28 Jul 2009

Library Day in the Life – 2009

I read a Library Day In The Life post on Agnostic, Maybe, and instantly thought it was super fun. A few Google searches later, I’m writing my own. Apparently it’s a longstanding tradition (or longstanding in internet-terms) and today is the day to document your library life.

As some of you may recall, I really prefer not to Blog About Work, but I am feeling sentimental since these are my last days at my dearest library, so to heck with it! What are they gonna do? Fire me? Haha… just kidding.

Anyway, in case you too are finding me via Google Search of your own, I am a Youth Services Library Assistant at a popular rural library. That also means we’re on the decline of summer reading madness, so things aren’t too active ’round these parts, but still fun nonetheless. I am about to leave my job to start earning a MLS and an MA in Children’s Lit at Simmons College in Boston, which entails a cross-country move in less than 3 weeks.

8:00-11:30 a.m.

Gradually entered the land of the living. Watched an episode of In Treatment with breakfast, did the dishes, and gathered motivation to go for a run. Being that I rarely exercise outside of the gym (rarely = once every year or two) this was a momentous occasion. Then found myself with a very bad hair problem and no time to fix it. Gave myself this hairstyle I called “I’m getting my hair cut tomorrow and I just have to make it through one day, so y’all can suck it!” Took off for work.

11:30 -12:30 p.m.

Commute! Pomegranate Rockstar (shut up, I’m cutting waaaay back, believe me), Harvesting the Heart, and chatting with the BF.

12:30-3:00 p.m.

Actually on time for my desk shift! Yay! Immediately upon arrival an adorable little boy comes up and asks me how old he has to be to get a library card. I tell him he has to be 5-years-old, and he cracks THE hugest smile and runs up to the Circulation Desk sans his mother. Apparently he’d been waiting for this glorious moment. I made a mental note to suggest we get some “I got my first library card!” stickers to hand out to excited kids.

My boss came over to visit my desk, and told me I looked fancy and she loved my hairstyle. Librarian-chic.

Photo 114

(looked the same 12 hrs ago, I promise)

The rest of the afternoon is spent doing computer sign ups, procuring desk stats sheets for the coming months since ours are all gone, signing off on Summer Reading Sheets – everyone’s finishing up and getting grand prize tickets – did a little blogging (shhh… don’t tell), and quizzing everyone on staff about car insurance. There was also a fun moment when the Info Desk transfered me some irate patron who wanted a stock quote – like I’m more equipped to do that than the info desk? – but either she hung up on me before I could answer or I mis-transfered the call. Both are equally likely.

3:00-4:00 p.m.

Off desk now, which means a retreat to the back of the staff area. I took a fifteen minute break to call Borders, and set up an interview for August 17th! Which means I am really moving to Boston. Holy crap. I had to turn in my “two weeks notice” today, but I wanted to double check my dates with the BF before I did, so I tried to call him periodically. After too much computer-staring and moving related stress, I left the staff area to restock coloring pages, locate pencils, and straighten up the new books.


World’s Earliest Lunch. Tried a new sandwich at Schlotsky’s – it was good but holy SPICY MUSTARD. I read Audrey, Wait! which I’d been consciously avoiding for no apparent reason. Found myself struggling not to check it out. Can. Not. Check. Out. Books. Moving. In. Two. Weeks.

4:30-5:35 p.m.

Back to work! Still floundering about that two week’s notice letter. Made a little schedule of my next few weeks to see when things need to be done, when I physically HAVE to leave for Boston to make it to my interview in one piece. Finally got a hold of BF after 5:00 and have a series of misunderstandings, one of which involving what day he needs to be in Boston. Frustrating phone conversation that is unfortunately happening at work. Am late for desk shift, and am needing to move my last day up from Friday to Monday. Egads.

5:35-8:30 p.m.

Retype resignation letter with altered dates. Enter panic mode where I can barely keep my eyes in a straight line for more than a moment. I’M MOVING AND GOING TO GRAD SCHOOL AND HOLY CRAP WHY AM I DOING THIS HOW AM I DOING THIS?!??!? Take breaks to help patrons:

– Attempted to locate misplaced “Keeping Rabbits as Pets” books. Filled out In Stacks, Can’t Find form.

– Put holds on the entire Maximum Ride series for a mom and daughter pair, and found myself unable to gauge whether Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas has any content inappropriate for a 10-11 yr old, even though I’ve read it twice.

– Helped a dad locate a list of dinosaur picture books, emailed from his daughter who’s taking a teaching class at Western. Saw one book on a pile another family had picked out. Asked politely if they might want to choose another Curious George title today? Felt weird that I would feel comfortable doing that.

And then some noisy teenagers came in. They got on my computers without signing up, so I tried to establish A Sense of Rules In The Library right away by confronting them and asking them to visit the desk. Five minutes later, they are reading aloud from their Myspace pages, mentioning things that would be a high PG or PG-13. Mom who surrendered Curious George spoke up before I could decide what to do – asked them to keep their voices down, her children were nearby. They quieted down, but soon the punching and arm slapping began. I paid them another visit. Told them if they wanted to stay, they would have to be quiet, use discretion in their conversation, and keep their hands to themselves. They did a little teenaged boy arguing but I was having none of it. I’ll take it from the kids I see every day, but not some randos off the street. Five minutes later, Boy 1 was kicking Boy 2. I asked Boy 1 to leave, telling him he could come back tomorrow if he was better behaved. He said he probably wouldn’t, because the library is racist. Against loud, slightly disrespectful white boys. I walked him out of the building and his friends came with him.

It struck me that it was highly likely that he would be the last kid I kick out of the library.


Anyway, I sat back down at the desk and wrote up my encounter in our departmental “Code of Conduct Wiki.” I threw in the racist line for kicks and giggles.

Things were quiet, so I went back to my stressing out, and brief attempts to brainstorm ideas for the scavenger hunt I needed to invent, create clues for, make clues for, and hide clues for before Thursday at 4:00. Was sadly unable to do so. Will have to throw something simple together Thursday morning before the End of Summer Reading Celebration.

Right before closing had a lengthy conversation with an EXTREMELY precocious 7-year-old. He only comes in once every few months, but is memorable enough to be considered a regular. He quizzed me on every flier and paper I had on my desk, asked why he couldn’t attend the Toddler Literacy program because even though he wasn’t a parent, his baby cousin didn’t know how to read yet so he should go and learn how to teach her, and I taught him how to say good night in Spanish.

Computers off. Toys away. Boss is still here, so tell her about change of dates. Coworker realizes he will be on vacation for much of the next week so this could be our last time together and makes the saddest face imaginable. I show him something funny on the internet – a friend of mine ran into one of our regular patrons at a showing of Ghostbusters in Ann Arbor… or so I’ve ascertained judging by her description of the strange, farting man standing in front of her in line – and then said sayonara for the evening.

8:30-9:15 p.m.

Commute home. All 45 minutes of it spent freaking out on phone to BF. What a lucky, lucky boy.

Sigh. I will miss my job. No libraries are hiring in Boston right now, so I’m doomed to switch over to retail while I study diligently to get the chance to come back to the light!

P.S. If that sounded like The Best Day Ever, and you are in the MI area looking for a swank 32 hr/week position, my job’s done been posted and we are looking for top-notch candidates with library experience 🙂 Drop me a comment, I’ll point you in the right direction.

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