I work as a library assistant at the Greytown Library. We are lucky to be housed in the Town Centre, a recently-renovated heritage building where there is lots of light, an excellent heating system and a desk where library staff can serve the public while seated (a rarity in libraries).
One of the best aspects of the job is the discussions with customers about books. One of the reasons I thought the job would suit me was because it involves lots of people contact and lots of books. And the job does suit me very well. I had no preconceptions about other readers and how many of them would like to discuss the books they read and/or the books they wanted to read. In all my experience as a library customer – in the nine or ten different public libraries where I was “a regular” at various times – I had never been approached by a librarian with an offer of help, while I was browsing the shelves. However now that I am on the staff side of the equation, offering that help has led me to some of the most enjoyable conversations I have ever had.
Take today as an example. A young woman, in her early years at high school, asked me if I could recommend any books. Together we scanned the shelves of our Young Adult collection and I talked with her about the titles I had read, as she shared the ones she had read. The customer was currently working her way through Robert Muchamore’s Cherub series, after her brother recommended them to her. She had also read other series that I had not, and thought I might like the Pretty Little Liars books. We had both read the Twilight, and Tomorrow When the War Began series. I was happy to send her away with Garth Nix’s The Old Kingdom trilogy, the four Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants books by Ann Brashares, and the first of Kathy Reich’s YA books, Virals. We talked about dystopian novels and the enjoyment we had both had from The Hunger Games; we talked about the experiences to be garnered from reading – far more than we could ever fit into a lifetime; and we talked about the joy of reading a book that ‘sucks you in’ from the very first pages and how reading creates ‘a happy place’ for us to enjoy. It was a wonderful conversation and the highlight of my day.