Thursday, March 15, 2007

"You guys are my saving grace!"

Today at the gym, a woman smiled at me and said, "Library, right?" When I agreed, she continued, "You guys are my saving grace!" I asked her why, and she replied, "Everyone is so helpful! Whenever I need something from another library, you always say, 'We can do that!' or 'We can get that!' I don't have to go somewhere else. You take care of everything and I don't have to worry about a thing."

Well, it's nice to be personally recognized as one of the librarians. But it's better to hear that the library has made a difference in someone's life. When I look back over my career, I can recall specific times when something a librarian did helped a patron complete their degree, get a job, get well, find their ancestors, learn to read, write a eulogy, plan a wedding, audition for a play, survive divorce, and prepare for childbirth. For the librarian, these were modest transactions, soon forgotten as the next request for information came in. But for the customer, this service from the library may have been the most important event of their day, week, month, or even year. They needed something important, came to the library for it, and got it.

A few years ago, the American Library Association used the slogan "Libraries change lives." It was true then, and it's true now. Thanks so much to the anonymous lady at the gym. You made my day!

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