Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wednesday at the Library

My life at the public library started back in the early 1990's. The children's librarian got a job as a reference librarian in OK City and left Lawton in May, the same month that summer reading club starts. I don't blame her, being a children's librarian is a lot of work. Through a comedy of errors, I ran the reading program that summer and was asked to apply for the job permanently but I didn't want to give up my school job.

Awhile later, I can't remember if it was a few months or a few years, one of the parttime reference librarians was diagnosed with cancer. I filled in for Linda while she took chemo and I discovered I love being a reference librarian. I kept working at the library even after Linda was well again. I was on call, working whenever a librarian had to miss work. I didn't have a specific schedule, every week was different. A time came when I got my own 4 hours every week. Wednesday night, 5-9 became my official hours at the library. I was excited. I've been working those Wednesday night hours for 17 years.

I'm reading a book about teaching called TEACH LIKE YOUR HAIR'S ON FIRE by Rafe Esquith. He praises libraries: "Parents need to take their kids to the library. For many families this has become a vanishing activity. ... We are trying to establish a set of values in our children; it helps when they are surrounded by others who share a fervor for reading. At the library, children can browse and make discoveries that wouldn't be possible online; at the same time they can interact with readers of all ages ... The best way to combat the indifference that surrounds our children is to take them to a place where intelligence, enthusiasm, and a joy for reading are standard operating procedure. The library is the place to begin."

I love how this book brought my two jobs together. And at a time when many people are out of work, I think it is miraculous that I have two jobs that I love.

I'd like to hear about the public library where you live.

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