My favorite thing that happened today was this. I went to the library, to return an about-to-be overdue magazine and pay (in pennies and nickels) for a couple of books I just discovered were already overdue. I was feeling guilty, and stupid, and helpless, for a couple of reasons. First of all, I have been trying to get myself a part time job at the library, and I figure overdue books is maybe not one of the better marks on my record where that is concerned. Second of all, you wouldn't think it would be that difficult to keep track of books and return them on time. But third of all, it is. I check out something new every couple of days, whether to entertain myself or to use with my students, and I haven't found a system yet that works for keeping up with the incessant and scattered dueness of it all.
So when I got there the head librarian and the part-time librarian were discussing something such that they didn't greet me when I walked in, as they usually do. Which was no big deal, just unusual and indicative of the intensity of their conversation. I didn't eavesdrop, which is somewhat unusual for me. I love libraries, and librarianism, and I love the chatter that goes on behind the desk. I was focused on whether I would take out the new Oprah or the new New Yorker. As it turned out, I didn't have to. After only a moment or two, the head librarian, let's call him Matthew, said to her "let's ask Meredith," and called across the room to me. (This is a gritty little urban library attached to an elementary school, so "Shhhh" and quiet were dispensed with long ago.) "What do you think?"
As it turns out, this is my favorite kind of conversation. You can keep a librarian busy with this sort of thing for, well, at least, minutes, until it's time to actually put something on a shelf or help someone find something. I love my job, but I still miss the library.