My afternoon as a librarian---by Paul Feiner
This past Friday afternoon I worked as a librarian at the Greenburgh Public Library. My assignments included working in the Adult Reference Desk, Circulation Desk and Access Service office, technical services department and at the Children's Library. It was one of the most interesting "temporary work assignments". I learned a tremendous amount about the library and have a better appreciation as to why the library is pushing for expansion. 509,000 items are circulated annually at the library...291,000 visits a year, over 20,000 registered borrowers.
I was almost fired from my job when I used a cell phone to answer a telephone call. The library has a policy: no cell phones. And, some 6, 7 and 8 year old children who were casting votes for President of the United States in the children's room Voting Booth didn't want me to look past the curtain to determine who they were going to vote for. "It's a secret ballot," they stressed.
The technical services section of the library (a room that most of us never see) lacks windows and seemed overcrowded (reminded me of the old Town Hall). Noisy fans reminded me of airplanes! Lack of storage space at the library is also a problem. Working conditions for some of the library's staff is unacceptable, in my opinion. If you want to confirm this assessment - visit the offices yourself.!
I was impressed at the library's use of technology. There is a computer reservation system so everyone who wants to use our public internet terminals can have fair access to the terminals when they visit the libary. A cash to card machine is a great convenience to those who want to pre-pay for printing needs at the library.
The Greenburgh Library, the only library in the Hudson Valley that makes housecalls (via the Cybermobile), also provides fantastic research help to those who have a Greenburgh LIbrary card. One can ask a librarian for electronic help from our reference librarians. If you have a library card and access the Greenburgh Library's web site WWW.GREENBURGHLIBRARY.ORG you can access PROQUEST's multiple databases.
Greenburgh is the only library in Westchester that offers FREE HOMEWORK HELP. The Greenburgh Library offers exclusive homework help through TUTOR.COM, an online tutoring program. A volunteer staff and teacher assists students.
The library also is known for its preschool programs --which include toddler story times, musical munckins. And, for 3rd to 6th grade students there is a parent child book discussion group.
The library offers more than books: Videos, DVDs, CDs.
Working in various offices made me appreciate the difficult functions that enable us to benefit from a first class library. Stamping new books, taking new books off the new book shelves after a few months, receiving donated books, processing the returned books, checking to see if the correct video's are returned are just some of the things I observed this past Friday.
I walked away from the afternoon experience determined to push for an expanded library. Our goal: A referendum on library expansion in 2005.