The Life of a Library Aide


Senior Carla Lopez is not a library aide in the technical sense. She is not enrolled in the class, and she is not even a lover of books. Yet, she somehow manages to arrive at school before anyone else at 6:45 a.m. every day to work in the library. When she gets there she turns on the computers and gets the library ready. She is alone for about 15 minutes, then librarian Liz Harrison arrives.

As the school day continues, Lopez goes to English class. Then she comes back during her own lunch period, B lunch, to volunteer more of her time. Varying from typical library aides, Lopez does not have a set class or time period to devote her time to the library because the two spots were already filled during her free period.

“I wanted to get more into books,” Lopez said. “I’m not a good reader. I’m not a person who likes to sit and read, so that is helping me out with school. [I feel] more encouraged to read.”

Unlike being an office aide, Lopez said being a library aide allows for more creativity than a typical office environment. Right now, it’s “snowing” in the library as aides put up decorative snowflakes made out of beads, as a part of their varying themes.

“I like the environment, it just feels right,” Lopez said. “My favorite part is being in charge. It’s a big responsibility. We use our imagination, like if something doesn’t look right, we move it. We decorate with new themes.”

Lopez also described the worst part of being a library aid: stocking the book shelves. According to Lopez, she sings the alphabet in her head to help remember the order to put the books in. Although it can be tedious, she doesn’t mind doing it. Lopez said that being a library aide helps her communicate more effectively, so she is able to enjoy her work there.

“I’m dealing with different kinds of people everyday,” Lopez said. “So that helps me out with talking to people. Almost everything I do, I actually enjoy it.”

While being in the library has affected Lopez, according to Librarian Liz Harrison, Lopez’s positive attitude has contributed to the development of the library.

“She comes every single day, and she runs the library for me,” Harrison said. “There is no way I could get all of this stuff done without [the library aides]. They are very valuable.”

This is Lopez’s first year being a full-time library aide; last year she was only able to contribute once a month. However, she plans on continuing her passion in the future because of the impact it has had on her so far.

“It changed me,” Lopez said. “Being a library aide [has taught me] to be nicer to people and to have more patience. Just yesterday, this girl came in and she was being really rude and she was asking if her page had printed, but it hadn’t. 20 minutes later it printed, and she just took off. I get mad really easily, but I just try to stay calm.”

A library is usually thought of as a place for lots of work and little play. While some people go to the library to find a quiet escape, Lopez does not mind when people come into the library to socialize.

“I used to be one of those people who didn’t go to the library, like my freshman year I only went in there once and that was because the teacher made the class go,” Lopez said. “This year [I am] always here just for fun.”