A Sincere Hug and Easter Chocolates
Memo to Self
File under: Why I Love being a Public Librarian
I have friends who sincerely question why I choose to work in a public library. They all earn far more than I do with less or equal education. One or two even point out to me on a regular basis that I could earn a better salary with less stress if I looked elsewhere for a job.
Well. this post is dedicated to all those who think I should desert public librarianship for greener pastures. In the last week I have had not 1, not 2 but 3 encounters that remind me why I love what I do and will continue to do it for the foreseeable future:
1. After a poetry reading event a young woman approached me and introduced herself. I recognized that she had been at several program lately, but did not yet know her name. She told me that she had recently moved to the area for a job and had been feeling “lost” without having any friends or family nearby. She went on to say that once she discovered our library she felt like she had found a sense of community as she is an aspiring writer and poet. I shared with her that I understood perfectly, having moved all on my own to NJ 8 years ago and leaving friends and family far away as well. She gave me a shy smile and then, quite spontaneously and very sincerely, she gave me a huge hug and thanked me for organizing events that gave her a feeling of “place and being among friends”. It was probably one of the best moments I have had in quite some time.
2. An older woman took my “Sharing Photos Online” class a few months back. She came in this week because she was so excited and just had to share with me the digital photo albums she made for her daughter’s wedding. She had done the entire album on Snapfish and ordered 2 copies — one for her and one for her daughter. Each one was slightly different and personalized with captions and a variety of layouts. It was obviously a labor of love and she was so thrilled with the final product. I felt very proud that she had learned so much and so quickly as when she first came to class she did not even know how to get the photos from her brand new digital camera on to the hard drive. She told me she is now working on a book with their vacation photos and has found a new hobby thanks to the library. She signed up to take “Fun with Flickr” next week before she left.
3. I came to work yesterday to find a lovely box of Easter chocolates from Thomas Sweet with a note thanking me for finding an article. I had done a search earlier that week that was rather time-consuming as the information given to me was vague at best, but the man requesting the article told me that it was of great sentimental importance and he really wanted a copy of the article. I was thrilled when I found it and printed it out for him, leaving message on his machine that he could pick it up. He left the chocolates with a lovely note when he picked up the article. Totally not necessary, I was just doing my job, but a wonderful gesture nonetheless.
It is anecdotes like these and many others that I relay to my friends when the quiz me on my job choice. Seriously, how many jobs are there in this world where you can get gratitude, hugs and chocolates all in one week?
I am writing this post so that I can read it on those days that I am having a bad day at work and so that I can always remember why it is that I choose to be a public librarian. I would be interested in seeing other anecdotes in the comments about those wonderful moments that you experience because you are a librarian — I will bet there are a lot when we all stop to think about how we impact the lives of those we serve daily.
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