For the past few months I’ve spent my Thursday mornings volunteering at my local library, running the little cafe. It’s a quiet job. Thursday mornings aren’t the prime time for the cafe, and most of the library traffic consists of folks heading to story time and others who need things notarized. But in the time I’ve been here, I’ve run into former neighbors, waved at dozens of kiddos, and made some new friends, all while ringing up cups of coffee and tapping out blog posts.
The variety of folks is fascinating. There’s the retired man who hangs out at one of the cafe tables to read the newspaper and spout conspiracy theories in my direction. (Yes, he’s a peach 🙂 ) There are the preschoolers who come with their child care provider, all holding hands in a line and waiting patiently for their turn to push the button that opens the door. There’s the many, many little ones who stop to spin the giant globe standing in the lobby, and the adults with them who patiently point out the various countries and put them in context for the little ones – “That’s China, that’s where Aunt Sophie goes for work.” “That’s England, that’s where Harry Potter lives.” There are folks in wheelchairs and senior citizens and people who need directions and people who simply want a quiet place to get a cup of coffee and be at peace.
It always surprises me when people tell me they don’t use their local library. Not only for the Your Tax Dollars At Work factor, but because there’s such a huge variety of media and programs and events taking place there. Many’s the time I’ve wished I could just spend all my weekdays there, because at least at my library, I could find a book club or a story time or a community meeting or a lecture happening almost every hour they’re open.
For now, though, I must limit my visits. But no matter how long or how short the visit, I always walk in with a sense of anticipation, because the library truly does have it all.