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Mad About… Libraries

Madeline Roche • Updated Aug 12, 2019 at 8:37 AM

When I say the word “librarian,” what comes to your mind? Are you picturing someone wearing glasses with a ponytail, checking out books or saying “shhhh?” Although this may be a stereotypical idea of librarians, this is not accurate.

I recently spent some time experiencing what it is like to work at the Norwalk Public Library. I’ll admit I did wear my glasses, but I did not hear anyone say “shhh” and a lot more work was involved than just checking out books.

I started my day by meeting the other employees and seeing the different sections of the library in action, and from a new perspective.

A library staff member even made me a button that said “Librarian For A Day — Maddie.” I felt very welcome during my time there.

I was surprised how many questions patrons asked while in the library. I’ve been going to Norwalk’s library my whole life and still couldn’t answer everything, but the staff members I was with were very helpful.

A shipment came in from other libraries during my “shift.” This happens three times a week. Norwalk can request items from other libraries and vice versa. This process is very organized.

One of my tasks was printing out receipts with requests from other libraries, finding the items and getting them ready to go for the next shipment. Library Director Heidi Sutter helped me out with this. It was obvious she has a lot of experience in the library and knew where to go to find what we needed.

Thankfully the library is very organized. Books and movies were in order either alphabetically or numerically, so we did not have problems finding what was on our list. I definitely said the alphabet to myself at least 30 times when looking for books, but that’s just me.

After working upstairs for a bit, I moved downstairs to the children’s department. I helped check out books and learned about a few programs.

For example, there is a team called “Battle of the Books.” Team members read certain assigned books, practice quiz questions and then compete against other libraries.

There is also something called “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” where preschoolers can read small, easy books to earn a book prize.

All programs through Norwalk Public Library are free! Some require sign up ahead of time but most are open to the public. I used to participate in a lot of the library programs when I was younger, so it was neat to see things from the other side.

Events and programs can be found on the Norwalk Public Library Facebook page, which is updated regularly.

Keeping the public informed on what’s going on is another role of library employees.

Our library has a lot to offer, especially for research, entertainment and family-friendly activities. Some patrons came in just to use a computer or print something.

Of course, there is a lot of customer service involved in the job, but everyone I worked with was friendly and willing to help patrons the best they could.

I had fun working with the staff and enjoyed interacting with customers. I especially appreciate my button and will keep it in case I want to test out the librarian life once more.

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