Did you know my first ever job was as a librarian? That’s right! From the age of 15 till the age of 20 I used to work at my local library and I thought it might be fun to reflect on that period in my life. It being my first job and all, it was the first time I dealt with coworkers and all the drama that ensues (but really this was very very minor).
The first thing you should know is that the time period I worked at the library was the period in my life I read fewest books. Quite the Catch 22 isn’t it? I stopped reading in my early teens as one of my teachers didn’t allow me to read what I wanted to read. Having become convinced that there were no books of interest to my 12-year-old self that he did recommend, my joy for reading dwindled to an all time low. So to be 15 years old and then find yourself stowing books back onto shelves in your local library is probably the opposite of what people would expect.
I got the job by responding through a vacancy in the local paper. There wasn’t much of a selection process as there were few young people who wanted to work there at the time. The pay was good, but only few hours were available as the job entailed mainly putting all the books back onto the shelves. All that heavy lifting was best done by someone quite young it seemed.
That job lasted 3 years. Even though I couldn’t work much at first, my hours quickly multiplied and I got two evenings, the Saturday morning as well as Thursday afternoon. At first, they didn’t need me in the summer months, so I took on a job as a cashier in a local DIY store, but after a few years they extended my hours to the summer holidays. That job helped me save up for my exchange period and my first ever laptop!
I still remember the codes from the books that were lent most. 634.4 was small household pets. 928.2 was WWII. That sort of thing. I could still walk into any public library in the world and still be able to find my way around as the numbering used is the same all over the globe. If it was quite I would flick through books that held my interest, especially in the summer time. That is how I found the image that inspired my one and only tattoo.
A perk of the job came a little while into working there. The library would be refurbished, which meant new shelves and room for lots of new books. So they thought: out with the old and in with the new. After my colleagues selected all the books that had to be phased out, I was invited to come put them on the shelf for the public sale. I was paid and on top of that, I was allowed to keep anything and everything that caught my eye at no charge. It’s one of the reasons why I have so many random books on my bookshelves.
After 3 years of stocking shelves, I was promoted to desk employee. During my hours, I commanded the desk where people came to take home the books. I thought this was a lot of fun and eventually I was shown how to add new members to the system and other related tasks. Especially in the summer months I was invited to do these additional tasks as they were always short staffed.
My job at that little library was one of the best jobs ever. It wasn’t super hard work and I had fun with all the ladies that worked there. In the end, my best friend got a job there too and we had the same working days. That made the hours go extra fast and we ended up having a chat with the lady we worked with on Saturday’s and helped her close down pretty much every week. I would highly recommend trying to get a job at a library, even if you’re not much of a reader.
What was your first job?