I occurs to me that I never wrote anything about my experience volunteering at Quatrefoil Library
I got there right on time, having managed to get my package off to New Zealand in record time (considering what the queue looked like AFTER I left, which is to say: stretching all the way outside.) If you know nothing about Q Library--which I didn't really, either--it's now in a "new" location on Lake Street. They're in the bottom floor of the Spirit on Lake
building. There is a small, convenient parking lot behind the building as well as lots of off-street parking. When I showed up, I would have SWORN that the back door was locked, but after going around the building once, knocking on all the doors like a moron, I came back to discover a very confused Brian who opened the door to me and asked, "Did you even try it?"
He gave me an exasperated eye roll, which is literally why I like Brian so much.
Then we had some confused back-and-forth where I had to confess that, yes, I work at the Ramsey County Libraries (RCL), but, no, not a librarian--I don't have a masters in library science. I think this bummed him out, because from what I gathered, maybe they only have one retire librarian doing cataloguing for them? But, he set me to work, anyway. I had to find some potentially MIA books on the shelves, because copies had been donated that could either replace them or replace copies in bad shape.
At RCL, this would have taken me no time. Maybe a bit longer, if I'm not familiar with the particular branch's layout, but over the past three years I've become pretty comfortable with how RCL is organized. Q Library baffled me. First of all, their non-fiction is organized via the LOC (Library of Congress) system which is, frankly, utterly foreign to me. RCL uses Dewey Decimal. LOC is just about as intuitive as Dewey Decimal, but it still took a bit of a mental adjustment. I mean, I don't have to understand what the purpose of the organizational system is, I just have to know how the numbers/letters fall in order, you know? Alphabet still starts with A and ends with Z. Numbers still go from 0 up. So, I'm good.
Fiction is alphabetical by author, same as anywhere. But for some reason, I could not fathom how the shelves were working for a while, but eventually I got it down. While combing the shelves, I discovered a HUGE cache of yaoi (in non-fiction, so don't be confused), which, when I left, I borrowed a half dozen of, with plans to take out the rest at some point. I've been reviewing those over at MangaKast
. If you're curious about Q's holdings, I made a search term/tag for it, so you can just plug-in "Quatrefoil Library" or if you're afraid you'll misspell it, "Q Library."
After I finished that, I got a very fun task: going through recent donations to see if there was anything among them that should be added to the collection. The criteria is pretty simple: author must be GLBTQ+ _and/or_ a significant
character must be GLBTQ+. Any books that don't meet these criteria still help Q Library, though, because they're sold via various outlets--kind of like what RCL does with its book donations. So, that was kind of fun because it was investigative--used my brains and my Google Fu.
Then, because it's that time of year, everyone who was working at the library was invited over to the community room for a potluck get-together for residents and staff. Awkward forced socialization is awkward, but the food was very good. Life came full circle when I met my very first lesbian nun (ex).
I may never have told this story in any public forum, but my first exposure a larger sense of a larger lesbian world was when Phil Donahue
interviewed lesbian nuns on his talk show sometime in the 1980s. I remember watching this pretty raptly. I knew that one of my dad's colleagues at Viterbo was a lesbian, but here were SEVERAL lesbians ON TV. I think my mom, who was watching with me, probably got her first clue that maybe I was queer at this point. It could have been the MASSIVE crush I had on my dad's colleague (Betty? Betsy? Something completely different?) or the Gay Comix
I'd bought at the head shop, too.
Anyway, I left shortly after eating, mostly because I was overheated--I'd dressed for a much colder day and didn't have a very good way to shed layers. Q is well heated PLUS they have huge windows that get a ton of sun.
I would totally do this again. It's certainly work I feel comfortable doing and it's enjoyable, if for no other reason that it's something I would NEVER be allowed to do at RCL. Acquisitions is 100% the purview of librarians at RCL, so getting to be part of a decision like that is very cool.
Speaking of things I barely remember from the 1980s, one of the bids for copies of Resurrection Code
for Jim Hines' charity went a guy I went to high school with. Honestly? I kinda hated this guy. In fact, the year I was voted "Biggest Women's Libber," he was voted "Biggest Male Chauvinist." But, he has the sort of name that--particularly in the Midwest--is really fairly common and so when I wrote the "uh, so how do you want the book delivered?" e-mail to him, I stayed very formal since I thought it would be much more awkward to act all chummy only to discover I was talking to a totally DIFFERENT person who just happened to have the same name. We're considering getting together to exchange the book, so it will be interesting to see how this guy has changed since 1985. I suspect a lot, given that he just donated to a trans hotline. I remembered him as not only a male chauvinist, but also as a raging Republican. But, then again, I don't even remember the name of my first lesbian crush, so probably he was never any of those things I remember, anyway.
One of the reasons I have not gone back to a high school reunion since my 5 year, is that I have utterly jettisoned all, except the most critical, memories from high school. I hated high school. I mean, I actually enjoyed learning--I always have--but I was not living an authentic life, while also going through a lot of hormones. I barely even recognize MYSELF from those days, much less anyone else.
And, that's the problem. Since becoming a published author, I've had people I knew in high school say "Hey, remember when we did this? Remember so-and-so?" and I draw an UTTER, embarrassing blank. Like, clearly this was a significant moment for the person I'm talking to and I literally don't even know for sure WHO THEY
EVEN ARE, much less remember a single detail of whatever they're trying to convince me was the most epic thing we did together.
I blame the fact that I off-loaded my memories every day in high school. Seriously, I was a religious, devout journal keeper. I wrote a diary entry every single day in high school. I poured out all my thoughts, my emotions, chronicled events, ruminated about gossip, etc. So, I think I literally dumped those memories because part of me knew they were stored off-site--kind of how no one remembers phone numbers any more because we all keep them in our smartphones.
But, add on to that the fact that I've always been mildly narcissistic and high school was especially a time that was all about ME--in my own head. I was trying to figure out who *I* was and so I pretty much remember nothing except those things that were critical to defining "moi," as Ms. Piggy might say.
So, yeah. That should be interesting. Probably it will be a lot of "Remember when?" and I'll be, like, "NOPE."
Tonight our whole family has been invited over to Mason's friend Rosemary's house for a night of casual gaming. I'm looking forward to that. I might have to bake some bread or some other treat to take over there, but everyone is on vacation now so there's lots of time. I actually got up stupid early again today... I've been having trouble sleeping and might need to go back to the chiropractor. If I lay on my back for too long, fingers in my right hand go numb--so numb it wakes me up! That doesn't seem right, and, weirder, is the opposite arm than the one I had trouble with earlier this year. So that's a bummer. It might not help that I've been hunched over my stamp collection a lot lately, but the chiropractor can still help with that.