They presented my wife, Bernadette, with two framed certificates last week for her long and dedicated service to her employer, the Larchmont Public Library and its many patrons. A photo appeared here.
I remember the week she began there, on a part-time basis, on the recommendation of our friend and neighbor Margo Clifford. That was well over 25 years ago now, and much has changed. Although she continues to be proud of her work, I expect the novelty of her surroundings and of the routine has worn a little thin after so long, and many of her dearest friends and associates have moved on. But her caring patience, tolerance and calming influence have endured, while at the same time she has grown to become a storehouse of knowledge: the envy of any weighty and outdated file card index or leading edge computer system. In short, she knows her stuff, people, and she is, well, a lovely and gracious presence.
What keeps her going, dealing with everyone’s special child, late-fee complainers, sloppy sneezers and those who desperately want a certain book but can’t remember the author’s name, title or exact subject?
For one, she still loves to see little faces light up when she reads at story time. She is proud of the productivity of her department — what was the children’s room — and eager to see its traditions renewed in its scheduled new headquarters. And, she tells me too, of the occasional member of the public who pauses before leaving, to meet her eye to eye and say, “Thank you so much for everything you do.”
Good librarians deserve such gratitude and should never be taken for granted. In my eyes they are all more precious than the best book each of us will ever read. And they are in the forefront of keeping the library an oasis of enrichment and civility.
So I guess all that will keep her in business a while longer. My loss — as a stay at home retiree — is your gain.