Q. What’s one thing you wish every library user knew?
How to use the library’s catalogue system, and how to find books on the shelves! We don’t have a physical card catalogue in our library any longer, but our catalogue is online and can be accessed on two separate computers by the front desk. I am constantly surprised at how many adults don’t know or don’t care to know how to use these catalogue computers, or else are too lazy to spend the time to look for a book on their own. I realize that a lot of people aren’t computer savvy, and a lot of older people learned to use an actual card catalogue, but most of the time, that isn’t the case; most of the time, people just don’t want to look for themselves, and ask us to look for them instead. I certainly don’t mind look up books in the system for someone or showing them where it is on the shelves, especially for children who are too young to read the labels on the books, but sometimes, we librarians just don’t have the time do so at the moment, depending on how busy we are. We just don’t have the time to help every single patron all the time, even if we wanted to! And our catalogue is so very easy to use—you just type in a title or subject or author or whatever you like—and anything in the library that comes close will pop up, and show where it is in the library and whether or not it is available. It just kills me that so many people don’t even want to try to look for something on their own first, partially because I was always that kid in the library that didn’t want any help from the librarians to find something. I always wanted to find the book myself!
Q. What’s the most interesting/funny thing that’s happened to you while working in the library?
This is an incredibly hard question to answer, and because as I constantly tell the other librarians, there is never a dull day in our library! There is always something crazy going on; we get all sorts of strange people in the library, every week, even every day, and there are many times when I think, “Did that really just happen?”
Here’s one of the most interesting things, which happened to me only recently, and it still makes me smile to think about it. Each of we librarians has a bulletin board or window display that we are in charge of decorating every month, and I have a window display. Most of the other librarians do their displays based on the month or the season, like the start of spring of for Christmas, or theme their displays based on a cute saying, but I usually like to base my displays based on a particular book or author or genre, and I always use books that can be found in the library and checked out. For example, for July I usually do science fiction books about aliens in honor of the Roswell Crash, and just last month my entire display I did on “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”, in honor of Banned Books Week. This month, for October and Halloween, I did my display on Neil Gaiman’s “spooky” books—“Coraline”, “Neverwhere”, “The Graveyard Book”, “M is for Magic” and his newest book, “The Ocean at the End of the Lane”—which included images of the books’ covers, illustrations for a few of the books, quotes from the books, quotes about books and libraries from Neil Gaiman himself, and I even made large button-shaped cut-outs for in honor of Coraline. I always work really hard on my display every month so that they look as good as possible, and I always hope that someone will walk past my window, see something that looks interesting, and perhaps come in to the library and check out one of the books that I’d picked. Two weeks ago, I was sitting at the front desk when a patron came to check out three library books. Two were Terry Pratchett books, but the third was “Neverwhere” by Neil Gaiman—which just happens to be my favorite Neil Gaiman novel. I told the patron that it was a really good book, as I often do with patrons when they are checking out books that I’ve read and loved. And the patron said, “I’ve never read any of Neil Gaiman’s books before, but I saw that display outside and thought I’d start with this one.” I was so excited that I almost fell out of my chair, and I told him that that was my display and that my mission was “accomplished”, because somebody actually noticed and wanted to read one of the books I picked. I have no idea whether or not the patron liked the book or not, but I thought that that was so cool, that I actually made somebody want to read a new book and a new author!