I have to say that it’s been an eventful start to the year. I’m living on my own for the first time; I’m in my final semester of library school; and I’ve gotten a job in an actual library. Oh, and I did sign up for those aerial arts classes at the local circus school. But back to the library job. You are now talking to the new CyberNavigator!
The job title cracks me up. It carries a certain je ne sais quoi and is my best so far, depending on how you feel about “Christmas Elf.” The job itself simply requires that I help patrons learn to use computers and the internet. This also amuses me because I have never considered myself an authority on technology; in fact, it tends to malfunction around me. Regardless, I’ve been hired as the “computer angel,” as one gentleman dubbed me yesterday. And, yes, I do have business cards.
I made them on the computer.
I’ve only been at the library two days but already I can see I don’t need to be a computer wiz to help the people there. Many of them have never used a computer before. I am aware that I live in something of a bubble, but it came as a bit of a surprise to meet adults who have never touched a keyboard. When I’m surrounded by gadgets in my own life–MacBook, iPod, iPhone-it’s easy to forget that not everyone has these things in their home. There are always people waiting for the library to open its doors and most of them head straight for the computers. This job is definitely bringing reality to the concept of the “digital divide” that has arisen so often in my classes, and I think that’s a good thing for me. Many of the people I assist are older individuals who want to stay in touch with their children better or be connected to the world at large. One woman is in her 70s and comes in to get help printing Groupons and to check her email and OK Cupid account (which I love!). Others need help writing resumes and learning how to upload them to online applications. Still others come to me excited to learn “everything about computers,” and I think that is fantastic!
Obviously, there will be trials and less rewarding interactions and I’ll post about those, too. I’m mostly dreading The Porn Discussions. As it stands, CPL (Chicago Public Library) computers do not have filters, so as not to restrict patron access to information, even if that information is pornography. So, yes, you are allowed to watch porn in the library as long as you are not disruptive or watching child pornography. Regarding the former, I can only intervene if a patron makes a complaint–and I do not want to intervene, I can tell you! This is sure to be one of my most awkward encounters with another human. For the latter offense, that’s the serious one which I immediately report to the manager, who in turn calls the police. So just to reiterate, DON’T WATCH CHILD PORNOGRAPHY AT THE LIBRARY! And for general societal acceptance, DON’T WATCH CHILD PORNOGRAPHY!
Also, my training manual is a comic book: