Back to the Basics

Picking out picture books, playing with blocks on an illustrated town carpet, and summer reading. The library: the only place where the activities are as abundant as the information held.  Many people have gone to the library to find information for a book report or on something that he or she is really passionate about.

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For this article, I decided to choose my town library and, as the title suggests, go back to the basics. As a young Asian kid growing up in central New Jersey, there were many problems I faced, one of which would be verbal abuse or verbal bullying. I was not one of the cool kids, since I had recently moved from China to New Jersey. Being the “new” kid was hard. I didn’t learn or even know any English and was made fun of for not speaking any English as well as being Asian in a predominantly Hispanic and Black community.

Life at home became difficult as well with the added pressures of becoming a straight A student. Life was hard, but as young as I was, I still had hope. I found hope in my own town library, properly named North Plainfield Library.

I loved borrowing books and the library was the only place where I could have my peace and quiet. Diving into a fantasy story where I could escape the troubles of reality? Yes, please! As W. Somerset Maugham beautifully stated, “To acquire the habit of reading is to create for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life”

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I did not know that the library would have such a big impact on my life. I would soon come to know the staff and even volunteer from middle school to high school at NPL.

One of the newer additions to the staff, Errol Logan, came in around June of 2016. Although many were not as excited in the beginning to see Miss Katie (the previous teen services person) replaced, students and kids were able to warm up to him in no time at all.

Errol was able to create a bond with the kids through playing games with them. In his own free time, he plays every type of game imaginable, so it is difficult to not relate and bond with this fellow librarian! Mr. Logan plays board games such as Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride, among many more. He also plays PC games such as first or third person shooters, World of Warcraft (WOW), and even Star Wars: The New Republic.

His love for Dungeons and Dragons also trickles down into the program that he hosts after school on Wednesdays at 3:30PM. Here, Dungeons and Dragons fans will be able to play and battle as well as build necessary skills such as teamwork and critical thinking.

As for his educational background? Mr. Logan majored in Library Sciences at Rutgers University because “it was the only school in New Jersey for Library Sciences”.

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One of the many libraries on campus, Rutgers has Library Sciences Programs. Rutgers is the only school in New Jersey that has a good Library Sciences program. This is not surprising, since New Jersey is more well known for its STEM focused fields.

 

 

Now, many students and readers will think something along the lines of “Why would one need to go to school to learn how to become a librarian? Isn’t it self explanatory?” I admit, I was one of these people back in the day, until I gained some insight and learned what the job required its employers to do. Being a librarian is not as simple as it seems.

There are about seven (and counting) jobs that a librarian is responsible for completing. Librarians “advocate for the value of our service”, as Logan describes. “We provide quality information to patrons, as the information can be of various kinds.” Although Google may always be one click away, there is a sense of security in talking with a librarian about one’s special needs. A level of secrecy is revealed between the two. With the help of the librarian, you will be sure to get the information that you need as well as maintain full knowledge that the privacy of the conversation will stay private.

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As a librarian, one must have good communication skills and talk to library goers (of all ages) and connect. Communication is an important tool for a librarian to have, since any of their customers, young and old, may need help.

Librarians also teach kids and adults alike practical life skills such as cooking and taxes. Classes or programs are created by librarians to teach anyone of all ages how to maintain certain life skills.

One of the main responsibilities of librarians is to make sure that the children and teenagers are disciplined (if need be) and safe. Errol, himself, takes care of documenting behavioral issues within the library. He is responsible for calling and informing parents about the child’s disruptive behavior.

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Sometimes, books and magazines will have misplaced pages scattered throughout. Librarians are responsible for putting the correct pages in the correct order.

In a regular day, programs are run by librarians. Mr. Logan has even created a program for kids of many ages for Maker Day, one day a year where unique programs are held such as the Intro to Craft Foam Cosplay Armor Making.

Before the program even starts, Errol goes downstairs to the program room a few minutes early to set things up for the attendees.

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As the scheduled program time creeps closer, Errol makes sure the displays and examples are ready to go.

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The displays that are being used are not bought. Since North Plainfield Library does not have a lot of money, many of the programs are lowly funded. Errol made the gauntlet and brace himself by using his own time and money to create pieces. When recounting the days, Errol stated, “it took me about two to four hours to complete the gauntlet.” Now, that’s what I call dedication!

The kids and adults stream into the program, ready, eager, and excited to start. Kids and adults of all ages and races come by to enjoy the Maker Day program that Errol has set up,created, and advertised himself.

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Instructions and safety are a must in every program as he is shown demonstrating safety procedures and warnings for some of the dangerous tools the attendees are going to be using.

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By the end of the program, everyone is pretty satisfied and content with what they have made. Maybe some will even try them at home!

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Cleaning up is not always fun, but at the end of the day, if anyone and everyone is happy and smiling, then the responsibilities that go along with the program is worth it.

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Through showing the kids how to use the glue gun and the heater, Errol has hurt himself demonstrating what not to do. Soaking one’s hands in cold water is a surefire way to get hot glue out of your hands!

After the program, Mr. Logan goes back to work and becomes a regular librarian once again.

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Being a librarian is difficult. There are a lot of hidden tasks and responsibilities that a librarian must take on. But, at the end of the day, if you love what you do, then that’s really all that matters, right?

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