Graduation was yesterday for the University where I work in the library. The last two weeks of the semester have meant the only familiar faces in the library have been my co-workers. All the students have appeared to be new – never before brightening the rooms of the library. Many of these students also seem to have no idea how a library works or what resources it has. All definitely waited until the last possible minute to get the assignment done.

“How late is the library open tonight?” It’s posted on each door both on the outside and inside the library, as well on the circulation computers.

“Do you have scholarly journals?”

“Where would I find a book about Hitler?”

“Will you fax a document to me so I can send it by e-mail?” (We are still scratching our heads about that one.)

At least at the end of this term I haven’t had to show any seniors how to use the copy machine.

One student of particular note this past week jammed one of our two copy machines just as the shift was changing. While I worked to find all the of the multiple jams, the impatient student attempted to get the second printer to do the work. It reacted in a similar fashion to the first, so the student got the other librarian to unjam the second printer.

When the student saw that I was leaving she commented, “I’ll bet you’re looking forward to going home.”

A few minutes later I stunned her when I made a comment to my relieving co-worker about a job I didn’t get finished.

The student was surprised that we actually had tasks to perform. Evidently she thought we were just there to help the students. “What do you have to do?”

I don’t know why I was so surprised to hear this type of comment from a student. As many jobs as I’ve had in my life, seldom does someone on the outside realize all that goes on on the other side of the time clock.

One of my small jobs is counting the number people in the library once an hour on the half hour. Twice in the past two weeks, I’ve looked for John Belushi or other Animal House characters lurking in the stacks.

The first time was because of the piles and wads of paper I found on the floor, the shelving, the tables, and the computers. Since I discovered this on my first check, I had to tease the day-librarians the next day about “what kind of library are you running here?” since there obviously had been a paper fight.

The second time there was a puddles of water on the floor near the computers. I was so surprised someone would have just left that, I said out loud, “Is that water on the floor?”

A student at one of the computers said, “Yeah! My buddy spilled it.”

“Then why didn’t he clean it up?” Oops! Did I say that out loud?

I guess a twenty-something agile and limber student doesn’t think about that the same way  as an arthritic, overweight women who uses a cane.

Imagine that!