With the temporary closure of Gottesman Libraries, it seems to me that now is a good time to reminisce about the work that myself and my fellow service associates do there.
Working at Gottesman Libraries is an interesting experience. One meets many colorful and fascinating patrons that come from all different walks of life. Many patrons reserve rooms at the library to defend their dissertation and it is a pleasure to provide technical assistance to these young (and not so young) scholars as they reach the culmination of their academic careers. Others are brand new to the library and need help navigating the stacks and understanding the processes and procedures of borrowing a book on reserve, requesting items from the closed stacks, etc. There are patrons that come to Teachers College from all over the United States and from all four corners of the world. My previous job mostly involved hauling and packing boxes of merchandise and so the work I do here at Gottesman Libraries is a great privilege as I get to interact with a lot of wonderful patrons as well as my fellow staff members.
Another aspect of work here at Gottesman that’s so different from any of my prior work experience are the weekly staff meetings that we participate in. I think this is a great way not only to keep the entire staff engaged in ongoing developments at the library but also to allow us to provide input in the work that we do and reach decisions on how we can improve on it.
Lastly, working in a library is fantastic because you’re surrounded by a massive collection of interesting books. As of writing, Carl Jung’s The Red Book sells for nearly $160 on Amazon. But at Gottesman Libraries it’s here for any student or staff member to check out for free! Then there are books you stumble upon as you’re shelving checked in library items that you wouldn’t have otherwise heard about. Just recently, after shelving books in the stacks, I checked out Down and Out in the Great Depression: Letters from the Forgotten Man which contains letters and correspondences - both private and written to government officials - of the average American living through the Depression and what their thoughts on the social programs of the New Deal were, the difficulties they faced at home, and appeals to President Roosevelt for help. I wouldn’t have known about it if it wasn’t for the work I do at the library.
I hope that the library will open again soon and I look forward to seeing you, dear reader, when it does.