I had some hours at work this week. (If you're just joining this broadcast, "at work" means subbing at the local community library.)
I really do enjoy working at the library. It's deeply reassuring to me, somehow, that somewhere in the universe there actually IS a place for everything, and everything can be put there, where it goes. Yeah, there's stuff in the basement. And yeah, there's stuff that seems to sit perpetually on the counters in the office and things like that. But mostly, and especially out in the library itself, there is a place for everything, and there is an order to it, and there are labels, and bookends for keeping things straight up and down.
The not-so-straight pile of books in the logo banner? Yeah, right. Modern libraries have all kinds of fun programs and a more relaxed attitude. People are rarely shushed in libraries anymore. But still. There is an underlying order, and if any library worker walked past a stack of books that looked like the stack in the logo, the stack would be straightened, put into Dewey Decimal order, and shelved on the right shelf. This is how libraries work - no matter how many scraps of paper are left over from the story time craft or how much food is consumed at the Art Show Reception (food! eaten in the library!) -- still, there is an order to things. I love it. It rests me.
But there's another thing about working at the library that always makes me happy. It's the company I keep when I'm there.
Take "lunch hours" for instance. Employees going on a break or taking a lunch do not, as they might elsewhere, always search for a coat - or even for keys. This is a small town, and it's possible to walk to where you're going on your lunch hour. Library employees also do not "punch out" - because we write on time sheets, and not usually until the end of the day for that, anyway. Food also seems to be a kind of optional priority - or coffee. No, none of the customary things for breaks or lunches seem to matter nearly as much to library employees as ...
I actually heard this phrase used this week. Employee headed out of the branch for her lunch hour: "Okay, let's see ... reading materials ..." She was shuffling through her tote bag. It's time for lunch. So - obviously - she's looking for reading materials.
Yeah ... I work amongst my own folk when I go to work at the library.