Lent Letter #3

Dear Lisa,

Hi friend and fabulous librarian. I’ve been thinking about how long its been, how long we’ve known each other. In the grand scheme of things, it hasn’t been that long. We met in October, 2007. Just over five years ago. I was brand new to this profession and just starting out. It was one of my first actual positions in a library. I was so nervous starting work. Everyone seemed so serious and so intelligent and I felt hopelessly inadequate.

Then I met you. You were friendly and fun and had me laughing within seconds of our introduction. Rarely have I felt such an instant connection to a friend. You are so warm, so welcoming and fun that people are drawn to you. I was drawn to you. I wanted you to teach me everything about this new job of mine.

And so you did. I think I’ve told you this story before, maybe even on the blog, but I think it bears retelling. When I first started, you and I worked the desk together often, and I was afraid of the phone. It was intimidating that a person could call and ask me anything under the sun. There was just so much I did not yet know that I was afraid to answer. And so you would answer and take the time to explain every call, every question, every answer so that I could learn from you. However, the details are not what I learned. I learned that when you are the one who knows, it is better to be generous with your information and share what you know. I learned that starting with a smile usually means you will end with a smile. I learned that being yourself makes people respond, even teenagers.

I’m sure those weren’t the lessons you intended to teach me, but I learned them nonetheless. When the day finally came that YOU thought I was ready, you stared at me steadily and told me to answer the phone. I did, and through your tutelage, I knew the answer. Just like that, my fear melted away. I began to anticipate phone calls because of the variety they could bring.

You never hesitated to take me under your wing and help me learn. I learned how to plan programs from you. I was brave enough to teach a class to the public because of you. I took on new projects because of you. And though it all, through every you taught me and everything we did together, we always had fun. I look back on that time, working with you as the very best job of my life. I miss it every day. I miss you, every day.

I know that we’ve remained friends, even though it’s been three years since we last worked together, but I don’t know if you ever fully understood what you meant to me as a mentor and a teacher and a friend. I’m very very good at what I do, Lisa, and that’s because I was meant to be a librarian and do this job. But a very large part of that is also due to you and that you took a young librarian on as your friend. I had the passion, but you gave me the experience.

Thank you for being part of my life,

-O

(to see why I am doing this, read this)

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4 thoughts on “Lent Letter #3

  1. I’m so glad I thought to look at your blog today! You really don’t know how much this means to me, especially after an extremely tough week. I almost cried right at the Info Desk! I’m sure I’ve told you, but you were a joy to work with and, honestly, I didn’t know I was helping you that much. I’m honored to be in your Lenten Letters. Thank you, friend.

    • You’re welcome. You mean a lot to me, I consider you a mentor as much as a friend and fellow librarian. I’m happy it came after a tough week, it is always wonderful to hear how much you are loved.

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