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Mr. Mustache, another librarian blog

I am a reference librarian with experience in both the public and state government fields. I am doing this on a whim, sort of like the mustache I grew when I was 19 and still have in my 50's.

Location: New Jersey, United States

I am a state worker and a librarian.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Old Guard

The new librarian soon meets up with "the old guard" in the staff. These are the people who have been there for twenty years or more. They were there before computers, the Internet, the OPAC, and still remember fondly the days of the card catalog when a librarian had to get up and help the patron and wasn't just a computer jockey. They also remember those halcyon days before teenagers had "attitudes".

The stories you will hear from the old guard are priceless if you can catch them in a chatty mood. The old days of the bookmobile, how the bookmobile driver used to park at the A and P and do her shopping on library time and other anecdotes will stay with you always.

Sometimes you might resent "the old guard". They get twice as many vacation days as you ever will. They get to use "the traditional plan" for health insurance and you were dumped in the ppo because you are new. As a new employee you will work the worst shift, be on duty when there are no periodical clerks and have to work with the most difficult paraprofessionals.

You will be mentored to a certain extent by "the old guard but you will find that, with meetings, doctors appointments, health problems et al. that you will spend most of your days with the other new employees and do a lot of "covering" for "the old guard".

However, "the old guard" will occasionally teach you invaluable lessons. On my first day on the Reference desk I told someone on the telephone that another staff member was at break. I was quickly told we never say that word in a public area of the library so that others may hear it. We say that they are can be reached through "extension 26". On my gravestone it will say, "he is not gone, he is at extension 26".

One day there is a retirement dinner. Then a retirement luncheon. My favorite was the retirement hike. It happened so quickly. Within a year, "the old guard" was gone. Then I became part of "the old guard". "Why in my day we had to go to the card catalog and weren't just computer jockeys....."


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