As you may have worked out, I kind of love libraries. And since Squirm was born, I’ve been trying to get to as many as possible so I can a) find awesome libraries, b) expose Squirm to lots of awesome libraries and c) tell everyone else about awesome libraries.
But more and more, I’ve become increasingly aware of the work librarians do. It’s not like I’ve been totally ignorant of the the work they do before this, but it’s almost like I was thinking ‘books first, librarians after that.’ The funny thing is, I even worked as a school librarian for a part of a school term, early in my teaching career.
There’s been a misconception about librarians for quite some time. I think there’s an idea that they just sit behind desks, checking out books and occasionally waft out to the shelves to restock. Of course, that’s not the case! Since we’ve been visiting libraries, here’s just some of the things I’ve noticed librarians doing:
- checking out books
- returning books
- shelving books
- repairing books
- writing certificates
- running rhyme times (which have been prepared earlier)
- running story times (which have been prepared earlier)
- cleaning – including the toys in the children’s section
- greeting visitors to the library by name
- setting up displays
- recommending books
- checking books to make sure they’ve all been returned properly (stocktaking, I assume)
- setting up games and trouble shooting them
- setting up movies and trouble shooting them
- helping people with computer problems
- organising special events
- promoting special events
And that’s just the things I could think of off the top of my head. My guess is that we don’t even see half the stuff that goes on behind the scenes! And library staff do this on tighter and tighter budgets, under threats of job cuts.
As I’ve said, I was a teacher, a profession which is very good at pointing out that they aren’t particularly appreciated. But libraries and librarians play such a huge role in our community, and are even less appreciated! So, I propose that everyone who uses a library goes out of their way to thank the staff who work there.
I put out a question to librarians – how would you like to be thanked? – and got some great responses. A box of chocolate or a cake is a time honoured and much appreciated gift by everyone, but how about writing a letter to your local newspaper or the local council (even better, since they are the employers) to share your appreciation. Write a letter or a card or a postcard to your local library, expressing thanks for their work, or telling them a story about your experiences in the library. Or, just go up to your librarian and say Thank You!
I’m going to try to put some of these into place over 2013, but I wanted to say thank you right now! Unfortunately, I’m shocking at names, and sometimes I didn’t get a chance to get them, so I’m identifying by libraries, mostly. But here are my first lot of thank yous for the marvellous librarians we’ve come across in our library travels.
Thank You to:
- The lovely Karen at Strathpine who not only runs an awesome rhyme time, but actually remembers the little ones who regularly comes.
- The other staff at Strathpine who are always friendly and helpful, even when I offer them two piles of books with two different library cards!
- Librarians at Albany Creek who helped me use the photocopier, wrote Squirm his first reading certificate and smile at me, even when it’s just been a quick trip in and out
- The lovely people at Redcliffe, who were willing to mend a book straight away if I wanted to borrow it, and didn’t laugh at me when I misplaced my car key
- The wonderful staff at Caboolture who did such a good job in cleaning up the children’s area, plus went out of their way to make sure Squirm would have a beautiful second reading certificate
- The librarians at Narangba and Bribie Island who created a lovely, cosy atmosphere in the library
- The librarians at Mt Gravatt and Grange libraries that ran awesome story time and Babies, Books and Rhymes programs, respectively
- The enthusiasm from the staff at New Farm – the children who were there when we arrived were brimming with excitement!
- The friendly librarians at Sandgate who took time out of their day to chat
- The library staff at Chermside who put on an amazing event for the Mem Fox and Judy Horacek visit and promoted it beautifully – they’re very present in their library and do a great job!
- The awesome staff at Logan North who made me smile with their gorgeous displays
I’m sure I’ve missed people, but this is a good place to start.