That’s actually a title of a book my sister gave me when I graduated from Library School, but it was an architectural study of libraries…. little did I know of the true drama that goes on in the public library.
Here’s a little bit of my day today: I was late again. I will not elaborate on that. So the day started out rough. I’m feeling really crappy to boot. Then I found my friend Sue’s obituary that has finally appeared in The Times and after reading it, I was so overcome with grief I had to leave the building and hide out back sobbing for a while. Then a bright spot: Simon, a young man from Kenya who is the most gentle and polite person I’ve ever met came into the library. Last time I saw him he was losing his host-family and looking for help finding a free or subsidized place to live. I was afraid he had moved somewhere out of the neighborhood and I wouldn’t see him again. Some people just touch your heart and there’s no explaining it. Perhaps it was his gratitude for the help I offer or his amazement that he could actually bring his own books into the library to read if he wanted to. Or maybe it was just his beautiful face and lovely accent combined with a need for assistance acclimating to this confusing society in which he has landed. I haven’t asked how he came to be here….
Then a long time patron, an elderly lady who I have found extremely annoying over the years (I’m going on 10 here) came up to the desk looking for one of our other librarians. We’ll call this lady “J”. J has been declining mentally, noticably, over the years but now she has reached full blown dementia. She can’t remember her e-mail account or her password. She thinks her library card number is her e-mail account. She is frustrated and angry and confused. I have softened in my approach to her, of course. I just have to sit and listen and tell her it will be okay. She is moving to assisted living with her equally demented husband and they will not be in the neighborhood much longer. I can’t say I’ll miss her but I definitely feel badly for her…
Then there was the headline on the local paper about 600 dogs being rescued from a puppy mill in Snohomish, 80% of them pregnant. Truly enough to send me scrambling through my purse for some valium….. none there….. oh well.. I’ll just pop another anti-depressant….
This is just another day in the life of your nieghborhood librarian on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Some things make me laugh, others make me cry. The rest is all just life on parade…… and now, for something completely unrelated…..
UPDATE: Something quite unusual and beautiful happened right at closing. A cute little college boy was asking for Lewis Carroll books and I ordered him a few. He was with a friend and they were enjoying a bit of reparte that was going on between me and a regular patron who I joke around a lot with, lots of inappropriate, unprofessional banter…. So I order the books for him and he comes back to the desk asking for post it notes and then tape. He went over in the children’s area and was acting weird.. lingering…. surreptitious… I thought he was up to some guerrilla performance art or something. After he left and we locked the doors I went to investigate over in the area where he had been, expecting to find post it notes with odd messages on the childrens’ books. Instead, I found a beautiful piece of smooth round glass with blue and white swirls. On the back was taped a sticky note with “thank you library” written on it ….. sometimes I think god (whoever god is) is talking directly to me but I’m usually too blind and deaf and caught up in my own head to hear it.