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An interview with a library custodian

WillacatherA blog at the New York Public Library is doing interviews with staff -- including Veronica, a custodian at the Jefferson Market Library, a branch on 42nd street in Manhattan. She's worked for the library for 25 years but hasn't always been at the Jefferson Market Library, where a portrait of author Willa Cather (pictured) hangs in the auditorium.

"Willa Cather willed me back here after being away at other branches," she tells her interviewer, continuing:

She decided she wasn't--

She wasn’t being cleaned enough?
 
Exactly! She needed someone like me to hold her up 'til she became rehabbed. ... Jefferson Market is my first baby and I will never give her up and if she calls me back I will always come.

Patrons might think of the library as "ours," but they do clearly belong more to the people who lay hands on the building every time they go to work.

Not that Veronica isn't a patron too -- she particularly enjoys the audiobooks. What kind of audiobooks? Find out in the complete interview, here.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: author Willa Cather, whose portrait hangs in the Jefferson Market Library. Credit: Los Angeles Times

 
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Willa Cather would have been among the first to have loved this idea for an interview. Writing about people who work with their hands has a clarifying effect on language.

Jefferson Market is not on 42nd Street--it is the heart of the West Village at 9th St & 6th Ave


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