Goodbyes and hellos in library land

About 5 weeks ago, my husband started his new job in Bucyrus. And I began my search for a job where I could work with children. How improbable it seemed that I would find a library that was hiring, let alone a library who needed help in the children’s department. As luck would have it, the Mansfield Richland County Public Library had a part time opening for a Children’s Assistant. The ideal candidate would have a BA or master’s degree in library science. Having neither, I figured that I’d apply and if nothing else, I’d get to practice my interview skills and meet some fun librarians. I’m a very casual down to earth person with 13 years of library experience and I don’t always speak or write like a professional. In fact, when I try to memorize information, I tend to stumble over my words during a presentation or interview. So I felt extremely excited and blessed when they offered me the job.
After so many years in a small rural library, I’ve become accustomed to many things. If a patron forgets his card, who am I kidding? In our small town, almost no one brings their card, let alone actually knows the current location of their card. We just ask them their name and look it up on the computer. If the child doesn’t remember the title or author to the series they are reading, I just ask them “What does the cover look like?” I can usually find the right book if it’s in my collection. This talent is acquired by putting AR stickers on most of the collection and putting new barcodes on the entire collection. I will definitely miss knowing exactly where the books are on the shelf. Sometimes a patron asks if I have a title and instead of looking it up on the computer to see if it is checked in, I say ”Let’s just check the shelf. It’s faster.”
I’m so excited to be joining a team of librarians, yes I said a TEAM of librarians, who all work in the children’s department! I will be joining 7 others who are as passionate as I am about motivating children to read. At the Gnadenhutten library I run the whole show with the wonderful support of the library director and 2 part time staff. They are also passionate about children and reading, but they mainly work the circ desk in the adult area. One young lady helps me preview manga and the director helps with book selection and writing grants. They help me with advertising and setting up events among many other things. The list could go on and on…Whatever I need, they are always there to lend a hand!
As I interviewed, I realized that it would be nice to be able to focus on just one age group. If I got the job I wouldn’t have to plan two different summer reading programs. I would never have to plan a zombie event the same day that I’m having Toddler Time. Sometimes it’s difficult to switch gears from blood and gore to sweetness and Elmo.
Today is my going away party. My teen volunteers wanted to have a party for me and suggested that I put all of my favorite books on display. One of them asked if they could bake cookies for the event. My director and the library board will be providing cake and drinks. It’s not really a party unless there’s cake, right? The children and teachers at Moravian Early Learning Center made me a big sign with all of their signatures. I put it on the bulletin board and covered the rest of the board with white paper so that everyone could sign it. I hope they put all the “mushy stuff” on there and don’t make me cry at the party. I’m not a fan of crying in public. Let’s just say that it’s not always pretty.
Tomorrow is my first day of work at the new job and I look forward to a new challenge after being in a small library all these years. There will be so many new people to meet and so many families to welcome with my smile and friendly hello. I can’t wait to see where all the books are so that I can help the children find “just the right book” for them. While updating my resume and looking for job I realized that I really just enjoy being a helpful person in any situation. So joining a team of librarians and helping them at the reference desk and assisting with the summer events sounds like a perfect job for me! Happy Reading!
Carole Courtwright
Youth Services Coordinator
Gnadenhutten Public Library

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1 Comment

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One response to “Goodbyes and hellos in library land

  1. Dear Ms. Courtwright, you sound so excited that I am excited for you. I also love working with children in fact I prefer them to adults. they are so open and happy that they never fail to make me smile. I know you will cry but that’s okay. Enjoy your new job hope to hear from you soon. Blessings!! A fan Cynthia Ignacio Date: Tue, 13 May 2014 14:41:43 +0000 To: carmosignacio@msn.com

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