Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Joy of being a Public Librarian

I planned to write this post today because Wednesday is MY night at the library. I started making a list of the reasons I love being a reference librarian:

1. I get free books from the drop book cart.
2. As an employee I don’t have to pay overdue fines.
3. Patrons introduce me to new books (Odd Thomas, for example, one of my all time favorites.)
4. It makes me feel good to help people, especially when they appreciate it.
5. People are funny, make me laugh, tell me interesting things, enlighten me, and bless me.
6. You meet every kind of person at the public library. A great place to find characters for your book.

And then at the library, it wasn’t even 5:00 p.m., and everything started going wrong.

A boy's keyboard wasn’t working. I couldn't fix it, Afzal couldn't fix it.

A whole row of patron computers went off-line. No Internet! Oh no! I couldn't fix it, Afzal couldn't fix it.

The reservation station computer, the one that controls the whole computer lab, started deleting people from the waiting list. That's totally outside my area of expertise. Afzal couldn't fix it either.

It was 15 minutes past Afzal's quitting time so he rebooted the reservation station computer and said goodbye. It was quitting time for the computer too, it never did revive.

It was a long night of frustrated and disappointed people. Do I still feel the joy of public library work? You bet I do. A challenge is invigorating. My peace keeping skills were ignited. God used me as a vessel to show His love to the Wednesday night library patrons, letting them know that their problems matter, that they matter. And yeah, that makes it a great night.

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