Primary Election, NYC Council District 10

So, I voted today. My very first voting experience! It went relatively smoothly. I walked down to my polling place, still in my running clothes, confirmed my district, signed my name below a copy of my signature, waited in line for 10 minutes, stepped behind the curtain, pulled the red lever to the right, marked all my votes, then pulled the lever back to the left. Ka-chunk.

Thing is, I wasn’t all that prepared. At least at first. I received a voting brochure in the mail this past week. A registered republican friend informed me only democrats received the flyer. (Don’t tell BYU, I want to surprise them.)

So, this morning I flipped through the flyer and checked out the candidates for mayor, public advocate, comptroller, and city council. Each of the candidates had a photo next to a description of her/his intentions for the office s/he wants to hold. I read through these descriptions, I got a sense of each of the platforms. When it came down to it, I decided to base my vote on two criteria:

1) Headshot – Which way is the candidate’s head turned? What kind of “look” is s/he giving the camera? Is there a personable connection? Hairline – receding, plugs? Hair color – natural, dyed, drastically dyed? Facial hair – neat trim on the men, neat or nonexistent on the women? Cheesy smile? Are all the teeth there? Natural smile? Cheesy seriousness? Genuine resolve?

2) Typos – it was enough that some of the candidates’ backgrounds made me question their … qualifiedityness, but when the writeups are missing words or have misspelled words, and when the fine print says the candidates submitted their own blurbs, that makes it hard for me to vote for them.

I did take into account other factors, such as difficulty in name pronunciation (can you say it five times fast?), criminal record (felonies versus misdemeanors, also counting visits to the principal’s office and number of demerits), cookie proclivity (pro? anti?).

You bet my vote’s going to count.

I promise, I took it seriously. Given my political party’s predisposition to rhetoric, I had to sift through some fluffy candidates to find more substantial ones. Admittedly, it took a little longer than I expected, but I felt I made some good choices.

Let’s hope so.

And she proclaimed with abandon, from the depths of her soul, “I….am a librarian!”.

by Jenny, Guest Blogger

(Note: I have heard that May, one of my oldest and dearest friends, often refers to me as her friend Jenny the Librarian, so when May asked me to be a Guest Blogger, I had to start from there…..)

Years ago, as I was nearing the end of my undergrad degree in English, I began to consider what I was going to do with my life.

Great time to start thinking about it. But I come from a family that never thought too much about careers, and I could never clearly see myself doing anything in particular….I wanted to do something, sure….something that let me think a lot, because I like doing that….something that was pleasant…..and that allowed me to be in places I liked to be….and that used whatever talents I had….but what that something was, I didn’t know, and I didn’t give it that much consideration.

It feels good to admit this, because aIthough I am not dumb, I’ve always worried that this characteristic is not one that “smart” people should have. My friends are valedictorians and salutatorians and doctors and PhD candidates and writers and musicians and teachers of all persuasions. And many of them knew exactly what they wanted to do. They laid the groundwork for their future careers, they applied to the best colleges, they mapped out their course loads, and they built resumes with all due seriousness. While I feel fairly confident that my brain works well, I always felt as if I lacked whatever intellect it took for them to launch so confidently down those chosen roads. Why didn’t I know what I wanted to do? Why wasn’t it more important to me? Was it possible that I was a carefree hippie disguised in a black cardigan and that I was more suited to meander through the world in the passenger seat of a VW bug?


So I looked around me in the Fall semester of my senior year and thought about the English degree I was so close to receiving and I realized, “I don’t know what to do with this.”

Undeterred at age 21 by a realization that would paralyze me at age 32, I began mulling over graduate school. Graduate school, that blessed place of respite allowing young adults with Big Thoughts to deter a big, scary decision just a little bit longer.

And once graduate school was decided upon, the path was clear: I would go to library school.

Yes, chuckle if you will. But deep down, doesn’t a part of you want to go to library school, too?

And, surprising as it was to me, I had stumbled into my perfect career.

Now, it wasn’t easy to allow myself to come to peace with librarianship, because being a librarian in this world is an exercise in developing a thick skin. Is there a profession that carries with it more stereotypes? Or one that is the butt of more jokes? It doesn’t help matters that I still haven’t married, making me not only a librarian, but, dare I say it, a spinster librarian?? Just typing the phrase makes me cringe.

And yet, all told, I love being a librarian. I get to wake up every morning and go to the LIBRARY. Every bit of knowledge, no matter how random, is useful in my career. I rock at Jeopardy. I can check out more books at a time than ANYONE. Heck, I don’t even have to check them out! If I want a book that the library doesn’t have, I can just buy it with library money! I can delete my own fines!! At one job, I could go back to the Archives anytime I wanted and freely peruse a 3-volume copy of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs from the 1600s, complete with a dedication in the front to Elizabeth I. At another, I got to eat lunch in a room housing the largest collection of Tiffany glass anywhere in the world. And at my current job, teenagers come up to me and ask me what book they should read….I love that. And not only do I know more about technology than my school’s technology specialist, I also know how to explain it to people so that they can actually use it!

And the possiblities for the future are endless….librarians are everywhere! In hospitals, schools, museums, working for newspapers and network TV stations, in tiny, rural public libraries and huge urban ones…..I love that my career could take me to any of those places.

So I write this blog post not to recruit new librarians, but rather to proclaim that I really do like what I’m doing and that somehow, even with no clear direction in mind, I ended up in the right place.

And don’t we always?

And doesn’t realizing that make it much easier to enjoy this crazy ride?

Guest Blog the Blogarian

People, Jenny doesn’t need much of an introduction, either. I know I talk about high school a lot, and Jenny’s definitely one of the key figures who’s strided with me since the 10th grade.

Also, I think her post is fitting, valedictory, somewhat. I admire this woman who made high school one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. I admire what she’s done with her life. I appreciate her friendship, and her offering up anything of hers to encourage me to become a better person. She’s pretty amazing. I hope everyone gets a chance to meet her sometime.

Oh, the valedictory part. A month from tomorrow, well.

A month from tomorrow.

I’ll be taking a trip down memory lane over the next month. Listing a few things I’ll miss as well as some things I definitely won’t miss.