It’s a Sunday afternoon and I’m writing this from an undisclosed nook of CLP-Main. It’s a spectacularly gorgeous (and busy) weekend in Oakland; across the street, a few thousand (give or take) capped-and-gowned bright-eyed job hopefuls are graduating from the University of Pittsburgh. A kids event is taking over Schenley Plaza.
In the midst of this, the Library is quite the happenin’ place, too. We have an abundance of people here.
World Kaleidoscope is presenting Alba Flamenca, and they’re warming up for their 2 p.m. performance in the Quiet Reading Room. Families are arriving for Sensory Storytime. People, including myself, are using their Library cards to access the Library’s free Wi-Fi. A librarian is helping a student find information for a research paper that’s due “sometime this week.”
And this is all just on the First Floor.
I’m tucked away in a corner of the Library on a Sunday because, for the second weekend in a row, my daughter is participating in one of our creative writing programs for teens. This is a new experience for her: learning to write in a different genre (and, God willing, perhaps about something other than the lads of One Direction), having her work critiqued by her peers and learning how to dole out constructive criticism, and meeting new people from different schools and backgrounds. The workshop is giving her the chance to learn new skills and broaden her horizons – all the things that, in my development job with the Library, I tell people we do every day.
Powered up with my laptop and fueled by my Crazy Mocha coffee, this doesn’t feel like hanging out at my workplace on a weekend. Far from it. In a way, being at the Library incognito as a patron instead of a staff member gives me a different point of view of the Library. My work hours typically fall during the week, which is why I don’t normally have a chance to see the Library the way I’m doing this afternoon.
In many ways not much is different. It’s still the same Library, of course, but it’s also a reminder to me of the possibilities that CLP offers to all of us in so many ways, regardless of the day. Whether it’s reading a new genre, listening to a new type of music, or attending a program, it’s always possible to expand one’s horizons … or to remember to look at the same thing you see everyday from a new perspective.