Maggie Robinson

Apr 18
Library Lover

Librarian. The Original Search Engine.

Librarians do it by the book.

Library card—better than a credit card.

Librarians have tighter buns.

Librarians do it in the stacks.

Just a little lame library humor. It’s National Library Week. I’m not a librarian, but I play one every day. My degree was in English, but for the past three years I’ve worked in a high school library behind the circulation desk, designing all the displays and running the after school library program and girls’ book club. My official title is Educational Technician III, but basically I’m a library clerk who covers books, stamps cards, nags kids, inventories, straightens shelves, clips newspapers, mentors library aides and keeps attendance records. I love my job because I come in contact with hundreds of students and staff daily. I find weird holidays (Bulldog Day, April 28) and make weird signs. Unfortunately I don’t have time to read on the job, but I can override the maximum check-out limit on the computer and take home as many books as I want.

I also patronize our town’s excellent, elegant library, pictured above. Lately, I’ve tried to cut back on book-buying, and while the public library doesn’t always have the latest romances, I still find plenty to read.

What do you like most about your day job? Do you have a great library near you? Were you the kid who stuck the juice box behind the short story collection?

Congratulations to MRMR’s Poet Laureate, Reverend Melinda, whose name was written on an itty bitty piece of paper and plucked from the pile! E-mail your address for your prize package to !

17 comments to “Library Lover”

  1. Tiffany Kenzie
     · April 18th, 2008 at 8:29 am · Link

    A library constitutes as a public place. I do not do public places by myself. I don’t like to try that many new things without someone at my side. I was never meant to be independent of family and friends I think. I can’t function alone. therefore, i have no one to go to the library with and do not go. I’ve never even stepped foot into the Toronto reference library. In fact, I’m not even sure where it is… it’s only the biggest freaking library in Ontario… 🙂

    What do i like about the day job? it pays the bills. sad but true… I’m working on the dream job, but whodathunk it would take so many years to get pub’d? lol!

  2. terrio
     · April 18th, 2008 at 9:30 am · Link

    I have a library card only because for some time I did not have a computer at home so needed to use the library computers. We’ve used it to check out books for Kiddo and I’ve used it to check out books for school papers but never checked out a romance. My problem is I like to keep the books I read. Libraries aren’t too keen on you doing that.

    I do like my day job. I like working with spreadsheets and handling logistics plus, I have plenty of time to play on the internet. Oh, and I finally have my own office and I LOVE that part. 🙂

    That library is pretty, Maggie. How long ago was it built?

  3. irisheyes
     · April 18th, 2008 at 9:41 am · Link

    Maggie, you’re my hero. When I started volunteering at my kid’s school about 6 years ago one of the positions they were looking for was help in the Media Center. I put my name in wondering what the “Media Center” was but being intrigued all the same. Turns out it’s the new fangled name for the school Library! I came in once a week to help shelve books. The longer I helped out and the more they realized I was one of the few parents who showed up every week and actually knew my alphabet and numbers (sad isn’t it!?) they gave me more responsibility. I got to check out the books for the kids and help them when they came in to use the computers. I really enjoyed it. So much so that I’ve applied several times for the clerk position at several new schools going up in our area. Unfortunately, it’s really, really hard to get into the school district here and I haven’t been hired. My kids are no longer in the grammar schools (where they need the help in their Media Centers) but I always loved that time each week – very relaxing, doing something I like (organizing), surrounded by books.

    I also am a huge library user. I can’t justify spending the money I would spend on all the books I read. I discovered the local library in the last town we lived in and looked up my current one as soon as we moved. I love it! They are connected with something like 50-75 other libraries statewide and if they don’t have the book I want I just order it from another library and have it within 3-4 days. It’s awesome. They’re also computerized so I almost never wait in line to check out a book. I’m a huge fan of libraries!

    BTW – I love your “library” bumper stickers. They are hilarious!

  4. Kelly Krysten
     · April 18th, 2008 at 10:25 am · Link

    I have a library card that I never use. I always say I’m going to go to the library, but it never happens.
    But when I have gone I’ve never stuffed a juice box
    And I do love my day job. I’m a student who writes. For me,it doesn’t get much better than that.

