Part sixteen in a series exploring my work history, revealing how I ended up working in a library. This post: library assistant.
I worked as a shelver for a few months before getting a job as a Library Assistant, and my hours increased to working four evenings a week and every other Saturday. A shelver shelves books, but what does a Library Assistant do? I was on the front-line, serving library users at the Circulation Desk; checking items in and out, collecting fines, issuing new library cards, handling reserved items, and answering general questions like Where is the restroom? In a nutshell, I was providing customer service.
Simultaneously, I was still studying part-time for a degree, and during the day I was a stay-at-home dad, taking care of my young son while my wife worked full-time. Juggling household chores, childcare, classes, writing essays, and going to work was challenging but manageable. However, I then had to start work on my senior thesis, and we discovered we were having another baby, due around the same time as my thesis deadline. Every moment of my day was taken up with something; time became a precious commodity.
It all came to a crescendo in Spring 2013; I finished my thesis a month ahead of time to ease the pressure, I became an American citizen, and then our second child was born, arriving on graduation day (needless to say, I was at the hospital with my wife rather than at college collecting my degree). My wife had six weeks’ maternity leave before going back to work; now I no longer had any study deadlines to meet, but instead I had a two year old and a newborn to take care of during the day, followed by my shifts at the library in the evenings. This was a different kind of tired.
However, despite the tiredness, I really enjoyed my job. I was on the committee that organised social events for library staff, I helped devise and implement a campaign to promote the library’s new Blu-ray collection, I contributed to writing circulation procedures, and genuinely enjoyed getting to know the people that used the library. I would have been happy to stay in that job, but my wife and I decided to relocate to the UK.
Part seventeen to follow.