The Unquiet Librarian
BY VIRGINIA ROBERTS
Director, Rhinelander District Library
One of the things I have learned from living so many different places is in order to appreciate a place, you must become a tourist in your own backyard. Rhinelander and the Northwoods of Wisconsin have so much to offer—and eventually, I hope to get around to all of it, but the list of what I see and do in my time away from the library is pretty impressive.
The thing is, up until I moved here in early Nov. 2014, I was a visitor here. Not in the same sense as many—I came to see family—but I got to see what I wanted to see. I first entered the Rhinelander District Library when I was earning my Art History degree to use the Bump Art collection, a private collection of books on art and art history donated by Doctor and Mrs. Bump as well as a fund to maintain and add to the collection administered by the Rhinelander District Library Foundation. Don’t know what any of that means? Perhaps you should become a tourist in your library. Start by getting a library card. While any time is a good time to get one, September is National Library Card Sign-up Month. Don’t know your way around? Take a library tour. Offered regularly on Mondays or anytime by appointment, you’ll soon know the ins, outs and secret places in the library—as well as where your favorite materials reside—so you can get to them first!
Haven’t been here in awhile because you—you know—have a few outstanding fines? There are options. For one thing, all librarians know this happens. It happens to us—with the book sitting right on the desk fifteen feet away from the check-in. Fines are not a big deal unless you let them be. And now, now fines can be paid electronically. Right, sign into the V-cat website with your library card and pin number—and there will be a little button you can click on that says PAY YOUR FINES, which may be done with a credit or debit card. And voilà, no one ever need know you even had a fine. So, pay those fines and come back—or just come in and pay those fines. Librarians won’t say anything. We’re just happy to see you.
Say you want to do more than just enjoy the library—you want to volunteer! Have I got the group for you! Join the Friends of the Library. Sept. 13 at 1 p.m. the Friends will be having a meeting—and working out the details of the Harvest Nostalgia Book and Garage Sale. Did I mention there will be a book sale? Umn, yes, yes I did. It will be Sept. 23 and 24, details coming soon. You can help by joining the Friends and volunteering to set up and staff it. But that’s not all the Friends will be up to. Come to a meeting and see how you might help with programming or other fundraisers for the building project. You can also ask how one might best donate to the library, because there is a building project, and there are so many ways to go about it. RDL loves, and in these times, truly needs your monetary support, either through a one-time gift, now or in future arrangements, or smaller increments over time.
Back to National Library Card Sign-up Month. Getting a library card is really just the way to get you in the door. The library offers all sorts of free programs (story times, crafternoons, and book clubs to name a few), tech, things to see, and materials to check out. The whole month is a celebration of some of what libraries do. Wednesday, Sept. 14 is Resume Review Day—where one of us will take a look at your resume to put your best foot forward. On Friday, Sept. 16, RDL celebrates the United States Constitution Day, and will give out free pocket U.S. Constitutions, while supplies last. Sept. 22-28 is a week celebrating one’s freedom to read what one chooses—commonly called, Banned Books Week, although it’s a little more complicated, so much so, it will be the topic of a future column. Finally, as you get to know your library staff, tell them what you need from your library, what you might want to see here, and if you appreciate them, tell them that, too. I certainly do. They’re kind of an amazing bunch of folks who work hard to keep your library building running right and open to the community. They work hard to find out what programs and materials you want here. And they are the best of their kind. If you think so too, tell them. Because they want to do their very best, on Sept. 30, the library will be closed all day so staff may educate themselves on topics to better serve our community.
So get your new library card—become an active library user and then—see what your library can do for you—and what you can do for your library!
Virginia Roberts can be reached at 715-365-1082 or firstname.lastname@example.org.