Yesterday afternoon, I stopped by a branch of the Wake County Public Library to return some books and check out some more. While I was using the self-checkout, a boy came up to me and asked if “I” had one of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. At first I thought he was asking if I were checking out a copy, then I realized he thought I was a library employee there. I explained to him that I didn’t work there, but that one of the people behind the desk could help him. I took advantage of the chance to find out more about The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and what the boy thought of the series. He seemed shy when he first asked me about the book, and it was fun to draw him out and witness his face light up over a book.
After we finished talking, I checked out the last of my books and headed for the front door. A woman at the copier near the front door said, “Excuse me…” and started asking a question about the copier. I glanced around to see who she was talking to, and realized she was talking to me! Twice in five minutes, patrons at this library branch had assumed I worked there!
Truth be known, I was flattered, and wished I could’ve helped. When I walk into a different library from the one I work in, I often ask myself what it would be like to work there. (I must mention here that I really enjoy my current job, and am not looking to leave! It’s just a curiosity I have about different libraries and work environments.) It also told me something about the relationship between patrons and library staff, and how patrons find librarians approachable when they’re out from behind the desk. Certainly, librarians must do a certain amount of work at or behind the desk, and I think the staff at this particular branch do a good job. This was a nice lesson for me, though, about being out among patrons (and staff) and how that can bring about good conversations and questions about service and work.
It also makes me wonder if I already have that “librarian” look! 🙂
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