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I volunteer in a used book shop near a local library branch.

This gives me a sense of purpose and community involvement. The local branch receives all sorts of visitors like families with young children, students, Seniors and adults performing genealogy research. These visitors and patrons often stop in the bookshop to browse, purchase items or even drop off book and CD donations. They acknowledge the work that we do and that the revenue goes back to support the library system.

These public services are essential in communities where low-income families and people with disabilities live. Libraries and related services are like a community hub, a place where people of all kinds can visit, learn and share. It is encouraging that many people are willing to protect the future of public libraries, that they should not be replaced by Amazon stores!

Drawing of a bookcase

My shift experiences can vary between bustling sales activities, sorting and pricing donations during slow periods, tidying the shelves and having conversations with patrons. The latter can range from mundane pleasantries, to book discussions, to philosophical debates. They can also result in lengthy monologues by pseudo-intellectuals who lack social graces and basic conversation skills.

I am learning from awkward experiences to identify which patrons participate in thoughtful discussions and which ones to steer clear of engaging in conversation other than providing them customer service niceties.

It is apparent that people with mental health issues are regular patrons of the public library and the used book shop. They deserve the right to services offered by the library and the right to browse and purchase items from the shop. They do not have the right to dominate a conversation or hold people captive with their lengthy monologues.

I almost want to suggest that they resort to Twitter or start a blog. That way, only the people interested in what they have to say will read, follow along, then provide the commentary.

Thanks for dropping by. Meaningful, relevant comments accepted 😉

T

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