So I need to tell you about a most intriguing quote I found the other day. But in order to tell you about "the quote" I have this need to tell you how I found it and in order to tell you that I finally get to tell you about my new job that I started the end of January.
Two nights a week and every other Saturday I have a job. It is not at a public library it is at an academic library and yes, they are different. Academic libraries organize their books by the library of congress numbers. Public libraries use dewey. Academic libraries can hold onto your grades and transcripts and basically your whole entire life if necessary if you owe fines to them. Public libraries...yeah, not so much. College kids use the academic libraries to study in, use the computer in, print things off in, meet in groups in, research in, and flirt in. The public uses public libraries to check out mountains of dvd's for free and of course, books and they bring their kids to programs at and use the computers too. Public libraries are often the center of the community. In academic libraries they are all about teaching you how to do all things library for yourself...empowering you. In public libraries we pretty much do it ALL for you :) Can I tell you how many cute little old people I place holds for? :) I had no idea of all the differences between the two types of libraries. And I was a little sad when the realization hit me that my job at the academic library would not be as busy as my job at the public library.
I love the drive to my job. I mean my...commute? :) It is a beautiful drive. I can listen to whatever music I want the whole way. The college I work at is placed rather perfectly. When you drive in to the college you know immediately how big the campus is and where everything is. It is all built into a hill so when you pull your car in you are at the top of a hill looking across and down at the college. So in one sweeping glance you can see everything. The road to the college is in a circle so the college is at twelve o'clock and the road you enter on is at six o'clock. The road starts at the top of the hill and then goes down in a valley and then climbs up again all the while going in a circle. There are tons of stairs on the campus since the buildings start at the bottom of the hill and progress up. I wish I could explain it better. If we were talking face to face I would draw you a great picture and then you would know....actually if we were face to face I would just take you for a drive in my car and show you! It really is a beautiful setting. Although I do wish the campus buildings had more character...but I will live :)
I love seeing people. I love helping people.I am a people kind of girl. But the truth of the matter is since I happen to only work evenings and some Saturdays I do not see many people. But it's okay, I have a desk :) When I was little my cousin Dori and I used to play "desk." We were always heading to play office/secretary but it always ended up simply being about setting up our desks. We would set up large cutting boards on the floor and use all sorts of our Grandma's earthly posessions to decorate our desks. I do not get to decorate this desk. But I do set my water bottle on it and keep the sticky notes close by. There are two computers I log myself into just in case I get to check out books to someone, collect their fines, or check a few books in. I have yet to place a hold on a book for someone....I miss doing that but I am supposed to teach these college kids how to do that themselves. I have a little notepad that sits by me that I am supposed to make tally marks on for the phone calls I answer and the patrons I help and how many people are studying at the tables.
There are four floors in the library. I sit at the very front desk when you first come in. I am supposed to be an information ninja :) People will ask me all sorts of questions....many non library related. There is a reference librarian upstairs but we really do not get to hang out since they are in charge of helping the students with all the computers and such upstairs and I am in charge of the downstairs.
When I come into the library on the weeknights my time overlaps a little with the "daytime" people so I get a small "visit with people" fix before they all leave me to the utter and complete silence that is and always will be an academic library.
What do I do with the silence? Well I have read all the "rules and procedures" books on the desk....twice. I have browsed through all the brochures about the college courses offered. Behind the desk are several shelves with course reserves from the teachers for the students and I browse through those....well never the algebra and calculus ones but everything else is very interesting.
One night I chose all the seeds I wanted to buy in my seed catalog and wrote them all down very neatly with a super sharp pencil in my book filled with blank paper for me to write in about my life.
One night I placed way too many holds on books, dvd's, and cd's for me on my library account.
There are glass windows all along the wall facing the hallway so I stare out those windows watching people walk by.One night when I was staring out those windows I noticed a board on the wall in the hallway that listed people's names on it and the room number they worked in and I noticed a J. Baird....it caught my attention and I wondered and then I realized oh dear that is me. I work here about 14 hours a week and my name made the library employee board. It looks so official in those little white movable letters on the black board. I feel a little bit like I have not earned it as I sit there languishing at my desk. I keep meaning to take a picture of my name so you can all see it.
Some nights I read a book like David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell or Longbourn by Jo Baker. But I feel so guilty doing that at work...even though there is nothing going on and they encouraged me to bring a book it just feels weird to get paid to read.
Sometimes I make notes in my journal about things I want to do or things I am thinking about.
I get a fifteen minute break and that is when I eat my carrots, my piece of string cheese, and my granola bar.,,,okay and check Facebook :)
But the best part of the whole evening. The part I make myself wait until six o'clock for is that I get to read the newspapers. I always start with my favorite, The Wall Street Journal. Then I move on to The New York Times and then The Boston Globe and sometimes I even get time for the USA Today. I love every single minute of that and I am grateful I have this job so I can read these newspapers that I could only dream of subscribing to and getting delivered to my house.
And that finally brings us to "the quote." I was reading an article in the Sunday edition of the New York Times by this lady named Monica Wesolowska. It was a great article about her life and marriage and what she had learned and observed in it so far. Near the end of the article she says, "to write you just need to pay enough attention to your life." I had a big ah-ha moment when I read this. It is really is true if you pay enough attention to things around you and your life within these things that is all you need to be able to write. It has been in the back of my mind ever since I read it on Thursday night and I have been trying to notice if I am good at paying attention to my life and noticing details. I think I am now but there have been way too many years that I have not paid attention. It is like something woke me up and now I am aware. So I guess that means I must write :)