children to reading young. I've seen parents check out stacks of our picture books to read to their children.

People do enjoy being read to. Even adults. Folks daily check out our audio books so they can "read" while driving, or vacuuming, or bicycling, or doing whatever. One of our regulars is a local police officer who listens to audio books while cruising around town. I found that fascinating.

I'm also fascinated by the fact that Game of Thrones is 27 discs long. Who in the heck has time for that?

But libraries aren't just about books.

I am learning that not everyone has their own computer. Every day dozens of people come to our library to use one of our 10 available desktop computers. People use them for research, to watch movies, to play games, to do resumes, to apply for jobs, to pay their bills, to make things, or just to print. Plus, not everyone has a heavy-duty color printer that can handle 100 pages or more like we do. We also have two laptops available to borrow -- both of which were checked out this week.

But a lot of those folks need help. Luckily, I have a knack for computer stuff and a nephew who taught me very well.

I am learning that people do still enjoy their library. Teenagers will -- and do -- spent their Saturdays there. Dads with kids, moms with kids, families with several kids, just plain folks -- all still use their library. Even on a Saturday when there's college football being played.

I also am learning that I do still love books. Once upon a time, when I was a single, childless and recently-graduated English Major, I had shelves and shelves of books in my apartments. The movers who moved me from Uptown to LaPlace were amazed -- and a little grumpy that they had to box all of them. Once upon a time, I had a lovely home office with shelves and shelves of books -- the Classics, novels, a Stephen King collection, a wonderful Civil War collection, a HUGE sports collection. Then I turned that room into a nursery and gave away lots and lots of books. Then, years later, my mother-in-law moved in and I gave away seven more boxes of books.

Then I got a Kindle and didn't need so much shelf space.

Now, I work at a library. And don't have to buy so many. But I do still want to take them all home with me. Especially, if a patron checks a book back in that I find interesting,  sometimes I find myself stopping to read the dust jacket (sorry). Later, I'll go read the first few pages. Sometimes I get to Chapter 2. Or 3. (Sorry.) And as much as I might want to take that book home, I must make myself wait until I finish the one I already have. And the two on my Kindle.

It's a good thing I'm not working at the animal shelter.

So, the answer is yes. I do like the job. It is part time, but lots of hours (which is good). So I can still do a lot of my freelance sports stuff. I can still cover games, but I had to give up the weekly volleyball polls (aw).  And I'm still doing my weekly community news column,"River Views," for The New Orleans Advocate.

And yes, I am learning to shush.