Thursday, July 20, 2006

The clientele, it is a changin'

I've been at this particular library for almost a year now and in that time I have had the opportunity to watch the patron base change almost completely. When I started, the branch was fairly quiet, with some (horrifyingly outdated) goth kids and a lot of seniors/snowbirds. Now we have a lot more young families, with little kids and a lot more diversity.

This is not necessarily a good thing. You see, a large part of the population here in this formerly-rural county is what you might call redneck. You know, the jacked-up full size American-made pickup truck with a NASCAR number and at least one Confederate flag decal on the back window and, more often than not, those charming metal testicles dangling from the trailer hitch (side note - a lot of times these monstrosities are color coordinated to match the paint job of the truck - which is fine except when your truck is blue. I thought I was going to drive off the road, I was laughing so hard). And now a growing part of our population, at least here in the southern part of the county, is African American or Hispanic. There has been some tension, to say the least.

Defusing a potential "racial incident" involves a great deal of tact and not a little bit of mommy-sternness. I would just prefer not to deal with it, but I seem to be the Great Equalizer of the branch - I seem to get along with all kinds of patrons.

Which is great and all, but very stressful and I'll be glad to move on.