In the Stacks: A Blog Straight from the Mind of Steve
Perhaps you guys aren’t big into nostalgia, but I’ve unfortunately been struck with that horrible affliction for most of my life. I like to occasionally look back on the “good ole’ days” and reflect on those times. Heck! I even look back at the not so good days too. However lately, I have been thinking back to a bunch of irreplaceable times I have had in my life, all of which revolve around the same theme… the Library District.
The Library District has always been like a constant safe haven for me, especially in my youth. I know in my first blog I had shared my experience with seeing what is now Sahara West Library go from a small store front type building to the monster sized mega-library it transformed into. But that is hardly scratching the surface on the changes that have gone on, both the Library District itself, and its effect on my life. Moving the clock forward almost a decade past then, I found myself running over to Sahara West after school most days. It would have been about 7th grade for me. Saving Private Ryan had come out, and I developed a likeness for D-Day and World War II history in general. Many days I would find myself checking out book after book and VHS after VHS (there weren’t many DVDs going around back then) of many different tales about this amazing time in history (Including the best documentary EVER on D-Day, “D-Day+50” which the District doesn’t have anymore, grrrr). I would either be in there because of that, or because the bullies who berated me every single day since 6th grade wouldn’t be caught dead in a library, so they wouldn’t follow me over.
Skipping forward, a new memory pops into mind. It is my second summer of High School. It is also my first shift of my second summer as a Summer Reading Program volunteer. Right after my shift was done, I ran over to the adult fiction area and picked out what was to be my favorite book by my favorite author until years later. What better source of literary excellence for a high school sophomore but Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho. I must admit, up to that point in my life that was the ONLY book I ever checked out, read entirely, and returned well before my initial three week check out period was up. Many librarians or people in general might be downright disgusted by that book, including my future book club peeps (who volunteered that title for me— sorry again Jenn, Kathy, Lorinda, Patrick, and Sharon). I must take this opportunity to say this, I still think Bret Easton Ellis is my favorite author, but Lunar Park is definitely his best work. Haha
Now by the next year I was actually employed at Sahara West as a Reader Services Page. I remember constantly being challenged to sort and shelve carts of materials faster and faster, almost like a dare. The main reason I got dared so much was at the behest of one individual. He was also the source of numerous experiences I had at that library. For the sake of this story, we’ll just call this individual “LH”. LH was a librarian in that department at the time. All of his challenges with carts got me to fully sort and shelve a fiction cart in just over 20 minutes. There was the time only a couple of years prior to me working there that LH almost had me trespassed when I was at the library with some schoolmates and they were literally breaking every rule of conduct. I never felt so embarrassed in my life. After I was more established as an employee there, LH made me go home after one of my shifts to ask my two older brothers if they’d like to go out with one of my female co-workers. When I asked them later in the day, my brothers immediately responded with a “NO!” (Such a surprise I know), I got to go back later and try to help LH understand just how it could be that they wouldn’t be interested. There were also several times that he would give me complex puzzles to figure out. He truly stretched my mind constantly and transformed me into a great employee. He certainly was a “special” kind of librarian. I saw LH years later when I was working at Summerlin Library. He went on to be a Corrections Facility Librarian, a library courier driver, and a YPL Librarian. I also found out he was a major Tennis player with a killer serve and also announced at boxing matches. A fascinating individual… and it still makes me incredibly sad that he is no longer with us today.
Ok, enough of the sad things… here’s something funny. I remember that at Sahara West, there was this humungous balcony that you could look over and peer down at the area around the circulation desk. And this was years ago when the library still closed at 9pm! The lights would literally be turned off right after our closing announcement, and we could still see lines of people waiting to get checked out by the circulation staff (there were no self-checks back then either). I remember thinking, “I’d hate to have to put up with that.” Little did I know that just a couple years later I would be doing just that at Summerlin Library. Now Summerlin, I have had tons of pleasurable experiences. I have met a gigantic amount of wonderful people. And yes, even a few who weren’t so wonderful. Yet there’s only one major one that I need to share with you today though. From being at Summerlin, I fell in love. As cliché as it sounds ladies and gents, that’s all there was to it. I met the love of my life, my partner, my soul mate, and my best friend… and have been living happily ever after since. I’m sure I could make a volume of other stories out of this and my other tales of library mischief… but until that time dear readers. Stay classy, stay reading, stay patrons. J