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A Day in the Life at the Library

July 5th, 2019

Meet Vicki, a passionate Youth Services Officer who we are proud to say is a highly valued member of our team at Casey Cardinia Libraries. Have a read for a fascinating insight into her amazing work across our communities. Keep up the good work Vicki!

Originally published in the Emerald Messenger, May 2019 Edition.

When I tell friends that I work in a library, the book lovers imagine I do nothing but settle down and read all day. Non book lovers (and really how few of these friends do I have) insist it must be so boring. Neither case is true. It is never boring in the library, and no matter how hard you wish, there is never any time to sit with a book in your hands and simply read. 

I work in the youth area so my working day consists of a children’s program or four. A usual day begins with an emergency clean up of spilt soft drink on a computer keyboard, then a hunt for a missing child who has wandered from the children’s area and is now in the History section. I then spend the next hour singing songs and reading stories to over fifty young children and their parents and care givers at Storytime.  We make a craft together, and I get to admire over fifty different versions of said craft.  

The next twenty minutes will be spent helping a vision-impaired person choose their audio books. I have to read the blurbs, with gusto and animation, as they decide which they like the sound of.  It is then time to help someone on the computers download a file, save it as a jpeg and then scan several papers to email.  

After lunch there will be an external visit to a preschool. Taking my basket of books I head out. There I introduce myself, talk about the joys of the library, what it has to offer and then we discuss the care of books.  After a couple of stories and hearty renditions of Heads and Shoulders, it’s time to hand out bookmarks, flyers and wave good-bye.  

Back at the library it’s time to work on desk. This is where I get to not only serve our patrons but also answer questions. Anything from ‘where is the nearest caravan park’ to ‘I’m booked into *&** detox centre, do you know where it is?’ 

If we can’t find the answer for you, we do our best to give you the name and number of someone that can.  

On desk I greet familiar faces, recommend a new author to someone and join up a family new to the area. I help someone apply for a passport, a senior open their first email account, and a high school student put together their resume. I also do my best to find the ‘I don’t remember the title of the book, but the cover was blue and there was a picture of a gun.’  Not always successfully.  

After school we have the teens come in and the computers and console games are booked solidly. Study tables are quickly filled and now the questions are based on school texts or research assignments. Or ‘how do I get to the next level’ on such and such game.   

Today after school it’s time for Explorers Club.  Children arrive for an hour of fun and unintentional learning. This month it is all about the Guinness book of Records and we attempt to beat the world record for the amount of M & M’s we eat …with chopsticks..and blindfolded. We fail but have a huge amount of fun.  

No two days are ever the same and that is one of the joys of working in the library. I love the challenge of finding a book for the tween that insists books are ‘dumb’, helping someone find the first book in a series published over seven years ago, find a book on dwarf rabbits for a new pet owner or helping someone set up their mobile device so they can download ebooks.   

The library is a community space that offers something for everyone. Whether it’s a quiet study place, somewhere to sit and read the paper or a free workshop. Or a Storytime or two.  

Vicki Thornton– Casey Cardinia Libraries