Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The good library day (or why libraries still matter)

I don’t often talk about the actual work of being a librarian when I blog, there are plenty of blogs that do that.  But today, was a really good library day.  The kind of day where I remember why I got into this field and why, whenever I hear someone say that libraries are no longer relevant I know they are full of poop and haven’t stepped foot in a library in years.  (Okay, that’s harsh, but still – you’re full of poop people that don’t support libraries!)

Today was the first day of summer reading programming; our summer teen volunteers started today – my blue shirts.   Some kids work one session a week and some work every session we have and are in the branch for 7 hours a day; from age 12 to 15, this was me, my first program was a storytime where the children’s librarian sat next to me while I read followed by a craft, where I got glitter all over the carpet.  The library director didn’t freak out, instead, she said that the library needed a little brightening.  My blue shirts are careful, work quickly, and I hope they know that what I want most for them is to have a great summer and think fondly of the library for the rest of their lives.

Today, I also was able to help a father and his two sons sign up for a service they need and we provide.  Now that in and of it’s self is not that unusual, what was different was that the father most spoke Mandarin and I spoke none.  Luckily the library I work for pays for a 3rd party translation service, but I’ve never used it and while a few branches have special telephones for this service and my branch does not.  Without going into the whole long story, let me just say after 20 minutes of phone calls, helping other customers, and minor panic I was actually able to help the customer get what he needed – to sign up his 2 sons for our summer reading enhancement program that pairs kids and teens to build the reading skills of kids.  I’ll admit that I say this with a little bit of ego, but today doing my job may have done a little something to help someone transform the lives of his kids and perhaps himself.

I say all of this to say, libraries matter. 

They will always matter.

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