[Thank you to Jan Williams, Director of the Russell Public Library, Kansas, for her guest blog post!]
I recently attended the ARSL (Association for Rural and Small Libraries) Conference in Frisco, TX. I was fortunate to attend several very helpful and informative sessions which I know will help me and my staff be the best library we can be.
But the most important thing I learned wasn’t in one of the sessions or talking to one of the presenters. I learned a very important lesson shopping for shoes.
I have very small feet and finding shoes that fit has always been a challenge for me. One of my goals during my off-time was to find a pair of decent shoes to replace the worn-out, uncomfortable ones I was wearing.
The first night of shopping at the mall produced nothing but sore feet while on my quest for shoes. Several of my colleagues offered help but I found nothing within my price range.
The second night, I had only forty-five minutes in which to find the elusive perfect shoe before the mall closed. One of the librarians discovered that one of the department stores was having a big shoe sale so four of my CKLS colleagues got it in their heads that we were going to find shoes no matter what!
One of our system consultants was amazing as she swooped through the aisles honing in on perfect shoes. I’m sure the sales people thought me someone very important to have all these people helping me. I finally found some shoes but I also learned a very important lesson.
Librarians are in the business of helping. Every one of those women that were shopping with me were like bloodhounds on the trail. They were determined to find what they were looking for and weren’t going to give up until they found it. They did that for me and I know that’s what they do for their patrons because that’s the kind of people they are.
Aren’t all of us like that? Isn’t that why we do what we do? The nature of a librarian is to help; not giving up until we squeeze every bit of information out of whatever source we have. It is essential to make our patrons feel important by going above and beyond to find what they need.
That attitude, that drive, and that thirst for knowledge will always be needed and appreciated by our patrons and by our communities. That is what will keep libraries vital and thriving into the twenty-first century and beyond.