Sunday, February 8, 2009

Pieces of Me: Librarian

Babar's little girl is having quite a time in the Children's Room, giddy-up Duckie!

Being a librarian is like being a matchmaker. I get excited each time I get a new question for what to read next or how to find something. The best part is when I make a good match, and hey, it's not like a marriage---if I make a bad match, you can choose to toss the book on the floor.
As your librarian, I check a lot of books in and out. I answer the phone and call you when you have a book that has arrived. I find the books you want and request them from other libraries. Then I unpack the bags when they come each morning, and it's kind of like the thrill of getting presents, except it's fun twice because first I get to open all the packages and then I get to tell you the happy news that the book you wanted is here in my hand!
the lovely rug that our Youth Advisory Board chose for their alcove

I will always tell you the phone number to the Camden Public Library (236-3440---see, I know it by heart by now) and will happily mark it down as a reference question, for our statistics. I work on weeding the collection, making room for the new, saving the noteworthy, making hard choices about what should stay and what should go; it feels really good when progress has been made, and the shelves look so much better. Sometimes I help you on the computer...setting up an email account for the first time, printing e-tickets, showing you how to request books from the comfort of your own home, looking up archives on NPR for the first time. I get my library exercise when I walk around and put books away. I get my brain exercise when you have a challenging question or when I am dreaming up new ways to display books.
We have a little stamp to denote Rockport Readers Recommend (the RR) and you can recommend online also! And another stamp for a BookLovers' Cafe recommendation, the little red tea cup. Thanks for the stamps, Jane!
I am always learning new things from my colleagues; one who patiently teaches me (and re-teaches me) the completely anti-intuitive Hold Pick-Up feature; another who taught me to not be fearful of contact paper when covering books. I have a very talented and creative and visionary Director, whom I love to collaborate with.

I like it that I know your names (mostly) when you come in. I like getting to know your reading tastes. I appreciate that we all read different things for different reasons at different times, because I certainly do.
Sometimes I get to be your Librarian-Baker when it's a BookLovers' Cafe day. I get up at 6 a.m. and make muffins and scones (lemon blueberry and dried cherry/ginger, recently) for us to share as we discuss the books that we have recently (or long ago or for always) loved. The threads of our conversations always inspire me, sometimes on parenting, or loss, or WWII, or ancestors.
Sometimes I get to be your Librarian-Artist when it is an Artist Trading Card Make-and-Swap day.

And just because you should see that we also have some very beautiful volumes (and not just ones about leeches, with horrifying pictures of rotten toenails on them), I give you a few shots of my vote for the Most Beautiful Book Cover of All Time, The Poetical Works of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and I apologize for not having the publication year (publisher is Hurst, New York):
At our small library, I am a generalist and get to do so many things that I am never bored. I learn every day and I like that.


  1. That Rosetti book is gor-geous.

    I love it, it's so graphic!

    Ollie and I have a collection of old books at the house and they have similar covers.

    I'm glad to see that they light soemone else's fore, too!



  2. Iris, that's such a good description of our life at the library. I'd love to put it in the next newsletter, complete with pictures!