by Joy Worlund
Very few things make a librarian happier than a satisfied customer. I think this statement is true of most people who serve their community in this field. Often, in the past and the present, this means helping to find great books and resources. As a children’s librarian, I am thrilled to drop everything to hunt for the perfect book for a child, parent or any person who wanders up to the children’s library for a dose of nostalgia. Recently, a new American came in and asked for help to find what she needed. When she was leaving, she apologized for taking up my time. My response, “are you kidding me? This is the best part of my work.”
It is what I am called to do.
If you follow the field at all, you may have heard that “libraries are changing.” You may have heard that they are “not just for books anymore.” I don’t think of it this way. Libraries are, as they have always been, a resource for the user. Librarians rise to the needs of their patrons, and it just so happens that these needs are becoming more diverse.
At the Kellogg Hubbard Children’s Library, we are continuing the good work of librarianship by testing new ideas. Do you want to learn how to make a stop-motion video? How about trying a new game with your friends? What do you want to see and how can we help bring it to you?
Sometimes, I try something new and nobody comes. Other times, I am overwhelmed with the number of children at a program and wish that I had a small staff of volunteers. Tech Tuesday is an example of this second scenario. On Tuesday afternoons, children participate in making eCrafts and experimenting with technology. The attendance in this program grows a little every week and I can barely keep up, even with the help of a dedicated parent who is at each session. Is this how I know it is a successful program? Well, yes, the growing attendance is affirmation to me. But the true answer is in the faces of the kids when their parents and younger siblings come to pick them up. They smile and boast about the project that they just finished, proudly waving the results. This smile is the same as the one I see on the face of an avid reader on his way out the door with a staggering armload of new books. We are here to serve you an experience, but it is a different experience for each person.
So what is your need and how can I help you? Will you come see me and tell me your story? Nothing would make me happier.