Wednesday, March 2, 2011

How Things Came to Be This Way

Having recently been given a copy of the book "Ishmael" by Daniel Quinn, I have since been pondering the reiterating philosophy explored in the book questioning how things came to be this way. Of course, Ishmael is speaking about the entirety of our planet Earth and the contrasting ideologies of the Leavers versus the Takers, and while this topic is fascinating it is far too expansive to explore today. Rather, I am contemplating how things came to be this way in my own diminutive life. Here I am, a 23-soon-to-be-24-year-old Teen Services Coordinator at a fantastic and rather non-traditional library in a depressed Maine mill town. I have never taken an education or library class, barely know the difference between the 540's and the 720's of my pal Dewey's Decimal System, and despite being the teen librarian have never read "Catcher in the Rye," "The Chocolate War," or "Holes." 

On the surface, how things came to be this way is relatively simple: I graduated from a small New England liberal arts college with a degree in Environmental Studies and needed to pay off a bunch of student loans. The large public library in my college city was hiring a VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) to help coordinate their teen programs in the absence of a tried and true teen librarian. I had a fairly solid knowledge of the community and had done both service learning and community work study with youth while in college and rather enjoyed it. I applied for the position despite fears that an "indoor job" would drive me mentally insane, was hired, and quickly became welcomed into the fantastic staff circle at the public library.

Despite the apparent simplicity in this explanation for how things came to be this way, there are always underlying stories. Stories of humor, stories of hardship; some are stories we come to believe as truths over time when reality becomes too surreal. Libraries are full of stories that I hope to explore through this online journal- and I'm not just talking about books! During the last 18 months I have been witness to some of the most unbelievable requests, found myself in the midst of full on fist-fights, tutored the most inspirational youth, started a range of programs for teens, and learned from subsequent failures and successes. With the end of my position quickly approaching in front of my very eyes, I decided that it would benefit my mental health (and hopefully create a few laughs along the way!) to start a blog of my experiences as the infamous Dreaded Librarian!

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