Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Retirement Checklist: FOL


“Not on my immediate checklist.” This was the answer I gave when people started the conversation with “Are you going to travel?” when they learned I was retiring.

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Nope. I’m a homebody to the point where I wonder if I need to seek counseling. I spent most of my working adult life away from home why would I want to leave it?

The top checklist item, besides sleeping in, was joining the Friends of the Library. I’m a frequent flyer as it is, visiting the library 2-3 times a week. I have shelved books, pulled holds, hosted story hour, and I have served on the library board. I was ready to wear an apron and sort books.

I don’t think I could have gotten away with not becoming a Friend of the Library. The president is a former school librarian and she said she was waiting for me to retire. There is nothing like being wanted. Especially being wanted by a group that adores books.

I paid my lifetime membership and arrived the last Tuesday of the month as instructed. Note: the privilege of paying to volunteer has a sense of irony to it).

No instructions except to unload books from their boxes and setting them on the designated genre shelves. Later they would get shelved in the rolling bookcases for the monthly book sale.

How can I possibly describe the elation of sifting through hundreds of donated books? The next best happy would be volunteering at Willy Wonka’s seconds sale.

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Before I could finish my question of “What if we can’t resist —“ “Just bring them back when you’re done.”

I have become a triple bag lady at our monthly sortees. One bag for my English teacher friends who keep a classroom library for their students. Another bag for the Christian school where I once worked as their librarian (the book budget is never big enough). The last bag is for moi. My “to read” bookshelf is ever growing. To be without a book is almost as despairing as a being bereft of chocolate.

After sorting is the board meeting; all members are welcome but it’s mainly the board members who stay. I stayed because that’s where decisions are made. I was voted in as a Member At Large. I think that means I get to vote and might be called in to buy cookies when needed.

I have an apron now. I am official.

People who know me aren’t surprised I am a Friend of the Library. They think it’s because I love the library so much. It’s true, I do. But, here’s s secret—I joined up because of all the free books I have access to. Umm, all the free books that my membership fee is allowing me to have. There is that irony again.

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8 thoughts on “Retirement Checklist: FOL

  1. petespringerauthor on said:

    This gig has your name all over it. Maybe that alone should qualify you for a personalized apron.😊

    People tend to put their retirement expectations on others. I remember many of those questions about where we would travel first, assuming that must be the first thing we would want to do. We like to travel some, but we’re equally happy at home.

  2. You gave this retired school librarian an idea. Even though 70 (the age I’ll be, G-d willing, on my upcoming January birthday) no longer seems too old, I am not interested in a paid job requiring fixed daily hours. You seem to be my kind of person; whenever a box of new books arrived at work, I felt like a kid opening birthday presents.

    You’re spot-on about religious school libraries being short on funds. The 24 years I spent as a Jewish day school librarian meant endeavoring to provide quality service with a limited budget. The administration was unwilling to spend the money to automate the elementary and high school libraries and provide training in 21st-century skills.

    Okay, I’ve gone on long enough. Thank you so much for liking my post. Books rule!

  3. Libraries are just the best!

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