Happy First Anniversary! Today Marks One Year As Branch Head at RPL’s Regent Place Branch

Wow – time flies.  It’s already been one year since I moved out of RPL’s Central Library to try life in the branches.

And overall, it’s been a great move – both for all the reasons I listed at the one month point in my tenure and more.

Here’s a few highlights and lowlights from the first year…

Funniest Moment – oh, we’ve had lots of laughs at the branch for sure so it’s hard to pick one.  This is almost definitely a “You had to be there!” example but I found it immeasurably funny that the day one of my programmers booked the fire department (with truck) to visit our story time, we ended up having a cement truck also working in front of the library, an oversized delivery truck in the parking lot and a crane lifting a house into place on the street behind the library with a perfect view from our Children’s area.  So all the kids got a whole range of “Vehicles That Go!” instead of just one.

Cutest Moment – every time the kids come streaming in for storytime is cuteness overload.  Or another specific cute moment that comes to mind is overhearing a young voice just outside my office door, “Mom – I wanted to go to the library!” and an exasperated voice replying, “Honey, this *is* the library!”

Saddest Moment – calling Mobile Crisis on a young patron who was left in the branch by her family one night and being informed that was the second time they’d had a call about her that week and fourth time that month.  In a very philosophical way, I understand that the life I lead is very privileged and middle class and so on.  But being confronted so directly with what a young girl, not much older than Pace, experiences as her every day life was a pretty tough one.

Angriest Moment (patron) – I pride myself on not getting angry with patrons which means I let a lot of really crappy behaviour slide off my shoulders.  But one day after we got a new printing system installed, I had a patron ranting, first at a staff member and then at me, about how the printer didn’t work, how we should be embarrassed not to test things first, how the machine was a rip-off, etc.  I asked if I could help him but when he just kept ranting, After trying to offer help one more time without a change in his tone, I basically told him to leave.  The irony?  I think I was mad because a lot of his criticisms were accurate – the new system did have some bugs and was launched with relatively short notice to staff and none to patrons (luckily, it’s working really well now!)

Biggest Accomplishment – Well, it’s not the one I’d pick but a librarian colleague once told me that if I managed to get a couple pieces of depressing art changed, I’d have nothing else left to do at the branch.  Mission accomplished! 😉

Most Disgusting Moment(s) –  plunging plugged toilets.  Finding magazines with the pages stuck together in the washroom.  A patron scratching her leg until it bleeds.  Those are a few that I’m willing to type and there are more that would probably be too disgusting to even share! 😉

Calmest Moment – anytime I’m in the branch when it’s closed, whether it’s half an hour before we open in the morning or a few hours when we’re closed for a half-day a couple times a week, I just fall in love with libraries all over again (and often jokingly tell myself: “Libraries would be great if it weren’t for those noisy patrons!”) 😉

Angriest Moment (Staff) – my own staff are great and never make me angry so instead, I’ll say I recently had perhaps the most frustrating moment of, not just my first year at a branch but my six years at RPL. Without going into too much detail, I needed something critical done by staff in another part of the library so made sure to communicate my needs via three different methods to ensure that it would be done.  And when the request was fulfilled, it was *still* not done properly and ended up forcing me to scramble madly to fix things in a very compressed time frame, even running home to get some things I needed to make the problem right since I didn’t have what I needed at the branch.  *SOOOO* angry.

Proudest Moment – Again, a lot to choose from but one I wasn’t directly responsible for was hearing that a couple of our young regulars who are always on the computers decided to read books (imagine!) to each other one afternoon when no computers are available near the start of this year’s Summer Reading Program.

Those are just a few quick ones off the top of my head.  If I thought about it longer, I’m sure I’d have multiple examples in every category.  Front line service definitely exposes you to the highs and lows – often within the same day!

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