At the library: The importance of a library page

As the school season approaches, the Washington Public Library is gearing up for a new arrival of young adult staff. The high school graduate pages are usually finding the right path to take into their new lives, and the underclassmen are anxious to start their new job. You may think that as a library page we get to sit around and read all day, which can’t be further than the truth. This job is a blessing in disguise, because there are so many life lessons and skills that I have learned that will be so very helpful in the near future.

Right now my coworkers and I are training four new pages! We are so excited for the public to get to know these amazingly smart people! As I am watching the new pages learn the basics of the job, I see the hesitation and nervousness in their eyes. I always like to make sure they understand that there is no pressure to be one-hundred percent correct for everything they do and to never be afraid to ask questions.

Even the older pages and adult staff make mistakes and ask questions daily; we are always learning! Sometimes having that extra reassurance can help them be more comfortable around the staff and the public, which is always a good thing. Customer service never fails to be a daunting idea when one has little to no experience and is starting a new job. I urge the new pages to take a deep breath and know that the patrons are understanding and respectful in confusing situations, especially if they know they are new.

When I first started working at the library I was just a sophomore in high school. This was the first job I had applied for, so you can imagine the adrenaline that was running through me when I got the call to come in for an interview. I was so nervous to talk to my possible future boss and more nervous to even think about having a job.

I obviously ended up getting the job and it was one of the best feelings. I was not prepared for the work and the responsibilities that came with the position, but I was ready to jump head in and be the best page I could be. The first thing I noticed when I started was that the entire staff was so sweet, understanding, and hardworking. They taught me everything I needed to know, and more. I learned customer service/phone etiquette, how to shelve books in both Dewey decimal and regular sections, multiple computer skills, and most importantly great work ethic.

Now, those skills I just listed are broad sections that describe only a small percentage of our job responsibilities. As the world changed, we had to improvise and adapt to the new circumstances and dealing with the public. Now, more than ever, our job as a library page is so very important. We are in charge of locating books, setting up appointments over the phone with patrons for both curbside pick-up and computer/copy/fax, and packaging orders, all on top of our original responsibilities, training, and extra projects assigned by supervisors. This job is definitely one that builds character!

As a library page, I am so so happy to make sure that our patrons are satisfied with all of the hard work we put in. It is so good to connect with everyone and see the smiles that our services put on their faces. So on behalf of all of the pages, thank you for your continued patience, consistency, and kindness. I can’t wait for the new pages to have as good of an experience as I did with this job.