Saturday, June 16, 2012

Checking Out the Library - Entry #9

My son is developmentally disabled.  He comes home on weekends where part of our routine is driving to a neighboring town’s public library.  Even though he cannot read he loves to go through the stacks in the children’s section and pull out books to take home.  The librarians, both upstairs in the children’s area and at the checkout counter, are very good with him.  We have been following this weekly ritual for the last few years and the staff has gotten to know him.

This week’s series of cards takes note of these helpful and patient individuals.  My correspondence was not just directed at the staff at this one particular library, but at a number of such places as well as a few specific librarians. 

There are actually two different libraries my son frequents on his weekly visits home—both outside our hometown.  We swing by one more often then the other since it is on the way to “The Cow.”  This is his name for the Stew Leonard grocery store not far from our house.  One of their features, in the middle of the market, is a mechanical cow’s head sticking out of a barn door.  You can press a button to slowly rotate its head and set-off a loud mooing sound. 

I wanted the Director of the respective institutions to know how accommodating and supportive their staff has been during our excursions there since I’m sure thank you notes to employees are not very common.  Our trips are pleasing as opposed to being painful. 

As I wrote these two cards, I felt the need to also send notes to two of our town librarians that, over the years, have been warmhearted, caring and understanding to all our children (I’m sure their professionalism extended to all the kids in town, not just our own).  My two oldest are out of college, but I still remember bringing them to the public library for story time, to play, and take out books to bring home decades earlier.  Sometimes I thanked them for their assistance or instructed my youngsters to do the same.  But, as with many instances in life, I probably didn’t say “thank you” enough or at the right moment.  My short note to two of them—the Director of the Children’s section at the main branch and one of the librarians there—was a small way to amend my lack of acknowledging their time and energy in educating and entertaining my (all) children.

The last two librarians I sent correspondence to this past week are employed at our institution.  Before I go on let me state one characteristic about our campus, a regional branch of the University of Connecticut, which highlights a reason for sending notes to these two individuals.  For the most part, our campus is a very collegial work environment.  Many of us are one-person offices with multiple responsibilities.  This is a combination of happenstance and necessity. The head of our campus library could easily stay in her first floor setting, but she chooses otherwise and is an integral part of our administrative team.  Personally, she has aided me in my research, provided material for our Freshman Year Experience (FYE) curriculum, and indulged me by allowing some of my more off-beat collections to be exhibited in the library display cases.  I wanted her to know my appreciation and thanks in a more formal (handwritten) manner.

The other librarian, who is now the Director at a different regional campus, started her tenure at the University at my campus.  She, too, has gone above and beyond duty in helping me dig up information for my journal article literature reviews, patiently explained new technologies to me, and helped establish our FYE program many years ago.  She also was the one who sent me the link to John Kralik’s book, which was the impetus for me starting my journey.  Hmm.  Maybe I shouldn’t be so quick with my thank you?  :-)

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