A Renewed Sense of Purpose
I think everyone is motivated by having a sense of purpose, especially by something for which that person is responsible. I just inherited a job which may fill that role for me.
I had a real sense of purpose in my last job. I had built it from the ground up and my role was essential to the successful operation of a multi-million household national survey. But the political climate forced my decision to retire from that job, leaving it in someone else’s hands.
It’s not that I haven’t been busy in the last 6 years with music and literacy efforts, but nothing has felt like I owned it. Until now, that is.
When I was in elementary school, I loved spending time in the library. I loved checking out and reshelving books. I loved searching for books that had been shelved incorrectly. I loved reading everything I could get my hands on. But that was about the extent of my library science training.
I was recently approached to take over the Temple Micah library, a job being vacated by a young mother of 2 with a master’s degree in library science who had gone back to work. Despite her great credentials, it turns out she had had little time to devote to the synagogue library during her couple of years on the job.
Truthfully, in my 12 years at Temple Micah I have never checked out a book. It’s not even immediately obvious how to check out a book in fact. Instead I have viewed the books lining the library walls much as one might view boring wallpaper or still life paintings of a bygone era. They just seemed frozen in time and space.
I find myself getting really fired up over revitalizing the library of 2500+ books. I held meetings yesterday and today with members who have library credentials and Temple history in an effort to kick off this project. I have a bunch of ideas for modernizing and jump-starting the library, including:
-- Creating congregant awareness publicity
-- Adding signage to the stacks and to the circulation process
-- Notifying people about overdue books, not done in recent history at least
-- Creating an electronic way to search the collection online and to check out and check in books, creating a history of transactions as a bi-product
-- Adding electronic books to our collection
-- Visiting other synagogues to find out how they run their libraries
-- Purchasing books by request and by recommendation
-- Featuring congregant book reviews on our website
-- Creating seasonal displays of books
I’m really excited to be in total control over this project and to have a budget to support my efforts. I’m hoping to give the TM library a new start and to make it something that serves a real purpose in the community.