As I mentioned earlier, when my sisters and I were little, my mother took us to the library weekly. When I grew older, I passed the small but handsome library on my way home from school. One day, much to my surprise, as I was checking out a book, the librarian offered me a job. Me? A job? Looking back on it, I hadn’t longed for the job because I didn’t know it existed. Of course, it took me only a split second to say “Yes!”
My parents gave their permission and I had my first job—no, come to think of it--my second. I had done a lot of babysitting. The babysitting was challenging but I considered this my first real job.
Miss Ainsworth, the librarian, was a very kind person. I couldn’t then and can’t now think of a nicer boss. My library job duties included sticking inside the front cover of every book a label with the library’s picture and name. Next was to squeeze with a handpress the words “Westboro Public Library” on page 100 or if there were not 100 pages, on the page halfway through the book. I suppose all this was to protect the book from theft.
I discovered that while I was doing these routine tasks, I could read a page or two--enough to know whether the book was something I wanted to put on my list of books to read. (I always was a fast reader and probably became faster as I rushed through those pages.) Before long I discovered that young readers like me were not allowed to check out certain books shelved behind Miss Ainsworth’s desk. The only one I remember was Forever Amber. Hmmm…I never have read it. Perhaps I’ll locate it and find out what the deal was.
Another thing I remember from sixty years ago is that suddenly three or four boys that I knew from school started hanging around in the stacks where I worked. Miss A., when she caught sight of them, clucked disapprovingly and shooed them away. The boys hadn’t so much as spoken to me but I could see they were working up their courage, and Miss Ainsworth would have no teenagers fooling around back in my workspace.
Having a real job motivated me to have a real bank account and on the day that I received my monthly check, I always went straight to the bank and deposited it. As the teller handed back to me my bankbook, I looked at the growing figure with pride. I knew that my dad was determined that his four daughters go to college, yet worried that he might not be able to afford it. Now I could help.