Holiday Work…

November 25, 2009 at 6:42 pm 11 comments

Happy Thanksgiving

I am working tonight–until 9:00pm.

When I mentioned the time we are closing to many friends, almost all were negative about us staying open so late.  Fellow librarians were appalled.  I will admit, it could be easy to look at this as a hardship.  However, I don’t.  I am happy I am working tonight.

The reality is this–there are many people in the library tonight.  I know it will get slow as the night progresses, but even then, we will have people here. So far it has been a mix of regulars, visitors wanting to check e-mail, lots of phone calls for directions, phone numbers, and one caller asking for help finding a no-cook pie recipe (www.cooks.com has plenty of choices).  .

People have been making copies of documents for safekeeping while they travel.  Likewise, plenty of folks are grabbing that last-minute book for their trips.  As always, the DVDs are flying off the shelves.   My favorite person so far: the woman who is just trying to minimize the time she must spend with her in-laws.  I feel her pain–we swapped stories and both laughed.  I think I made a difference in her life, if only for a few minutes.

No one has been cranky (even when the copier was evil as it often is…).  No one has been mean.  In fact, the regulars are not even complaining about the ‘young kids who make noise’ as they normally do.  Almost every person says have a nice holiday or something similar.

Right now, most people seem to be busy and rushed–they have places to go.  As it gets later, I suspect it will be more people without places to go.  This, more than any other reason, is why I am happy we are open and I am working tonight.   I have the chance to make someone smile, laugh, or provide them with information they need.

I am thankful that I can be here if they need me.  I am thankful that in these economically turbulent times, I have a job.  So yes, I would much prefer to be home gearing up for tomorrow and getting ready to watch ‘Glee’, but I can not help but feel very happy tonight.  Happy to help.  Happy to serve.  Happy to listen.

Lately I have questioned the wisdom of my decision to become a librarian.  Tonight, I was given a very pleasant reminder that despite the difficulties, it was the right choice.  I know many of you will work on Friday, Saturday and Sunday this week.  It is hard to do, especially when the rest of the family is home doing something more interesting.  To each of you–and all the people who work the holidays, thank-you very much.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Cynthia Lambert

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11 Comments

  • 1. Fiona  |  November 25, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    Thankyou for this inspiring and uplifting post :)

  • 2. rcn  |  November 25, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    Thank you for this post. It reminds me of 9/11/2001, when i was working at the reference desk of a large public library here in the San Francisco Bay Area. I must admit that I did not want to be at work; I craved the company of my young daughter and the comfort of my home. Other libraries had closed and it seemed to me that ours should close as well. But then a student approached the desk and told me how glad he was to find out our library was open. His community college library was closed, and he really needed to be with other people to try to comprehend the horrors of the day. He changed my attitude completely and I was glad to be able to assist other library patrons throughout that dismal day.

  • 3. Chris Bates  |  November 25, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    Thanks from a fellow librarian. You helped me remember why we do what we do.

  • 4. Peter Bromberg  |  November 26, 2009 at 7:50 am

    Cynthia,

    Reading your post was the perfect day to start my Thanksgiving morning. Thanks for sharing your personal story and reminding me why I got into this profession too—to make a difference in peoples’ lives. Happy Thanksgiving.

  • 5. Mary K  |  November 26, 2009 at 9:16 am

    Cynthia,
    Thanks for the uplifting article. I can also imagine that many individuals and families who might not have had a place of their own to go to appreciated the late hours you provided. Books and other library materials are so non-judgmental…

  • 6. Sara Weissman  |  November 28, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    One of the nice things about working Friday was hearing the pleasant astonishment of people who were visiting for the first time (because we were one of the few places open–the wireless and group study rooms a draw). “Wow?! [looking around] when is this place open, anyhow??!” Hand over the biz card …”welcome to the library!”

  • 7. Ann  |  November 29, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    Cynthia,

    It is Sunday and I am here at our library serving patrons wishing I was still with my family. This post of yours is just an excellent reminder for me: I became a librarian to serve the public and it’s still one of the parts of being a librarian that keeps me in the library field. Of course there are days that I want to be somewhere else; but, mostly I just want to be right here helping people and working on projects. Thanks for the excellent reminder!! And BTW: our library is PACKED!!!

  • 8. Lawral  |  November 29, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    Thanks for this post. It is just what I needed to read at work right now (Sunday evening). We’re packed too.

  • 9. Karen  |  November 30, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Great comments but remember those in the medical field who see to it that they are staffed 24/7. We are all in the service field but with different hours of “service”.

  • 10. danoeng  |  December 6, 2009 at 4:30 am

    Thanks for this post. It’s inspired me to do the best for my neighbrhood..

  • 11. Eric  |  December 8, 2009 at 3:16 am

    I read this as I am writing a rather long, end of the semester, paper for my Library & Information Science 501 class. I wanted to let you know how happy your post made me. I read and hear a lot of pretty scary stuff about what the professional landscape of libraries might look like when I graduate (I’m finishing my first semester now) so it is really very wonderful to read something that reminds me of exactly why I’m in this program to begin with.
    Thank you very much.


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