What are you doing at the library today?
I volunteer here twice a week. Today I am shelving the new fiction, the new non-fiction, and the one week books. I also spent a lot of time shifting that whole area, so that everything is evenly distributed, and nice and neat, and all the books are pushed forward for people when they come to browse.
You are very meticulous.
Very meticulous. I watch for things that are misfiled as I go. And of course I find them. I’ve come to realize that, rather than being sloppy, a lot of people aren't sure how to file. So they pull a book off that they might be interested in, and they panic, and they don’t want to look dumb or feel dumb, so they just put it back, sometimes in the wrong spot.
So why are you so organized?
Well, I’m a compulsive perfectionist! And I have been a director of medical records for thirty some odd years. And that relates to what I do at the library, because a medical record, like a book, should be exactly where it’s supposed to be.
So, that makes you pretty much the perfect volunteer.
I come every Monday and Wednesday, but yesterday was a snow day, so I came in this morning.
And you were here before 10:00! You got here before some of the staff.
I like to get here as early as I know staff will be here. That way, I can get a jump on things, so that when people come in, I’m not in their way.
It seems like you read a lot.
Yes, it was one book a week, now its two books, and sometimes three books a week.
What kind of things do you like to read?
A lot of books that Aracely (Senior Clerk at Jefferson Market) says, “You must read this!” She has had me read many incredible books. And I have a lot of friends who are avid readers. Like, I have one friend in Seattle who has read everything. I used to text her when I’d read something that she must read, and she’d text me back and say, “Yeah that was great wasn’t it?” So I try to look for books that just came out, and maybe she hasn’t gotten to them yet.
So that’s a good thing about coming here, you can get the jump on her.
Yes, so I read some non-fiction, some fiction. I just read Ape House by Sara Gruen. I read it in 24 hours. It’s not a great book, but it’s really interesting. Then I was filing new non-fiction, and I came a cross a book called the Elephant Whisperer, and I love elephants, so I read that in 24 hours too. It was really good. So, I’ll be reading something, and I’ll decide that I want to read another book by that author. Or, I’ll get in to a topic, like the animal thing, now I’ve decided I really want to go on a safari.
That would be great! We’d miss you here though!
I absolutely love being here. This week, I think, marks my one year being here. If I had it all to do over again, I would have gone into library science.
You would have been a great librarian!
Yeah, I love it here. And I have my own little collection of patrons who come to me, to ask if I’ve read anything great lately. And people will come to me, especially for non-fiction, and ask me where to find things, and if there’s nobody to refer them to, I’ll show them how to look on the Dewey Decimal list.
You’re very patient, which is a good quality in a teacher.
Actually, the library has really helped me with that. When I first started here, I just didn’t understand why people were invariably coming to my sorted shelving cart. I wanted to tell them, “Look at all the books all around you!” I would have to control myself, to not say, “Don’t touch them!” Then I realized, of course they want to look on this cart! They know that these books are what people have been reading. So, I’ve learned a lot of patience.