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 When I started, the branch was fairly quiet, with some (horrifyingly outdated) goth kids and a lot of seniors/snowbirds.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.


Lil Yang said...

Hey mofo, are you trying to say something about my jacked up truck? You mind yer manner, little missy!!!

Michelle said...

I'm sorry. Please don't illustrate your disgust at me by having a decal of a cartoon character peeing on me or affixing an ersatz hunting permit sticker on your truck, sir.