  5. Elyssa Papa
     · April 18th, 2008 at 11:07 am · Link

    I love the library, but haven’t gone there in a long time. I like keeping my books as well, and the library I go to doesn’t often keep its romances up to date. 🙁

    I think I would’ve liked working in a library though surrounded by books. As for my day job, it has its high points and low points. Wish I didn’t have to work at all but I don’t have the Hilton fortune to my name. LOL

  6. Janga
     · April 18th, 2008 at 12:10 pm · Link

    I love libraries. Getting my first library card when I was five was a big event in my life, and the weekly treks to the library where I was allowed to choose six books to check out from among the riches were sheer delight. From kindergarten through college graduation, both school libraries and the public library were for me part treasure trove, part sanctuary.

    When I began teaching high school, I soon discovered that the school librarians were wonderful friends and resources who made my job easier. As a grad student, I spent countless hours in university libraries, reading, researching, writing. And again the librarians were wonderful; they helped me track down elusive sources, suggested sources I didn’t know about, and introduced me to the wonders of ILL. I consider one of my most valuable perks as university faculty to be the privilege of checking out a book for 90 days and renewing twice if I need to do so.

    I have read books I could never have afforded to buy because I have access to a library, I have volumes of research material at my fingertips through a library, I can check the OED without a magnifying glass through the library, I can locate books that are hard to find or even out of print through a library. I fully expect to quake and quiver my way up library steps as an octogenarian, discover new marvels with each passing year.

    I’m a fan, Maggie. Can you tell 🙂

  7. Lisa
     · April 18th, 2008 at 12:42 pm · Link

    I love my town’s library. They recently did some renovations, and it is so pleasing to the eye. I love the new big leather chairs with foot stools…if I only had the time to take advantage:)

    My first library memory was of the book mobile in grade school. I can still remember the smell of the books when I walked up the steps.*sigh*

    I like my day job because I work with people I like, and I help people in need of repairing their health. At times it can be very rewarding.

  8. Maggie Robinson
     · April 18th, 2008 at 4:23 pm · Link

    Tiff, come to think of it, when I lived in NYC I never went to the huge public library either. I’m very much at home, though, in most Maine town libraries, which are vintage buildings with contemporary booklists.

    Terri, I don’t keep many paperbacks. If I find a library book I really love, I’ll buy it, but that doesn’t happen too often. Which is why I wince when I realize I’ve given away thousands of dollars worth of books that I “had” to have. I’m going to have to find out when the building was built. The original structure has gorgeous woodwork, fireplaces, etc.

    Irish, our librarian hates to be called a librarian—she’s a Library Media Specialist and it says so on her siganture at the bottom of every e-mail. But we still call the library the library. Good for you for helping. We have student aides, but as you said, they really have trouble putting the books back in the right spots. Sad is right.

    Kelly, glad you’re keeping it clean. Today one of my aides found an empty Cheetos bag inside a book (bookmark? I guess it’s better than dog-earing the pages!

    Ely, as much as I like my job, I’m not averse to some Hilton money either. Still buying the lottery tickets…:)

    Janga, you’re my twin. Did your library have a summer reading program when you were a kid? I’d always finish the # of required books fast and fill in the little report book, shoot off in the rocket or train track or whatever the theme was. I spent a ton of time in my hometown library. It’s where I first read Shakespeare, although I didn’t understand him (not that I do now either, LOL).

    Lisa, the library in the picture was remodeled too. There’s a contemporary entrance in the lower level where all the “new stuff” is kept, and I rarely venture forth upstairs…which I plan to remedy this summer. I usually just dash in either before or after work and don’t get a chance to get lost for a while.

  9. RevMelinda
     · April 18th, 2008 at 9:33 pm · Link

    I grew up on a college campus and the college library was our “public” library. There was a whole kids section in the very back and I loved hanging out there. I checked out so many books. . . I am sure that if you go into that library today you could open some kids book and find a sign-out card still there with my youthful signature (from 40 years ago).

