Why working at a library is like doing laundry

A few days ago a front page story in the newspaper caught my attention: apparently in some neighborhood associations it is a crime to hang your laundry outdoors to dry. I kid you not, there is actually a discussion about Washington becoming a ‘right to dry state’ following Oregon and California.

I’ve often associated my work at the library with the act of doing laundry. I work in the circulation department where we, among other things, operate as gatekeepers. We track the comings and goings of library materials. We gather, sort, and put items neatly away. And sometimes, like a stray sock, we discover a stray story we may not have otherwise happened upon.

Here at the South Everett Branch the circulation desk is nearby the entrance allowing us the opportunity to greet and assist people as they enter the library and over time we have the benefit of getting to really know our customers. It is not uncommon to hear comments like “It must be great to work in a library” or “I’ve always wanted to work in a library”. I think people generally like a certain sense of order and the library reflects just that, which brings me back to the news article.

Line drying laundry has wonderful advantages much like libraries: both save you money and offer a measure of satisfaction. E. B. White said it best:

We should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy, even if it is only picking grapes or sorting the laundry.

In this instance I may add “hanging the laundry outdoors to dry.” Here is the part where I hang out my eclectic laundry list of library materials for you to see.

For your educational viewing entertainment: Hawaii and Birders: Central Park Effect . I halfheartedly tried a Zumba DVD, but quickly decided that this is a skill best learned in a class.

I recently watched Secondhand Lions. Though I’ve seen this amusing feel good story before, I wanted to revisit it before my husband and I go to see the play in Seattle at the 5th Avenue Theatre .

Musically, I’m enjoying a new CD, The Music is You: A Tribute to John Denver. One of my favorite songs on this diverse CD is ‘Back home again’ by Old Crow Medicine Show. If you like this upbeat folk band, you can also check out Carry me Back to Virginia or O.C.M.S .

While on vacation my husband and I started listening to the audiobook version of The Sandcastle Girls. I’ve continued listening to this historical fiction novel on my very short commute to and from work. I enjoy how the author takes the reader between events from the First World War in Europe and weaves a story with present day characters in America.

For inspiration I just finished reading, Pursued by Jud Wilhite. This book sparked my attention when I saw it listed awhile back on the New York Times non-fiction bestseller list. Author and Pastor of the Central Christian Church in Las Vegas Nevada, Wilhite writes in a manner that is both entertaining yet relative. Another engaging book I’m reading is by author Heather Kopp, who as a youth lived here in Everett. Her book Sober Mercies is told with amazing transparency and is about her struggle with alcohol.

Lastly, I’m excited to dive into Jeannette Walls latest book The Silver Star. I’m on page 18, and I’m hooked. The inside cover says it well:

In The Silver Star, Jeannette Walls has written a heartbreaking and redemptive novel about an intrepid girl who challenges the injustice of the adult world-a triumph of imagination and storytelling.

In closing, I’ve given you this short laundry list of recent things that I’ve sorted through and have found a measure of joy in.

Be sure to visit A Reading Life for more reviews and news of all things happening at the Everett Public Library.

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