Diversity & Outreach Columns ALA's Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services


Counting My Blessings

By Jan Meadows, Bookmobile Supervisor, Pikes Peak Library District.

As 2003 winds down and the holiday season gets into full swing I have been contemplating the many blessings in my life. We spend so much energy dwelling on what isn’t going right or working right in our lives that we often forget all the things that are. Here are some of the things I am thankful for in my “work life”.

I’m thankful that I work for the Pikes Peak Library District. PPLD believes in equitable access for all and backs it up with equitable service delivery. Our Board of Trustees, Director and Management Team have strongly supported Bookmobile Service, senior programming, multicultural programs, such as the newly established Korean collection at the Korean Community Center and much more in their constant pursuit to provide excellent service to everyone. PPLD has also fully supported me in my work for ALA by allowing me to take part in presenting bookmobile sessions at ALA in Atlanta and Toronto, serving on the OLOS Strategic Planning Committee, writing this column and being a chapter coordinator for a soon to be released ALA/OLOS book. They have also allowed me to present several times at the Great American Bookmobile Conference and to continually attend it, which has been extremely beneficial for me. What a blessing! Thank you PPLD!

Another blessing - all the wonderful, dedicated people I have met over the years at PPLD, the National Bookmobile Conferences and ALA Conferences. They have inspired me, taught me, supported me, energized me and kept me laughing through good times and bad. Thank you, treasured friends!

How lucky I am to serve Bookmobile Patrons. What a bright, positive, active group of seniors I have had the privilege to know through our senior service bookmobile. The county bookmobile serves thousands of children, many whom would never get to a library if it were not for bookmobile service. The joy on a child’s face when they find that special book they wanted is something you never get tired of seeing. All the patrons are so wonderful, sharing the bounty of their gardens in the summer, burying us in goodies during the holidays and sharing the joys and sorrows of their lives like we are family. Cranky patrons are so rare on bookmobiles that we never have to worry about dealing with them. Where else can you work and have all of that!

Finally, I am so grateful to have modern, online bookmobiles to work on. When I started here, oh so many years ago, we had an old Gerstenslager. It was a manual transmission with no power steering. The clutch was so stiff you had to brace your body against the back of the drivers seat so you could push it in. The drivers seat wouldn’t lock into place so it twisted when you braced against it and you had to hold onto the steering wheel to keep yourself facing forward. Heaven help you if you had to turn a corner and shift at the same time! But we did have strong left legs and arms in those days.

There was a hole in the floor board right in front of the driver's seat which let a lot of “fresh air” in right up your pant leg or skirt as you drove. Fun in the winter! Ah, and the wonderful propane heater that provided our warmth. You had to hunker down on the floor, hook a match on the end of a long wire, light it and stick it far into the heater while turning on the propane to light the pilot. If you weren’t fast enough it shot out a huge flame that singed the eyebrows off your face.

There was no generator so we used microcomputers that ran off a battery and recorded charges and returns. More days than not it dropped the information before we got it uploaded into the main computer. No wonder we were called the black hole of the library!

Yep, those were the good old days and thank goodness they are gone!

I hope you too are counting your blessings during this holiday season and find more than you realized you had. Wishing you all the very, very best in 2004 and hope to hear from you often at jmeadows@ppld.org.  HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

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