The Public

Today I took a break from reading children’s books and, instead, watched The Public. I will read two books tomorrow. Today I need to address this fabulous and moving movie and MY experiences working in a library.

It took Emilio Esteves 10 years to get this movie made. It is the story of Stuart, a librarian at an urban Cincinnati library, and the homeless patrons who decide to occupy the library during a vicious cold spell that is leaving frozen homeless people all over the city. The film touches on the causes of homelessness, the opioid crisis, mental illness, sleazy politicians, and the importance of libraries and their staff. I don’t want to give away the whole movie, so I will just say that it is really worth watching.

In 2009, I lost my administrative assistant position during the economic downturn. Like thousands, I was laid off. An angel named Angie Patterson, swooped in and saved me. She was the Library Manager and I knew her through my administrative assistant job. She offered me a part-time Library Technician position and kept me employed. I owe her so much.

Everyone thinks that people who work in libraries sit around reading all day. This is FAR from the truth. Let me tell you about my experience.

First, it is a non-stop, physical job. After my first part-time shift at the library, I slept for two days and could barely walk. Between standing for hours on end, bending to pick things up, emptying book drops, and reaching to shelve materials, I didn’t stop the whole time.

Second, every day is different. You never know what each day will bring. From odd objects found in the book drop to backed up plumbing, every day is an adventure. Since I don’t work in a large urban library like Stuart, my experiences haven’t been quite as news worthy. Some of my experiences in the past 10 years:

  • During the recession spent many hours helping patrons, who have never used a computer, to file for unemployment or assistance which had gone totally online.
  • Provided first aid to a patron that overdosed in the library and then later in the same day had a patron drive her car into a wall at the library.
  • Cleaned up poop left strategically in the middle of the floor in the men’s room.
  • Taught patrons how to get eBooks, stream our movie services, learn languages, and listen to audiobooks, on their electronic devices.
  • Entertained patrons with craft and food programs.
  • Helped a library school student with her homework (keeping in mind that I did not go to library school).
  • Found some interesting things in the book drop (partially eaten food, disgusting porn magazines, a tree branch, empty drink cups, beer bottles).
  • Found interesting things when cleaning up the library at closing (box of melted ice pops in the shelf in the children’s room, underwear, marajuana leaves in books, toys, papers with personal information, cell phones, power cords, purses, bags of change, shoes, library cards, drivers licenses left in the copier).
  • Helped newly diagnosed patrons research their diseases.
  • Met some amazing authors and read many wonderful and not so wonderful books.
  • Provided comfort and shelter for patrons after Hurricane Irma left people without electricity.

This is just what I could remember after watching the movie. My point here is that working in a library is not what people think it is.

Watch The Public and next time you visit your local library, share your appreciation with the staff. It will mean the world to them.

Thanks for reading.

Taking a break from grown up books

Last week, while attending a book discussion at the library where I work, I realized that I am not enjoying my reading life right now. I have decided that during the month of July, I will be reading children’s books only.

I started reading Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson yesterday. That will take me a couple of days. It is a 192-page juvenile fiction book that was mentioned in a “What Should I Read Next?” podcast. So far, Anne Bogel, the host of the podcast, has not steered me wrong.

Today, at work, I read “Poor Louie” by Tony Fucile. An adorable book about a little dog named Louie who tries to run away because he thinks his people are not paying attention to him.

Tomorrow I will continue reading “Harbor Me” and probably finish it. Hopefully this month of children’s books will cleanse my reading palate so I can enjoy reading again.

Thank YOU for reading.

I had an ear worm today.

What, you say, is an ear worm? It is a song that gets stuck in your head and will not leave. You may overhear a snippet of a song and now the entire song is running through your head over and over again.

Today I had a good one stuck. May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose by Little Jimmy Dickens. Here is that song for you…

https://youtu.be/4q7pPHx-4mQ

Does this ever happen to you? What song do you get stuck in your head? Baby Shark? Blister in the Sun? Country Roads?

What do you do when it happens? Do you share your pain with those around you? I like to sing the song out, hum it, or whistle it. Can’t say I don’t share.

What can’t you get delivered?

This tourist season my husband and I learned about and started using delivery services. We have ordered household goods through Amazon for years. We don’t have a Whole Foods near us, so we can’t get fresh food delivered. I’d like to tell you about the services we have used and liked.

  • Publix delivery via InstaCart – This one is very fresh in my mind. We just used it today. This was our second use. The first try was a few years ago when we were testing it to help Grandma Dunn get her groceries. Both times were excellent experiences. Today we placed our order for some cleaning products, fresh fruit, and other assorted food for the week. Throughout the “shopping” process, our personal shopper, Tracy, was in touch in case substitutions were needed. Our order was delivered 10 minutes early and was perfect. I would highly recommend this service. For less than $5.00, I was able to stay home and continue doing the laundry.
  • Carrabbas Italian Grill delivery – When one of our favorite restaurants started offering delivery, we jumped on board. Our first order had some issues. They have since worked on the service and it, to me, is the cream of the crop for restaurants delivering their own food.
  • Door Dash – There were other restaurant delivery services that we have used. They were ok. Door Dash has blown them all away. The selection of restaurants are superior, from extremely fast food to gourmet. Their drivers are prompt and pleasant. We couldn’t be happier.

