So, this is going to be a stunner for my LinkedIn professional network. My updated employment information has gone from broadcast journalist to librarian.
I’m working part time at the Ada Public Library as a circulation desk clerk. I feel like a kid in a candy store. Books! For the borrowing! For FREE.
I’d forgotten what that feeling was like. The last time I remember going to the library was in 1992 or 1993, when I was working my way through the exercises in Richard Bolles’ career-changing classic, “What Color Is Your Parachute?” I visited the Brooklyn Public Library to research U.S. Department of Labor information on possible careers. It was the search that launched me into radio broadcasting.
Most recently, I went into the Bedford Avenue branch of the Brooklyn Public Library in my old neighborhood. It was a sad, dispiriting place, with rows of empty steel shelves. Most were devoted to test prep materials for the GED, or books on how to write resumes and cover letters. The place was little more than a job search center.
At the Ada Public Library, the services are far more varied, the energy more vibrant. There’s a reading room, with a couch and two comfy chairs and copies of The Kenton Times, The Ada Herald, The Columbus Dispatch and The Lima News. There’s a little corner section for local history, where I spent a slow evening with a colleague looking for more information on the man who built my house, inventor and roofing magnate Perry W. Turner. There’s a “youth” section, with young adult lit like the Twilight series, and an ever-busy junior and early reader section in the back that is frequently littered with books, pulled off the shelves by little patrons.
"I don’t care, at least they’re reading,” my boss says, sweeping through to gather up scattered books for the umpteenth time that day.
I hear it gets even more chaotic during Summer Reading. Everyone on the staff talks about it with a tone of awe and wonder, like the one seasoned parents use when advising new ones. "Until Summer Reading starts" is a prepositional phrase used to denote a shift in reality not unlike "until they start walking" or "until they learn to drive."
During Summer Reading, children get prizes for completing a certain number of books from June through August. Binge reading! That, too, is something I used to do, oh so long ago. I remember ripping through all the Little House books as if they were potato chips. Now, sitting down for a long spell of reading induces either (a) sleepiness or (b) waves of shame for not doing something moe productive. I am more fidgety now, at 51, than I probably was as a 6-year-old.
My reading challenge, one for all seasons, is to keep up with the voracious appetites of the Ada Public Library's frequent patrons. Already, I've checked out about 6 books, from a young reader's book on how to knit, to a Dr. Phil book on how healthy families survive crises. He's writing about those "until they learn to drive" scenarios of teenage risk-taking, but I'm counting on learning a thing or two about getting through a kitchen renovation.