I don’t know why I thought working in a library was a good idea. it was clearly a terrible choice of employment. Don’t get me wrong; I love almost every moment of it. It’s just all the books that make it hard.
I love books. Have I said this before? I love them with a deep and burning passion. I love the way they feel, the way they smell, the way they look, everything. So here’s the problem with putting me on a floor full of books, alone, and telling me “put these away.” I want to read them all. Okay, maybe not all of them. Some of the third floor seems pretty dry, but I can and probably will find something even up there. It’s terrible for getting work done.
The first floor is the worst. That’s where the PN, PR, and PSs are. The PNs hold within their ranks the “graphic novel.” I know I just wrote a research paper saying that comics are not graphic novels, but that’s what the section would be called so… suck it up. In this section can be found such wonders and V for Vendetta, The Watchmen, The Walking Dead and, most importantly, Neil Gaiman’s The Sand Man, all ten volumes. You see how I could get distracted going down that row? PR’s 6000s are home to those fabulous British authors like Neil Gaiman and, more importantly, Terry Pratchet, who sits on the top shelf of the row with all of his fancy, colorful covers and stares at me as I walk back to cataloging… or the elevator… or the super secret stairwell that sets off the alarm. Yeah, I see him always. And I want to read him, but alas, I cannot while I am working… well, not much anyway. PS is American literature. While somewhat less distracting as one generally has to go searching inside it’s rows to find something tempting, it causes many problems when I go about shelving and see people like Terry Goodkind whom I need to read. And George RR Martin whom I apparently also need to read. And that long reading list that I have in the back of my head starts rolling out and it’s just a mess. THEN you have the books that just look good and I have to look at the back to peek at the summary and maybe inside a bit too… It’s bad, that’s all I’m saying.
What may be worse, is Juvenile section, as sad as that may be. Seriously, I love it in there. Not only is it a pretty little room known as the West Reading Room, where there are comfy chairs, free coffee and tea and, most importantly, hot chocolate, and a pretty stain glass window; it also holds much my entire childhood. While shelving in there I can find books that my mom read to me when I was four, books that I read in second grade, books that I read in fourth grade and loved, books that I read with friends, books that I read by myself. There’s a distinct lack of Tamora Pierce, but I think I can fix that… eventually. That’s beside the point, anyway. The point is, you can’t look straight at a book that you loved as a child and not pick it up. Every time I shelve in that area I find myself at least touching the books that I loved making ‘aaww’ noises either in my head or out loud, depending on if there are patrons in there at the time or not and how many. I have a tendency to talk to myself while I shelve.
What’s probably even worse is the fact that I find new books that I wouldn’t mind giving a look over. Seriously, I’m 20 and still looking at books in the Juvenile section to read. This is a wee bit ridiculous, don’t you think? Well I can’t help it. They’re always so colorful and look like such fun. And I know if it’s for kids there shouldn’t be anything terrible outrageous or traumatic to ruin the story… okay, The Hunger Games don’t count. Most kids books are just fun to read. The story might be simple, the writing nothing grand, but they can be rally good nonetheless. So, even in the kid’s section, I’m not safe from the books.
This summer they’ll have me doing the physical inventory for the West reading room and all three floors back in the stacks. This will be an adventure. Scanning the bar code of every single book in the library should prove a mind numbing experience, but then there will be so many fabulous books that I’ll run into… I just hope I can focus enough so that I don’t lose my place and end up scanning the same three books five times before moving on.
A few of my friends have already heard this story. The Librarian where I work is this tall, sweet, soft spoken southern man with the most gentle nature I have ever seen. Seriously, he is so cute. He came out of the office one day holding my book in his hand. “Bekah,” he says, “Is this you’re book?” I confirmed that the book was mine and explained that I had left it on the cabinet until I could grab it after I’d done the mail. He told me he had seen it sitting there for several days and assumed someone had left it there, so he had gone in search of it’s owner. In doing so he had opened my book and looked through to see if there was a name written inside or a piece of paper that could indicate whose book it was. During his search he came upon a small square note that I had written out one day while sitting at the circulation desk. The note contained the beginning of the rant you have just read. He read the note. How exactly, do you explain to your higher up that you were a) writing things when you were supposed to be working and b) confessing in those writings that you essentially slack off during work? Luckily for me, said Librarian is full of fluff and cute and instead of questioning the note told me that he loved it, thanked me for it, and returned my book to it’s place on the cabinet.
The moral of this story? Don’t write rants on small note squares and hide them in your books. The Librarian will find them and read them and then you’ll be embarrassed and feel awkward as you slink back down to the periodicals room.