Tuesday, November 3, 2009
You know, the LIBRARY KEEPER....
Seems I got way off track and left the library guy behind in the dust, but I have just finished the second day of work in November and it was a great day. Cool to cold and clear so I burst out of the house and jog around forty minutes and come back to my breakfast, then I prepare to face the world as mild mannered Earl and get my tie tied right and put a scarf over it and the leather jacket on top of that - I am going to ride the Trusty Triumph to work, that was what I was born for... yes, I did put out the garbage, and I waved at the garbage pickup man as I jogged by him, but I was born to ride the Triumph, it is a fine ride going deeper and recovering smoothly and laughing in joy. I walk down to the dock, passed by a prisoner mobility transport team, one of my patrons has been out to see a specialist.
As I walk into the Corridor I see one of the inmate bakers with a big tray of cheese cake pieces heading out to feed the audit team I think. As I get closer he signs to me and asks me to take the piece closest to me, so looking at the lady escorting him with the money box - and she is nodding her head in agreement -- I take a piece of the best looking cake I have seen. And hurry off to eat it in the workroom before I move the mail, and it is good, all over my fingers but I will lick them off, but it is good. And I hear knocking on the library door, it is the Associate Superintendent and all the audit team, waiting for me to open up so they can look.
I open, invite them in, and give them my best briefing of how wonderful I am and how important the library is to the inmates and the mission of education and all our capabilities. Ask if there are questions, get none and congratulate myself in public on another fine briefing. They leave to get their lunch and a piece of that cheese cake that I return to before taking the mail down. Mail back up and l open a letter from a book shop in Seattle:
To Earl Dungey: Nov 1, 2009
A former inmate, who worked in your library, came into my
bookstore and spent $50 on SF and a few other things. He said
he was sending the books to you (I did not catch his name,
sorry). He made me think, a bit, of you and your needs. He
was very pleasant. -- tallish, dark hair, a bit of a gut, has a four
year old daughter...
He made me want to help out, when he said you might be
able to take hardbacks....I asked for your address.
Can you take hardbacks? I get a lot of surplus hardbacks.
(Can you provide a tax exempt number for me, too? This is
not absolutely necessary, but I thought I would ask, anyway.)
I can provide mysteries easily, and thrillers, in hardback,
but can also provide lots of other kinds of books. Even
hardback SF Books. I have a fairly large store, with lots of
surplus generated -- books I don't want to take in are often left
behind. So, this includes nonfiction of all types. Send me a
letter back, with your needs, and I will be glad to help out.
Can do a limited number of specific titles; some bestsellers
begin to pile up, for example, and I can send those, too.
Also, of course, if you want to buy specific titles for your
library, would be happy to oblige. Give you a good price!
This is my email, email@example.com, but I sometimes
miss the emails; send it again if I don't respond.
Nice Lady in
Seattle WA 981??
I sent an email off to the other Library Keepers and our leaders, since answering this letter with more than a thank you is echelons above my capacity - although I do seem to be the person so many of my former workers want to contact about things and donations do seem to show up from inmates, family, interested folks and others. Still this letter needs answered by someone higher than a lowly library keeper. I was very happy to receive it, and only change the addresses and real name to protect the nice lady and paste the intent all over my blog.
My supervisor was chosen as the Employee of the Quarter, and written up very nicely, and as another of the staff said "it was about time the two of you were recognized for your work". No, there aren't two of her - just does twice as much as she should have to, make all those dwindling budget dollars last a little longer... I suggested to our party girl, that this was a perfect reason for a Winter Holiday party - she is working on it.
Well, we were open and the books started moving, legally and otherwise, the alarm at the gate kept going off - the new guys making sure they had something for themselves.
I got two calls, and I answered in my most professional voice (I am wearing a tie, ya know?) "Washington State Library branch at McNeil Island Corrections Center, Earl speaking, may I help you?" or something very close... and on the other end is "I'm ____________ from Tower Three, and I wanted to apologize about what I called you." I hadn't know that was tower three, but if I remembered which was tower four (it has the armory) I could have figured it out. Anyway, we had a good talk about that incident and a little better understanding of who each of us were, and how we aren't going to be mistaken for fools in the future. She made sure it was clear that no one was making her apologize, and I made it clear that I didn't want an apology, I just wanted what was not normal conduct looked at and fixed. She had been sure I was mocking her, and I was sure I wasn't doing anything but being completely out of touch with what was supposed to be happening. She also didn't know until this week that I had been upset at being outed as a jackass. I lived through it but....
The second call was from another Library Keeper that had attended a meeting for communications, her interest being the Institutional Library Services blog. Her concern was that a portion of the new rules for social networking, individual personal blogs which mentioned the bloggers working with the Office of the Secretary of State must comply with the new rules. Since I often make dark mention of stupidity, foolishness, or downright mean conduct on my blog I might not be looked at favorably. I calmed her fears a bit, the only mention of risk to my job was for working on State Owned Equipment and this is my machine, and the intent was to keep the twittering for political reasons to a minimum... and I don't tweet, twitter nor twitch. I have no idea what to do on Facebook, and we cannot access any of the social networks at work. So I won't worry about my blogging, I can bore a few folks some of the time, I can bore lots of the folks lots of the time, and then once in a bit, I can be entertaining... I do notice that once the independent bloggers are corralled and the safe guards and laws laid down - the joy of blogging is gone, and the input for posting good stuff about our libraries dries completely up. But we aren't here to be happy, are we?
I ride the Trusty Triumph home to a fine meal, coffee and my only opportunity to tell my mother what happened today at work. The full moon shining down on me was a nice touch with the Autumn chill, but it has been such a good day I didn't want to ruin it. Thanks, Lord, and all those that participated to make it possible.