When I quit Libraryland (LL) version 1 all those years ago now, I was pretty adamant that I would never return to libraries again. Turns out that 'never say never' statement can be all kinds of true as in December last year I found myself returning to Libraryland. Version 2 was WAY different to the original, gone were the surly students and in was the general public, all the public, of all ages, shapes, and sizes. You know what surprised me most of all? I loved it! Of course there were frustrations (lots of 'em!) and moments when I could easily have banged my head against a wall, but it was busy and diverse and no two queries were ever the same. It gave me a regular wage, and the chance to earn more money by joining a casual register for extra hours.
The most rewarding element was definitely the dealings with the public. Some were fun, some were challenging, some were absolutely heartbreaking, but with each one I did the LL thing and sent people away with answers and hopefully a few less worries for having talked to a friendly face. I remember the first time I told someone that the book they wanted had nearly 100 reservations against it - expecting some sort of backlash as would most certainly have appeared in LL version 1, they just quietly chuckled, shrugged their shoulders, and replied 'oh well, it'll get to me eventually'.
The biggest surprise of all, that still astounds me daily, is that my most favourite dealings were with the littles who would come in for visits. Ask anyone and they will definitely assure you that I am not a littles person at all, no way, not a chance. But there was something about these little people coming into the library that just got me each and every time, sometimes to the point where I would be left feeling a little bit emotional - I know! Me! Say what?! In the few months I worked there some of my happiest times were reading stories, running school sessions, and spreading the library love by joining people up, especially the kiddos!
Working in a public rather than academic library really opened my eyes to how vitally important libraries are, and increased my own enthusiasm and joy for the service that is on offer. Even though I'm saying goodbye to working in libraryland I will remain a loyal user and a massive fan. And anyone who has littles who haven't joined a library yet, take them along sometime soon, you might just be making a library assistant's day!