This July, I’m celebrating 5 wonderful years working at the Dover Public Library. I feel like it was only yesterday that I did my first official teen program (Silent Library) and had fifteen people show up (five were registered). I’ve learned a lot during my time here, much more than what I learned in Library School. Since I’m celebrating 5 years, here are my top 5 things I’ve learned while working here.
- Microsoft Publisher is the Bomb
A few years back, Jim asked me to take over designing the library’s newsletter, Footnotes. I was excited for the challenge. I got to learn fabulous new tricks on Publisher like Master Pages and Color Schemes, tools I hadn’t needed in the past. Before I started at the library, I was all about Photoshop. Now I barely use it. Publisher is where it’s at for posters and other random library projects.
- Minecraft May Be the Best Game Ever Invented
I see a lot of Minecraft in the Library. I was sceptical at first about this game that looks a lot like LEGOs and has no rules, no plot, and no guide. Then I tried it. Because there are no rules, no plot, no guide, you can make the game whatever you want it to be. It makes you think: What do I need to survive? It lets you get creative: What can I build now? It lets you fight a dragon. Beat that, LEGOs.
- Teaching a Tech Class is Not as Hard as Teaching Mom to Play a Video Game
I was very nervous the first time I had to teach a tech class. I obsessed about getting everything exactly perfect. Since that first class (on eBooks, by the way), I’ve chilled out a bit. I finally figured out that if I have the patience to walk my mom through playing Skylanders, I have the patience to help people learn how to make a poster in Publisher. (Love you, Mom.)
- When in Doubt: Google
I feel many a researcher cringing at this one. BUT: how do I start numbering pages at 1 in the middle of a Publisher document? Why is this error coming up on a patron’s Kindle? How can I unlock my iPad when it’s asking me for a passcode that I never even set up? Google knows! For tech support especially, Google is my best friend. That’s something they neglected to mention in school.
Teens are Awesome
In Library School, one of my professors said that to work with teens you have to have a thick skin. This worried me because no one in my life would describe me as “thick-skinned.” But I’ve learned something in five years of actually working with teens: they’re not half as bad as you think they are. Yes, they like their food. Yes, they can be loud. Yes, they sometimes make incredibly awful jokes about Hitler. (Why Hitler? I… don’t know.) BUT they will also play with balloons and play dough, give you ideas for programs they want to do, and help you vacuum the Community Room. Throw in Phantom of the Opera themed Gingerbread Houses, Pac-Man themed volcanoes, and a new cosplay outfit every week, and you’ve got some idea of how awesome teens are.
So, that’s it, folks. The things only Dover Public Library could teach me. Thank you for a great five years. Here’s to many, many more!