Monday, December 31, 2007

i am so bored

there is NO ONE in this library. why are we here? this is a waste of electricity being open. i have already completed an online crossword puzzle, fruitlessly searched for a new apartment, called my insurance company about my claim for my bahaman hospital visit, checked my e-mail three times, found out GHI doesn't believe art therapists are legitimate therapists, and checked the balance on my checking account. what's a girl left alone to her own devices in an empty library to do? wait ... don't answer that.

Hipster Olympics

it was new year's eve
and all through the library
nothing was stirring
not ever a slightly hungover librarian who's new year's eve eve party lasted longer than expected ...
anyway, i am tired and lazy and am a little bit sneezy. but my eye feels SO much better. when did this blog become the unorganized files of a hypochondriac? anyhoo, i refuse to do any work today. so here is a video for your viewing pleasure.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

i am not a pirate

my mom once coined the phrase "one of my sports injuries" which is an ironic term referring to an injury that you sustain doing an activity that is the least athletic or least active thing possible . here are some examples of "sports injuries": getting a repetitive stress injury in your thumb from playing piano, hurting your knee from walking on sand, straining your neck from talking on the phone without having a job that warrants excessive phone use. so now, here i am, home laid up with the sport injury to end all sports injuries. here's how it happened:
the nubian god was waiting for me to come to bed so we could get some shut-eye (the nubian god is back!) and i was in the bathroom doing my evening bathroom routine. and as i am taking out my left contact i feel that it is completely stuck to my eye. what do i do? i tug on it really hard and yank it off, not realizing i am also taking off a layer of my cornea. then i return to the nubian god and tell him something to the effect of "ow, my eye hurts" and with one looks he tells me i have scratched my cornea.
so when i went to the doctor, i felt a little stupid. who scratches their own eyeball? but you have no idea how much this hurt. it hurt SO bad. i could barely keep my eyes open. so painful.
when i told the doctor the story he seemed a bit suspicious. but then once he put that yellow dye in there (which felt AWESOME! it was the only time ever that someone enjoyed that yellow dye. i even asked if i could take some home with me. the doctor promptly said no) anyway he takes one look at me and is in shock and says "my god! you have really damaged your eye!"
i felt really good about this because then i knew i wasn't just being a baby.
"yeah," i said, "it really hurts."
"i'm surprised you weren't screaming when you did this!"
"i'm pretty tough."
"you must be."
i am.
now this whole time i am fearing two things:
1. i will have to wear only glasses for an obscenely long period of time. like 5 weeks of only glasses.
2. he will make me wear an eyepatch. and although i saw a very handsome pirate the other day in the supermarket (absolutely true story. hey, its brooklyn) i do NOT want to wear an eyepatch.
so he begins to lay his diagnosis down ... he says my cornea is seriously scratched and it is at risk of infection. he mentions pus and i get all grossed out. i must take prescription antiobiotic eye drops.
check. will do. no problem.
then, and he warns me that this will sound strange ...
(please don't say eye patch, please don't say eye patch)
he tells me that i must wear ONLY contact lenses.
what?!
but wait, there's more! i can only wear contact lenses, AND i must wear my left lens on my injured eye like a bandaid for 5 days straight. no taking it out. my cornea cells will regrow and be shielded by the contact lens. (that's right. i lost so much cornea that my cornea cells need to regrow)
this is a contact lens lover's dream! never before has a doctor said to me, "whatever you do don't take out your contact lenses." this is awesome.
i was also instructed to use lots and lots of refresh eyedrops. he is also concerned about the dryness of my right eye but we will deal with that later.
anyway, so now i am home with my contact lenses back in and giving myself eyedrops on the hour. i feel better but it still hurts. but at least i do not look like a pirate.

now i would like to recap my illnesses of the last month or so:
veteran's day weekend: awful cold that left me on couch for several days
first week of december: bahaman flu that ended with me in the ER
last week of december: sore throat
last days of december: decimated cornea

only me.

a reply to an unsent message AND i scratch my own cornea

here i am at work on a saturday ... half blind because last night i took my contact lens out with such fervor that i scratched my own eye. the pain is ridiculous. i have made an appointment with a shady polish doctor. which means ... i can leave early and get said doctor to write me a note! i am going to milk this doctor's note thing for all it's worth.
anyway, you might be wondering to yourself, "miss dewey decimal mistress, why were you taking your contacts out with such fervor?"
well, my beloved blog readers ... it was because the long lost nubian was waiting for me. and you never keep a nubian god waiting.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

a message i will never send

i deleted your number from my phone so that i could never contact you in a moment of weakness. but i've been thinking about you and i just wanted to say hi ... so hi.

-m

Monday, December 24, 2007

satisfactory

happy christmas eve! let me explain to you the logic behind me being at work today: all the libraries in the system are open 1-8 on mondays. but today we are open 10-1 since it is a holiday. we are doing this so that patrons have some library service today. however, how many patrons are going to think that we are open at 10 when on every other monday EVER we open up at 1. my prediction? there will be loads of patrons coming at 1, trying to make their way in here while we are trying to go home. so far we have had 7 patrons. one hour to go.
another exciting thing that happened today is that i got my 6 month evaluation. it turns out i am a "satisfactory" employee.


  • i order books and weed the collection in a timely fashion.

  • i offer costumer service to both children and adults and make use of all resources the library provides.

  • while providing costumer service to patrons i simulatenously give lessons on how to use the library

  • i give instruction on the computers

  • i "merchandise" library materials according to library standards

  • i create children's programming

  • i have started The Newsflash, a newsletter with art and writing submitted by the children

  • i coordinate with local schools

  • i pay close attention to the specific recreation and education needs of the youth, which is reflected in circulation records

  • i recruit children to participate in the Read Down Your Fines program

  • i am confident in my own abilities, but do not shy away from asking for help if neccessary

  • i perform my duties according to library standards

  • i am an automaton

at first i was a little disappointed to be considered only satisfactory, but then i found out the only options for your first performance review are satisfactory and unsatisfactory. so then i didn't feel so bad. my manager did make mention to some specific things i do with the children. there was one bullshit comment about me working harder to keep the children's room neat during afterschool hours (ie, free of all children), but besides that i think it was as good as it could be. it is the best of all possible worlds.




Friday, December 21, 2007

presents!

this girl just came in, she's probably in fourth grade. she has SO much attitude. i can't even describe it. she is constantly fighting with me, the other kids, everyone. several times i've had to kick her out of the library. i don't like to say that i hate a child. but i do not like this child. anyway, she just came over to me to show me this little blue felt santa bag that has a little body of scented body wash in it and a few pieces of candy.
"that's cute," i say, "did you get that at school?"
"i bought it," she says , "it's a gift."
"oh," i say. i am so slow. "who's it for?"
"it's for you."
then she leaves it on the desk and walks away.
i thank her and sit in shock contemplating how this attitude-filled trouble-maker actually likes me. at least a little. then thse two boys see that she gave me a gift and they walk over with little bags of candy and they give me the litttle bags of candy.

things you can't do in the library: kick people

man, i am SO strict. can you believe how strict i am?
a guy and a girl are running around the library. the guy seems to be holding something the girl wants. the girl, might i add, is similar in shape to a linebacker and is easily double the guy's size. as i begin yelling at them to stop, the girl steps back and high-kicks the guy straight in his ass. he literally jumped several feet into the air from the kick. it was amazing. had i seen it on the street i would have totally high-fived that girl. however, it happened in the library.
so i yell at them both that they both must leave the library immediately. there is much whining and belly-aching about things not being fair and he stole this and that's not really hers, blah blah blah. don't care, don't want to get involved.
about 15 minutes later the girl comes back. this is unacceptable. no one returns once i kick them out for the day, NO ONE!
she begins to tell me that although she is kicked out she has come to explain herself to me. fine. i listen. she tells me that the boy stole something from her.
"yes," i say, "i saw. but then you kicked him really hard. you can't kick people in the library."
"but he stole from me."
"yes, but if you had told me i could have spoken to him. instead you kicked him. you can't do that. it doesn't matter what he did. YOU cannot hit or kick people."
i mean, the girl totally assaulted him. this was no little kick. it was, dare i say, an ass whooping.
"but he stole from me."
"yes, but if you told me i could have done something about it. but you didn't. you took matters into your own hands. its never okay to kick people."
"but he stole from me!"
and now she is getting very loud and getting all up in my face and i wonder if she will wait for me by my car when i leave.
"you need to leave. you can't kick people. if you have a problem with someone you come to me. you can't kick people."
this goes on and on back and forth and eventually she storms out yelling about how he stole from her and i am yelling at her back about not kicking people.
then my page looks at me and says, "you okay? you look really angry today."
am i angry? or am i just a devoted soldier in the war against kicking?
p.s. she was not waiting for me when i got to my car later.



