There is a children’s book at the Seaside Public Library called, If you ever want to bring a circus to the library, “Don’t!” by Elise Parsley.
I enjoy these books because I know the author but it also reminds me of all the things people bring to the library and shouldn’t.
I was reminded again of this title earlier this morning as I did my weekly trash sweep outside the library and picked up three left shoes (apparently the right foot is in more demand these days), a white sock (again just one, must have been a left foot), and various other paraphernalia and trash.
Perhaps it is the library’s fault. After all, we do encourage people to feel at home in the library, so much so that people treat the library as a place they often view as second home.
A second home, according to dictionary.com is an additional residence, as at the shore or in the country, where one goes on weekends, vacations, where one spends a great deal of time or feels welcome and at home.
We often have to remind people that 3-year-old children shouldn’t roam the entire library by themselves and no, your therapy dog probably shouldn’t be tied up in another room in the library while you are far away from it on a computer.
We have to remind people to keep their shoes on, that we aren’t a primary place for naps, and that diaper changing is probably best done in the bathroom in case of accidents. Our brand-new carpet in the children’s room was “baptized” by one such diaper change immediately after installation several years ago.
I have just celebrated eight years as library director. There have been a lot of great memories, some headshakers and some laugh out loud moments. It’s been a privilege working with the people of Seaside and it is always a joy. I’m looking forward to even more great memories ahead.
For example, library staff will never understand why someone tried to hide an entire hot dog in one of our potted plants, ate a sandwich on top of a library computer keyboard, or why someone ate an entire crab by the library’s fireplace area.
We discovered the crab shells after closing. We actually don’t allow eating in the library simply because we don’t have a cleaning crew every day for food. Not only does it make things gross for the books, it makes things not fun and unhygienic for other people as well.
Still, people sneak things in and it still puzzles me how the crab eater managed to crack the entire crab quietly and not get caught.
It kind of made sense that a child thought it would be fun to take our chess sets and hide all the pieces throughout the library shelves, leading to a scavenger hunt for staff to find all the pieces. It must have been a younger child since most of the pieces were way down low and yes, we did find them all and no, staff members don’t really want to repeat this adventure ever again.
One of my all-time favorite memories is the time a staff person was getting the book drop and left the side door open. She turned around to find a seagull walking into the library, down the hallway, and into the women’s handicapped bathroom stall, where it proceeded to hop in the toilet and take an impromptu bath. She did manage to shoo it back outside again but the rest of the day the same seagull lurked around the side doors eyeing us all and just waiting for a chance to break back into the library again.
While we do provide access for all humans, we have to draw the line at spa days for seagulls, so sadly he didn’t get a second chance at the toilet.
Our parking lot has been meatballed twice. Five pounds of meatballs dumped in our parking lot which meant staff had to literally shovel it up.
We are talking serious meatballs here, the kind you could buy on a stick at the Minnesota State Fair with noodles wrapped up inside. I don’t think these ones traveled here from Minnesota, but it’s a mystery to this day. Why our parking lot, and why two days in a row?
Someone else dropped an entire aquarium, glass, rocks and all. I’m hoping whatever was in it survived OK.
These are just a few of the memories and I haven’t even mentioned what matters most, the daily interactions with the wonderful people of Seaside. People reading is what drives the library.
People loving reading and people enjoying the library and sharing that with myself and the library staff. While people’s idea of librarians sitting around reading books all day sadly isn’t true, we do get to connect people to books and resources and also talk books which is a great second best to reading all day long.
People searching for knowledge and information brings them to the library, and we are always happy to help and serve as many as we can. We may not have every single answer, but nine times out of 10 we can point you in the right direction.