It can be easy to get caught up in the hectic pace of #TheLibraryLife. Let’s take a moment to celebrate the little things that remind us why we choose this noble pursuit.
- High school students organizing an all-day event to promote reading.
- A special dedication to your library and research assistance in a scholarly work.
- Meeting your favorite author. Making mom happy. Making kids happy. And more!
Jim Heuer [00:00:12] Hey everybody, it's Jim Heuer, Director of Sales for Ingram Library Services, and you've tuned into Episode 3, Season 4 of our podcast series, Two Librarians and a Microphone . I'm the microphone in this scenario. I've got my two librarians with me. Let's say "hi" to Tricia Bengel.
Tricia Bengel [00:00:30] Hey, everybody.
Jim Heuer [00:00:31] And also to Donna George.
Donna George [00:00:33] Hey now.
Jim Heuer [00:00:34] There we go, alright. So, if you've been listening, our first two episodes in Season 4 have been around a theme of something that we hear often, "Things I wish I would've learned in library school". Episode 1, we centered on things that were unusual and interesting. Episode 2, awe inspiring and motivational. In this episode, we want to talk about the little things that librarians get to see, or witness, or do that make it worth it, right? There's a lot of time that you spent learning all those Dewey numbers that Donna seems to remember off the top of her head. All kinds of cataloging stuff and different things that were going on in library school. There was a lot of learning. These are the things that make all that time worth it. Now, I mentioned earlier, I'm not a librarian, but that doesn't mean I don't get to, every once in a while, get close enough to librarians that I feel like one. So, one of the projects that I worked on that made it worth it for me, and we talked about this in Season 3, was that Somali board book project that we did with Seattle Public Library. I've been in this book industry for way too long, but that was one of the most fun things that I've ever done. The amount of praise I got from my mom, I wish I'd have done it years ago, right? And the success and seeing and talking to the folks in Seattle, and how this book has been received, that was fun, that was a fun project, that made it worth it. I was glad I was involved in that, right?
Jim Heuer [00:02:08] I do feel proud about doing that. So, I know Donna and Tricia, you guys have been talking to folks. What are some of the things that you have come up with? Donna, how about you?
Donna George [00:02:19] I'll start with a couple of stories. One of them came right here from Ingram. We employ several degreed librarians, and a lot of those librarians work in our Collection Development Department. So, this story came from Wendy, who currently works in our Collection Development Department. When she was out in the field working in public libraries before she came to us, she told us a story about having been a children's librarian and there was a family who came to story hour, or story time, all the time. There was a mom and two young kids, and the mom was pregnant, and they were there every week, as so many story time families are. Then the mother got sick, she got diagnosed with some sort of illness, and what started to happen is that those two children continued to be brought into story time every week by their grandparents. Wendy observed this kind of transition and kind of caught up with the family. As it turns out, the mother had told the in-laws, the grandparents who were bringing them, that this was one of the most important things she did with those two girls every week. She wanted to make sure that that rhythm and that routine was maintained while she was ill. So that is a super touching story from one of our own folks here at Ingram. The other one that I really love, we got from a fellow named Kevin. He is a high school librarian and he mentioned that he had arranged a day-long event at his school to promote reading. Over the course of the day, they had different people
Donna George [00:03:45] standing up, either talking or reading aloud. He was amazed at how the high school students really responded well to that. The event was very well attended, and so his submission to us just mentioned that high school kids love to be read too, too. As the mother of a twelve-year-old daughter, that makes my heart happy.
Jim Heuer [00:04:09] How about you, Tricia? I know that you've been talking to folks. What are the little things that they've told that make it worthwhile?