Thursday, December 20, 2007

we're a team!

today we had a staff meeting!
we're a team!
ms. manager told us that we all need to answer the phone quicker.
people from central may be watching us!
ms. manager says that we must MUST make sure to clean up! this library WILL be clean!
people from central may be watching us!
have i mentioned that this is the most immaculate library i have ever worked in?
we MUST clean up!
i wonder if the people from central will also be checking to see if mean old ladies are yelling at everyone for no reason and then ejecting them from the library.
we are a small staff, and ms. manager doesn't want to hear "it's not my job."
i look around at the three other employees at the meeting and wonder if any of them have actually ever uttered that phrase. probably not.
everyone here does everything! there's no, "it's not my job!"
i wonder who's job it is to answer reference questions while i am doing programs? because right now people just come into my programs and intereupt me to ask simple questions like, "can i borrow one of those little pencils?"
everyone here does everything! and if you don't like it you should go to another branch!
all in all, it is a riveting speech. but it seems like it should all be directed at the staff of some other library where these horrible atrocities she is accusing us of might actually be occurring.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

she's crafty ... she's just my type

i'll give you goyim (i use this term with love) one thing ... you sure do know how to decorate for the holidays. but we are catching up to you! not only do i have my traditional "happy hanukkah" banner up, but i have also created a sort of winter wonderland of snowflakes utilizing old pages of the phonebook. and then i decided that i needed to bring my bike in for the season, so i felt it best to decorate said bike with a paper chain, christmas lights, a few globe-y ornaments, and yes those are blueberry candy canes hanging from the spokes. it is truly a sight to behold.

when librarians get riled up

this morning i went to a mock caldecott meeting. the caldecott is a picture book award that is given every year to a book with outstanding illustrations. sometimes librarians like to have meetings and pretend we are on the committee and then decide who we think should win. so about 50 children's librarians were divided up and we all sat at a table and discussed which books we thought deserved to win. you may not think it, but this ALWAYS sparks heated debate.
my personal favorite was Knuffle Bunny Too: a Case of Mistaken Identity by Mo Willems. he cleverly draws charaters onto real pictures, like this one shown here. its really amazing how he is able to make the characters look like they are interacting with their environment.
so as i am going on and on about how much i love this book, this woman next to me is sighing and making all sorts of overdone sounds exclaiming how much she hated the book. (how can anyone hate mo willems? he has been a guest star at a national book cart drill team championship!)
so then she starts saying how ugly she thought the book was and how stupid the story was.
the story is about a young girl who takes her beloved knuffle (pronounced kuh-nuffle) bunny to school and then lo and behold her arch enemy also has a knuffle bunny and then all of her knuffle bunny thunder is stolen by said arch enemy. then there is a knuffle bunny switch and the girl doesn't realize until late at night that her knuffle bunny is really an imposter! she then waked her parents and her father asks (this is my favorite) "do you know what 2:30 am means?" then there is a beautifully illustrated meet up outside prospect park so that the knuffle bunnies can be reunited with their proper owners and the young girl realizes that she and her arch enemy aren't that different after all.
is it war and peace? no. is it a good story for a picture book? yes! what the hell kind of plotting do you want in a picture book? this is what picture books are people! a bear loses his button in a department store. a curious monkey gets in trouble. a baby bird searches for his mother.
then she is going on and on how, get this, the plot is unbelieveable and far fetched. then all the other librarians talk about the time their child lost their blankie here and they had to go back or little timmie left his bear at the mall. or, my favorite, a librarian recalled how when she was little she went to canada and left her cabbage patch kid at a mcdonalds and she would not board the ferry home until her father drove back and retrieved it.
then a second woman kind of jumped on the band wagon and said that the book was not "art" and that she could draw the illustrations herself. i HATE it when people say that. yeah, could you draw a picasso or splatter paint like jackson pollock? yeah .... you could. but guess what? you didn't! you didn't hang a urinal on the wall and call it art! someone else did! and now you're jealous that you didn't think of it first! so this woman continues to copy the drawing, "proving" to us that these are not in fact quality illustrations, since she can copy them. big deal, you can look at an already published highly popular children's book and copy it. who can't? i could probably copy dr. seuss if i wanted to. that doesn't mean he isn't awesome. also, i'd like to point out that mo willems has TWICE, not once, but TWICE won the caldecott "honor" book (meaning he was like a runner up). so its not like he's some hack or something.
anyway, knuffle bunny didn't win our mock caldecott. but it is such a cute book. i highly recommend it. so here is the moral of the story: 1. people are stupid. 2. mo willems rocks.

Monday, December 17, 2007

the giving and getting of digits

today i had a class visit in which i showcased a variety of revolutionary war biographies. it went very well, except for the fact that none of the kids can ever remember to bring their library cards. this is rather annoying since after painstakingly researching revolutionary war titles and pulling them all from the shelves, i have to now put them all back. or to be more accurate, i have to make my page put them all back. anyway, while the class was in the program room, reading the books i had selected for them, a man came up to the desk.
man: is that a classroom in there?
me: no, it's a program room. we just have a class visiting.
man: you teach in there?
me: no, we have programs. like class visits, and homework help and crafts and stuff.
man: you're a teacher?
me: no. i'm a librarian. this is a library.
man: i was hoping you could tell me the benefits of getting a library card.
me: (starting to wonder if this guy is "for real") well, if you had a library card you could take out movies or music cds or books or magazines or use our computers. and it's all free as long as you return your items on time. (isn't the library grand?)
man: free? but how much does it cost to get a library card?
me: (chipper as can be) its free! you just have to return your items on time and you'll never have to pay for anything.
after a little convicing i am able to persuade him into getting a card. so he goes off to get a card and then returns a little while later.
man: i'd like to talk to you some more. ask you a few more questions.
me: (starting to get scared) okay.
man: no. (pause for creepy effect) i want to talk to you on the phone.
me: i don't think so.
man: why don't you give me your phone number.
me: absolutely not.
man: well, can i give you my number?
me: you can do what you want, but i'm not going to call you
man: (starting to write down his phone number) i think you'll change your mind
me: nah, i won't change my mind.
man: oh, i think i'll be hearing from you
me: not gonna happen
and i take the piece of scrap paper he wrote his number on and immediately throw it in the trash as he walks away.

Friday, December 14, 2007

25 big ones and they're mine all mine

i think i told you how i am involved in a learn-to-blog project at work. anyway, i am one of the few people who actually completed the project and the prize is a $25 gift card which i just received today. so my manager comes over with this envelope marked "personal and confidential" and it was curriered over here by a library staff member. well, my manager was intrigued and i have to say she looked a little bit jealous. she skulked away before i got a chance to open it so i know it is eating her up inside about why did i, silly children's librarian, get something imortant. ha ha sucker! serves you right for being a meanie who never wants to do anything and doesn't care about the library!
but wait! it gets better! i open it up to see what store the gift card is to and it is a VISA card! so i can use it anywhere! yay!
so i invite you to look upon my fantastic $25-earning blog project in all its $25-earning glory!
but wait! it continues to get better! there was a deadline you had to finish your blog by. this deadline is rapidly approaching. and all the people who finished (ME and a handful others) will be placed in a drawing to win a new laptop. so that means that i am now in a raffle for a new laptop and i am competing against precious few others! yay!

