Adult Services Highlight – February 2023

This entry has been published on February 9, 2023 and may be out of date.

Most librarians have heard the comment, “It must be fun to read books all day.” While that is far from what we actually do, listing off our job responsibilities doesn’t quite capture our role either. So much of our time is spent connecting with people, figuring out what they want, and making sure everyone feels welcome. Rather than books, it would be more accurate to say that librarians spend most of the day reading people.

Recently, a patron walked up to the Information Desk and said he wanted to read a book about boats. After some discussion, we discovered that he was actually looking for an action-packed thriller set on the sea. We landed on The Cuban Affair by Nelson DeMille, which is about a charter sea captain who helps out a Miami trial attorney. “I can’t believe it,” he exclaimed, “I used to live in Miami and spent my career as a trial attorney!” It was a lucky coincidence, but rewarding nonetheless. By asking a few questions, we were able to steer the conversation from boats to an ideal book for him.

Other interactions require a bit more urgency, such as when a parent comes in with their teen right before closing. They need primary resources for a research paper due tomorrow, which the parent learned about just twenty minutes ago. It’s late, everyone’s tired, and they need help fast. Experienced librarians have encountered this dynamic countless times. If you ever find yourself in this predicament, please take advantage of our expertise. We’ve been there, we’ve done this, and we understand the assignment.

It can be difficult to talk to about certain topics, such as health conditions or personal issues. It can be a delicate dance to ask for just enough information without being intrusive. We want you to feel at ease and know that you are in a space free of judgment. Knowledge is power, and connecting you with as much information as possible is our main goal.

Librarians work hard to build collections that serve a wide range of needs, from books about boats to navigating through life’s tough waters. Guiding people to the appropriate resource requires courteousness, compassion, tact, and at times, pure intuition. It’s not a day spent reading books like many assume, but one spent helping people find what they’re looking for. That is our particular kind of fun.

— Abigail Brady, Head of Adult Services