After spending the last 12 years working in various public libraries every day, I forgot the pleasure of just being a patron.
I’ve had the luxury this past year of working freelance, which has really changed my reading habits. I no longer had to make sure I knew what was on the bestseller lists. Although I still love my review journals, I now look just for books that sound good to me, instead of scanning every review to see if it would fit my community’s needs. I found myself getting to know the circ clerks at my local library so well that they start to pull my holds off the shelf as soon as I walk in the door. I’ve rediscovered the serendipity of coming across a book I’ve never heard of before, instead of only reading off of an ever-growing list with the feeling of “must keep up” breathing down my neck.
And I actually get to scan the shelves, waiting for something to pop out at me It’s just not the same, putting every book you want to read on hold and just having it appear on your desk or in your inbox, only going into the stacks to weed or to find something for someone else.
That’s why this year, I’d like to encourage library staffers to read like a patron. In the next coming weeks, I’ll be posting different ways you can read like a patron instead of a librarian.
Here’s my first recommendation: Ask a friend or relative for a reading recommendation. Someone who is not connected to the book world at all. Find out what they like to read and why, and then read what they suggest to you.
The objective with this one? Nothing deep here, just to read something purely because someone you know read it. Maybe it will be a surprise. Maybe you’ll discover an author you’ve not read yet. Maybe it will totally stink. Maybe it will make you view your mother-in-law in a whole new light. Who knows? But it has the possibility to broaden your reading horizons.