librarian: sole giver of compliments

so yesterday my favorite kid comes in and he is looking a bit sullen ... then i show him the fab art deco clock i made for him out of a bloomingdales box (i am so crafty. i have also decorated my apartment using snowflakes made out of pages from the phonebook. this is the most useful function my phonebook has performed in years). anyway my favorite kid was very happy to see the clock. then he admitted to me that he had been afraid that i was going to be mad at him. so i explained that what happened the other day is in the past and it is all over and today is a new day and everything is fine.
we begin our time-telling lesson, and although it is slow-going, he is kind of getting it. having the fake clock helps. but every time he understands one concept, he loses comprehension of another concept. it's like, he can only understand pieces of time-telling, and he cannot grasp them all at once. so its very frustrating work.
have i mentioned that as a librarian i have never ever not even once in my life taken an education course. do you know why? because i am not an educator. i am a librarian and it is not my job to teach. i am supposed to guide people and find books for people and expose them to culture and stuff. so when i get very frustrated and lose my patience, it is not my fault because i am in no way qualified to be teaching people stuff. (except maybe teaching people to knit)
anyway, helping favorite kid with his homework is like pulling teeth. i have to give him prompts for everything and he can't concentrate and he has trouble retaining information. but finally, he just looked at this one problem and without me saying anything he blurted out the correct answer.
"that's right!" i say a little too loudly for the library. then he got all smiley and i said that whatever he did right then, whatever process he went through in his mind, that is the exact right process and he should do it every time.
"you know," he says, "you're the only person that compliments me."
"well," i say, slightly taken aback, "i think it's important to compliment people when they do something good."
"yeah," he says, "but no one else ever compliments me. you compliment me all the time."

so now i have created a situation in which i have become favorite kid's personal tutor. which is very difficult work AND it takes away from the time i am supposed to be spending helping other kids. but how can i not? it's like i need to save this kid. he is within my grasp and only i can save him. his family has let hime down, his teachers are too busy to give him the attention he needs. i am standing in a field of rye and everyone around me is falling through the cracks and he is the one that i have grabbed onto to save.

what a difference a call to child protective services can make

while helping my favorite kid with his homework, he mentioned to me that he needed to go home early because his "case worker" was coming over. now, i just want you to know that he gives up this type of information without any prompting from me. i am not asking him any questions. he is all too eager to tell me this stuff. actually, he's kind of a blabbermouth. anyway, so he was telling me that his case worker from child protective services is coming over and he needs to finish his homework so that he can go home.
notice two things:
1. he now has a caseworker. possibly due to my phonecall which some people viewed as me "not minding my business."
2. he has to finish his homework in the library. because the library has turned into a free babysitting/parenting facility in which it is now my responsibility to teach these kids stuff like how to read and how to tell time. these things should be accomplished before i send this kid back to his family. god forbid this kids parents take part in his education. nice.
so anyway, he is telling me about his caseworker and how he is so excited because she will be coming over again next week and next week guess what she will be delivering to him and his little brother? a bump bed.
i think you mean, "a bunk bed," i tell him.
then i tell him of how as a little girl i used to wistfully dream of the day my sister and i would get a bunk bed, but alas, that day never came.
"don't worry," he says, "one day you will get a bump bed."
yes, favorite kid, maybe one day i shall get a bump bed. kind of like tom hanks in the movie Big. and maybe i will get a trampoline as well.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

time is not on my side

the other day my favorite kid comes in and asks me to help him with his homework. i try to explain to him that my fabulous new activities assistant is in charge of homework help and that he should go into the program room with the other kids. he complains a bit and says he wants ME to help him with his homework and Ms. AA doesn't help him like i do and Ms. AA is too busy helping the other kids blah blah blah.
at this time i would like to say that i am a complete supporter of favoritism and i totally bend over backwards for my favorite kid because i love him so much. there i said it. and you know what? he deserves it. he's so cute and sweet and troubled. but i digress.
so i sit with my favorite kid and try to help him with his homework, which is all about telling time. have you ever tried to teach someone to tell time? it's infuriating. how the hell does anyone ever learn this the first time around?
so i am explaining different concepts of time to him and he is getting so confused and distracted and i am getting frustrated and the whole thing is awful. after a while when we are making very little progress he says "this is a waste of my time."
oh, that killed me. for about 10 seconds he was no longer my favorite kid.
"this is a waste of your time?! i don't have to do this! i am trying to help you! work on it yourself then!"
then he kind of cowers at my fury and says, "what is a waste of time?"
now i am confused. "you just said it!"
"yeah," he says, "but you're getting upset and i don't think i really know what it means because i didn't think i said something bad but i must of said something bad or else you would not be getting so mad. is that like a bad word or something?"
oh, bless him. he's so cute. so then i explain what a "waste of time" is and he is all apologetic and i say that i too am sorry for becoming frustrated and we continue with the homework.
around this time i realize that he has a serious problem comprehending what i tell him. it is all jumbled in his head and he just can't grasp any of the concepts permanently. have i mentioned that he was left back once? he was. so now i am realizing that i think he legitimately has a learning disability or maybe adhd or maybe both. because he is really struggling.
later when we were all going home i saw him standing in the foyer crying. i assumed this was some sort of family problem, like his mom forgot to pick him up or something. but when i ask him what wrong he says,
"this kid was calling me stupid for not knowing how to tell time because i am in the third grade and i should know how to tell the time. and really i am in the third grade twice now so i really should know how to tell time and there is something wrong with me that i don't know how and he was saying that i am stupid and i will never understand anything. and also i am so sorry for saying that thing that made you upset because i didn't know what i was saying."
so then i hug him and tell him of course i understand that he didn't mean what he said and i am not mad and everything is fine and he doesn't have to worry about it and god-as-my-witness i will teach him how to tell time!
so that night when i went home i made a fake clock out of a bloomingdales gift box. it's quite fetching, very art deco.

Monday, December 10, 2007

caught in the act

while the kids were in the program room (which is separated from the children's room by several glass windows) dilligently doing their homework with my fabulous activities assistant, i decided to sneak onto myspace to check out the comment that ms. b. cakes left me. this is a big no-no as the children are not allowed on myspace and every day i shout at them "no myspace in the children's room" even though i totally heart myspace. so then after about a second they all rush out
"you have a myspace account! you have a myspace account!"
and then i had to rationalize that i, an adult over the age of 14, am allowed to be on myspace. i also wanted them to be quiet because i knew my mean manager would be mad if she knew what i was doing. then, right when i thought the kids were going to call me out on being a total hypocrite they all shout, "will you friend me? will you friend me?" they were seriously rejoicing at the idea of being my virtual friend. these are the same kids who whine and complain at me about everything and say i'm so mean blah blah blah. and then they all push and shove each other to write their email addresses down for me so i could friend them.
and now, they are all illegally on myspace looking at my profile and friending me. but they are being extremely quiet. so i think its okay.

miss me?

yeah, i know you did ...
so today is my first day back after my vacation. i am still slightly queasy from the illness that befell me on the last night of my trip and sent me to the emergency room. and of course being in an emergency room filled with attractive young bahaman doctors reminded me of the long lost nubian. oh long lost nubian. le sigh.
anyway, when i arrived back at library-in-the-hood there was a nice card made out of construction paper welcoming me back. it reads as follows:
you have been gone
gone for so long
we missed you so much
our hearts have been broken
we are glad you are back
and are here to stay
if you leave us again you have to tell us
because when you come back we will all have grins
isn't that cute? even though these kids are insane you gotta love 'em.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

countdown to my vacation part 3

one day and eight hours until i am in the air flying towards paradise island. not just a clever name.
this morning i met with the woman who is in charge of the library's afterschool program. we actually had a really good meeting. sometimes i can schmooze like you wouldn't believe. i charmed the pants off this woman. i showed her the newsletter we made and she was just so in awe of ME. she said it was the cutest thing she's ever seen and she is going to show it to all the activity assistants (who are her underlings) as an example of a fabulous fabulous thing to do with children. AND i convinced her give us more construction paper and more googley eyes! ( we are dangerously low on googley eyes) and she was so impressed by the work i've been doing that she said that if i ever have an idea for something that needs a little extra cash i should tell her (she said she wouldn't want me to just give up and think i couldn't do it) since i am such an innovator, she might be able to move some funds around for me. yeah, that's right. who's awesome? me. finally someone noticed.
p.s. that is a picture of me sunning myself on a diving platform ... i am not sailing the high seas on a mattress.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

out of the mouthes of activities assistants

AA: now why is the manager in such a bad mood?
me: is she in a bad mood?
AA: yeah, she's all unhappy and got all sorts of attitude about everything.
me: oh, well that's kinda normal.
AA: you mean she's just like that all the time?
me: pretty much.
AA: i thought it was me. i don't know why somebody would want to act all grumpy and mean all the time. sheesh.

