My Freshman Orientation

Classes begin this week on campus and for the past two days the library has been participating in the freshman orientation process. Just the usual stuff. Giving tours, handing out food, teaching people how to find a book (harder than you might think in the Firestone Library).

After work yesterday I was walking to the parking garage (conveniently located a mere 15-minute walk from my office) when I came upon a new student lugging two large suitcases and a heavy backpack from the train station to her dorm. One of the suitcases was almost as large as she was. She was standing still and looking around, which didn’t surprise me because it’s a new residential college and even I’m not sure where much is.

She hailed me and asked if I could help her a moment. Thinking she was going to ask directions, I said “sure.” She did ask directions, but first she handed me one of her suitcases and asked if I’d help carry it to her dorm room. I tried not to chuckle and just took the suitcase from her, then led the way to her building.

As we were walking, she asked if I was a grad student. Since this is a not uncommon assumption, I wonder if I look young for my age or if perhaps I should just dress better. The increasing whiteness of my hair and beard means I might reconsider my wardrobe. I told her I was a librarian. I almost said it the way that woman in the Mummy movie says it. I’m a LI-BRARIAN! But that would have been hokey. Fortunately she didn’t say, “you don’t look like a librarian,” because I have no comeback for that other than, “Oh yeah? Well, neither do you!”

I give tours of Firestone for a lot of incoming students each year, but I think that one bedraggled frosh appreciated my help more than any of the students on tour. Maybe next year instead of touring Firestone I’ll set up a sign at one of the residential colleges:

Need Help with Heavy Lifting?
Ask a Librarian!

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