Friday, January 25, 2008

A Day in the Life of a Librarian

Where I work, back entrance

I seldom write about work, but since librarians have such a staid stereotype, I thought some people might be interested in a glimpse of my usual day. I'll just hit the high spots:

6:00 am:
Up and at 'em.

Snowy, icy roads again, so traveling out to work was a slow trip.

8:15 am:
At work, checking restrooms to be sure they were cleaned properly by the new janitor; checking for icy spots on the walkways; check with assistant on recent deliveries of furniture.

Discuss an open position and a plugged toilet with a co-worker; answer a question about collection development and another about staff performance. Recycling truck arrives--talk to them; cleaners arrive to clean chairs in the meeting room--talk to them.

9:30 am:
Visit a branch to discuss changes to the teen area and janitorial problems, and go over plans for a new bookmobile. Suggest ways to deal with some problems with teens. Look at ideas for rearranging furniture. Discussing staffing. Discuss budget.

12:30 pm:
Stop at another branch for a quick visit, then back to the office for email and paperwork. (Lunch? In the car, between branches.)

1:30 pm
In the afternoon, sorting in the book sale area--I'm determined to get that area under control for my new employee. Three hours of moving boxes, sorting and boxing books is grunt work, but a welcome relief in some ways, the decisions are so simple. Put aside books that might be collectible to look at later.

4:00 pm:
A scare--a chemical-y smell outside. What is it? Is it a shelter-in-place situation? Call 9-1-1. Not a danger, no sheltering needed. Whew. Back to book sorting.

4:30 pm:
Discuss security problems with the guard, janitorial issues with the janitor. Check and answer email. Leave a 5:20.

6:00 pm:
Drive to Ripley, arrive at the Alpine Theatre for our special screening of Rebel Without a Cause. Popcorn is ready, we wait for people to come. They do, not many, but for this cold night a good group. Sell popcorn, watch the movie, clean up afterwards, close the theatre. Then finally, home to the fire, the dogs, a warm house, a glass of Shiraz. Storytelling? No place for it in this day, except one thing...

As I arrived back at work after the branch visits, I saw a car swing around the corner and zip up to a trash can. The girl in the passenger seat rolled down her window and tossed a bag into the can as the young male driver talked on his cell phone. They zoomed off.

So I'm wondering--what was in the bag? Was it some sort of drop-off? of what? I watch for a while. No one approaches the trash can. People are looking at me. I go inside. But after work, I casually walk over to the trash can and look inside. There's the bag. I poke it.

Trash. nothing more. Ah well. It could have been a story.

It might still be a story... "The car zoomed around the corner and screeched to a stop. A hand reached out the the open window and threw a bag into the trash. The driver dialed a number. "That's it, man. It's done."

And then?


Anonymous said...

I am thinking along the lines of "film noir". Here is my version...

The night was darker than a revenuer’s heart. I heard the car screech to a halt. Then there was the scream. Not a usual scream, but one with a pitch usually reserved for calling dogs. I checked on my friend. I keep him close to my heart, actually down and to the left. My other friend is in my sock, but enough about that. Then I saw it, a pair of legs sticking out of the trashcan. A normal set of legs, normal for a Rockettes lineup. Then I saw the goons, basked in the glow of the streetlight. This would have been fine had they not seen me first. They opened the argument with a poorly placed shot ricocheting to my right. My friend is an eloquent speaker. He answered back with a three arguments of his own. Just then I heard the engine gun and one goon jumped in the car. I ran to the scene just as the car exited stage left. In the silence, I was left to gather my wits. It was then I realized I had company. Two goons were resting quietly at my feet. They didn’t feel much like talking so I pulled the dame from the can and looked her over. A little ruffled, but none the worse for wear. She looked like a cross between Jean Harlow and Joan Bennet. She was the kind of girl that could break your heart, or maybe your arm. The dame was hysterical. Dames usually are. I introduced myself as Spencer Magnum, professional snoop. She asked, so I took the case. She looked like a case herself, but times are short and money’s hard. And I got to pay my Bill’s, especially Bill, my bookie, and Bill, my probation officer.


Mary said...

Sue, your day makes me tired just to read. You are phenomenal. I do want to see the story you could make from the trash can incident!

Mary said...

Love the story, anon (my favorite author), especially "paying the Bills."

and it's a late comment but sincere, anyone so good at fixing things deserve great credit! I don't know how I'd do with greasy parts in the kitchen. . ., so I guess there's "extra credit" due there as well.

Granny Sue said...

Awesome, Aaron! I love your imagination. You need to write more, son of mine.

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