Saturday, September 24, 2005

Dreaming About Old Libraries

In Free Range Librarian two weeks ago Karen Schneider wrote Being a Good Former Employee; she set out helpful guidelines for anyone leaving one job to go to another. I have left several wonderful jobs in the past to take on new challenges and I think I behaved well according to Karen's ten rules for leaving. As she would probably agree, these rules were easy for me to follow in most cases because I moved to another state; I had no opportunity to stay involved in the affairs of the libraries I left; my moving predated widespread Internet, email, and instant message access. Now there are easy ways to violate rules 7, 8, and 9 from wherever you are, but you should not. I recommend everyone who will be changing jobs take a look at Karen's essay.

Karen wrote her essay after dreaming about an old job, a position she obviously enjoyed with people she liked; in her dream something went amiss. This struck a cord with me, for I also have had dreams about my old libraries. In most of these dreams, I have gone back to the Daniel Boone Regional Library in Columbia, Missouri, where I had my first professional library job as a reference librarian with a desk right beside the reference collection. The big picture windows to the north are still there and I look forward to again watching the drama of approaching storms. The second floor still overlooks the first and I look forward to the annual hanging display of quilts, which added so much color to the public space when I was there. Many of my former colleagues are still there in my dream, and I am eager to answer reference questions. Upon entering the dream everything is perfect, but then complications arise. I get lost in the new underground passage to the new staff room, or I misplace my desk, or I realize than I am still in my pajamas (or worse) and need to run home to change. I never answer a reference question. I awake with a melancholy feeling.

In reality, the Daniel Boone Regional Library has a totally new building. I am sure most of the staff have changed as it has been 24 years since I was there. I would like to see it some day. Daniel Boone had the most impressive community outreach program I have ever seen, and we had an energetic public service team. As my dreams indicates it still has a place in my heart.

No comments: