Sunday, January 25, 2009

Bring Me the Head of Conan the Librarian (or at least his collection of crafts books)

The girls and I ransacked the local library this afternoon - Rollo the Viking and his conquering hordes looting and pillaging the Easy Readers and the sections on cats, dragons and crafts. This is one of our favorite pass-times.

I actually worked there, once upon a time, but the pull of finishing my dissertation and the push of working for supervisors who were actively psychotic were enough to end my days checking in and shelving books. I enjoyed the job when not dealing with my supervisors - there is a certain satisfaction to making the shelves orderly, even the romance novels that I was exiled to for most of my tenure there in an attempt to get me to stop browsing through the books as I put them back, and there is no better way to discover new and interesting books that you would probably never have found than to check in the randomly jumbled carts of books that line the backstage area of a library.

Also, when I left I found that my supervisors had provided me with two inestimably valuable things to take with me - a set of stories to make people's heads shake in wonder, and an unerring negative example of how to manage people that I found supremely useful when I went on to run the museum. "How would they have done this down at the library?" I would ask myself when confronted by this or that managerial situation, and then I knew precisely what must be avoided at all costs. It never failed. I suppose I should go back and thank them for that.

The library itself is wonderful, though. The people are friendly and helpful, even when it isn't in their job description to be so and they end up reprimanded for it. And the collection is superb. This isn't a large city, at least by the standards of where I grew up, but if you can't find it at our local library you probably aren't looking hard enough.

Both Tabitha and Lauren have had their own library cards since they were using them to teethe. We go there a lot, especially when the weather is as cold as it is these days. We return a backpack full of old books and remove a backpack full of new books, pay off the fines from the old books (hey - not working there every day has its disadvantages), and head home intoxicated by the thought of new things to read.

I love the fact that the girls think this is a treat.

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