jew in the hood

i was speaking to my activities assistant about what sorts of holiday crafts we should do (two christmas, one kwanzaa and one hanukkah) and she admitted to me that she has no idea what a dreidel is! oy vey iz mir!

when i was a kid we used to make dreidel people out of construction paper and then make accordion arms and legs for them (long strips of construction paper folded over and over again). it was very classy looking ... if only my activities assistant hadn't used all my googley eyes.

vacation reading: an e-mail to my mother

dear mom,
could you get me any of the following books from your library:
on beauty by zadie smith
eat pray love (forgot the author)
straight man by richard russo
you may be asking yourself, "doesn't my dearest daughter work in a library? is she not a librarian?"
well, yes she does work in a library and she is a librarian, but her branch does not even OWN these books because no one reads real books at library-in-da-hood. (on beauty was withdrawn because it only got two circs! TWO CIRCS! oh, the shame of it all!)
thanks!

love,
me

Monday, November 26, 2007

countdown to my vacation part 2

you may not be able to tell, but this is a depiction of me sliding down a water slide out of a tower. and then when i land i will be landing in a pool that looks like it is full of tropical fish, but as i explained to my favorite kid ... it is not really filled with tropical fish, the tropical fish are in a separate adjacent pool.
3 days, 13 hours and fifteen minutes until my plane takes off!
i think i might speak to the good people at the atlantis and ask them if they are interested in using some of this artwork in their next brochure.

countdown to my vacation

only 4 days and 8 hours until i am on a plane to the bahamas.

here is a depiction of what it might look like when i swim with dolphins, drawn by my favorite kid.

bribing the children is good

we have this program in which kids can sign up to read in the library and get $1 off the fines they owe for every half hour they read. it is usually tedious work to get the kids to do this (even though it is a GREAT deal since many of them owe $20, $50, $100 on their card.) then there are a lot of kids who pretend to read and i have to police them and make sure they actually read. and then we get 5th graders asking if they can read dr. suess. anyway, i decided to up the ante and say that if a child wants TO ME (books chosen by me) that i will give them $2 each reading session. for some reason, they love this idea. i think it is because even though i am a mean bitchy evil librarian, they love to be near me. anyway, today i had two kids take me up on this offer. one young man who reads way below his reading level read me a book about sharks. he liked to insert his own commentary from time to time, especially when we saw a picture of scientists in scuba gear in one of those cages they lower into shark-infested waters. "now why would somebody want to do that?" he said, "you know that shark is just gonna bite right through that cage."
then a young girl who is a bit bratty decided to read, and it turns out she is actually a very good reader. she read a book on thurgood marshall, claude monet, anne frank (i try to sneak in jewish culture when i can), and gallileo gallili (which was fun to pronounce).
so both kids are excited to read with me again, AND i think they actually learned something. amazing, no?
some days its not so bad working here.

Friday, November 23, 2007

advice from the aclm

not only is my aclm leaving, but today is his last day. i have to say, i kinda feel like we're getting shafted. i mean, why do we have to lose our aclm just so some newly built library can get him and they have to wait until they find us a replacement? no fair. anyway, the aclm tried to give me some words of wisdom before he leaves ....
first he told me that i should try to communicate better with the manager. so i told him straight out that i find it difficult (impossible) to relate to the manager. when he asked me why, i said that i felt that she didn't like me. he did not disagree. he just said some bs about her being a "traditional" librarian and how she does not embrace change. well, no wonder they seem to have a problem retaining children's librarians. i then mention her hatred of children. again he did not disagree. then i said that i felt that she has never once said anything encouraging or ever sad that i had done anything well. again, he did not disagree. all he said was, "you know you do a good job. you know what you do here."
"yeah," i said, "i know i do a good job."
then he mentioned that he knows that the manager does not like when i mention the other branch i worked at (you know, the one that i loved). usually i will mention it as a reference to other library practices that i am familiar with. like, "oh, yeah they did that at my other branch." or "when i was at the other branch they did so and so ... maybe we can try that here." or "yes, i am familiar with that. i learned about it at my other branch."
i mean it's not like i sit at the reference desk all wistful, longing to be back at the other branch ... saying stuff like, "back at the other branch children actually read books and parents actually cared and there was a plethora of affordable lunch spots!"
anyway then he spoke about compromising and how i should compromise. then i mentioned how i compromise all the time because the manager feels that children should be silent at all times and should never leave their seat and should ONLY be here to do homework and that they should never have fun and that there can only be four to a table and one to a computer. and i enforce these ridiculous rules even though i do not believe in half of them.
grrrrrrrrr.

losing my aclm

my aclm (assistant community library manager) has just been transferred to a different branch. lucky. but he has only been here for a month! and i like him! this sucks. the branch dynamic will totally change back to strict nazi library regime without him. le sigh.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

the story of thanksgiving OR why i will never send my children to public school

let me begin by telling you that i do not really believe in thanksgiving. as a vegetarian i don't eat turkey, so i'm always trying to make a meal out of side dishes. then there's the whole hypocrisy of the white man ruthlessly slaughtering indians and then pretending that we're friends. so this isn't a holiday i care about deeply. but i think it is important to understand our holidays and our culture, even if it is only so that we may dismiss and insult said culture later.

today while we were making thanksgiving wreaths, my lovely assistant decided to go around the room and have the kids say what they were thankful for. most were thankful for their families and friends. one boy was thankful for wwf wrestling. then my assistant suggested they should be thankful for me, and all that i do for them. so then they all thanked me. it was pretty cute.

then i thought why not discuss the story of thanksgiving (bad idea!). it went a little something like this:

(warning: this conversation happened with children in 4th-6th grade, and will terrify you)
me: so who knows the story of thanksgiving?
children: oh, i do! i do! it's when you give thanks and you share and you eat lots of food.
me: yes, that is what we do on thanksgiving. but who knows the story of thanksgiving: why we do those things?
children: (silence)
me: no one knows the story of thanksgiving?
children: it's when we won the war, right?
me: no, there was no war (kind of a lie, since we did later kill lots o' indians). don't you guys learn about this in school? about the pilgrims and the indians?
children: oh yeah, the pilgrims! they wear black and white!
me: yes, but what did the pilgrims do?
children: they won the war!
me: no! there was no war!
children: isn't thanksgiving when we honor martin luther king junior?
me: no! (rolling my eyes) that's martin luther king day! this is about the pilgrims!
children: they wore black and white and we have to be thankful.
me: many people wear black and white. the pilgrims came over in a boat from another country. does anyone know what country they came from?
children: (proudly) the united states of america!
me: no! that's where we are now. that's where they came to. where did they come from?
children: africa!
me: no ... and africa is a continent.
children: asia!
me: no ... again, asia is a continent.
children: india! (this was shouted out by a bengali kid so i feel it is more acceptable)
me: no
one lone child: england?
me: yes! england! thank you lone smart child! okay, so the pilgrims left england because they didn't have religious freedom. they came here to be able to practice their religion freely. they came over on a boat. does anyone know what it was called?
children: a ship!
me: yeah, ship is another word for boat. but their boat had a name. anyone know what it was called?
children: (silence)
me: don't you guys pay attention to the thanksgiving word puzzles i give you every week?
children: silence
me: the ship was called the mayflower
children: oh! the mayflower! oh we know that!
me: okay, so the pilgrims were on the mayflower, crossing the ocean, and back in 1620 this took a long time. they were on the mayflower for months. they eventually ran out of food and by the time they got here many of them were sick or starving and some of them even died.
children: and some of them fell overboard!
me: yeah, i guess probably some of them fell overboard, but i've never read anything about that. so anyway ... finally after a long long journey the pilgrims landed ...
lone obnoxious child: oh! oh! i know what happened!
me: okay, tell us.
lone obnoxious child: that's when john f. kennedy landed!
me: what?! no .... john f. kennedy never landed anywhere. this has nothing to do with john f. kennedy. (shake it off) okay, the pilgrims landed here and they didn't know how to farm here because it's so different from england. so they didn't have any food and they would have died but then they got some help. does anyone know who they got help from?
children: louis and clark!
me: no, but that's a good guess (glad that they were at least back in the right time period).
children: the indians!
me: yes they got help from the indians! and the indians showed them how to farm and how to grow food and eventually they had a huge harvest. what season is harvest time?
children: spring!
me: no
children: summer!
me: no
children: winter
me: no
children: fall
me: yes, fall ... the season we're in. you plant things in the spring and they grow when its warm and then you harvest in the fall. so when they finally had a harvest they hd a big dinner with the indians and they all got along and they were thankful that they were able to keep themselves alive.
children: that's all?
then my lovely assistant looked over to me with sad sad eyes and shrugged, telling the kids "well, that was a short version."
short version indeed! it seemed to go on for hours as far as i'm concerned.
me: without the indians the pilgrims would have died. so they were thankful to be alive and have food. and that's the story of thanksgiving.
other obnoxious child: what's the story of thanksgiving?
me: the story i just told.
other obnoxious child: i wasn't listening. can you tell it again?
me: absolutely not.