In this busy world, it is always nice to find services that can help.

My heart is heavy.

This morning I learned of the death of a man I did not know.

When the Director of the Fort Myers Beach Library arrived on Sunday morning to open the library for their special weekend book sale, he was fatally stabbed.  I don’t know what the motive was.  I can’t imagine the how or why someone would attack someone who provides the services that a library offers.  My mind is blown.  I did not know Dr. Leroy Hommerding, but I feel his murder deeply.

Whenever a library staff person has to open or close a library alone, they are at risk.  (This goes for recreation center staff and retail sales people who are often required to report for work alone).

So, the next time you are in your local library branch, smile, be kind, say “Thank you.”  Remember that we are here to help you – find a book, print your boarding pass, find a phone number, answer your questions, recommend a movie, help you learn a new skill, and connect to your community.

Rest in peace Dr. Hommerding.  Thank you for your service to the community and the library you loved.

 

The most wonderful time of the year?

We’re in the thick of the holiday season, from Thanksgiving to New Years, all of the festivities are in full swing in our neck of the woods.  Christmas light cruises, Mistletoe Ball, neighborhood parties. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

Someone posted on Facebook the other day to remember that this time of year isn’t exactly full of happiness and cheer for everyone. She reminded us that some people are missing family, either due to death, deployment, or distance.  This post really hit me in the feels.

broken heart love sad
Photo by burak kostak on Pexels.com

Thanksgiving and Christmas were always my favorite time of year.  I loved when we would all get together for Thanksgiving and enjoy all of the good food, especially my Grandmother’s giblet gravy and my Mom’s apple pie.  Finding the perfect Christmas gift for a family member was always challenging and fun. It was challenging because, as a child, I insisted on giving my Dad a girl’s pink knit hat.  He still teases me about it to this day!

This year Thanksgiving was the saddest one I ever had. I desperately wanted to make reservations for Thanksgiving dinner since I was feeling extra lonely. Instead, I sucked it up and cooked a small turkey for Mike and myself.  It was delicious but it was still sad. 

I know that, as a grown, married woman, I made the decision, along with my husband, to move 1271.2 miles away from my family.  I own that error in judgement.  We thought, at the time, that it would be a good move for us. Financially, it was not a bad move. We realized that we were never going to be able to buy a house in New Jersey.  However, mentally and emotionally, it was not great for me.   Now that all of Mike’s family has relocated out of Florida, we are really alone down here. I am feeling very isolated. There is no one to celebrate birthdays or holidays with. My work schedule has changed so that it is hard to do anything socially.  I’m sad and lonely and I’ve decided I have to do something about it! 

Starting in January, I am going to get involved in something.  I don’t know what yet, but I have to do something.  I’m going to look into joining something at my church, if there is anything that I can participate in on the only day I have available, Monday or in the evenings after 6pm. I have to do this for me. I have to do this to keep my sanity.  Wish me luck!

 

How to get out of a reading rut.

I have been suffering through a reading rut.   I’m finding myself reading the same kinds of books over and over.  You know how it is…

I just CAN’T read another psychological mystery that has so many twists and turns that I don’t know my left from my right.  I call it the Gone Girl Phenomenon.  You know what I mean, a whiz bang of a book comes out.  Everyone reads it.  You either love it or hate it.  Then ever other author decides that they are going to write the same kind of book.  Next thing you know, you’re depressed as all get out because of the horrible things the fictional characters in these books go through. This is what happened to me.  I read every Liane Moriarty and Mary Kubica book.  I love them.  They are up in my top ten author list.  Now I’m tired of the peril and the twists, so I try something lighter.

Enter the cozy mysteries.  I love them.  I am currently working my way through Adele Abbott’s Witch P.I. Mysteries.   There are 27 books in this series and I love them.  I’m reading #9 Witch is When My Heart Broke.  They are light, funny and don’t keep me awake at night. (To win a digital copy of the first book in the series, click HERE.)

So to try to find new authors and books to read, I have turned to podcasts about books. Some are done by Librarians others are done by booksellers.  Either way, they are my new jam for driving too and from work.  Once I finish an episode, I go onto the show notes on the podcast webpage and write down the books I want to read that they discussed.  If you are stuck and don’t know what to read next, check out some of these podcasts.

I’m sure there are more podcasts that I have not discovered yet.  I’ll keep searching and sharing with you.

Share your book and podcast recommendations with me.

Thanks for reading!