Posted by : Sherri Cornelius Thursday, August 2, 2012

Suddenly I’m very busy. I’ve gotten used to having no schedule conflicts—indeed, little schedule at all—because for the past few years almost everything I do is school-related, and they don’t overlap things. I’ve also gotten to the point where if I get showered and brushed by lunch I’m doing well. It’s not that I sit around all morning, but only that I have nowhere to be.

I can feel this changing permanently.

Part of it’s my choice, like tackling some big repair projects around the house, and part of it is out of my control. My daughter has become involved in more extra-curricular activities in middle school, and my son will be there next year. This is on top of the back-to-school season. Another commitment I’ve made is to take charge of my health, which means appointments with various doctors. (I had my first lady doctor visit in about eight years, which tells you something.)

One small (and yet huge) step is volunteering at the library. I started Tuesday, and today it seems like it could have been a dream. I often dream I’m straightening shelves at public places for no pay. Really. I fear I’ll go back in there and they have no recollection of me.

My regular times are Tuesday and Thursday mornings. I have a name tag and my own drawer and everything. On my first day, the lady in charge of volunteers showed me around backstage. It felt strange to pass through that doorway, the one that reveals just a glimpse of the library machinery, and one I’d never considered I might enter. Turns out the working part of the library is almost as big as the public part, only instead of wide spaces and neat shelves, the rooms are stuffed with desks, and papers plaster every surface, horizontal and vertical. It’s wonderfully shabby; clean but impossibly cluttered.

After my tour I was handed off to my boss, (Darlene? Deborah? Oh crap, I’ve already forgotten her name…Yay, got it!) Dorothy. She showed me how to read the shelves, which is basically fixing all the books the patrons thought they were putting back in the right place but didn’t even get close. I will be working in the children’s section, where the shelves are always in flux. So my normal job is to read the shelves, but the each employee I met seemed gleeful about the possibility of using me for her own special projects.

I always suspected my hodgepodge of skills and interests would be useful in a library, and now I know for sure I should have been a librarian from the beginning.

This is a big step, knowing that I can work around people. As far as I can tell, they don’t use any air freshener anywhere in the building, aside from the public restroom. The employee restroom smells faintly of cleaner, but not air freshener. When I finished reading the Beginning Reader shelves my eyes were googly from the shelf reading, but otherwise I felt fine. It could change, I suppose, but at the moment I think I could spend all day in that building and feel fine.

Of course, I would like to work full time at the library someday. But for now, I’ll call it an internship. At least it’s something to put on my resume, and I get to help out a favorite institution.

Now I just have to hope ebooks don’t make libraries obsolete. Would be just my luck to find my perfect job only to have it stop existing. *crosses fingers*

{ 2 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. I'd get a crick in my neck for sure trying to read shelves like that all day! LOL There's a good excuse to invest in one of those Shiatsu massager things. :)

    Congrats on making it "backstage." I never had any doubts that you would. :)

  2. I didn't really either, except that I thought they might be full-up with volunteers. Apparently they have only a couple besides me, and those two only do shelf reading and that's it. Maybe they're physically unable to do manual labor, I don't know, but the employees were all telling me the ways they were going to use me. It was funny. But that's how I like it anyway. I like to do a variety of things, and I like to be indispensable. So I think volunteering will be quite satisfying, at least for a while.

    Oh, and I don't have to tilt my head to read the shelves because the library labels are stuck on right side up. Only problem I'll have there is keeping my eyes from crossing. You know how easily my eyes tire out.


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