I don’t remember interviewing, although I’m sure I did, and I was hired, along with several other high school students (and one woman in her twenties we called "Obegone" due to her love of Star Wars and her habit of cornering you with conversation forever and ever and ever) as a library aide. My responsibilities? Um, yeah, pretty much putting books away? And making sure the rest of the books were in order? But after a while, I was allowed to check out books for the patrons, which mean playing with the sonic-screwdrivery scanny pen thing. That’s the technical name, by the way.
I met some of my best friends at this job and, being 16-year-olds, we didn’t have the greatest work ethic. I mean, sure, we did what we were supposed to but there was a lot of downtime, especially if you worked during the day. And especially especially in the summer. We were supposed to do “shelf-reading” if we had downtime, which meant checking to see where the last person had stopped, and then going to that section of the library to make sure each shelf was in order. WHOOHOO. Actually, this wasn’t so bad if you were in the right section. Shelf-reading is how I ran across books called Be Your Own Dick and Mommy Laid an Egg.
Here are some things we/I did, however, instead of working:
1. Hid in the corner, “organizing” newspapers, but really just talking.
2. Raced shelving carts down the aisles.
3. Read books (duh, we were in a library)
4. Avoided a coworker I nicknamed Scary Larry because of his proclivity to talk to me like Forrest Gump, tell me I reminded him of The Virgin Mary, ask me if I liked snake handling, and ask if I liked to, and I quote, "do it like they do on the Discovery Channel"
It wasn’t all fun, I mean, it was still WORK. Once it rained so much that the roof started leaking and a soggy tile from the ceiling fell on my head. We had a patron that smelled like dirty feet, another who would wear only boxer shorts and a wife beater in the summer, a man who FREAKED OUT on me because the library’s copy of Fantasia was checked out, and one day, a sweet old man came to the counter and told me that someone had pooped on the bathroom floor.
Luckily it was the men’s room, so I didn’t have to deal with it, but that wasn’t the first poop incident the Dayton Library chain had ever dealt with. Before I worked there, someone had been going into another library branch, pooping in books he thought were inappropriate, and placing them carefully back on the shelves. It was on The Daily Show, back when Craig Kilborn hosted it, but I can’t find a clip, even though I’ve been Googling things like, “ohio poop in books” and “craig kilborn library poop,” for like half an hour.
Anyway, I left the job when I went to college but before I did, I took a souvenir:
The Public ibrary
I felt kind of bad afterward but at least I never pooped on the floor.