There’s a new title on Bookstoremama’s shelf. Actually the title is attached to Bookstoremama’s life. It is Library Director!
After the bookstore that I had worked at for over 23 years closed I went to work for a marketing company who specializes in web design, but I kept my hand in the book world by volunteering at my local library. The library had always been a place of great enjoyment even while I worked at the bookstore. I had a friendly relationship with the staff and the then director and I shared information, questions, and alot of the same tastes in reading, with enough differences that we constantly exposed each other to new authors. We would use each other as resources when trying to solve questions raised by our patrons.
Three years ago one of the library technicians retired and after a long process I was hired to fill her position. This happened not long after my friend, the library director, had been diagnosed with colon cancer. Over the next year as she successfully fought her cancer battle, I was given the opportunity to step up and use skills I had acquired while at the bookstore to serve our library. During that first year I organized the week-long centennial celebration for the library. It is one of the 25 Carnegie libraries (originally there were 66) still operating as a public library in Minnesota. The research involved in putting the celebration together sparked a bigger involvement in helping promote the history of our city and involvement with our Heritage Committee for a website, Facebook, and other projects.
Over the last 3 years I’ve learned that there is a HUGE difference between a bookstore and a library. A library is SO MUCH MORE than connecting people with books, but it’s all good! Along the way I’ve picked up more schooling, done library workshops on cataloging, children’s programming, and other fun things. And although my friend, the Director, recovered from her cancer battle other health issues harassed her to the point where she opted to take early retirement in June. Since then the City has been going through the process of selecting a new Library Director. An Interim Director was brought into place during the process, which enabled me to apply for the position without any conflict of interest. The process ran its course last month and I received notification that I was not selected for the position. A disappointment for sure, but I also knew those involved in the selection process and knew that their pick would be the best choice for our library. That said, you can imagine my shock and gratitude when I walked into the City Administrator’s office on the morning 2 days before the Interim Director was stepping down to find out how we were to handle things until the new Director arrived only to be asked if I was still interested in the position. YES!!! My nomination went before the City Council the next night and I started as Library Director at 8 a.m. the following morning!
While on the one hand it was a head-spinning, whiplash-inducing feeling, once I got past the swimming-in-jello stage, it feels so totally right. There’s lots to figure out at this time, planning for next year, filling my place on the staff, getting new books ordered, making sure everyone uses up their personal/vacation time before the end of the year….the list seems to be getting longer instead of shorter, but I’m settling into this next season of life with great joy.
So I am looking forward to checking out this new title on my shelf.