A Tale of Two Library Staff Members

This has been my first holiday season as a librarian and this past week has been very enlightening. Many staff members are on vacation enjoying time with family and friends. In my library system we have library staff who "float", or work "on-call" at different locations, to fill in for people who are sick or vacationing. This holiday season was my opportunity to meet, and get to know several of these staff members for the first time.

The Setting - 3 regular staff members out and 1 on vacation which left the library with 2 regular staff members and the on-call staff member. The library doesn't open for 3 HOURS and I am prepping for a Mock Printz Event.

The Tale Part One
On-call comes in and is greeted by the other staff member and myself.
She is shown the break room, bathroom, and told to walk around the library and see where everything is located. She sits down in a chair and proceeds to ask about/comment on the following in a negative manner:
The small break room
Sharing the bathroom with the public
My preparation time in the schedule

When asked to remove the books from the book drop she becomes very angry. "I've never been to this library before and I don't know how to do book drop. I am not a shelver." (Whoa! We all do book drop.)
I show her where the book drop is located and tell her all she needs to do is remove the materials and place them on carts. At this point I return to my prep work in the back of the library and almost immediately hear yelling from up front.
"I don't like bending down! Why isn't SHE out here working?" I return to the front and ask my other coworker if everything is okay. The rest of the day with this particular visiting staff member remains tense and hostile.

The Tale Part Two
On-call comes in and is greeted by the other staff member and myself.
She is shown the break room, bathroom, and told to walk around the library and see where everything is located. She walks around, asks a few questions about the collection and the patrons then proceeds to file the holds without being asked. We work amiably the remainder of the day. She asks for help when needed AND shares tips and tricks she has learned from working at all of the other branches. She is polite to the patrons and very helpful. We have a good day and at closing tells me that she likes to do something nice for someone at least once a week. She then offers me a ride home and I accept.
I aspire to be like this woman. Professional. Helpful. Polite. Kind. Willing to learn.

I try to avoid librarian titles because there seems to be some sort of  caste-like system among some librarians where certain librarians are more important or better than others. (I have not yet learned how to navigate that system. I am not sure I want to learn. ) However, I do identify as a Reference Librarian (My MLIS is in reference and user services) I also identify as a Children and Youth Services Librarian because I primarily work with that demographic. More important to me than either of these titles are the titles of Feel Good Librarian and Social Justice Librarian. I've read both of these blogs over the years and they have helped shaped my vision of  who I want to be as a librarian. I want to thank my phenomenal former supervisor, wonderful on-call library staff members, and all of the other librarians in the world who work hard to make me proud to be a member of this profession.  I pray to be the kind of librarian who will make you proud to have me as a colleague.

Also, thanks again to #nerdlution for inspiring me to blog again.

1 comment:

  1. What a difference, eh?
    I loved this line - "Whoa! We all do book drop." -- and think that it says a lot about life, right? We all have to do things sometimes, in an unknown territory, that we don't particularly like doing but we still do it.
    In college, I worked for years in our university library, and I enjoyed the book drop/shelving more than anything else. It might have been the literary voyeur in me or something akin to that but I got a kick out seeing what people had been reading. Sometimes, I'd get lost in those pages of other people's books during the shelving time.
    Good luck.
    PS -- your blog is now part of my 50 comments at 50 blogs over 50 days #nerdlution, and I am thankful for your post, Regina.