Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fueling My Addiction or: Why My Job Acts as an Enabler

I've been going to libraries since I was in kindergarten. My mom made sure that I had a library card and I would leave my town library laden with books. Ditto on my school library. I would read five or six simultaneously, leaving my mom wondering how I was keeping up with all of them. Yet, somehow I was able to keep things straight in my head. I never even used a bookmark; I just knew instinctively which page I was on.

This is a pretty accurate representation of my childhood...with the exception of sitting on top of the shelves. I'm too short to climb on top of them.

Middle school and high school passed much the same way. I was vociferous in my reading, spending much of my time indoors with a good book in my hands. Then came college. I packed up all of my favorites, as well as some things I hadn't read, and head off to Rochester under the impression that I would actually have time to read.

I didn't.

In between two jobs, five classes, tons of homework, and numerous extracurriculars that I was involved in, I barely found time to crack open a book that wasn't for school. Occasionally I would find time to take a walk down to the canal on a warm day and read for a while, but those times were few and far between. My summers were spent working, so even then I wasn't given much time to read. I'd steal some time here and there, often not going to bed until four AM, but for the most part, my undergraduate years were a desert when it came to the thing that I loved most.

My master's program in education has proved to be much different. Even with two jobs, the classes and homework are so easy that I don't really have to put too much effort into what I'm doing. I've found that my time is much freer now and I'm able to catch up on all that reading I've been wanting to do.

So how does my job play into this?

I have two, as I stated above, both at the same place: my college library. I work in the Interlibrary Loan department and I'm also a supervisor at the main desk. The second position affords me some privileges because it is a staff position and not a student one. One of those privileges is the ability to take out up to 150 books at a time...for a full academic year. That's right, everyone. If I take a book out on September 1st, it's not due until the month of June. Oh, and did I mention that I don't get fines?

This is not my library. If it was, I'd never go home.

This has proved to be a seductive concept to me. While I have nowhere near 150 books out right now, I have about twenty, most of which I haven't actually read yet. I'll see a book while I'm out straightening the library up and I'll automatically pick it up and sign it out to myself, putting it on my desk at home for future consumption. It's like making a crack addict the head of the FBI's drug unit.

I love my job, even without the perks, but I feel like I'm being spoiled. I plan to stay at the library for a few years, especially with the economic situation the way it is. My worry is that once I'm no longer working there I'll go through withdrawal. I'm being facetious of course (sort of), but it really is a blessing to someone as addicted to books as I am to know that when I go to work I'm surrounded by them. It's a veritable smorgasbord of literature and non-fiction, one that I hope to be able to partake in for as long as I can.



  1. It IS nice to be surrounded by books. I'm a librarian in a public library, so I manage parts of the collection (I order books), I see the new, shiny books, I discover books when I go into the stacks with a patron.....

    it is a blessing and a curse. But actually, mostly a blessing. ;)

  2. Ah, to be a librarian. It must be nice.

  3. Jo: I totally agree. I don't know if I could ever work at a public library. The horror stories that I've heard from friends and colleagues is enough to make me glad that I never have.

  4. Wow. Maybe for you. But the worst I've actually ever witnessed was a boy opened the emergency exit door which set the very loud alarm off and then the librarian was spooked so she jumped and knocked over a pretty large pile of books. And that was funny in my opinion. But other than that, it seems like sweet bliss to be surrounded by books all day.

  5. We get our share of creepy patrons at the college library I work at but some of the stories that the people I work with have shared about creepy people in the public libraries they used to work at are unbelievable. Some public libraries are probably more blessed than others, obviously, but some are magnets for perverts and weirdos.

    I will say, however, that it is pretty awesome working in a library regardless of what kind it is. Even though I have no desire to be a librarian, being a supervisor at a library has given me ample opportunity to expand my reading list. :)