Working at the Library

I worked the 10-2 shift at the library today. My only complaint came from my slightly aching feet, screaming, “Why in the hellation did you wear your brown wedges to a job during which you are constantly on your feet four hours straight not because it is demanded but because you just won’t sit down or take a damn break!” My feet are only half right about today at least. I did sit in a chair for a minute or two while I put DVDs in sleeves. I wore my brown wedges to compliment the brown in the blue and brown argyle tunic. I’ll never wear them to work again, though. My feet are correct in screaming. I am okay now.

I enjoy working at the library, particularly this library. I was fortunate to get the part-time Library Services Assistant position at the branch closest to my home. My primary duties include working the book drop, re-shelving, pulling problem books, pulling holds, shelving holds, reading shelves, answering patron questions, and a plethora other duties.

I enjoy working the book drop. This machine has three major arms connected to the entry points where books are returned. The machine reads the barcodes and feeds the books/CDs/DVDs into bins. The one working the book drop takes the books from the bins and places then on one of 4 carts that are separated by genre/type/location. Think of an assembly line. My first day I the of the scene from I Love Lucy when Lucy and her friend stuffed chocolates in their mouths and uniforms when overwhelmed on the assembly line. The books come in fast and it can get overwhelming. Once you know what you’re doing, it is fun.

The adult section is separated into fiction and non-fiction. Within fiction the following sub-genres are housed together: general, historical, short stories, and western. Fantasy, science-fiction, and horror are housed together. Inspirational, poetry, romance, and southern are housed separately. Then there are graphic novels also housed separately. The large text and audio books have their own sections arranged according to fiction and non-fiction. General non-fiction is on the same side as fiction but, of course, those books are arranged using the DDC. On the other side of the library are the children’s books. There are the Easy, Juvenile, and Teen sections separated into fiction and non-fiction. There are other niche sections I won’t delineate here.

The full time Library Associates who staff the Help Desk get the lions share of questions, but I get my share of them. Since I am a former teacher, I can answer almost all the questions parents have about book suggestions, reading levels, etc. I enjoy these interactions.

I sense I was supposed to work at the library. The process of getting the job was effortless. It all happened seamlessly. Working there gives me access to people in a way I didn’t have when I was writing full-time. Being at home all day–alone–writing was giving me cabin fever. It also kept me in my head and too close to my words. Yeah, it doesn’t make sense, but think of it like one of those tricky paintings composed of many smaller pictures that together create some bigger image. In order to see the big picture, you have to defocus. When you do, you can see it. That’s what working at the library is for me and the role it plays in my writing. It helps me to defocus in a manner that declutters my creativity.

It is also a time that I am parted from my cell phone. I don’t check social media, texts, or e-mails during this time. Strangely, I love it. When I am re-shelving my mind is empty. I really don’t think about anything. This is a treat as well. This emptiness is cleansing and serene.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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