Sunday, January 24, 2010

Maybe I'd rather usher at a theatre.

I've been slacking off on reading the past two days. That could potentially be a bad thing, I guess, but I have actually been working on completing the blanket that I started crocheting about two and a half years ago. That's a long time for me, when at one point, I was cranking one out every couple of months. I guess because this one is for me and not a gift, I haven't felt the inspiration. Until I realized how much nicer my apartment would look without random piles of granny squares around. I have enough piles of books in this place that anything else is just messy in the extreme. That and I want to put the keyboard my brother gave/lent to me where I was keeping these piles. Seems like a good enough excuse to get to work! That isn't the blanket that I'm in the midst of working on, but it is going to end up looking just like that once it is complete. Minus the scarf.

I also ushered at Ford's Theatre last night. It's a volunteer opportunity I first began last year with their production of The Civil War, and I have enjoyed the opportunity to help out while still getting to see a show (for free!). Last night's production was called The Rivalry by Norman Corwin (though I kept wanting to call it The Dispute). The play was about the Lincoln/Douglas debates of 1858 (the election that Lincoln lost) as told through the debates themselves (dialogue was pulled from the debates) seen through the lense of Stephen Douglas's wife Adele looking back on what happened. It's a very enjoyable show (in my opinion), though quite dorky. Great if you love history!

I couldn't help but think, however, that being a volunteer usher is not at all unlike being a librarian.

For example:

1) As a librarian, I get to scan your card and that recognizes the patron and their ability to check out items. As an usher, I get to scan your ticket and that identifies you as a paying patron with a seat.

2) "Can I help you find a book?" (and then leading them to the correct section in the library) isn't that far off from "Can I help you find your seat?" (and once again taking them to the correct seat).

3) I have the Dewey Decimal System to work with at the library. At the theatre, I have the sometimes confusing seat numbers. Everyone gets confused and misplaced sometimes, even books!

4) Instead of handing them a receipt when the transaction is complete, I hand them a playbill once I have shown them their seat.

5) "Where is the bathroom/water fountain/add in your own directional question?" Same the world around, I suppose.

6) Nametags are desired, and sometimes required, no matter how much you dislike them.

7) Ah, reference questions. They are the meat and potatoes of my library diet. How was I to know I would be asked questions about Lincoln's life (and not have any resourses but my brain as an aid) and questions about recyling and what exactly does go into the paper slot vs trash. E.G. Where does the leftover cookie bits go? (Um, trash?)

8) Wearing a bright smile, no matter what is happening in your life? Same in both places!

9) Drunk patrons. You can find them both at the library and at the theatre. What a relief!

Really, it's all about working with the public. I just never thought that my library career would inform my ushering job. Though, I guess I should be grateful, because I'm not quite the expert. Though I'm always happier if I get my special corner of the theatre where I like to work.


Beth said...

I used to usher at theaters in high school, and I should have realized it was good training for librarianhood.

Kristin said...

I had no idea until I really was thinking about it. Though I'm sure that there are many things out there that are good training for librarianhood. My reference professor in grad school suggested we all get a job as a hot dog seller at Fenway Park. He said we would be set for life as reference librarians if we did.

Julie said...

Is the keyboard to type on or to play music? This was a very interesting comparison of being a librarian and ushering! By the way, how do you spell "shake?" Just write it down here for me. (Did I tell you about that?)