Sunday, July 02, 2006

Librarian has a bad day

Don't despair! You are not alone.

I loved public libraries from the day I first went to one, when I was five years old. The idea that I could have books without paying for them--wow! I was in love!

Librarianship (stupid word) was not my first choice of career, but when my children started school I looked for a new way of making a buck. Librarianship was a glamour job--indoor work, no heavy lifting. All right, then.

At library school I met the usual dimwits, particularly among the faculty. If it is possible to organize a 36-hour program totally devoid of content, intellectual or otherwise, library school tried hard to make the grade. I did learn a few things, though. Don't ask me what they were.

My whole career was in public libraries--in Florida and New York, but principally in New Jersey. I quickly decided that I needed to be in charge, so became director of a little library, then a larger one, then a medium-sized one. And there I stayed, until I got caught in the political crossfire.

I still can't articulate why I loved it so much. The books were part of it, of course, and the people, both those who worked with me--my team--and the public (with some exceptions). During my tenure, we went from catalog cards to computers, so there was always something to learn, something new to do--I liked that.

Then there was the feeling that what we were doing was worth doing; we were appreciated by our patrons, whether we were teaching them to use e-mail or just providing them with best-sellers.

No comments: