Story about the cage

My first library job required me to work in a cage. It was January 1990 when I discovered that one of my college roommates would not be returning to school (small liberal arts college in Ohio). I needed a new job because I was leaving the theatre department's costume shop where I had been previously employed. (I still can't sew, but I can catalog and organize costumes.) I new she worked in the library and that her boss was named Bev.

I went to the reference desk and asked for Bev. A small, 60ish woman approaches the desk to ask how she can help me. I explain that my roommate wasn't returning to school and that she probably didn't tell them. So, here she was, heartbroken that her employee wasn't returning (it turns out, she was a favorite)--here I was, needing a job. I ask to take her place on a trial basis--2 weeks. Walking away, I realize that I forgot to ask about the job.

The next day, I was showed the cage--the place where a computer, a modem, 2 desks, and the Government Document Librarian's office was located. The cage extended the length of a very long shelf and had a metal caged door that was locked--because of the computer, you see.

I became the student assistant for government documents. The library hadn't computerized its offerings, so I even got to use card catalogs. It was my by far one of the best jobs I ever had. I got to weed the collection, train other students, and process all of the government documents. Storage was on the top floor of the building where the college archives were located. In the summers, I would have to change into long pants and a long-sleeved shirt to work because the air conditioning was so strong.

I miss that cage. The modem made that modemy-sound when I had to logon to the network. I miss all those World War II posters and ration stamps that I organized. The librarians were always talking about books they had read and always seemed to be involved in local politics. I miss the praise I received from Bev when she said, "I'm glad you found us because you are even better than your predecessor."

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