and i swear to you ... that is pretty much a verbatim account.







one day soon i will swim with the fishes (or are they mammals?)

so i was having a chat with my favorite kid and i was telling him about how i will be going on vacation very very soon. FK was sad ... said he would miss me. he's so cute. then i said that i will miss him too. but not enough to not go to the bahamas. "what's the bahamas?" FK asks. my god, he really is a neglected child. so i ask him if he would like to see the bahamas. then i magically use the internets to show him the lovely resort i will be staying at in said bahamas. well, i think you guys may have noticed that i've been a bit down ... well i perked right up when i started looking at this website. i started saying stuff like, "look FK i can go on water slide!" "ooooh, FK i can relax in a tube and go down a river-shaped pool" "you can swim with dolphins for 30 minutes FK, aren't you excited?!"
although FK was excited i could tell he was also getting a little jealous. "that's no fair," he said, "you're going to go to the bahamas and i'm going to be left here to do all the work."

"what work do you do, FK?" i mean, c'mon, i'm the one working here.

"you'll be swimming with dolphins for 30 minutes and i'll be here in the cold going to school and doing homework and being bored!"

"yeah," i agree, "that is unfair."

"i've never been on a vacation," he said. then he took a few sheets of paper and skulked off.

i felt pretty bad then. i mean, i didn't want to rub it in like that.

but then a few minutes later he came back and showed me the Happy Vacation card that he made me. it was several pages long, each page illustrating a vacation activity: me with dolphins, me on waterslide, me relaxing on a raft. it was pretty awesome.

so i think i will make him a card before i leave. maybe i will illustrate myself missing FK while i am on vacation.

numbers, numbers, numbers

yesterday i went to a children's librarian training ... quick summary: many dim-witted middle-aged women who have never been librarians before ask inane questions and then nod enthusiastically at the answers. every so often when i get truly bored i interject with a question that is really a thinly disguised complaint of how the "system" is run. fun!

at this meeting i was told how important "your numbers" are. your numbers are how many kids show up to any given program at your library. it doesn't matter if the program is good or bad ... it doesn't matter if your program is truly original and thought-provoking. all that matters are your numbers. because Big Brother will be looking at your numbers and he will be judging your librarian-ness (as well as your library) solely on Your Numbers.

yay quantity not quality! maybe i should have a "program" and in the "program" i will just give away candy. i bet my numbers would go way up! stupid programs about learning to tell time or solving riddles or exercising your brain are SO out. candy giveaways are in in IN!

in conclusion, yet another downfall of the branch system ... when in a large bureaucracy-brary you are not judged by your actual performance but rather you are judged on meaningless statistics.


did you know that 82% of statistics are made up?



i just made that up ... get it? i'm so clever.



my new slogan ... "no library left behind"




Tuesday, November 20, 2007

craftiness

i would like to show you some of the good work i am doing. for instance, today we made hand turkeys for thanksgiving ... you know, when you trace your hand and then draw it into a turkey. then we decorated the turkeys with colored feathers. pictures to come. anyway, here is a picture of one of the clothespin bats we made for halloween ... they're made out of clothespins so you can clip them anywhere! yay!
please notice the googley eyes.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Library of Death

where not to keep your paperbacks

so at the "training" i went to friday the head of community libraries spoke to us. he was actually very entertaining, telling us all sorts of interesting anecdotes about the various experiences he has had in libraries. about half way through his speech however, i realized that he was not actually telling us anything about the organization we all work for. nor was he "training" us in any way. but he was so entertaining. he was definitely the best speaker i had to listen to.
anyhoo, he was telling us how he revolutionized this one library he worked at ... massively raising their circulation. so someone asked, "well ... how did you massively raise circulation?" and he mentioned some various common sense things he did, but then he mentioned how the public bathrooms in this particular library were very large and the rest of the library was kind of small. SO, he decided to shelve paperbacks in the bathroom. in the bathroom! he put romance novels in the women's room and westerns in the men's room. he said this was amazingly popular and the books went out like crazy.
well, i feel sorry for whoever has to reshelve those books. yuck. when i worked at albany public the biography section was dangerously close to the public bathrooms. men would typically grab a biography on their way in and then drop it somewhere when they were done. (of course they never actually put it back in the right place when they were finished with it. they would just kind of leave it anywhere.)
no one ever wanted to reshelve the biographies. i tell you, no amount of hand sanitizer would have gotten me anywhere near those biographies.
shelving books IN the bathroom .... indeed!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

a saturday in the hood

ah saturday ... how i hate to be here on saturdays. but at least there are no pesky patrons bothering me. maybe i'll do some books orders. maybe i'll finally get the holiday books section in order. maybe i will do online crossworkd puzzles all morning. only time will tell.
but i do have an excellent activity for the kids. TWO activities:
1. i will have them assemble the pages of our newsletter. it is SO cool. i am so proud of them.
2. i made a "magnetic" poetry exercise where the kids will cut out words and then glue them to a piece of paper and make poems out of them. cool, huh?

Friday, November 16, 2007

i meet my accuser

here is the scenario:
in a conversation with my aclm (assistant community library manager) i discuss my favorite kid who says he is being abused. we talk about what to do, blah blah blah and somewhere in there he mentions that some libraries have social workers. i say, "wouldn't it be divine if we had a social worker?"
"oh yes," the aclm says, "divine indeed."
then he suggests i email someone from Children's Services about what to do about my favorite kid. so i do that. and she mentions the name of someone i can contact about abuse and also a different person i can contact about social workers in libraries.
i contact both people.
social worker man sends me a rather snippy email telling me nothing. then it comes around that he has informed people that i emailed him. apparently, emailing someone and asking them a question is strictly forbidden. then it comes back to my Manager that i have emailed social worker man. so then yesterday the aclm tells me that i went around the sacred chain of command. then i start crying.
TODAY i go to new librarian training in which we learn nothing useful about how to be librarians. lucky for me i already know how to be a librarian. anyhoo who walks up to give a presentation but social worker man! he talks about all the great stuff he does in libraries and how his department has all these programs at different libraries in need and isn't he a wonderful great man.
i am biting my tongue while he speaks.
finally i raise my hand and ask innocently ... "if someone works at a branch that they feel needs these services what should they do?"
"well," he says, "you could email me about it."
oh really?
i wish i had said something like, "can i email you? because i actually did email you last week and i've been reprimanded for it." but i didn't. i sat silently cursing this ridiculous institution i work for.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

there's no crying in library service

things have finally caught up with me ... you can't go around making kids cry and think that one day you won't get yours.

today:
woke up feeling yucky due to my antibiotics
dared to wear a top TUCKED IN to my skirt (something i typically think is impossible for me)
walked into the library feeling good
was told that i went "around the chain of command" by asking Central (aka big brother) how one goes about getting a social worker at the library
then folks, i hate to say it, i starting crying hysterically
i think i blabbed something about my boyfriend breaking up with me (was the nubian even my boyfriend? i guess for lack of a better term ...) and i blabbed about being sick and about always getting in trouble and about being punished for being sick ...
then i seriously could not stop crying and had to go to the bathroom for like twenty minutes.
and this is all in front of the new assistant branch manager who i can only assume now thinks i am insane.
and really, all i wanted to do was say "i'm sorry ... i need to go home." BUT I CAN'T GO HOME BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE UNDOCUMENTED SICK TIME!
thankfully i was able to go to lunch early and i had highly educated vegetarian spiritualists feed me ziti and chat with me about audiobooks.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

