In the Stacks – A Blog Straight Out of the Mind of Steve

So, I guess I should start this (hopefully enlightening) blog by expressing how technological the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District has become over the years, what with our new self-check kiosks, eMedia items, Freegal music downloads, etc.  It is all quite unbelievable when you stop and think about it. What was that line ole’ Red said in The Shawshank Redemption? I believe it was “The world went and found itself in a big hurry.” I’d say that’s about accurate, especially in this day and age. But really, to anyone who is used to things being a certain way for so long and then to find something got much different all of a sudden, it is mind bending at first. And really, that is due to our primal instinct of what is commonly known as… fear. That’s right I said it! People get afraid once something goes and changes right before their eyes. They don’t know how it happened or what to do about it. Initially, the fear takes over, and can sometimes lead us to express anger and hostility later on. Yet again, it’s nothing to worry about. It’s common and it happens to all of us.

The main thing to remember at times like that is that over time, those emotions will pass. And people can begin to realize that really, the changes that were put in place (Although, how awful! They were without your consent most times) were typically meant with the best of intentions. And although you literally don’t see it the first time, or second, and maybe even third; you will inevitably “see the light” as it were. Don’t think I know what I’m talking about? Let me tell you a little story.

To begin, back in the prehistoric times of long, long ago… (by that of course I’m referring to the early 1990s), there was this kid who was just getting settled into Las Vegas with his family. He lived up by Sahara and Grand Canyon. And back then, anytime he or a member of his family ever needed to stop by their local library, they needed to go to the Sahara West Library. I’m sure some of you have an idea where that is and maybe even what it looks like. But you see, years upon years ago, the Sahara West Library was in the back corner of Sahara and Ft. Apache. It was a tiny building with a fairly small collection of materials. Most all of the items were strictly books, but there was also a small collection of VHS tapes and audiobooks on cassette. What in the world are those you ask? Well that’s a story for another time, dear readers. The point is the kid loved that library very much. He got to know where all of his favorite items were, and all the staff was quite friendly.

Only a short time later, the Sahara West Library shut down because they were moving spaces and constructing a new building for it.  When the dust settled on the new construction, there grew to be a ginormous two story building with its own art gallery inside and rows and rows of new materials spread out across the enormous space. What was this kid’s reaction to this amazing new library? Well… if memory serves right, it wasn’t very nice and it was expressed with language I can’t bring myself to share right now. The kid was highly upset. He tried out this new library to see how well it stacked up to the old library location, and I must say, the first couple times in, he did indeed grow to hate that library. He couldn’t find one thing on the shelves that he desperately wanted to check out. He didn’t even know where to begin looking for them. And the library staff was new to him and always seemed too busy to help; which at the time translated to the kid that the staff was obviously very mean and cruel. This made the kid even more upset. He missed the old library where he was familiar with everything. Was he afraid?  Well, I can’t really incriminate him and admit that just yet. But he was definitely very mad at that library. The library was fine the way it was; it didn’t need to grow and add more to it. It didn’t matter that the library looked like an awesome new place to explore. It also didn’t matter that the library had moved and was now a block away from his house. NO! It was surely an awful catastrophe! How dare the library!

It took that kid some years of ignoring that library before it finally sunk in: it was really a great library. As his interest in library materials expanded he started making a point of exploring the shelves and finding everything he wanted to look at. A lot of the times, he found way more than he wanted. He checked out numerous materials and got to be quite familiar with the entire library and even some of the staff members. And once that kid got to be old enough, he started volunteering for that library during the Summer Reading Program. After only two summers of volunteering, he was lucky enough to land a job at that library as a Reader Services Page. It goes on and on from there but needless to say… the kid still works for the Library District!

He deals with patrons all the time who are new to the Library District. They have no idea how our catalog works, where to find things, or even how to check them out with all of this new technological mumbo jumbo. Sometimes, the patrons seem to be really mad and upset that there is all this new stuff they have to figure out. And all the kid does is smile and patiently walk each one of those patrons through the motions of getting all of their questions answered and leaving the library stress-free and happy, eagerly awaiting the next time they can come back and enjoy the library some more.

Perhaps one day… maybe that kid will have some silly idea to tell that story in the form of a blog… whatever that is! How do you even write one of those!?

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Steve is one of our helpful Customer Service Assistants.  Stop by the Customer Service Desk the next time you visit the Whitney Library, and say Hello to Steve or ask him a question about all the pesky new technology at the library.  Steve and all of us at the Whitney Library hope to see you soon!

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