Saturday, November 28, 2015
My living room
If working at my library for 21 years has done one thing, it has given me a level of comfort there. When I sit at the front desk, looking out over our New Book Collection and our AV Collection and our 3 million computers and all the fair variety of people who come by I feel strangely at home.
Yes, it's a job out there, and I'll watch the clock counting down my front desk time, and I would always rather be at my real home, and I miss my wife, and I wish I were King sometimes, and I'm not really happy to see everyone who comes by, and on and on and on. But somehow my heart is warm. On my best days I am not doing a job. I am hosting. I am there out of pure pleasure.
Some people who work with the public do it from a professional perspective. Sometimes that works best, for them and for who they help. But for good or ill that's not me. The library is more like the living room of my house to me, though curiously I am far more formal if you visit me in my real house. At my library house I fling the doors open. I welcome you to drop in and hang out at any time. It's always nice to see you. Come out of the rain. I won't fuss over you, but I'll do my best to get you pretty much anything you want. I'll visit with you. I have few rules, nearly all of them reasonable. My resources are utterly at your command. I am not solicitous, particularly industrious, officious, or professional in the sense we too often take professional to be. I do not act like I am supposed to. My secret that I will not tell you is that I am not an agent of the library, or a representative of said institution. I just live there. And often enough I might not even look like I work there. Though clean, I occasionally dress in rags. I don't mind slouching. I will talk with you about anything. I am casual, human, conscious, and on my own. I do not give you things or information you do not ask for. But if you do ask I will turn the library upside down for you. You are my guest, and you have a place forever.