ASSOCIATES (2006, March, v. 12, no. 3) - associates.ucr.edu
*My View From The Back Room*
Library Associate II
Winona Public Library
Winona, MN 55987
Spring is a good time to think of change and changes. I just finished re-arranging my living room. Hubby was handy so I invited him to help me shift furniture. I only move furniture every few years, and we have a long haired cat, so you can imagine the fluff we found: Enough for a whole new cat. I gave her a long appraising look, calculated her age and longevity, and put the idea of a nice new dark paprika bedspread on hold, for now.
My ILL closet at work was the benefit of a nice new change too. Now when I say closet, I want you all to know that I mean that literally. It once was a small storeroom closet under the stairs and decorated with water and sewer pipes. I actually feel like Harry Potter when I am working in there. There is just enough room for me to stand and sort and shuffle books on a set of shelves, and then reach around to stack the sorted books on a book cart. The maintenance guys decided to build for me two new shelves (they said “We’re guys, we like to build stuff!”) and tossed out the old black metal one I had been working on. Now everything is brighter, lighter, and I can roll a book cart UNDER the sorting shelf. I still don’t have a window anywhere, but it is a nice change at work.
After the change in my work closet, I carefully looked around my work area to see if there were any changes I could make there. But unless I want to give up my big oak library furniture desk for some cheesy scaled down newer version, there isn’t any other way to arrange the things I need in the space I have, so I have to just concentrate on re-decorating. Maybe add some fung shui additions? Anyway, I need something to create a nice harmonic flow. I wandered into the technical services room last week after everyone was gone—it being my night to work late—and just stared at the neat clean desks. Five people work in there and all the desks were clear and clean. Wow! I can’t imagine it, I exist among creative clutter, and boy I bet I drive them all nuts with my unclear desk and bits and bobs of STUFF everywhere. Come to think of it, my desk is like that at home too. I can generally find whatever I need and whatever I am looking for, though not always at the precise moment I need it. Perhaps there is an area I can explore for change and growth? I’ll have to think about it some more.
The way our consortia handles ILL materials or the “flow” of materials from library to library is about to change again. A notice was just sent out (now get this…I have been saying it every since we switched to the dreaded Horizon system…) saying that more materials than ever where being sent between libraries and the work load continued to increase. The upshot of that deep thought is they want ALL libraries to mark ALL their new items LOCAL REQUEST ONLY for 120 days. This would prevent your new items from going to anyone else but your patrons, and your patrons would have to wait for your item to come in and be available before your patron would get it. This is EXACLTY the way things worked BEFORE we switched over to Horizon, and any item anywhere was up for grabs by anyone anywhere. So, this is a prime example of “The more things change, the more things remain the same…”
Perhaps when this new old change goes into effect, I will have more time and once again be able to do something other than pull, sort, pack and unpack books traveling between libraries. Bob Dylan sang, “Twenty years of schooling and they put you on the day shift.” That is what I feel like quite often. I don’t have the luminous MLS, but I do have a degree, yes sir re bob ladies and gents, and I graduated Magna Cum Laude, thank you very much. I also have twenty years of library experience, and they pay me pretty big bucks just to pack and unpack books. In fact this week one of the work study students said to me, “When you were gone last week, I did your job.” She was quite proud of that fact. I just thought, yeah well, I have always thought anyone in off the street could do it. I didn’t say that though, I smiled and said, “Have any problems?”
I plan to effect a change at the library, I do. Once some of my time frees up (oh, pleeze, free up!) I am going to push for a change. I want to be used more efficiently, I want to contribute more, and I want to use my brain and my creative talents. I plan to push for and start a library blog or newsletter; I want to explain how I can really make our web site a wonder, if I just had more time to spend on it. I want to help more in programming events to get the public interested and involved in our library and our building.
Towards these lofty goals I have made some tiny baby steps. The Friends of the Library sponsor a yearly short story and poetry writing contest. The short stories are for grades 2-6 and the poetry contest is for grades 7-12. I am the official poetry judge, and reader of the winning poems at the awards ceremony. This year I plan to collect all the winning entries and print a book as part of the prize for the winners. In September we host at the library a Heroes Among Us art & poetry contest. I am the poetry judge and in charge of the program. I can do this! It is fun, it is creative, and it directly effects the library and the community. Now I am getting excited about work over the next six months, now there is a good attitude change!
Don’t forget National Poetry Month! Visit my poetry site at http://mainchannelvoices.com