Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Final Day at Work

I have worked at North Harris College as an adjunct Reference Librarian for the past three years. Usually I was at work less than ten hours a week, with an occasional 19 hour week as needed.

Mostly I worked evenings.
Often it hardly seemed like work at all.

That's the way it is when you love your job and have great co-workers to work with.

I almost didn't take the job when I realized the college was a 45 minute drive from my house. But I decided that doing the drive only twice or three times a week wouldn't be too bad.
I can now say I'm glad I did decide to take it despite the drive.
It turned out that the scenery on the way was often quite interesting.

Each time I commuted to work, it took me almost 15 minutes to get out of Kingwood, then about ten minutes more on the 59 freeway to 1960, past the mall and then into rural areas that flanked the Houston airport.
On this last drive to work I was amused to see three turkey buzzards perched on fence posts. Off in the distance you can see the airport control tower.

A turn off from 1960 led to a bumpy road with nothing but prairie on either side. The clouds often are beautiful in the distance and I enjoyed seeing the seasons change in the meadow. Right now small sunflower are brightening up the roadside...merrily disguising the purpose of the land: It is designated for emergency crash landings.

Thankfully it has never has served it purpose, and I hope it never will.

Once I got to work, I was surprised to see Virginia at reference desk wearing the hat I had made for her. She has come through her cancer treatments and is now in remission! Hurrah!
She never actually needed the hat for anything other than a fashion accessory. No hair loss on her head, and she looks just great.
Don't you just love a happy ending to a cancer treatment?

Once I headed into the back I saw Norma our technical librarian also behatted. She looks adorable in a hat...I think she too should add additional initials to her titles: MLS, HFP.
(HFP: Hat Friendly Profile.)
Karen, our collections development librarian was even wearing a hat! She has firmly resisted all my attempts to convert her to the hat wearing, but wore a hat in my honor on my last day.
Hope, the Super Librarian, needs little convincing to wear a hat. She was always eager to give my newest millinery creations a try, and would LOVE to own more hats herself. Despite being quite brainy, she wears a smaller hat size, which is hard to come by.
Olia was under the weather but nevertheless made the effort to show up for the "going away" party. She and my boss Predeep went together to get me a book of poetry written by our next national poet laureate, in honor of my campus Poet Laureat program that I created for the school.

Have I mentioned how really thoughtful this group of ladies are?
They think of everything!

A group portrait.
Yes, librarians have fun AND look good wearing hats!
So it was my farewell appearance at ref desk. The students at the computers by the window didn't bat an eye to the fact that I was wearing an enormous hat.

My last look at the pine trees surrounding the school. It is a beautiful campus in a beautiful location.
The first campus poet laureate David Bell won his title based on this three line haiku on the theme "Achievement":


North Harris College,
pine-nestled symposia
Aspirations Soar!

The refence desk is on the third floor; usually I took the elevator to get there, but the stairway gave a great view of outside.
The reference collection, only a small part of the two story library.
The library's circulation staff were greatly appreciated by me. If a book is in the correct place on a shelf, and the library user's records are in order, you have a circulation staff member to thank.
Plus they usually had better goodies to eat than we librarians did upstairs...and Terry was always good for a smile and a cheery greeting as she mange the second floor crew.

I usually made one trip downstairs each shift just to check out our display of our newest books. It was tempting to kick back in the reading area, plus... just beyond that...there were periodicals, which included Vogue and other fashion magazines.
Always good for flipping through during a slow night at desk, and of course for finding new fragances samples to rub on. That was fun too.
Libraries should be fun in my opinion.

The second floor also had an interesting collection of framed photographs of people from other cultures. I thought this girl looked so happy and relaxed that I would find myself smiling just by seeing her.

On the other hand, this little Mennonite lass always made me wonder.

She looks so very unhappy; maybe scared, maybe defiant. What was going through her young mind as the photographer focused upon her and took her picture, forever capturing the complex expression under the great big hat.

I wonder how old she must be now, and what she would think of seeing her photograph presiding over student engaged in learning at a library so far away.

I so enjoyed working with all the staff over the years at the NHC library. Each of them had distinctive personalities and interests, and I think all of them were interesting people to get to know.

In my next job I will be a solo librarian for a fourteen college campus system, with schools in eight different states. I will manage the libraries remotely, ordering books and collecting materials to support the curriculum needs and the student's success.

I know I will miss swinging into work and chatting with other librarians about ideas and activities as I did at North Harris. By the time I start at my new job on September 1st, my old library pals will be doing without both me and Hope, as she has accepted a position at another Lone Star College district campus. Things will have changed there too...it is true, nothing really ever stays the same...

Thankfully we will be able to stay in touch through email, blogs and maybe even professional conferences or two along the way.

And if all else fails, maybe they can make a trip to SLC, see the mountains, and me, and get an massage as well.

(More about that option later!)

Thanks everyone!
Best of luck in the new school year!


Lovella ♥ said...

Ah Jill, I'm so deligted that the girls at the library sent you off in style. How sweet that they would wear hats in your honour.
It must be bittersweet to leave. . feeling so appreciated. I also know that you will so enjoy your knew challenge as you are such an advocate to continue to learn. .
Oh. . enjoy the last few days in your lovely home.

Frank's Girl said...

So long, friend. We will miss you at LSCS-North Harris. But, your aspirations were really too large to grow from our small campus. May you find friendship and hope in SLC.


Sara at Come Away With Me said...

Changes, changes....I can see your coworkers also appreciated you...and honored you by coming to work in hats just for the occasion of your last day.

I wonder who will you be converting to "hatism" in your new location?

And, I recall you once said you love felt hats but couldn't wear them in hot, muggy Texas....will you able to branch out to new hat materials in SLC?

It was very interesting taking that last drive to work with you, and seeing the place where you did your job. Even the turkey vultures seemed to be saying good bye.

Marie Christopher said...

A lovely farewell! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Great post, Jill. We shall miss you for sure. I definitely will be wearing more hats in the future at my new job, just in honor of you. Okay, well Dom says I look cute in hats too.

Anonymous said...

That was certainly an attractive, appealing library...I'm eager to hear all about your new location. It'll certainly be a change.

How sweet of everyone to send you off in such great style!