In 2018, I gave up a role in a corporate setting to care for a small child and pursue writing. I knew that making a living as a writer would be tough; I just didn’t know how tough, and a year later, I had to swallow my pride and reboot my search for another reasonably-paying corporate job.
In spite of more than a decade of industry experience, my resumé was largely ignored. Even if I indicated “Stay-at-Home Mom” and “Writer” on my resumé—employers snubbed these items as part of an irrelevant “gap year.”
I knew the risks of leaving the corporate world. I’ve been warned by other mothers who’ve done the same thing; “You’ll be starting from scratch,” they said. I thought: It can’t be that bad. Welp, it’s pretty bad.
Considering how aggressively I’d been applying to openings for the last six months, the response had been little to none. I’ve only recently landed a full-time job that will start soon.
However, for the past two months, I did take on a part-time position as an evening library page.
I’ve worked for a long string of multinational companies in higher-paying positions, but being a library page has been my favorite role thus far. To provide a little more background about why I feel this way, Gelato Girl is a close second.
I wasn’t a stranger to the library. I would take my kid there every other week to borrow books for him (plus disproportionately fewer books for myself). Since I was there so often—I thought: Maybe I should try applying for a job.
I emailed the Library Director to shoot my shot, and apparently, someone had quit the same day. “Serendipity,” we both called it. After the quickest interview of my life, I was hired.
The Job Description
The library page is responsible for: re-shelving books, attending to the front desk, calling and assisting patrons, shelf-reading (checking for the proper order and placement of books on the shelf), pulling out old books, and restocking displays. We also get asked to help with events and other random projects.
Things I don’t love about the job:
-Evening hours -Minimum wage -Moments of dust and old book smell -Having to use stepping stools because I’m 5’ 2” and can’t reach the highest shelves -Squats to put back books in the lower shelves -The Board of Trustees. The one in our town has a really bad rep which I won’t delve into -There are a few questionable characters that have walked in—one of them having been a racist flasher.
Things I love about the job:
-Being surrounded by books -Chillest job ever -Getting the scoop on new books and new book smell -Building awareness on what people enjoy reading -Feeling like a gangster when I am able to direct patrons to book locations without needing to look stuff up in the system -Squats to put back books in the lower shelves -Patrons in our town are generally super nice -My peers are the nicest no-drama-do-your-job-and-go-home people -The Senior Librarians are amazing—they know most of the patrons on a first name basis and go above and beyond the acceptable level of service -That rockstar feeling when patrons pick up a book I’ve recommended or put on display.
Unfortunately, with my return to a 40-hour workweek and a long commute, I’ve had to hand-in my notice and lose this role. Today was my last day.
Having been in their shoes, I’ve gained so much more love and respect for library personnel. These are kids in high school or college trying to make extra cash, parents who give up a few hours to work instead of being with their partners and children, bibliophiles who sincerely care about the community. As long as you’re not a racist flasher, they would likely let you into their lives. They could be starving writers, or lost souls struggling to re-enter the corporate world… or both.
The next time you visit a library, please be nice to your librarians and pages for me. Say Hello; wish them a good day; thank them for their service.