Tricia Bengel [00:04:15] Well, it's funny, since graduating from library school in 1995, I have never worked directly with the public. I've always been behind the scenes in technical services. So, I miss out on a lot of the daily contact and still do, since I work for a vendor now. But I feel like the things that we do in technical services, I've always stressed to my staff that we directly impact the public in terms of making sure that they have access to the materials in our collection. We sit around and have talked about really how we know that we're impacting, having impact on the public. There's nothing more rewarding than getting feedback from a librarian or a patron after you've bought a book they wanted, or you've been able to get an inter-library loan book that they've been looking for, for a really long time. I know one of my friends, who's an inter-library loan librarian, she was actually part of the dedication of a book that a man wrote based on the research that he did exclusively through the book she inter-library loaned for him from Wales. He was doing something really obscure, and nobody in the United States had the books. So, she was able to get them through inter-library loan, free of charge to him, and he actually made the dedication of his book to her. So that was pretty cool. Another thing that I think we all, especially those of us behind the scenes, have to rely on is the communal knowledge of librarians on social media. I know that I ask lots of questions to other librarians. Librarians are always really willing
Tricia Bengel [00:06:19] to share their knowledge and their feedback. So that I really appreciate, and I don't know that there's another industry that's so willing to give everything away like we do in libraries. That is really a lot of fun. It makes me feel good to be part of that community. One of the best things that have made it worth it is, I actually got to tell my mom that I've met her favorite Jeopardy champ of all time. So, unbeknownst to me, I was talking to a librarian in North Carolina a couple of months ago about some cataloging issues. After talking to this really great librarian, the sales rep for that territory told me that she had been on Jeopardy. So, I immediately Googled her name, and found out that she had actually won some money on Jeopardy, and she is my mom's all-time favorite Jeopardy champion. The reason she's my mom's all-time favorite Jeopardy champion, is when asked by Alex Trebek what her hobbies was, she said I love cats and to knit. My mother just thought that was the best response ever. If you can make your mom happy, that's all good. Librarians make great Jeopardy champs.
Jim Heuer [00:07:46] I love the fact that Tricia's mom has a favorite Jeopardy champion, right? It's not Ken Jennings, which I think if anyone said name your favorite Jeopardy champion, you'd have to say Ken Jennings.
Tricia Bengel [00:07:57] No, she always calls me whenever there's a librarian on Jeopardy and says, "Why don't you do this?"
Jim Heuer [00:08:03] Yes. Well, hey, if we're going to talk about famous people we just met, I got to say that I'm walking down the streets of Boston, just two weeks ago with two of my colleagues, and I bump into Stephen King, right?
Tricia Bengel [00:08:16] Wow
Jim Heuer [00:08:17] I know, and I told him, "Hey, I've only been selling your books for 35 years." So, we had a little bit of interaction. I didn't take a selfie with him, because I thought I didn't want to end up as a character that he killed in one of his books. But he did reach out and give me a bro handshake, so you know to me that was…that felt like winning there on the streets of Boston. But you know that only happens to folks in this industry, right.
Donna George [00:08:40] Yeah, Jim, speaking of that, I think the last time I worked with you, so this is my second tour of duty with Ingram, and the first time I worked here, I worked with Jim, and we were at a trade show together up in the Michigan area, I think. Ingram was sponsoring a dinner for several of our librarian customers. It was one of those author dinners where there's an author at every table. You get one author for the appetizer. Then they change tables, and you've got a different author for the main course and so forth. I remember not knowing much about the dinner but showing up that night on the clock, for all intents and purposes, I was working at that dinner. I found myself sitting at dinner with none other than Nathaniel Philbrick who is the author of my favorite book of all time. The full title of which is In the Heart of the Sea: the Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex. It's the true story that Moby Dick was based on. I remember sitting there thinking, "I can't believe I'm getting paid to sit here and eat dinner with Nathaniel Philbrick right now." So, that was definitely a high point for me that makes it all worth it.
Jim Heuer [00:09:45] Excellent! Tricia, how about you? Any strange dinner dates that you've had with your favorite author?
Tricia Bengel [00:09:49] Actually, actually, I have! So, when I worked for Nashville Public Library, Ann Patchett, who's also a local bookstore owner here in Nashville, was on our foundation. We were doing a silent auction to raise money for the library, and she offered to put your name in one of her books. So, the highest bidder got to be a character in one of her books. It was the highest grossing auction item that year, and those two characters are forever immortalized in one of Ann Patchett's books.
Donna George [00:10:35] Wow
Jim Heuer [00:10:35] There you go, now that's pretty cool
Donna George [00:10:37] That was pretty cool.
