A Site about Libraries, Information Technology, and the Random Questions You'll Encounter Along the Way
This week is National Library Week, and while I could go on and on about how for every $ 1. 00 invested in libraries, tax payers see between $ 2.00 and $ 10.00 in return, or how libraries enable communities to stay economically competitive, enriching them culturally and creating a sense of community, I thought I’d post about what libraries mean to me, both as a consumer and a librarian.
I was lucky enough to have parents who valued literacy and every week, my mom would take me to the library. We’d spend hours there and go home with an arm-full of books, and if my mom asked me if I wanted to go to a nearby park afterwards, I’d say no: I just wanted to get home and read. I still get a smile on my face every time I come across a well-worn copy Tom Swift or Hergé’s TinTin. My first experience with the Internet at the library (and yes, I know that dates me)! The librarians were always warm and welcoming, always encouraging me and giving me suggestions for what to read next. In time, the library became a place where I’d go to study for an upcoming test, or just to hang out and read for a bit. I still go to the library all the time, although nowadays I’m checking out fewer books on dinosaurs and ancient Egypt, and more on Corel Draw and reference interview strategies, in addition to books by James Patterson and Helen Macdonald and the odd movie or graphic novel for myself.
As a librarian, I’ve had the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives, to help a girl find materials for a school project or teaching a patron how to use her iPad to make a video of her grandson’s first birthday. I’ve helped a man research what the tax laws are for small businesses and connected patrons with homeless shelters on cold winter nights. I’ve led book discussion and helped to promote our library’s “One Book Two Villages” program…and it’s been brilliant! Every time I see that smile on the patron’s face, it’s worth it. Every time I can help a college student find materials on writing an application letter or suggest what a patron might like after they’ve finished Sue Grafton’s Alphabet Mystery series, I come away with a smile!
And not only am I am helping people, but I’m learning too: every day I discover some new facet of librarianship, some new better way to conduct a reference interview or a new author to suggest to a parton the next time they come in. I get to work with technology like laser cutters and 3D printers and attend webinars and courses on everything from community engagement to best weeding practices.
Libraries are an important institution, always looking for new ways to engage the community, to enrich people’s lives and give them the opportunity to grow. I love what I do: I love learning new things and I enjoy being able to help people, and being a librarian allows me to do both. I am the guy who, when you walk into the library, will greet you with a smile and be ready for whatever question you might have, who will encourage you and is always learning and ready to share what I’ve learned. I’m a librarian, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!