Friday, May 7, 2010

Enthusiasm: it's not just for kids

I work at the Oregon State Library. Because of both our mission and the architecture of our 70+-year-old building, we're a little different from most other libraries in the state.

One of my occasional duties is giving library tours. They're generally for state employees, or for visitors from other libraries. However, this week, I gave an hour-long tour to a group of 20 5th graders. The kids, from Chenowith Elementary School in The Dalles, were very well-behaved and interested. But what struck me most about them was their enthusiasm.

Not that the adults who tour the State Library aren't enthusiastic. They like learning about the history of the building, and enjoy the behind-the-scenes trip into our warehouse-like closed stacks.

The elementary school visitors liked those things, too, and asked good questions. But they liked pretty much everything else, too. They were impressed that our federal documents collection includes a game to educate kids about the danger of underage alcohol use. They were interested in the genealogy research folks can do in our Reference Room. They were impressed with the Talking Book and Braille Program. They paid attention and asked good questions. They liked our heavy bronze doors, and even thought getting to ride in the freight elevator was cool.

After they left, I started thinking about enthusiasm, how important it is for positive attitude, but how elusive it sometimes is. I probably sometimes sound like Marvin in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: "Don't try to engage my enthusiasm, because I haven't got one."

However, the kids were right. Our building is beautiful, the collection is full of treasures, and even the freight elevator can be kind of fun. I see it all every day, so I start taking it all for granted.

So, to engage my enthusiasm, I'll start paying more attention to things I see every day.

If you'd like to highlight cool stuff that you see every day at your library, post an comment!

No comments:

Post a Comment