It was a funny ol day here at the library because (looks around surreptitiously and whispers) it started off so peacefully.
Of course we have a newbie training for Saturday’s with us and we had pre-warned her that Saturdays are busy. “You don’t really get time for shelving”. “You mostly spend time lurching from patron to patron and endlessly returning books”. “Lots of people come and ask questions or ask for help”. And then today started….
You see, all morning we had patrons come in, but just in dribs and drabs. And while some of them have needed help, a lot of them didn’t. Many of them were happy to have a wee chat about life and the day. One ‘older’ patron (she was in her early 60s roughly) had a lengthy conversation about coming down during the week to learn how to use the Playstation 4 because she liked the idea of giving something new a go.
A wee poppet of a girl was super super excited about being able to borrow a book even though she had forgotten her library card (I am not kidding about the excited thing- she skipped to the desk when I said it was no problem and told me she loved today because it was the best day ever. Who would have thought a My Little Pony book for three weeks had the capacity to bring such joy, but man alive I was glad it did. And it reminded me not to be so quick to scoff at some of the toy/movie tie in books that the library has. Honestly, if you had seen the joy that borrowing this book provided then you too would be uplifted.
When one of our regular more time demanding patrons came in, I didn’t internally sigh, instead I had a chat about old cars and did the photocopying he needed. And with a friendly smile was able to genuinely wish his a great rest of his day.
And my heart was light as I headed to lunch. I am not mentally stealing myself for the rest of the afternoon, which some Saturdays I do. And this made me stop and think.
It sounds as if I don’t enjoy a normal Saturday but I do. There are a lot of positives about a normal Saturday shift. We have a great Saturday team. We have a laugh and we all keep on eye on each other, the returns, as well as the patrons who look a bit lost. From a personal perspective I prefer to be busy at work than twiddling my thumbs (though in fairness the library always has jobs that need doing).
But (and shhh, don’t let anyone know this) today was great. I did a couple of emails. I checked off a few books out of my weeding list and I chatted to people.
The afternoon was a bit busier. A grumpy phone call about the grace period for overdue material that ended with someone hanging up on me was a little
annoying irksome bothersome meh but it really was just a minor hiccup.
And my only hesitation about the day is that this does not really feel like an Authentic Saturday experience for our new colleague. I wandered if she went home thinking that we were all crazy when we said we were busy on Saturdays. I felt that I had failed her a little because rather than giving her plenty of experience in dealing with the typical gamut of Saturday interactions she was left with just a couple of rubbish bin/bag related purchases and a whole lot of shelving. Really what I guess I feared was that she wouldn’t love the job and the patrons the way that I do (well the way I try to…some of the patrons are a little harder to love than others). And perhaps the advantage of new staff for me (because as those who know me are well aware, I don’t cope well with change) is that they challenge me to not get possessive over ‘my library’ and ‘my patrons’ because it is not just my library, apparently I have to share it (nicely) with everyone else.
Now instead of over analysing this any further, I am going to choose to embrace the quiet days. I will try not to fret that I didn’t ‘do enough’ at work today to justify my existence (it is a work in progress not aligning my worth with my work output), And I might even open a new document and start that bloody assignment…. Maybe anyway.
Today’s blog was brought to you by H.
H is for hopefully next week will bring the library back to full technological capacity (we’ve had three weeks of our main computer not working and it is making life a little miserable). Here’s to successful technology for everyone 🙂