This was my last day at the Big Library, as I sometimes call it. My shift was all Mezz Ref, but the 10-1 shift is really a different animal than the mid-afternoon one. I had plenty of phone calls, some lengthy. A couple of chats.
An hour of 24/7 AskMN, the nationwide consortium of librarians who answer questions 24/7, somewhere, anywhere, in the U.S. I saw my first ever Class Bomb. This is apparently an entire classroom of students or a group from one, who decide to hit the AskMn service with questions all at once.
In this case, two questions came in right on top of each other from another state from "PrincessBubbleBlower" and "PrincessPoohBear" asking the exact same question. Then pop pop pop six more names from that state popped up with the same question. The answer to their question was not something that came up easily.
Questions come in to the askalibrarian email reference service throughout the night and in the morning before we're there. There are always a fair few of those to work through. They can be on any topic, the most common ones being How do I do _____with my eReader, how do I re-set my PIN, and everyone's favorite "I RETURNED THAT ______ DANG NABBIT!!!!!!"
Librariandoa is my public face on the Internet and I am pretty sure I write Librariandoa far more than my own name. When we respond to askalibrarian emails we sign them
askalibrarian/lrs ...and our initials. I have struggled mightily these two years and had to backspace away my "natural' signature.
I feel better now. You may certainly submit your questions here anytime and I'll see what I can do. We don't want my brain to rot, do we?
Sweet, sweet people stopped by to wish me well. I have been doing so well saying goodbye, but today I honestly could not find the words to tell some people who have been very kind and special to me goodbye in anything but the simplest way. I could not convey to them a zillionth of what they have meant to me. I am pretty sure I have let them know over time in nice side moments how much I respect and admire them.
I have this to say to the folks there in general: Thanks for taking me in. I arrived there a couple of years ago after having been in the system for a couple of decades. In two days a week I was going to learn every cool thing possible. Unbelievably, for the first time, I was going to be working directly with two of the very sharpest people from the old Internet Mentors group. Dream city, eh?
Just a few weeks in, I get my charming Stage IV cancer diagnosis and virtually disappear into a whirlwind of medical tests and several months of chemotherapy. My two days a week there becomes one. Instead of being that new person from another branch, I'm that woman with cancer and no hair and a boatload of interesting scarves. And "that laugh". I don't know where they get that last part :)
Absolutely everyone was so kind to me, and understanding, and there were a few who had also fought the cancer beast. You can't imagine how good it is to talk to people who have walked that walk. Since customers there did not know me as my other library customers did, they never ever commented on my scarves or my short, short hair once I stopped wearing them. It was really a haven of sorts.
I loved working on the single service desk there (they had it first). I carried voluminous notes about circ procedures around with me for the longest time. I asked the same questions over and over and everyone patiently answered and explained. The dreaded cash register screamed at me pretty much every day I was on the public desk. However, by the time my other library got one I was completely relaxed about how things operate and I think the transition was smoother than silk.
The staff are so excellent with the public, very attentive, nobody ever has to wait for long because they have got that public service spirit right to their core to a person.
Hugs to everyone there I did not by chance hug today on my way out!
The super secret upstairs office. You may call it The Librarian's Lair.
The meeting room where we have hosted the most extraordinary authors, musicians, crafters and speakers on innumerable fascinating topics.
Talk about Super Secret! The Administrative Offices...
Mezz Ref! The Librarian Is In!
The Children's Department where there are books galore, and foot tall dinosaurs! Also boats, mailboxes, trucks, it is an amazing maze of toys all threaded through the area. There are these charming 1950's-ish couches to read on.
Most popular of all is a JET PLANE!!!!
There is something for everyone. Lots of comfy places to sit and read and dream. Free wifi and Internet. A Coffee Shop. Excellent staff who can answer all of your questions, truly. You don't get that anywhere else.