Most of my messages to people today have been to convey my absolute delight with the reactions of young children to the library today.
The message that most sums up the experience of today was: “I have had just the cutest youngsters in today having their minds blown by all the books available – toddlers that were last here as babies for rhymetime now being able to walk round, touch books, big smiles and wide eyes.”
It has melted my heart and brought joy to all – a memory I shall treasure
I’m exhausted, but it is a good exhausted, because today was our first day back open to the public rather than running a click and collect service. It felt entirely appropriate that the first people through the door were a couple of toddlers and their mum.
It was pretty much non-stop from there. It was wonderful, hearing families back in the building. A good busy day that just flew by.
We’re due to reopen for browsing next week so I took advantage of a slow day to tackle the cupboard containing our main electrics board and the gas supply stopcock – as you do. No spiders or accumulations of building debris from renovation work would stay my hand from discarding mouse-nibbled bits of carpet or cleaning off plastic children’s chairs.
As an added bonus to passing the time, it meant I could organise the contents so that it was a) safe b) not blocking access to important things c) improve fire safety and d) put things we needed in easy reach rather than the subject of intensive explorations to uncover.
Every now and then I’m called upon to be the fount of all knowledge, or at least the nodding insurance advert dog that people come to for permission to do what they’ve already decided to do – or for sounding board duties while they justify the decision their subconscious has already made.
Today has been that day. Thankfully I was only due to work a short shift as the hours were swapped with yesterday so that we could head off an issue with cover.
During the scant few hours, somehow every single conversation was about the same small pool of topics and individuals. I was therefore very relieved to get away for a coffee date after work with another colleague. An hour of gossip and putting the world to rights was just the right antidote to it all.
In other news, I’ve been confirmed as a Mental Health First Aider, and training booked in for early next month. Just in time for the big restructure. Just, generally, in time.
This is an option for training that has just cropped up at work, and it dovetails so neatly in to how I and my colleagues work with our staff that I just had to rattle a few cages to make it happen.
And the argument was won, so in March at some point we’ll get accredited training to be able to act as a vital element of support for our staff among the stresses that just keep coming.
Hopefully that’ll be after I return to work from looking after Lady M as she recovers from surgery. I am fully expecting to be spending a lot of time over the next few weeks telling her to step away from the laptop. She’s the first to admit she’s a lousy patient, but she’ll still need to be loving taken back to the sofa and an xbox controller put back in her hands while I make another mug of black tea.
I was rather pleased with being able to get a simple but effective display up in one of my libraries marking LGBT+ History Month. I was even more pleased at the positive feedback from staff and public. Even more so that it has inspired at least one more colleague to start their own.
Today I was informed by a member of staff that we had received congratulations and thanks from a member of the public for our support of the NHS.
With a waved hand towards the display.
My colleague resorted to the tried and tested nod and smile technique. We do indeed support the NHS. The multiple LGBT+ History Month signs and logos might as well have been invisible.
Life’s too short to be anything other than amused, but I may have quietly rolled my eyes at the confirmation that people just don’t read signs.
February is LGBT+ History Month, so I’ve spent a portion of today decorating a library’s windows with flags and logos. As we’re largely closed to the public we can’t do our usual approach of book displays and historical posters, so I’ve improvised.
There are some nice packs of flags and bunting available on Amazon for reasonable prices so I grabbed one to provide the base elements for display.
The subject theme for this year is Mind, Body, and Spirit – a focus on mental health and support – so a raid on the shelves is imminent to build it properly.
I know we got told a couple of weeks ago, but it was nice to get a letter sent around in the mail today to confirm it.
The first I knew about it was a call from one of my colleagues who was very excited – mainly for the same reasons that I was when I first heard about it: that there was recognition of the value of the work we do for and in the community.
We don’t get excited by too much – we just get on with it – but there was a real spark of joy in my colleague’s voice and a sense of rekindled morale that was lovely to hear.
I’ve been having the occasional comment wend it’s way to me about how positive I’m being at work, how untroubled by all the stresses around us.
Truth be told its mostly because being cheery and positive is less exhausting than brooding on everything. Yes, there’s a small amount of denial, but I choose to interpret that as actively picking my battles.
A few days ago, myr s confessed they weren’t happy that I had to go in to work and risk infection. My only answer is that I feel safe enough in my work environment, especially with the barriers, cleaning, masks, and distance enforced while there. If anything it feels safer than going to the shops, and that’s in no small part due to control of my environment that I can exercise while at work.
Semi-related to the above is the descriptive fragment that bounced around my imagination this morning: “he was so optimistic that he expected anyone coming from Woking to be woke”
The week is rushing ahead, even if my knees are creaking, but at least it’s nearly payday. This week we’ve mostly been trying to support staff in writing their supporting statements ahead of the restructure.
What has been an unexpected pleasure in what is an onerous task has been the morale boosts. People are being reminded of just how much experience and how wide a skill set they have. Watching those realisations dawn on people’s faces has been a delight.
For many of the older staff this is the first supporting statement for a job re-application that they’ve had to do in decades, so there’s a lot of concern. Going through this process has calmed a lot of fears, so that’s a good thing for all concerned.