Ten years ago this past week, I started working for the Rochester Public Library.
Yesterday I subbed over at my old branch, the Winton Branch. On the book sale table I spied the very book that got me the job.
For years I’d done my librarying at the Central Branch downtown. At the time I was reading George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series. Next in line was A Storm of Swords. And it was checked-out at Central.
I don’t recall if I asked a reference librarian, or if I consulted the catalog myself, but I found Storm of Swords was on the shelf at Winton Branch. Maybe a ten-minute walk from where I was living at the time, I’d never been there.
I hopped off the bus a few stops early and when I arrived at the branch, there was a Help Wanted sign on the door. They needed a part-time Page. A Page, the sign explained, puts the books away on the shelves.
I thought about it as I went in and found the book. I left with the book and a job application. I returned the following day with the application, cover letter and resumé. When I reached home, I there was already a message on the phone asking when I could come in for an interview.
I started on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, 2002.
Over the years at Winton, I shelved the book a few times. I saw it less often once I’d been promoted to Clerk. After its popularity faded, I rescued it twice from “weeding” before moving on to Arnett Branch. Yesterday it was on the book sale table.
It’s a trade paperback—the full-sized book but in paperback, not the pocket-sized mass-market paperback. Its cover is torn and has been book-taped together several times. Its spine is broken and there’s—no doubt by a patron—a failed repair job done with duct tape. But all the pages are there.
For good luck, I bought it for a quarter.
I have occasion for superstition since on Monday I’m applying for a part-time position at a suburban library. After 12 years, I’ve been laid off at my morning job effective December 31, so I need another second job. This one popped up last week.
The schedule fits around my existing job at Arnett Branch, and it’s very nearly identical to what I do at Arnett, but minus the supervision pieces I don’t care for. It’s a little less money, but mainly because I won’t have ten years seniority, nor the supervision parts. So I’m fine with that.
It sounds like a really good fit—both ways—and I’m really hoping it works out. If not, I have enough savings to make it well over a year with just the one job while I look for something else.
Still, I’ve gotten comfortable with the idea of a pile of savings, so the sooner the better. And I’d rather work at another job that contributes to my state pension (which also vested fully this week) than some of the other possibilities I’ve been considering.
With my qualifications, I doubt I’ll need it, but perhaps Storm of Swords will work its magic a second time.