I tend to focus a lot on the negative. I know for a fact that I do a lot of good at my job every day. I help a lot of people, I make the library a friendly environment, and I serve a community that really needs a free public library. Trust me.
Unfortunately it's a little hard to remember all that when some asshole walks in and starts screaming at you in nonsensical gibberish because he owes $2.50 on books he returned late.
So I thought I would mention a couple of positive library stories to share with you budding librarians out there. My job isn't all headaches, bureaucracy and frustration.
Last week I had a family come in for library cards. Mom and two kids. Spanish speakers, although Mom has been working on her English - I could tell. So I got them set up with cards, then they went and picked out their books. After I checked them out I explained that "this is your receipt, it shows everything you checked out today and when it's due back." Then Mom points to her young son and says, "He's been so excited to come here every since you spoke to his class."
I'm getting all misty over here. I did that school visit back in August when my children's librarian was on vacation. It was kindergarten orientation, and I thought I got through to several of the parents, but it's hard to gauge with kids. They were all so shy - more to do with the fact that they were "at school" than anything I was saying or doing. And yes, Miss Wendy did read them a story.
So I got to that one kid. And if that one kid can get excited about a public library (of all things!) in this world of video games, TV and movies - then heck, I'm doing my job.
I also helped a little old man today set up his first ever e-mail account. This is something we technically shouldn't be doing, but given that we're a small (5000 sq. ft.) community branch, I tend to help folks on the Internet who really need the extra attention (the elderly, the handicapped etc.)
This man's daughter was in Spain and gave him instructions to "go get e-mail so I can send you pictures and save on long distance phone calls." He mentioned she was a little bossy. I spent a grand total of 20 minutes with him, and I know he appreciated it. He fired off a message to his daughter and said he couldn't wait to tell her when she called tonight.
So see, librarians really do good work every day. I just need to remember these quiet moments when chaos erupts.