“Wanna hear how I deal with people like that?” It’s more a statement than a question, but the infliction still escapes my lips as I say it. Force of habit, maybe, but I don’t dwell on it much longer. I have an audience before me and floundering right now means I’ll lose them. Look at me, the persistent orator despite the social anxiety that cripples me on a day to day basis. It’s Friday, and today I’m being cross-trained in circulation. This is another duty stapled to my new position.

My job title hasn’t changed, but I’m no longer a book lord. These days I sit in front of a computer cataloging the tomes as they arrive. I am also a library whore. Catalogers’ primary jobs aren’t important. Everyone in tech services are picked off at a whim. Need help at the reference desk? Let me just put everything down and assist you. A line as long as a Chick-fil-a grand opening? Sure, these books will be here when I get back.

Not that I mind. I need breaks from the monotony. Sitting down is unhealthy. And cataloging is banality exercised.
The girls at circulation cheer me throughout my firsts. My first check-in. My first check-out. First fine. First new library card. First replacement. It wasn’t long before someone says, “Now wait until you get your first annoying patron.”

I scoff at the words. Three years in the library, I’ve had my share of annoying patrons who think the sun shines from their ass. It wasn’t too long ago when I applied for the circulation position. Wasn’t too long ago when they didn’t approve the transfer due to my “inexperience.” My mind laughs at the memory of my last interview. When I’m told that part of my new duties is to cover circulation, I bit down to keep myself from asking, “Are you sure I’m experienced enough?”

Hostility is no stranger to me. People at the stadium lashed at me daily. I stood my ground when a mountain of a baseball player threatened me. And each time I handle it the only way I knew how.
“Just remember that you’re smarter they are.”

Future’s End

Friday, the assistant director approached the circulation desk. I met him years before I applied to the library, so there’s some history there. He starts talking to me about the future of the library and the arts department. The city has granted us two buildings. He assumes, as anyone should, that the arts building will come first. The second building is a new library branch. As he’s talking, I begin writing the press release in my head. There’s a reason for all this chatter, and I’m sure it involves my added duties. He continues talking about the new branch’s location. It’s location is the former location for the city’s library. “The library will come second, I think,” he said. And as an after thought, “You can get your MLS in that time.” He goes on to tell me about the transfers and futures and GRE test scores and the last sixty hours of my undergraduate education and two years working on my masters. And the seeds are planted and the urge returns.

The only problem, of course, is where the money comes from. Loans are there. I could probably look into scholarships and grants. The most obvious path is asking if the library is willing to sponsor me. That’s doubtful, though. And how many of my years am I willing to hand over in return?

The thought of taking on another role scares me. Full time father. Full time employee. And now part-time student? Having to worry about my parental duties while balancing school and thinking about my responsibilities at work isn’t my cup of tea. And let’s face it, the only reason I survived college was because Jeanna was my balance. I may come off as a person who isn’t afraid of a challenge, but that’s just it. To paraphrase Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner, “I’m always afraid.”

Krist, if I wasn’t. Can you imagine all the things I wouldn’t do?

I ordered my GRE test guides Saturday night.

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