    I went through a phase (age 7 or 8?) where I wanted to write my name on the check-out card bigger than anyone else’s. So some of those signatures are huge, and for a while I wrote my name sideways across the card (perpendicular across the lines) in an attempt to have The Biggest Signature Ever. . .

  10. Maggie Robinson
     · April 19th, 2008 at 6:43 am · Link

    RevM, I don’t want to disappoint you, but I think library check-out cards are now kind of illegal. Something to do with privacy acts. All your giant signatures have probably been trashed. We remove any old sign-out cards we find in books. Everything is computerized now, and no one knows who took out the book before unless I do a copy history search.

    Congrats on winning this week! I’ve e-mailed you, too.

  11. J.K. Coi
     · April 20th, 2008 at 8:50 am · Link

    I don’t get to the public library…ever. But I’m always at the law library, which I love (we do still have signed check-out cards). It’s so full of history, I can run my fingers down the spines of books that contain caselaw from the 1800’s, I can open them up and read the law of our land from back then, read about what sorts of problems people brought to their courts in the past and how they were dealt with, learn how those decisions impacted the law as it is today. It fascinates me, truly.

    Man I’m boring.

  12. MistyJo
     · April 20th, 2008 at 6:52 pm · Link

    Sadly, I haven’t been to the library in town. My mother has. She carries Colin, and they check out movies, not books. Like others who have commented, I buy my books. I want the luxury of having them at my fingertips at any time. Unfortunately, I’m not rich, and I can’t buy all the books at retail price that I want. Thank God for UBS and eBay!

    I think that I would enjoy working at a library or a bookstore. To be surrounded by the written word in your work has to be a wonderful feeling.

  13. MistyJo
     · April 20th, 2008 at 6:58 pm · Link

    I forgot to comment on how I feel about my job. I LOVE teaching. This is the second job in my life that I haven’t hated after a few months. The first was the Disney Store. There are days that I’m ready to pull my hair out at the end of the day, but I always want to come back the next day. The students have my heart. The day is fastly approaching when I will say “good-bye” to them. It’s going to kill me, but with gas prices and Bill still not finding full-time employment, I can’t keep doing the drive of an hour and a half every day.

  14. Maggie Robinson
     · April 20th, 2008 at 8:00 pm · Link

    J.K., after reading your stuff I know you’re not boring! I get pretty thrilled dealing with old books, too.

    Misty, any chance of getting a teaching job closer to home? That’s a pretty long commute. I’m about 15 minutes from school and that’s about all the driving I want to do, particularly in the winter.

  15. MistyJo
     · April 20th, 2008 at 8:32 pm · Link

    Maggie, I’m in application and resume hell right now. 🙂 I’m hoping for an English position, but English is tough to find. If no English comes available, I can still do special education, which is in demand.

  16. Stephanie J
     · April 21st, 2008 at 10:49 am · Link

    I finally discovered the library that’s only 10 minutes from my apartment. I was so annoyed that I hadn’t found it sooner. I’m just glad that I’m now aware of the resource. Probably my favorite thing about libraries nowadays is the ability to renew books online and the ability to read scanned books on the databases.

    Your local library looks so pretty! Ours is from the stone age and it’s not as easy to feel comfortable in. The one that I grew up with was so comforting to me.

    Oh, and I’m KICKING myself for not taking more advantage of the college library when I was there. What a fantastic resource and I probably stepped foot in it about 10 times during my college career. UGH.

  17. Santa
     · April 23rd, 2008 at 10:32 am · Link

    I love libraries. My favorite scene in ‘Beauty & the Beast’ is the one where he gifts her the library. That’s my fanatasy come true.

    My family frequents the three that are near our home. We also have an exceptional inter-library loan system which is great because there’s a librarian three towns over that loves romances and always keeps Balogh, Beverley and Chase on the shelves.

    I just love escaping into libraries. My alma mater’s library was abismal when I went there. A few years ago they rebuilt it and it is so beautiful. I love to go there and write during finals week (they close at 2am) and sneak peaks at some of the old research tomes I used to read.