Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mazel Tov

This post is a day later than usual, but I have a good reason. Or a few.

On a personal level, I moved last week. I love my new house and my new roommates, but I've been spending a lot of non-library time organizing and making things like curtains or light fixtures for light fixtureless dining rooms. Planning ahead for the blog has fallen by the wayside for right now. I'm sure the time will come when the fall garden is planted and the couch has a new slip cover (and oh boy does it need one) and I can 

On a professional level, the library is in a state of flux, with staff members leaving and new ones scheduled to come but not quite here yet. I've been the only person working in the children's room since the beginning of August and it'll stay that way until the end of September. Public school starting up again has given me a chance to breathe, but also brings with it a whole new set of challenges. 

It's really easy for me to have a bad day, or even a bad 15 minutes, where I have to put on my mean voice or mediate some dispute or tell the 3rd child for the 15th time in a row not to run. And in those bad days, or those bad 15 minutes, it's hard to keep in mind why I love doing what I do.

But today? This today has been an outpouring of love for me and for my library and the community that it has created.

This morning I went to my very first Bris.

Story time is about to have its new, youngest ever participant. A beautiful baby brother for a joy of a 2 year old big sister and the new son for one of the families that has really helped sustain and support me throughout my first year at this library. Everyone there kept thanking me for coming, like it was a such a big deal for me to be there, like it reflected on the type of person I am that I would come to this to support and congratulate the family. But the whole time I was thinking the exact opposite, what an honor and a privilege to be invited to something so intimate, that a family I see twice a week at the most would ask me to share in this moment, what a reflection on the generosity and love that they share with each other and with their community.

I was obviously out of place; I had to ask what lox was and at one point the paternal grandmother came over to me and said "Honey, you are by far the least ethnic looking person here." But that's part of what makes my job so special; the library is a meeting point for people who would have otherwise never have crossed paths. I get to help facilitate that and sometimes, when I'm super lucky, I get to be one of those people.

Whenever someone asks me why I work in public libraries it's usually to be polite and I usually say it's because I like to read. But if they actually seem interested then I tell them stories like this, about how the library really is a third place, and how it's more than the books, it's the people.

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