R.I.P. iBee: a eulogy

most of you have never met my friend iBee, but she recently passed away. i'd like to take a few moments to commemorate her ... that is before i go to the apple store tomorrow and replace her with a macbook.
iBee the iBook, known as iBee to your friends, you were a good iBook. you were my first apple. i loved you like i've loved no other computer. your recent and sudden passing has been very hard on me. but this isn't about me. it's about you.

i wish i had been better to you. sure i decorated you with stickers i got from the last beck album (or should i say stickers that came with the beck album i bought for the library but took for my own knowing that the patrons would only steal them themselves) ... but i could have been better to you. i didn't clean your keys enough and sometimes your white shine was dulled by my laziness. i should've taken you out more. there are so many coffeeshops and cafes that you will never see. iBee, if i knew then what i know now ... i would have been better to you.

iBee, i hope that you have found peace wherever you are. i hope that where you are your airport card finally works and you no longer shut down for absolutely no reason. take care iBee, you will be missed.

a word to the wise

so ... today i was given a formal warning about my sick time usage. turns out that using more than 3 sick days without a doctor's note within a 6 month period is somehow unlawful. well, i'm just screwed.

it's a new dawn ... it's a new day ... it's a new life

okay, i have been re-reading this blog and it's getting a little too whiny for my tastes (although my therapist does complain that i do not express and share my pain with others enough). anyhoo ... if we cannot get back on track with entertaining ourselves by making fun of library patrons ... let's at least be a little proactive:
my day so far:
  • wake up with sore throat
  • drive through the rain singing love songs (fidelity by regina spektor really speaks to me)
  • straighten up the library while simultaneously cursing my new Page who does not seem to want to tidy
  • create new weekly puzzles to push the children's literary skills
  • contact head of children's services about color printer and scanner so that the newsletter i am having the kids make can be in color (i have been having the kids write a newsletter! it's so cool! they actually write articles and draw pictures! see? i am not totally evil!)
  • contact security about my favorite kid and what i can do to help him
and it's not even lunch yet.

Monday, November 12, 2007

good librarians never get sick

i was told by my new supervisor that when i have my 6 month evaluation i will be judged on two things:
1. punctuality
2. sick time used
i have to say ... i am an obsessively punctual person. i often try to be late because i hate waiting around for other people and even when i try to be late i am still on time. but last month i was late twice. the first time was because i had an alarm clock (or should i say cell phone) malfunction and i woke up late and was 20 minutes late to work. the other was due to traffic and i was about 30 minutes late. all other days i come in on time or slightly early. so when i was told that these two times that i was late, two times since i was hired in June, these two times would negatively effect my evaluation, i was pretty pissed.
now, i often complain about library-in-the-hood, but one thing that was really awesome was that my branch manager decided to be "creative" with my time sheet and did some math that is beyond my understanding and changed my timesheet so that there were no unexcused latenesses. so that was cool.
but then there is problem two. i believe i have mentioned my inability to breathe through my nose. sometimes i meet people that say things like, "oh, i never get sick," and when they say this is truly don't understand how this is possible.
"never?"
"well, maybe once a year."
"once a year?!"
"yeah, its a drag."
"what?!"
i get ill, like seriously ill, every two months. this is actually a bit of an improvement from getting sick every other month, which is what i used to do before i started taking singulair. so i pretty much use all sick time which is allotted to me. and i see nothing wrong with that. you gave me the sick time. thank you. i shall use it. all of it.
so when my supervisor said that "central" aka big brother will be watching how often i use my sick time and when i take it, (ie do i take sick time right after vacations? do i take sick time right after a three day weekend?) i knew i was screwed. i am totally the person who gets sick right after a vacation or who gets sick and wastes an entire holiday weekend laying in bed sneezing.
what is my point? my point is that i will be judged not on my performance as a librarian, but on my ability to operate an alarm clock and the quality of my immune system (i've been taking daily vitamins! does nothing!). no fair. and really, isn't it obvious who is actually sick and who is just calling in sick because they don't feel like coming to work? i know i took a mental health day last month, but i needed it. and i always feel SO guilty about not coming to work. i could contract leprosy and i would still argue with myself about whether or not i was being a "baby" by calling in sick. grrr.
again, what is my point? okay here it is ...
friday i used vacation time because i thought i was going to visit He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named ...but as you all know i did not visit said person. instead i was home moping ... but not only moping ... i was also coming down with an awful cold. so friday night, all day saturday, all day sunday i was home sick. actually, i wasn't home, i went to my mom's so i could watch cable tv and have her feed me matzoh ball soup. today i am STILL SICK. going to the doctor later. hopefully i will be better tomorrow and i will go to library-in-the-hood. but if i am still sick they will not see this as poor-girl-who-didn't-get-to-visit-her-man-and-instead-got-ill-and-wasted-a-holiday-weekend-being-sick ... they will see it as lazy-librarian-extended-her-three-day-weekend-and-now-has-the-nerve-to-call-in-sick.
i am so misunderstood.

Friday, November 9, 2007

this is the part where ...
















this is the part where i go it alone.
this is the part where i sit in cafes
while my friend waits tables
and i drink hot toddys
for my perpetual sore throat.
i look at a stranger's pictures of a recent trip to india
and i remember my own adventures
and the woman i once was ...
who i will be again.
this is the part where i go to the gym
and hit punching bags
until i re-sprain my wrists.
this is the part where i take the nubian's red velvet cupcakes
(for he is no longer a god)
and i disperse them to the people i love
who have always stuck by me.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

the battle for the nubian god has been lost

he said i didn't do right by him
even though i spent the better part of the evening making him red velvet cupcakes

do not go gentle into that good night OR do not give up your nubian god without a fight

sometimes my roommate is very smart. for instance ... last night i had a friend over consoling me about the loss of the nubian god. this was very nice as i was very very upset. however, he was of the opinion that i should just cut my losses and move on. then, once he left my roommate chimed in and said something like this (i am paraphrasing):

you and the nubian god have fought before and sometimes it takes him a while to come around, but you guys always made up. you might be able to go out there and work things out. or maybe you'll go out there and you won't be able to work things out. but if you don't go out there you'll always wonder if you might have been able to make it work. but you guys have something and it worth putting in some hard work for. and c'mon ... he's a nubian god for christ's sake.

SO, thank you smart roommate! i will fight for my nubian god! i will go out there (if he'll have me) and i will do whatever it takes to win him back!

here is an inspirational poem for you all:

Do Not Got Gentle Into that Good Night
By Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


question: what does that poem mean to you?
answer: i don't take shit from no one.

my favorite kid tells me a secret

FK: i have a secret to tell you
Me: okay (i say excitedly, because i love gossip)
FK: but you can't tell anyone
Me: who would i tell?
FK: if you tell anyone it will be like a betrayal, you know? you'll betray me.
Me: (realizing something is up) well .... sometimes when kids tell adults secrets the adults have to tell someone because the secret is something bad and the adult has to do something about it. do you understand that?
FK: yes
Me: okay, so what is your secret?
FK: sometimes ... i don't behave so good .... i used to behave bad all the time ... but now i behave pretty good.
Me: yeah, sometimes you misbehave ... but usually you're really good. (then i say in a whisper) you're one of my favorite kids.
FK: but when i misbehave at school i tell my mom and then my mom tells my dad and he gets so angry at me and then he hits me with a belt
Me: that's not right. he shouldn't do that.
FK: yeah it makes me sad
Me: what does your mom do?
FK: well she's the one that tells my dad. sometimes they fight.
Me: yeah, but does she try to stop him ever?
FK: no ... she's with him. like, when he goes to the closet where the belts are she doesn't say anything to him
Me: wow, i am so sorry. i wish i could help you out. that's not right what's going on.
FK: yeah ... i don't usually get black and blues though ... it just gets red
Me: you know, life gets better ... you go to high school and if you do well you go to ...
FK: i know you go to college and you get a job
Me: no, that's not what i was going to say. you go to high school and if you do really well you can go to college and then you get to move out of your house
FK: but i love my family
Me: yeah, but sometimes you need to get away from your family. like i did really well in high school and then i got to go to a college upstate in the mountains and there were trees and we got to go sledding
FK: wow
Me: yeah, so if you do well in school you can go to college and go sledding
FK: didn't you miss your family?
Me: not so much
FK: i'd miss my family
Me: well, you can always call them on the phone ... but sometimes its best not to live with them

