As I write this our catalog system is down. We can't check books out, receive fines, renew materials, tell our patrons what books we do and don't have in, catalog new materials, among many other functions that are a part of running our library.
That is, we can't check them out by computer. We're checking out materials by hand, but we'll need to enter the data into the system, once Randy Witlicki is finished with it.
Also as I write this, I see Randy, one of NPL's best friends, hard at work on restoring this vital part of NPL.
Part of my job is coordinating the services of volunteers. Many of the volunteers predate me, Randy included.
Randy's pretty fascinating. Where did he come from? He reminds me of the Lone Ranger without the mask: appearing out of nowhere to do good for others. He has the habit of popping up when you need him the most, as he has done --yet again-- today.
Randy has a business, I know. He bails out lots of people in a refreshingly nongovernmental way. (Don't run up a billion dollar deficit, though...) He does very well, I am sure, because he's the Real Deal. His skill is enormous, his heart warm, and his humor rich. He's as reliable as June 21 daylight is long.You couldn't do better than to hire this guy to keep your systems healthy and happy.
But for some reason, Randy is the ultimate techie volunteer. We could never afford the many ministrations he gives to us.
I am constantly amazed by the loyalties our volunteers offer to our library. It's about the place the library has --and should have-- in the community. You help the library, you help lots of people by association. That's the thinking. It's certainly what we hope to be all about as a library--to be a great resource to the community.
It didn't take a phone call to bring Randy to us; he just knew to come. He's uncanny that way.
What a guy. What a gift.