Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Goodbyes, Saying

ciao bellasNext Wednesday is my final day at my deluxe library. I am kind of at a loss. How does one say "good bye" properly to people that have made such a huge difference in my life? A job that allows me to be a celebrity librarian when ever I want, a gorgeous office painted in my choice of Ionic Green, a boss that has allowed me so many opportunities to grow, develop and learn, amazing co-workers, an enviable para-professional staff, a facility management crew that takes care of all of our 20+ locations - this is going to be harder than waving good bye to Mother when I moved to Chicago some 8 years ago.

I tend to wax romantic. I didn't think I'd survive the move from Chicago, saying good bye to all my dear dear friends and corporate co-workers was one of the toughest things I'd ever done. I promised my best friend Lucy no tears. Why did we hug for 4 minutes and bawl on the sidewalk outside our favorite cafe?

Because as much as I won't admit it, I am not stone. I am not the solid professional in my personal life. I am rather delicate, and despite my massive efforts to separate my professional life from my personal life, my professional life IS my personal life. Rather a sad confession I'm afraid. My work is who I am, and I put blood (papercuts), sweat (lifting boxes) and tears (hearing a child say "when I grow up, I either want to be a super hero or a librarian") into everything I do.

I like to think I've raised the bar in my profession. I call myself a mover and shaker, I just have to wait for Library Journal to catch up with me.

Blah blah blah.

Then I moved to the Almost Square State. I got my Masters in Information & Library Science, and took a job with the most amazing public library in the United States. My gorgeous marble pillared, brass inlaid, stained glassed ceilinged Carnegie library. At least 10 friendly "good morning Matthew!'s" before I've even gotten to my office.

Coffee and morning review with the most well dressed, eloquently spoken, funny, aesthetic, cultured, passionate, friendly boss in Library World. Warm conversation about her amazingly talented sons, accomplishments in our library system, and of course, a bit of tittle tattle. This is the lady I want to be when I grow up, minus the being a lady part.

Then my phone starts ringing. Crazy customers. But that's the whole point, isn't it? I wouldn't have a job without them. I like asking the question "What can I do to make your day better?" Knowing they are satisfied when they return the handset to its cradle is so rewarding.

Answering reference questions internally and externally. Meeting new librarians, staff, and crew. A finance team to write home to Mother about. The fix it crew and cleaning ladies.

I'll even miss the robin that I've been watching grow up in the park behind the library for the past 3 months.

I am going to miss you library. The books will be where ever I am. So will the computers. So will the brick walls and windows with enviable views. But my people, how I will miss you. You've made me into quite a man. Quite a librarian. You've justified my passion. I'll miss that the most.

Now quick on my feet, and ready with response I start my new job. A children's librarian.

You didn't see that one coming did you? I am so excited to start shaping the next generation of library users - you have no idea. Best I'll be focusing on outreach - if they can't come in, how do we get to them?

I am thrilled to be working with this new library. The facility is important to the community that uses it, and so are the contents. I am excited to work with a group of professionals that really share my passion.

I've been forewarned that some are not "quite as passionate" as I am - well, either were the ones that I started working with three years ago right here in the Almost Square State. Guess what? They are now.

Moral of this blog: Adieu, Adieu, to you and you and you....

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