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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Libraries During Hard Times..

We've been awfully busy at the library. Yesterday most of our book drops were about twice the size they usually are. Partly this is due to Summer Reading Programs--kids come to get books they must read by the end of the summer, and also we have lots of children's story times and such like. There's more going on however.

The Public library is a source of information and help in hard times. I am certain this is at least part of what is driving our circulation up.

We have people coming to use our computers, to learn english and other languages, to learn ways to cut expenses, start home businesses and get the knowledge that will help them with DIY projects. We also have folks coming for 'free' entertainment. We have a selection of dvds, and books on cd or tape that are free to use so long at they are returned on time. We also have some rental DVDs and books--best sellers, new releases--for which there may be long waiting lists--we sometimes have rental copies that can be taken out for a small fee.

We have a hiring freeze at the library, last week two folks in our department retired who will be missed. Yesterday we had the busiest day I've ever worked at our branch with less people to do the work. It was not easy to keep up. (actually, we couldn't)

Because our new house is quite a long ways from the branch I work at, I am putting out some resumes to see if I can find another job--but I don't really think it is likely. We have pretty high unemployment here and most companies are not hiring. I don't think there are any state or county jobs--no library I know of is hiring at all.

We've cut hours--well not our branch so much--but the regional branches have cut out Sundays--which does effect us because if people can't go to the regional on Sunday--they may end up coming our branch on Saturday or Monday instead. Especially folks who don't own computers. We had them lined up before opening yesterday.

A patron yesterday remarked to me how 'loud' the library is. I agreed with her but pointed out that it is not going to improve. We are simply too busy for a branch our size--there's no way to contain the noise. Also I think it is a sign of the times--we are a more casual society these days. You don't see the stern faced librarian giving you the evil eye for being noisy like you did when I was a kid. Now we are more about making our patrons comfortable and accomadating their needs--we do offer headphones though for those who really need some quiet.

Although my back is stiff as a board today and I know I have to go right back to work today, and I know my future drive will be crazy long--I think often--I wouldn't mind if I don't get another job--not too much. I love the work, I love knowing that I am doing something I am good at AND that it is truly useful work. People NEED our library! We are providing something that is especially important in hard times.

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