I’m slowly starting to find my stride at my workplace library. I have now more confidence to manage the “whole library” by myself during the opening hours (1 1/2 hour during the lunch break), which includes managing The Computer (enter books, loan out books, register their return, check a person’s account, find where a book is due to come back… all which requires a lot of patience because we’re dealing with a very moody old system), answering questions, shelve books.
I was so happy to get to know the regulars and be able to help them make new choices. Some people know what they’re looking for from the get-go, but many people seem open to or actively seeking suggestions, a lot more than at our neighborhood library. It’s so fun to try to guess a person’s taste based on the returning book! I’m just like a living Amazon algorithm (a better-looking one, I hope). When a shy, gentle middle-aged woman returned a Jojo Moyes, I steered her towards Kate Morton. Last week a nice young person thanked me for recommending Mr Rosenblum’s List to her. She really made my day!
One big topic at my workplace library is how to choose books for one’s kids. Comics and kids books have the largest circulation by far. Parents are both idealistic and realistic. Some weeks they take a thicker novel and the next week they’ll go for the silly comics that everybody discusses at school during recess. Today I convinced a mother to bring home Helen Keller’s story by Lorena Hickok to her mature 10-year-old, a book I remember loving as a child.
I’m usually an introvert but I find it fun to be with other book-lovers, even when they mostly request bestsellers! Well, don’t go thinking that an uninterrupted flow of readers drop by during my service hours. Rather, I also spent some quiet time alone, scissors and tape in hand, covering the rest of my new English books. When I ordered English books and received my big box, little did I know that it was only the start of a longish process to get them checked by the accounting that will pay the bookshop, registered, stamped, and covered. At last they are ready to go out into the world!
And for those who placed bets the last time around, the first book to be borrowed was… Station Eleven by Emily St Jones Mandel! I didn’t rig the game, but I confess that I might have had some influence in that choice, since the person asked for my advice…