Out of control

Approaching the reference desk earlier this week, the customer hesitated and did a quick left-and-right visual check before asking, “You’re really controlling the whole system from right here, aren’t you?”

 If you’re familiar with the ref desk, you may concur that his impression isn’t completely far-fetched: tall, stand-up counter with gleaming black surface, tall person facing out in a position to monitor everyone else on the floor while busily keyboarding mysterious commands into a computer whose screen is strategically shielded from outsiders’ view. 

 After wistfully envisioning myself as Queen of the System, I shared the truth:  the only thing I controlled was the fiction order up on my screen, and the counter really is just a reference desk.  (The library is a City of Round Rock department, thus the IT department manages our computers.)  I hastened to add that I could, at any time, walk over to the computer reservation console and check to see if the queue was proceeding smoothly, but even I didn’t find that impressive.

Though not controlling or powerful myself, I observed some great examples of Using Powers for Good this week.  The aforementioned IT department, for example, is coordinating the transition of all City departments from one phone system to another–hardware, software, quirky combinations of the above, etc.–while still responsible for all the computer issues.  And somehow they remain as courteous as ever.  Amazing. 

 Also, we’ve witnessed scenarios involving library patrons who happen to be mothers of multiple children of various ages.  These moms manage to navigate both floors while pushing a stroller or holding a baby (or both), delving into well-organized tote bags to whip out elementary reading lists or SRP logs for the entire family, and supervising older children who evidently don’t sense the midsummer energy drain that afflicts most adults.  Now that’s power.

 If I were Queen of Something, I’d distribute free copies of everyone’s favorite summer reading, autographed even.  As a lowly librarian, however, I have only four giveaway copies of new books for four lucky readers.  Just email me at lsappenfield@round-rock.tx.us  and tell me which one or ones you’d like to have.  Please provide phone number or email and mailing address; I’ll mail to the winners after the drawing on July 29.·

      Deanna Raybourn, The Dark Enquiry (autographed advance reading copy)
      Tayari Jones, The Silver Sparrow (autographed hardcover copy)
       Susan Mallery, Already Home (autographed paperback)·
       Laura Griffin, Unforgivable (not autographed, but Laura sent it to us personally!)

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