Like Minds and my Sinister Heart
I worked at the Salt Lake City Public Library for just over 10 years. During that time, I met hundreds of people, employees and patrons alike, who impacted my thinking, the course of my life. When working conditions overwhelmed me (my own weaknesses making a change necessary), when I could not see a way out of my current situation, I made a choice that not only saved my family, but most likely my sanity as well.
While leaving the library gave my broken psyche a chance to recover, allowed the stress to dissipate, I left behind too many friendships (thinking that I would surely keep in contact), that over the last three years have often faded into the background noise of our ever moving worlds.
Every year on November 11th, the library holds staff development day. The entire staff gathers at the main library for a day of presentations, training, discussion and team building. Even when the job was at its absolute worst, I adored Staff Development Day. The free food and coffee would be motivation enough, but the companionship, the conversations I had with fellow staff made even the most boring or frightening of presentations endurable.
Since leaving the library, every November 11th brings back the memory of those places, people and situations. It is on that day that I realize how much I miss being a librarian, working and interacting with so many like minded people.
I have rambled before about librarians, their commitment to freedom of information, access for any and all to everything possible. The longer I am apart from this environment, the more grateful I am for any chance to submerge myself in it again.
Yesterday, after the training was over, a group of library folk met at a local pub. It has become an annual tradition to meet at this particular place, share a drink and a laugh, some serious conversation about the direction and goals of the library, and almost always some dismay at a particular suggestion or course of action that many feel will be a poor one. I was grateful to be included in this tradition when I worked for the library, and it made me quite happy to be included yesterday.
I am amazed at how easily the last few years melted away and the sensation of belonging, still being a part of this group, returned. Too many months or in some cases, years since we have interacted were rendered meaningless in a matter of minutes. I am reminded that I have fantastic friends. I am grateful for their continued friendship and how our shared commitment to the free flow of information connects us.
Libraries are wonderful places, mostly because of the amazing people who work in them. They have my love, my respect, and even my envy.