"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Five Things about Working at the Library




Today is library day, meaning I volunteer for a couple hours at the elementary school library. In honor of that, I give you

FIVE THOUGHTS ON WORKING AT THE SCHOOL LIBRARY:
(and make sure to read (5) because it's the most important)


1) When you are shelving books, never look at the ones that are turned backwards. They are almost certainly in the wrong place, turned that way because one of the kids didn't use a shelf marker. If you look, you're only creating more work for yourself.*

2) Two overdue books means a kid can't check out anything else. Unless they come up to the checkout counter with a copy of *my* book and big eyes and tell me how much they can't wait to read THE EMERALD TABLET. Then I let them check out.

3) I admit it. The first thing I do when I get there each week is check to see if my books have been checked out.

4) There is nothing like having a huge stack of books to shelve and realizing that they're all "easy-to-shelve" books, like graphic novels or Magic Tree House. These "easy-to-shelve" books have their own special shelf and never have to be placed in any order. So much better than having to worry about that Dewey Decimal stuff.

5) You think writing takes patience? You think you're the only one who hasn't gotten the big break? So shelve books in the library for a while. What you'll see are books by authors you know. But I'm not talking their *big* books. I'm talking you'll see books from 10 or 15 years before, maybe a picture book you've never heard of, or a non-fiction book that hardly ever gets checked out. These authors who you think are so big? Well, they've been at it for a while. They stuck with it. And it worked for them.

*okay, my OCD self can't leave these books be. I always have to pick them up. And yes, they are always shelved wrong.

Visit your library today!

9 comments:

Laura Pauling said...

It's true. Kind of like spotting famous actors in their earlier movies or commercials!

PJ Hoover said...

OMG, Laura, that's exactly the same! I love that comparison.

Lynn Colt said...

Always good to remember that anyone who made it big had to slog through those early years just like everyone else :)

I always made sure to shelve books properly in my school's library. Misplaced books make me twitch. But then, I was (am) a book nerd!

Su said...

What a cool post. Thanks!

PJ Hoover said...

So good to remember it, Lynn. And yes, today I could not let those books sit shelved wrong.

Thanks, Su!

Miriam S. Forster said...

I love libraries! So many delicious stories...

PJ Hoover said...

So many, Miriam. So many...

Marcia said...

I worked in a public library way back when, and though the teenage pages did the shelving, sometimes we had to "read" the shelves -- make sure things were in order and remove tattered or hopelessly outdated books. This was fairly boring, yet it was so peaceful to be there in the quiet stacks, discovering cool stuff you never knew about.

PJ Hoover said...

Marcia, it is such a peaceful place, isn't it. Maybe because everyone is supposed to be quiet.