Today a patron was given a stern talking-to by a security guard, another patron blew up because he was frustrated by the amount of time the public computers took to reboot, and security guards were called to handle two other patrons who almost came to blows.
All of this happened just a few feet away from me during the last 10 minutes of Day Four.
My new job is difficult, but not impossible, made much easier by extraordinary coworkers who instruct and explain thoroughly and patiently. I sit three different desks throughout the day, two of which are reference desks. I have never officially done reference work before because that has been verboten in my past (academic) workplaces. So not only am I learning where things are, I am also learning how to conduct reference interviews -- and the latter is much, much harder than you might expect. Many patrons come to a reference desk with only the barest idea of what they are looking for, leaving you to suss out what it is they want and need.
This interaction becomes significantly trickier if that patron has issues with our shared reality. My presence, as a new person, has already disturbed some regulars who aren't quite fond of change in their routines. But most regulars have welcomed me willingly, and I am thrilled to be a part of the extended family.
You simply would not believe how much I've done and seen this week. It is overwhelming for me to contemplate. So much of it relies on me being present, for as much as I hate that phrase when it is wielded as a weapon of condescension. The library is so much more about people than about books, and although I understood that in my head before Monday, I did not feel it in my bones until now.