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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, November 26, 2006

The Day after Thanksgiving

In 1975 when I had a CETA job working as a library assistant at a public library I was introduced to the event known as the Day After Thanksgiving. I was told that it was the busiest day of the year and working on the Day After Thanksgiving was a treasure and created memories that librarian's looked forward to all year. For this was the day that the kids in town, now in college, were all home, and visited their old high school friends, went downtown, and visited the public library to do a little research for their college projects.

I remember pulling magazines all afternoon on that sacred day. I never got to do that before, but even a lowly CETA worker was valuable on the Day After Thanksgiving.

Now I notice that public libraries are often closed on the Day After Thanksgiving. Instead of going to the library people are expected to go the malls and large discounters, often at six am in the morning. Buying x Boxes, Playstations, and camel hair suits (my brother bought a camel hair suit at Sams at 5AM) is now a tradition but the library is no longer part of the day.

I hate to be a troublemaker, but I think libraries should be open on the day after Thanksgiving. It is a library tradition that I think should be continued. Did I have to work? No, but that is besides the point. Do as I say, not as I do.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

More work

When we went to library school we became (hopefully) excited about entering a profession that combined service to the public, an opportunity to dabble in the arts and literature, and the chance to bring new technologies and services to the library world (ie. the Infotract and an on line catalog) The concept of service made our fingers tinkle with excitement. The thought that we might get to use computers in our jobs. How exciting!

The future librarian is interviewed (and interviewed and interviewed) and is brimming with the thought of what the new profession means. Finally (often years after graduating from library school), he/she gets that first position. The staff is happy to see a new face. "Finally someone to work on the number two Saturday." "Thank goodness I can go back to working one night a week."

As the years progress and the librarian becomes older, wiser, and accumulates more sick leave that initial enthusiasm wanes. The cute puppy is now an older dog that takes worm pills and is grouchy in the morning.

Now the experienced librarian is at a meeting where the director is happy and excited. (that is usually not a good sign)

The director wants to change a service or put in a new service.

The eyes drop. Oh NO!!!! And what happens when someone calls in sick? And what happens when someone goes on vacation? The eyes tell the tale. What is being proposed could conceivably result in more work.

Oh NO!!!! More WORK!!!!

And the people excited and smiling about the new project won’t have to do the extra work. I WILL!!!!!

It happens to us all. Our boss, the Director, even the Library Board went to a meeting or saw a tv show that suggested something new that might conceivably mean MORE WORK!!!
And we could think of nothing but service and the thrill it would provide so many years ago

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Library weather

When architects design libraries, they try to design them so that a walk through a library brings to mind the many different climates that one may find on earth. That is why a library will often remind one of a trip to the Epcot Center. First you go through the tundra, then the arctic, then the Sahara, the rainforest or the mountains of Ecuador.

Often the temperature in a library is perfectly heated or cooled for the previous day’s weather. Faulty ceiling and roof construction often results in a rainy atmosphere. Most libraries have a bucket somewhere collecting water, if one is willing to explore.

The constant complaining about the temperature in a library is a mainstay of conversation. “It’s too hot in here!” “It’s too cold in here!” “How can you wear a sweater in this heat?” “You must be freezing in this office!” I personally am so involved in my work that I never notice the temperature until someone complains about it. After being told that I should be cold or hot I then notice the weather.

Friday, November 03, 2006

My answering machine

I can tell election day is nearing because when I come home from work everyday I get a recorded message, usually asking me to vote Democratic. The last three days however, I have been greeted by an Italian American society I can't identify. It sounds sort of like the Sol and Gerry Society for Justice and Good Government. Somehow they found out I was Italian. Well I guess they guessed from the name.

The gist of the message is that we Italians need to stick together and be grateful for Tom Kean's support for Joseph Alito for the Supreme Court (how he supported him as a State Legislator I don't know). Anyway at least he didn't oppose him like Mendendez. Today Joe Piscopo came into my home and made the pitch. At least his bit was funny. So from now on I will base my vote on what politicians will do to help well placed Italian-Americans. Us Italians have to stick together.