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Living the Library Loca: Reflections on Leaving a Job

On Sunday I will quit my first job where I’m actually sad to leave.

I’m not going anywhere really. Just quitting because it’s time. And also because working full-time at the garage, plus Sundays at the library, add to that the Jade House and I’m just slowly wearing myself down. I’ve never really allowed myself the luxury to not be completely overloaded. This will be different.

Libraries (and in effect, librarians) have always held a warm fuzzy place in my heart. From the narrow, short shelves from my childhood memories of Central, to working as a volunteer at Bull Run, I have long considered librarians as the mighty guardians of the written word.

When I embarked on my quarter-life crisis I vaguely considered pursuing my master’s degree in library science in order to join this esteemed crowd. I nixed that idea though when I learned that my-kind-of-sort-of-not-really-little brother Ben said, “I don’t see Manda as a librarian.”

And in the way that only little brothers can be right, he was.

I started work at our community/campus library during my first fall semester at community college and suddenly I had a much better understanding of what it means to be a librarian. Never mind the fact that we don’t sell anything. Working at a library is a customer service job just like everything else. It’s an exchange of goods and services. Shiny, awesome, for FREE books all the time goods. But still, goods and services.

You still have people who will never be happy with how you do your job. And even when people are faced with fines that they should have known would eventually catch up to them, folks still manage to complain about the price.

I’ve enjoyed my time working there, but I honestly don’t have the long-term temperament to be a librarian. I forget to use my inside voice. I have fines just like everyone else. I babble incoherently at patrons when I get excited about something they’re checking out. All in all, I’m a very flawed librarian/clerk-person.

Before the lights go on

I do, however, have some all-time favorite moments:

  • Like helping Deaf patrons and at least being able to sign, “You’re welcome.”
  • Like finding a first-edition copy of Theodore Roosevelt’s “African Game Trails” in our stacks (and then being completely enraged when it goes missing).
  • Like being in the library before in opens.

Yep. It’s the simple things.

That’s why when I received this link to fabulous library tribute art, I geeked out a little bit. It seems Scottish library patrons also share my joy at the institution of free knowledge. Really that’s the reason behind this post, to share that link. And I guess to start putting words to what it means to close this chapter of my life.



Took a wrong turn at the game of Life

I didn’t so much take a wrong turn, as I stumbled onto the Busy Busy All-the-time interchange and can’t seem to get back.

Fall classes are going awesome. Brakes I and II wrapped up and segued right into the week-long engine removal class. That concluded last Monday and now we’re on the fast-track for engine repair.

The afternoon electrical class is also equally rewarding. So far I’ve cleaned three batteries. Which is really not at all high maintenance but has brought a Ninja Mechanic related issue to my attention. Maintenance-free batteries are not maintenance free.

Once upon a time, batteries needed regular attention and sometimes additional fluid to keep their electrolyte level in top shape. Then along came the maintenance-free battery that had a little gauge to tell you when it needed attention. To my understanding that took the guessing game out of when to tend to your battery, but you still need to check under the hood every once in a while.

Case in point:
-For Skills this past week I brought in my aunt’s Chevy Tracker for an oil and air filter change as a belated birthday present to her. When I went to pop the hood and go to town, the Chevy’s blue fuzzy battery caught my attention. Batteries should not, under any circumstances, be blue and fuzzy.

Later this week I’ll have a post on easy at-home battery maintenance, but for right now I’ve gotta clock in for the night.

Skills 10-30-09
3.5 hours
-Oil and air filter change
-Battery maintenance
-Tire change

Fall classes

Just registered for fall classes and am very excited about the upcoming semester.

Here’s the lineup of fun things I get to learn:

*Brakes I
*Brakes II
*Basic Auto Electricity
*Battery, Starting & Charging
*Engine Removal & Installation
*Engine Repair & Rebuild

It’s odd. Registering for classes at community college is so very painless. On the Richter scale of educational headaches, my registering experiences as an undergrad clocked in around a 7.8 as an intense migraine. I’d usually have at least three alternative schedules drawn up because my choice classes would never be available. This time around it was a simple matter of going down the list and selecting what’s next in the lineup of required classes.

The good news for the blog is that by September I’ll have wicked cool hands-on things to talk about. Right now all I can really do for a car is an oil change and something that might resemble an inspection. In about five months though, all that will change.