Originally published in the York Weekly
My name is Devin, and I am the newly minted Reference and Technology Librarian at the York Public Library. If you need help with local history, reference, or technology, I’m your guy!
My favorite thing to do in a library is to teach people how to use technology, so please bring all of your questions my way. Before I landed here in York, I worked as a Reference and Instruction Librarian at New England College, and at the Wells Public Library. I love Maine libraries. I love visiting them. I love borrowing from them. I love talking about them. I love that they are as different as the towns that they serve. Most importantly, I love working in them.
Before the pandemic, though, I took a two-year public library hiatus to care for my children. My return came unexpectedly. I’d been keeping up with all of the great things the York Public Library has been up to (their—or should I say our—website is incredible), and it topped my list of “libraries I’d like to work in” upon my return.
With the right timing, and probably more than a little bit of luck, this came to fruition. On my first day—a whole week ago—I wasn’t sure what to expect. Two years can be a long time in the library word; but since the COVID-19 pandemic we’ve had so many cultural paradigm shifts it felt more like a lifetime.
What I found here was unexpectedly expected. Laughs. Masked smiles (if you pay close attention you can see it in the eyes and hear it in the voice). Limitless heart and quiet joy.
Some things have changed, too. Digital services that I had been dreaming about years ago are in full bloom. Hoopla, dear reader, is the on-demand reading service of my dreams.
I wondered if libraries would remain the community hub and “third place” that we were pre-pandemic. I got my answer quickly: the raucous laughter and civic engagement pouring from our heavily used meeting room was a resounding “yes” to that question. On my first day, a patron passed by my desk holding back tears, expressing how happy she was to be back. I guess my fears of people fleeing for an entirely digital existence were unfounded.
Many things have changed since I’ve been gone, but, at least at the York Public Library, I see the same joy, sense of community, and love of literature that I saw when I first started in Maine libraries ten years ago. It’s good to be back.
Devin Burritt is the Reference and Technology Librarian at the York Public Library.
This article was originally published in the Library’s recurring column “Shelf Life” with The York Weekly and SeacoastOnline.com. View it here.