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

puppets and small children make me feel better ... but only for a short period of time

today i did a story time, which i was dreading because i felt it would be awful to face a group of 5 year-olds knowing that i am now nubian-godless. but actually it was quite fun.
here's what i did:
i opened up with introducing the children to my new friend Mouse, who is not a real mouse, but a puppet of a mouse. i explained to them that Mouse is very shy and that they need to say "good morning to him." which they then did. then Mouse helped me go through the rules of story time. he wiggled his arms to show the kids that they should wiggle their arms now while they had a chance (there is NO wiggling during storytime). then he strethed his ears and the kids stretched their ears so that their ears were ready for listening. then Mouse put his hand in front of his mouth to signal that it was time to be quiet. what a good mouse he is.
then i read the following books:
mouse paint: starring some of mouse's friends who fall into jars of paint and then mix up the colors to make new colors. the kids enjoyed guessing what the colors the mixed up paint would make.
then we read brown bear brown bear what do you see, and the kids guess which animals brown bear would see. usually they got them wrong, but i was very supportive of them and didn't say anything like "hey stupid kids don't you know the brown bear sees a red bird?" i was on my best behavior.
then we took a little break for stretching and played "open, shut them." a little girl was nice enough to tell me that i was actually playing the game wrong and she explained the correct procedure for open shut them, so then we played a modified version.
then we read: in the tall tall grass, which they also enjoyed but there was no audience participation
finally we read go away big green monster, which was a real hit. i read it twice. once using the book, and the second time using this puppet that has removeable pieces so the kids instructed me on which pieces to place on the monster and which pieces to take away. it was really cool.
then we made monster hats, shown above. and as the kids were leaving proudly sporting the monster hats that they had made ... i felt good. i felt good about being a librarian and helping kids in the hood and for a brief moment i forgot about the nubian god.
but that brief moment is over.

a mathematical conundrum

if a neurotic jewish librarian was going on a flight to ohio to visit a nubian god, she would need 2 xanax for the roud trip flight (1 for each way). however, if she suddenly had zero nubian gods, how many xanax would she need to get through her day at library-in-the-hood?


hypothetical answer: she would need 1/2 a xanax for the first day (which she luckily found tucked away in the bowels of her medicine cabinet), thinking that a whole xanax might make her drowsy. however, on day two she would take a whole xanax, realizing that a half just doesn't do the job.

Monday, November 5, 2007

assistance is on its way

today we played a game that I CREATED called "are you smarter than a librarian." it is surprisingly similar to "are you smarter than a 5th grader," except that the kids battled yours truly in a match of wits. there were two teams and one team tied me and the other was a point behind. very fun. the kids were very impressed when i knew the name of the gypsy woman who befriends quasimoto in victor hugo's "hunchback of notre dame." they of course got grade appropriate questions which were much easier.
and get this, today, with no prior notice, i got a new activities assistant! no, no one emailed me to tell me she was hired and was starting today. anyway, she showed up and at first i was wary, but she seems to be good. she is a HUGE improvement from my last activities assistant who hated children and refused to do activities with them. curious. very curious.

what shall i be?

so for halloween some of the kids were told at school they had to come dressed up as what they wanted to be when they grew up. and my little friend O (the one who doesn't like touching the bathroom door because of the hobos) came dressed in a suit and button down shirt. when i asked him what he wanted to be he said "i want to be president." then he began strutting around with his chest out.
"that's great," i said.
"if not president, then i'd like to be a lawyer."
"lawyer is a good job too," i said.
"and if i can't be a lawyer, i'd like to be a teacher."
"oh," i said, "a teacher is a good job."
"yeah, it is," he agreed. "and if i can't be a teacher i'll be a doctor."
"uh-huh. well, i'm sure you can be whatever you want. you're very smart."
"i know." he said humbly. "but if i can't be a doctor then i'd like to be a school counselor."
"that's a good job too," i said. i'm so supportive. "so its president, lawyer, teacher, doctor, school counselor?"
"yeah."
"okay then."

what is crying to one person is mere whimpering to another

okay, the question has been raised: did i make a kid cry at the halloween party when i threatened to give away all the kids candy? the answer ... maybe. i did not actually see anyone crying, but i did hear a mom say to a younger child, "don't cry. you'll get candy." maybe this crying was totally unrelated to me and i am not such a bad person.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

things you should not scream at children during a halloween party:

"if you cannot be quiet you will not get any candy and cookies. i will end this party right now give your candy and cookies away. i will drive my car to another library and give your candy to other children."
yeah, so you can tell how the halloween party went. it actually started off well, but then when 65 kids showed up it got a bit out of control. urgh.
if my computer ever gets out of "the shop" i will happily post pictures of me in my terribly complex "hell's librarian" costume.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

little victories

today at a meeting of the THREE librarians at my branch, i was able to convince my manager that we should allow the kids to play games on the computer as long as they are quiet. this is of course on a trial basis, but still it is a step in the right direction. woohoo!

happy halloween! now shut up and be quiet

happy halloween! today i am dressed as hell's librarian. i am wearing a black dress with black & grey striped knee highs and glittery devil horns. you see, hell's librarian is very unhelpful. dare i say, she is one of satan's minions. anyhoo, she does not help people find things or do their homework. if anything, when you ask her a question she most likely will either laugh in your face or give you total mis-information. for instance, if you were to enter a libray in hell and ask for a cookbook, hell's librarian would totally tell you it was in the 200s. ha, joke's on you! they're really in the 640s. or are they?
okay ... must continue setting up for our halloween party.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

suffering from lead poisoning and being a minor celebrity

today i went to a meeting. a woman was there to talk to us about the dangers of lead poisoning. she was very thorough. i am now thoroughly convinced that i have been exposed to a variety of toxins and am most likely suffering from lead poisoning myself. right about now you are probably thinking i am a hypochondriac. well, the woman sitting next to me ALSO became convinced she too had lead poisoning. so its not just me.
oh, and i am on the cover of "library matters," a library magazine about queens library. everyone who is everyone has seen it.

Monday, October 29, 2007

where is the love?

you probably thought i forgot about you. well, i didn't. i could go into the long list of excuses as to why i have not posted lately, but i won't. so there!

anyway, there has been an interesting turn of events here ... we now have a assistant manager, and ABM if you will, because librarians love acronyms (assistant branch manager). so this abm has noticed that i am a good librarian. imagine that! he says stuff like, "you're a really good librarian." and "the kids really respond to you. you're very good with them" and my favorite, "you're a very good children's librarian." go figure.

but even though the abm is now my immediate supervisor, i still do not have to option of changing stupid archaic rules like 'no game playing on the computer' and 'only 4 people to a table' and 'no moving the miniscule chairs.'

did i tell you? they replaced about half the miniscule chairs with normal sized chairs. of course, they didn't bother to count how many chairs we actually needed. so every night when the pages try to put the chairs back neatly they fight amongst themselves about where the miniscule chairs go versus where the regular chairs go. i have tried to explain to them that this is an exercise in fruitlessness since no matter what there will be miniscule chairs where regular sized chairs go. but they don't listen to me.

Monday, October 22, 2007

a tirade on the usage of possesives

mine
eg: those books are mine
the word is already in a possesive tense.
you don't need to add an 's'
eg: oh yeah, that book, that's mines
THIS IS INCORRECT
just say MINE
do you know what 'mines' means?
mines: places where minerals may be obtained, either by excavation or by washing the soil.

see the difference?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

my new favorite subject heading

okay, sometimes people ask me "what kinds of stuff did you learn in library school?" they usually ask this with disdain, not understanding that there is a subtle science behind organization. when i am asked this i of course have trouble coming up with any sort of concrete answer. so let me bust out my knowledge of subject headings for you all. trust me, it will be funny in the end. i swear. when have i ever led you astray?

every item in the library is assigned at least one subject heading (usually several). subject headings are created by library of congress and other big organizing organizations. subject headings are TOTALLY different than keywords. a keyword is just a word in the title or description of a book. whereas, the subject heading is concrete and exact. for instance all books on american civil war battles would have the following subject heading:


United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Battlefields


if a book didn't have the word battlefields or civil war in the title, we would still be able to find it. this is our secret. subject headings. who would have thunk it?


