It is a new year. What will this mean for the library?
It is looking good for the employees. Everything looks stable. Our jobs are affected by the economy, but it is all balancing out. We are slated to get a raise soon, after five years of hiring and wage freezes.
There is a new branch manager. She in one day has already impressed me. She wrote us all a thank you note after her first day saying that she is grateful to be working with us. She has shown appreciation for the innovations we have taken. She has worked in many departments of the system and actually knows how to do everything that everyone does.
This is already more impressive than the last branch manager who only managed to stay hired because the administration was afraid of her hitting them with a racial discrimination lawsuit if she got fired. We all still have a lot of resentment over that. We were abused by an incompetent bully for 12 years and they knew it all along. And when I say incompetent bully, please understand that she was both incompetent and a bully. As for being a bully she was a master.
Our circulation manager is leaving. She is moving to the Main library. This is a promotion for her, and a relief for us. Five years ago I would not have thought this. Five years ago I would have been terrified at the idea of her leaving.
Not now. Now we are all celebrating it.
She has changed. Or I have changed, and I can now see her for who she is. She was never empathetic. She is more interested in getting the job done than getting people to go along with her. People get in the way. She doesn’t understand that if she is going to get something to happen, she has to get all of the staff behind it. She doesn’t get that part of being a manager is actually dealing with people. She has said many times that she doesn’t like dealing with people, so it amazes me that she got a customer service job.
I’m sure a lot of how she thinks has to do with her upbringing. She didn’t really have a childhood. Her parents weren’t really parent material and she had to do a lot of the work. But she is in her mid 40s now, and it is time to unlearn a lot of bad habits. Not listening to your staff when they work up the courage to tell you that something is wrong is a good thing to unlearn, especially when you’ve asked them to give them feedback.
We are all glad she is going. We have noticed in the time she has been working at another branch to fill in that we are all more relaxed. I’m a little concerned now that she is going to spread her negativity not only there but also to the rest of the system. But then, that was their choice. She was hired for that job, so that is what they wanted. Perhaps they can’t see her the way we can. Yet.
As for the patrons, who knows? I suspect there won’t be a lot of change. I suspect we will still have the patrons who come in all day, every day, and play games on Facebook rather than deal with their problems. I suspect we will still have patrons who come in reeking of alcohol who check out the limit on DVDs for the same reason.
Plenty of people use the library to escape. The funny part is that escape works different ways. You can escape your problems by playing games or watching movies or reading the same fluffy fiction over and over. You can also escape them by self educating. With the first, you aren’t fixing the problem. You are just putting it on hold. With the second you are doing something about it.
Both are running away from your problems. It is just that the second one is running toward something.
So it will be a new year at the library. There will be some welcome changes. There will be some predictable consistency. But most of all there will be stories. And thus there will be things to write about. Sometimes I think that is why I stay here.
That, and the fact that I’m not sure what other marketable skills I have.