Library Life

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The other day I was thinking about the personalities and characteristics of the people of which I work. More specifically, I was thinking about how tolerant and non-judgmental all the people I work with are (or at least of what I perceive of them). I once had a lovely co-worker who felt that we should make a list of everyone’s astrological zodiac to see if there was a trend in those that stayed with us longer than others and take that into account when hiring. (Of course, this was just us speaking – we do not hire based on zodiac sign!)

I was musing on how each of us react to specific situations, the ideas we come up with and how we interact with each other and our patrons. For example, one manager is so relaxed and laidback and her interactions with patrons just so easy, its as if she has known or met them all at some point in time that there is no need for formalities. Of course, she is always respectful and polite, but the pretense is not there – just no worries. Another is quite sensitive and takes things a bit to heart, but that heart is of gold and she comes up with ideas to reach out and support overlooked pockets of the community, going above and beyond whenever she can – very tolerant. One other is adherent to policies and rules, but is quite flexible and understanding when things do not always follow those guidelines and rather open-minded in all aspects in life – her first impression would be quite off the mark.

All-in-all, each individual working within the walls of the library is curious, empathetic, open-minded and accepting of everyone else. There is no gossip (well, let’s be honest, of course there is gossip, but it’s not hateful or intentionally hurtful, it’s just being gossipy), there is no bad energy exchanged between employees, no one that rubs others the wrong way all the time, etc. Of course, this is what we wish of all work places, do we not? But I find the people here to be much more accepting and easier of temperament than those of other places I have worked. Personally, I think it’s the energy and vibe of a public library that calls out and keeps a certain kind of people.

At a public library, you are going to get all types of situations you never imagined. Cleaning up human feces in the lobby because an individual was ill and had no where else to go; standing up to discriminatory book challenges at the cost of pulled monetary support (we shall not be bought); being screamed and threatened because we stand for equality; spending an hour with a stranger, listening, when you learn that this is all the human interaction they get each week; the list goes on.

People think that librarians just sit around all day and read books. Man! Would that be the kush job of librarian dreams! Of course, that is not the case, but I do not think that outsiders realize the type of person one must be to last in a library. There is no space for judgment, discrimination or inflexibility. Curiosity is a must. Empathy is a must. Thinking oneself better or more entitled than others will not go down well here. Knowing that we are all going through something, that we each have a story and it effects the way we act, that we learn and grow every day and through each interaction is a requirement.

I think that is why so many people find solace in libraries or who’s first experience of a library is that of joy. Libraries are spaces of connection and uncovering hidden histories of life. Libraries are spaces to connect and shed what you think you know of the world; of treating each other with respect and standing on truly equal footing. Libraries are spaces of imagination and philosophy, of growth and loving kindness. Your beliefs will be questioned, your view of the world challenged, your feelings of what we owe each other tested. A Library, at the heart, is a shelter for those who need it, whose doors and windows open to more worlds then you can imagine. I am honored to include myself in this band of freethinkers and cherish the continuous questions the Library brings to my life. I am glad that I was lead to this space and that I seem to fit because is that not one of the things we must seek in life?

-Samantha Hanchett, Marketing Coordinator

*Please note that the opinions of “Thoughts” are just that and do not necessarily represent the views of the Thomas County Public Library.


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