ANYWAY, while trying to see how many books on ballerinas we have here in the library, i came across what is now my favoritest subject heading ever:


Ballerinas -- Crimes against

disclaimer: the author of this blog does not condone crimes and/or violent acts against ballerinas or any other types of dancers or performers. except maybe mimes. mimes really burn me up.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

some days you just need to hang out with your mom

i am unwell. that is all i can say.

today when i tried to button a pair of my dress pants and found them too constricting i decided i could not bring myself to go to work. whatever. what has work ever done for me?

then i decided that the best course of action was to call my mother. the conversation went something like this:
me: i don't want to go to work
mom (fellow librarian): then don't go
me: are you sure? is that okay?
mom: yes
me: do you want to have lunch later?
mom: of course

and that is how i came to be spending my "sick" day out on long island hanging out in my mom's library. its SO nice here. no hobos or anything.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

hobo=crackhead

i have a little helper. his name is O. he likes to organize the pencils on my desk. he is an obsessive compulsive in the making. he just came out of the bathroom holding a paper towel. he told me he has the paper towel because he does not like to touch the bathroom door with his bare hands, since the "hoboes" touch it. the hoboes are dirty, he explained, then crinkled up his nose in disgust.

one of the other kids overheard him and asked, "a hobo? what's that?"

then a third kid piped in and explained, "you know, like a crackhead."

"oh," he says, finally understanding, "a crackhead. why didn't you say so?"

Monday, October 15, 2007

allergy sufferer or drug addict .... you decide

so i have hay fever. all the time. constant hay fever. i am always sniffling and sneezing. i am now on singulair which is a huge improvement, but i will never actually breathe freely. its okay. i'm used to it. its like plato's allegory of the cave. i don't even know what true breathing is because i have never experienced it. anyhoo, so i was in the bathroom sniffling and snorting loudly (i try to contain this to the bathroom) and i kind of flung the door open as i was leaving with a bit too much gusto ... simultaneously, i was also snorting loudy and wiping and grabing at the tip of my nose. not unlike the posteurs of someone who has just inhaled a large amount of cocaine. (but i WAS NOT inhaling cocaine! not even small amounts) so when one of my coworkers saw me leaving the bathroom this way she gave me quite a strange look. it was a look of, "damned, that white girl they hired as the children's librarian is a god damned junkie." but i stand firm that i am not a coke-head ... just an allergy sufferer.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

who is sleeping in the library

so amid the chaos the other day, while i am trying to help many children at once, a kid comes up to me and says, "excuse me, but there's a crackhead sleeping in the library."
i look over to where he is pointing and sure enough there is a white-lipped woman with her head down on one of our tables.
"well," i say, completely overwhelmed. "she isn't bothering anyone."
"but she's a crackhead!"
"look," i tell him, "i need to focus on the children's room."
he walks off muttering about crackheads and how it isn't right.
i agree, crackheads shouldn't be sleeping in the library. but i have bigger problems.
just an aside: i don't think i could have correctly identified a crackhead at the age of 8. that's a little disturbing.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

things i am now allowed to do at work

BLOG! i am now part of a project where i am learning to blog. thank goodness. i would have been totally lost otherwise! i'm sure you guys will appreciate all my new skillz.
look, i made a librarian trading card. i know you're jealous. you can make one too! http://bighugelabs.com/flickr/deck.php

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

before i get pissed off

today we had a trivia tournament. we had 16 kids and they were fairly well-behaved, a little loud, but pretty good. they may have even learned some stuff.

Friday, October 5, 2007

where not to keep your library card

in your shoe! do not ask me to reserve books for you and then pull your library card out of your shoe (while NOT wearing socks) and then hand it to me. that is SO gross.
after i grabbed the card by the corners and reserved a book for her, i found her with a small dog by the computers. the dog was escaping from her purse which was on the floor. i told her there are no dogs allowed in the library and she explained, "oh no, he's just in my purse."

Thursday, October 4, 2007

magically annoying

today we had a magician come in. he was actually really good and we had 40+ kids show up and they were all very well behaved. but as soon as he left all hell broke loose again.
i had to kick out a table of kids who were being too noisy. then they complained "oh its not fair!" "ooh it wasn't me" even though i had given them many warnings.
then a morbidly obese man yelled at me because we don't have many computer books. i told him that sadly we don't have many people looking for books. he told me i should encourage people to read. really? encourage people to read? what the hell have i been doing?! encouraging book burning and illiteracy?! then he said that in white libraries they have lots of computer books. well, this may be true. but that's not because those people are white. its because those people ask for books. our people ask for dvds. we have lots of dvds. he said he is going to complain to the manager. more power to you.

philly here i come!

i just got approved to go to ALA midwinter in sunny philadelphia! and they are going to give me SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS! i just hope i'm still around to collect my check.

dinosaur stick puppet


this is going to be the next craze ... i can tell. remember, you saw it here first.
please notice how fetching the googley eye is. and if you look closely, you will see that i gave this t-rex a mani/pedi. stunning.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

googley eyes make all the difference

i am purposefully writing this before the rush of mad school children come in at 3pm and ruin my day ... this morning i had 22 5-year olds from a local day care center come in for a story time. this was really my first story time ever. and i must say i did a damned fine job. i read the following books:
if you give a pig a pancake
don't let pigeon drive the bus
five little monkeys jumping on the bed
-break for stretching-
how do dinosaurs get well soon
it looked like spilt milk
then, as if this wasn't enough, i let the children in a craft in which they made dinosaur stick puppets. now, i had to pre-cut 40 dinosaur shapes and then 40 dinosaur backgrounds and then the children colored in the dinosaur amd glued the dinosaur to the backgroung paper, with a popsicle stick in bewteen. this looks a little cheezy on its own, but when you add a googley eye to it ... voila! you have an amazing dinosaur stick puppet. mine looked SO good i decided i should take a picture of it for you fine people, and that is when i learned that my camera no longer works. grrrrr. so i took a picture with my phone, but i don't know how to get the picture from my phone onto the computer. anyone? anyone? the other day i learned about quick text and that my phone will actually try to insert the words i am trying to write whilst i am txting. amazing, no?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

yesterday

had another class visit, which was awesome. we had about 22 kids and they were very well-behaved. a little more difficult to deal with because of how many there were, but they were still very good.
but then we get to the part where its time for them to go to the check-out counter and check out all their books and the other 3 employees of the library have mysteriously disappeared. so here is little old me and 22 kids trying to check out all their books. and of course i don't really know the ins and outs of the check out system, so when our new high tech self-checkout machines malfunctioned, i didn't really know what to do. but luckily, all the other library employees emerged once the class left. so that was helpful. go team!
then T, my troubled mentally disabled 10 year old, started a fight with another kid. i mean pushing and punching fight. so i actually jump between two kids and push them apart and tell T he cannot return to the library without a parent.
does anyone say, "good job" or "way to break up a fight, i bet you were never trained to do that and look at you, you did it anyway?" no, no one said that.
then i had to kick out a table full of kids who were misbehaving, even though one of the kids was a "good kid." then good kid starts crying and says, "no one every yelled at me before i starting coming to the library. i'm a nice boy." so i let him stay and we had a thoughful discussion about controlling our emotions and how sometimes you have to just cry.
then i helped kids do their homework in between yelling at other kids.
so today, no one tells me what a good job i am doing. instead, the branch manager spoke to me about how i need to discipline more, and give less homework help. you see, helping children achieve at school is getting in the way of my yelling time. yell more! help less! i told her i felt helping kids read and do their homework was more important than yelling at kids for having two at a computer. luckily, she corrected me. yelling is more important.
today ... i loathe it here.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

born to read

this is my very literate niece ... isn't she adorable?! i bought her that shirt at ALA. librarians really know how to merchandise.