We Can Do It! Yes We Can! (thank you, Bob the Builder)
I'm struggling to find something I don't see as self-centered to blog about, because although I enjoy reading blogs, I never dreamed of doing one myself, and especially never thought anyone else would be interested in what I might blog about.
However, in the interest of "spirited participation", I'm going to give it a shot and see how it rocks and rolls. Speaking of rock and roll, the photo is of a couple of my two favorite fan crushes.
I have always liked them separately but when I saw pix of them on my fave fan site, I nearly had a hemorrage. I've long been a Sting fan (originally a Police fan) and yep, that's my well-known fan crush (now), Gerry Butler, with him. I'd rather look at them then put in a personal photo of my own! (Maybe later....)
Anybody who knows me well knows of my Gerard Butler fan crush--pix in the office, daily attendance on the fan site gerardbutler.net, and other silly but thankfully distracting things I do to support my "guy". Of course, the husband thinks it's hysterical but tolerates it well, as I do his "special interests". I mean, ya gotta escape somehow and this is not too shabby to say the least.
You may know Gerry (as his friends call him!) as the Phantom of the Opera, King Leonidas in "300", and other movies but let's just say he's tall, dark, Scottish and hysterical. Yeah, I've got good taste!
Where Everybody Knows Your Name....
Recently I was reading a review of a bar in East Sac in the Bee and the telling thing that I saw was that the customers of the bar really loved it because the owners made a point of knowing everyone's name. Maybe because it's a great location and a good bar, or they were good at remembering names in general and of course, they're in the business to keep customers and make money.
But I was thinking, how cool and fun it must be to work in a place like that--where folks come in regularly and a community has developed. The important thing that I saw was yeah, there were regulars there so you'd expect them to get to know each other, but that even first time customers were treated like longtimers and you could feel comfortable going there even though you had never been there before.
And I thought too, maybe I already work in a place like that?
Since I've been at my current location for nearly 10 years and work with kids and families a lot, I get recognized in the community all the time. It's "Hey, don't you work at the library" and "you look familiar--where have I seen you before?" We probably all get a lot of this, but I'm always surprised at the reach--I've talked to customers in the Walmart in Rancho Cordova, Borders in Natomas, Winco in Folsom, and more. Places that are not around where I work so the logical, instant connection isn't there.
Some staff may find this intrusive and relish their anonimity outside of work. They may resent the intrusion into their private lives. Lots of library staff don't want anyone to know their name, for whatever reasons and many are quite valid.
But I like the fact that our branch might be the equivalent of "Cheers". Why not? It should be a warm, welcoming place where people get to know you, especially when you help many of them or interact with them all the time. What's wrong about having people know your name or us trying to remember theirs?
To me, it makes my (at times) tedious job more enjoyable when I can interact with the customers in a friendly way, getting to know them and letting them get to know me. There are some folks with whom this doesn't work well, and some situations where you may wish to keep that extra layer of reserve, but especially in a branch library, having that "connection" whether they're oldtimers or just walking in for the first time makes a ton of difference.
However, it can come back to bite you in the butt!
A few weeks ago, we took a short weekend trip to Capitola, near Santa Cruz. Loved it (and when I get to the Flickr part, I'll have to stick in some pix of that) and things went mostly well. The last day we were there, we woke up early and I decided to head down to the breakfast area and get some coffee to bring back to the room. Throwing on the minimal amount of clothes to be decent, but no cleaning up whatsoever (hair skany/ teeth grungy--but hey, I'm not going to see anyone I know..), I went down and loaded up. I had almost made it back to the elevator when I heard: "Excuse me, do I know you?" "Is your name....."
I looked up cautiously and it was a blond woman with her little boy. She said, "I think we go to your library in Sacramento--do you remember us from Storytime? I thought I saw you yesterday here but I wasn't sure." And sure enough, I kinda remembered her. Not her name of course since she hadn't brought her preschooler very frequently to Storytime but I guess she remembered me just fine. We had a little chat there on the stairs and I finally escaped with my coffee.
That has to be geographically the farthest out that I've run into a library patron, and for her to remember me and to want to chat made me feel both resigned and good. Resigned because I don't really want to run in to anyone when I'm kinda grungy but good because the connection was made. We (the library) mattered enough for her to say "hey" even in Capitola!
So hey, I guess I do work in a place where everyone knows your name, and it works for me.