Jim Heuer [00:10:37] Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Alright, any other things, anything that comes to your mind…I think that for me, like I said, kind of seeing the day-to-day work for the librarians is always motivational and inspirational and awe inspiring. You know this is the leveler of the playing field for sure. I find this as a vendor going in and working with librarians, you know, I see that all the time. Just wondering, how about you guys? You're not in the…necessarily working with the public anymore or on that side. What do you miss or what are some of the things that you remember fondly?
Donna George [00:11:14] You know it's such an odd time right now. Being a librarian, right now, is much different from when I was a librarian. I always think about this example of placing a hold. So, when I started my library career, I was a page, just like you, Tricia. It was always fun. I was in a neighborhood library, and so when the book came in, we got to call the person and talk to them on the phone and tell them, "The book you requested is here." Then they come in. We got to talk to them, and check it out and ask, "How are you doing?," and all that. Very social, and in today's world, you can go online and place that book on hold, have it sent wherever you want to, walk in, pick it up off the shelf yourself, check it out yourself, and you never have to talk to anybody. So, it's a very different world, but it is one I miss. My first job was in a neighborhood library, like I said. I always loved seeing people from church coming in there, it's kind of that weird kid thing, when you see your teacher in the grocery store, and people don't look right. So, I always loved kind of seeing who came in. And then I was amazed at how many people lived in Goodlettsville that I didn't know.
Tricia Bengel [00:12:20] It made me really happy a couple weeks ago when I almost got trampled by a bunch of six-year-old’s. I was early to a library meeting at a library out in Portland, Oregon. I was standing, not paying attention to my surroundings, just looking at my phone, right in front of the door, waiting for them to unlock the door, so I could go in to my meeting. Lo and behold, as soon as they open the doors, I almost got trampled by a group of five and six-year-old’s who were racing to get to story time. So, I actually had to jump out of the way and ended up holding the door for them while their moms where parking strollers and getting other kids and stuff. So that was pretty cool.
Jim Heuer [00:13:10] I guess we'll leave on one thing, last thing. We were in Cambridge, Massachusetts at story time. I think they were triple parking the strollers. I had never seen that many strollers in my life. I'm just a couple years away from pushing my daughter around in a stroller. But man, I think that there was probably some enterprising kid could've done some valet parking with those strollers, made a little bit of dough.
Donna George [00:13:36] It would be a good problem to have.
Jim Heuer [00:13:37] Yeah, alright, so that looks like it will take us to the end of Episode 3. Hopefully, you enjoyed it. Hopefully there's things in here that prompted you to, I don't know, jog your own memory, something you want to tell us, please let us know. You can actually send us some feedback if you want to head to our podcast landing page. I won't be an old guy and actually spell out things like W-W-W. But it is 2libsandamic.com. That'd be the number 2, libs, L-I-B-S, and a mic(dot)com. You can let us know what you think. Please also leave us a review on iTunes. A: It makes us feel good if you leave us a good review. If you want to say something bad, you know, you don't have to rush there. But if you feel about letting us know something that you think is positive, no it actually gives us some good feedback. Hopefully, we're bringing you content and information that you find helpful. So, if you are liking this, if it's fun, if it's entertaining, if it's helping you, you know, while you’re doing some weeding in the stacks, or if you're cleaning in your house and listening to the podcast. You know, subscribe to the podcast, and you won't have to worry about missing an episode. You know, share it with a friend or tell one of your colleagues. You can follow us on the Ingram Content Group Facebook Page. You don't want to miss out on any of this content, right? We did a bonus episode in PLA, and who knows, we got all kinds of plans for the future. So, alright, that'll be the end of Episode 3. Thanks everyone for listening.
Tricia Bengel [00:15:11] Bye
Donna George [00:15:11] Bye
Jim Heuer [00:15:13] Two Librarians and a Microphone is produced and directed by Rachel Cope. Sound engineering by Craig Simpson. Special help from Essence Brisco, Elizabeth Wilcox, and Candice Sweet. Our research done by our librarians Donna George and Tricia Bengle. I am the microphone, Jim Heuer, and thanks most of all to you for listening.