• Public libraries aren’t archives. The goal is not to keep everything forever. New books in means old books out. If you want cheap secondhand books, find out where “retired” library books go. Often, it’s to a charity sale.
  • Don’t cheat on your uni library with a public library. We probably won’t have what you need anyway. Uni libraries have resources for every disciplinary area they teach. Go there!
  • Why is your mummy asking me for books for your uni assignment? Get some independence, people! (This happens surprisingly often…)
  • We have targets and KPIs, just like everyone else. The powers that be look at our stats (eg door counters, lending, new memberships, attendance at events, the percentage of customers who use the self-check out machines, customer satisfaction etc), and it impacts on our funding. Use your library, and it will continue to be there for you.
  • Lots of our customers need extra assistance, whether it’s due to age or disability or lack of experience with technology. It’s a big part of my job. Anytime someone asks me “but what do you actually DO?”, I laugh a little bit inside, because it’s always very able people asking. I could boil an egg in the time it takes some customers to form a sentence. There are other customers who just want to smile and hand me a DVD, then come back for it in a couple of minutes. We have homeless people and people whose second language is English, and older people who can’t carry more than 2 paperbacks home. There are middle aged people who don’t know what Dewey is. My job is to see people’s needs met, smooth barriers to information, and ignore the guidelines for the greater good (don’t tell management, please!).
  • I think a lot of people are lonely, and I’m one of the few people they talk to.
  • A lot of people tell me a slice of their story. Their dog died, they lost their job, mum’s getting frail, my kid’s in a play, someone’s having a birthday, I need a visa for Russia, they’re learning to dye fabric with plants, truck licence needs renewing and they’re worried about the eye test, the cat’s scratching itself a lot, a friend has cancer,  I’ve had a miscarriage. A burden shared is a burden halved, even if it’s with a stranger. Come in to your library, we’re one of the few indoor public spaces that don’t want your money.
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