An Ode to Shafer Library
(This recently-received letter from a University of Findlay alumna is being featured here in honor of National Library Week 2018. Click here to read an accompanying story about UF’s Shafer Library.)
Written on Feb. 18, 2018 by Sarah (Everly) Myers ’10:
I was a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed freshman at the University of Findlay in 2006. Like many freshmen, UF was my first experience away from home, which also meant I had zero friends at first. This changed during my first week of classes, one of which was located in the library. It was a criminal justice class (that was my major!), tucked away in a little corner of the ever-quiet, ever-outdated Shafer Library (are the orange vinyl chairs still there, by the way?). I arrived early for class (typical) and was soon approached by Shawn Caruso; he quickly became one of my best friends and remains so today, although we are now separated by many miles. This, however, was just the beginning of my adventures at the library.
The next year I was looking for a job on campus. Something quiet, enjoyable, easy to ride my bike to… so, yes, I applied to the library and I got the gig. I worked the circulation desk at first, but then learned how to do a few more things. Just the usual: processing the OhioLINK items, shelving and shelf reading, combining Winebrenner’s theological collection and Shafer’s academic collection which involved interfiling a mere 180,000 books with the help of one other student worker. Wait, what? Yes, we did that. I have no idea how (or who trusted us?!), but we did. It was the longest summer of my life. Summer break? No. Try “moving every book in the library one cart at a time” break. We got the giggles more than once, just from sheer boredom and/or because we were beginning to feel slightly crazy. Did you know Shafer Library has a copy of the Egyptian Book of the Dead? And a book about cheese? It’s true. But the moment we placed the last book in its place, it was euphoric! My supervisor even made us a certificate signed by the library staff. I think it said, “Congratulations – you moved 180,000 books!” It may seem like a consolation, but I’m actually very proud of that feat (and I think I still have the certificate somewhere). It was an incredible sense of accomplishment.
I continued working there for most of my undergraduate career (2006-2010). Sometimes my parents would come to visit on the weekends. They would often meet me at the library if I were working. My dad always wanted to talk to my supervisor and the other librarians. He would make profound, philosophical observations about the “old times” and “how they used to do things,” which he was known to do. I led him around like a fascinated child in her element – took him to my favorite sections and showed him my favorite books (he already knew what they were but he wanted to see, again). That was our regular routine. But he soaked it up. He loved visiting me at Shafer Library.
In addition to Shawn, I met many other interesting people at Shafer. I’m thinking of one particular student whom I met while working. Wayne Myers came to check out a book (normal procedure, nothing earth shattering there) and we struck up a conversation. He was very interesting, and he must have thought I was, too. We became friends and kept in touch even after graduating, and both of us moving overseas (he went to Africa with a volunteer organization and I went to Ecuador with the Peace Corps). Our friendship has only strengthened since meeting him at Shafer. Four years ago, I married him.
My dear father has since passed away. I haven’t visited Findlay in several years. Yes, some things have changed. I live in Youngstown, Ohio and have had the opportunity to work directly with high-risk adolescent girls for the past several years. Many of those girls, as traumatized and brutalized as they are, have such a strong love for books and reading that my spark for libraries was ignited again. I am currently earning my Masters of Library and Information Science, specializing in teen services and special libraries. I hope to work with adults who are incarcerated and teens in detention facilities. I currently work at Warren-Trumbull County Public Library in Warren, Ohio where I provide outreach by delivering library items to individuals who are homebound.
Thank you, Shafer Library. You have introduced me to two of the most important people in my life, including my husband. You have provided me with vivid, moving memories of my lifelong best friend: my father, Joe. And you have unknowingly laid the groundwork for the most rewarding career I could ever imagine.
(Sarah is now working on a master’s degree at Kent State University.)