Essay from Joan Beebe


When I was a child, the only library to which I was exposed was in my school.  I don’t think I really understood the value it represented at that time.  By the time high school arrived, it seemed we were in that library a great deal of the time.  Eventually, after graduation, I wound up working in our main central library and it was a Civil Service position.  I remember being quite nervous about taking that exam but, thankfully, I passed it.

I started work there and was given a tour of the library.  There were 3 floors plus a basement and a sub-basement.  It was all quite confusing at first.  In fact, the sub-basement was a little scary and I thought I never want to go down there.  There were so many departments to learn about.  My first job was inspecting the new books as they arrived, processing the information and entering the pertinent facts regarding that book on file cards.  All cards, from time to time, were taken down to the catalogs on the first floor and filed properly in drawers.  It was interesting but I hoped for a promotion eventually.  It finally happened after a year or less after I was hired.  There was an opening in the public relations department and I was transferred to that office.  I worked for a very nice woman who taught me the parts of that job for which I was responsible.  It really was fun as well as work because I had the opportunity to take spot announcements to the downtown radio and TV stations and meet some of the staff in those offices.  Learning and experiencing the behind the scenes work at a library gave me also an opportunity to participate in some of the events held at that library. There, quite often, it may seem that a library is a boring place to be.  But the opposite is what is true.  A library is alive with stories of the past, the history of so many different cultures, scientific discoveries, our galazy and so much more.  There are also phones ringing with people seeking help or being directed to the proper department, students sitting at tables pouring over books to find much needed answers to their projects or papers and many people coming in to the library to have personal conversations with the librarians.  There are multiple floors to explore, art to be seen, children listening intensely to a librarian reading a story book to them and enjoying the beautiful architecture of so many of the libraries.

My experience in that library prepared me for other jobs in the future.  It taught me the “stick to it and you can get the job done” as well as good interactions with people and maturing in the way to think and work.