A day in the life of a librarian…
Country town librarians do so much more than issue books……
After I emigrated to New Zealand, I never thought that my dream job would fall into my lap, but it did and the last 5 years have been some of the best of my working life. When I tell people I am a librarian they say, ” Oh it must be nice to work in a library and read books all day!” I never bother to contradict them but If I did I might be tempted to say……
“The role of the librarians of my childhood and modern librarians are vastly different. On any given day I will issue books, order requests and shelve books yes. But I will also cash cheques (as part of council service centre role), help clients scan and email information, top up phones or download pictures. Give basic computer lessons, phone tutorials and sort gadget fumbles. Not to mention internet searches, blog reads, book reviews and Facebook posts.
People ask for ‘that book with the red cover’ or the title of the book they saw on telly last week, but they can’t remember. The World Wide Web makes this easier, but also harder at times. When I’m not standing behind my desk, I’m designing and decorating for a reading program, or preparing for events. Then there are the reports to management, the gathering of numbers and facts to make us look relevant. The continued study to keep up to date, the travel to educational seminars at times.
There’s blogging and tweeting and pinterest. There’s book displays and advertising and keeping up with the schools to make sure we work together. There’s talking to my older customers who may not see anyone for the rest of the day, distracting the toddlers while their mums look something up on our free computers, and the photocopying of that important piece of information for homework, craft or lawyer.
As well as library jobs, I organise burial plots and dog registrations. I collect rate payments and listen to people complain about the council. I sell rubbish stickers and dump tickets and fill in complaint forms.
I rotate my stock and order new books. I fight for my community’s right to access to books in their small town. I push for better facilities. I smile at all my customers and laugh with most of them. I run a noisy but comfortable library and I never say shush. I write to my boss about new concepts and interesting ideas. I talk to fellow librarians to make sure I don’t become jaded and I watch babies grow into children and hope that they will keep visiting the library.”
So when people say it must be nice to be a librarian, I just smile as I tell them “Yes, it is”. Because as a librarian, my job is to give my customers the tools to change their world. Every single day.
By Corinna (Eketahuna Library and Service Centre)