Friday, July 20, 2007

everyone wins ... everyone must get prizes

when i left hell's library although there was much rejoicing on my part, i was a little concerned that if i moved to a normal library i may run out of material for this blog. what if i didn't encounter any escaped mental patients anymore? but today i will put those fears to rest. so read on ... if you dare.
at the new new library we have a children's summer program in place that runs like a well-oiled machine. there are programs four days a week. kids get prizes for the books they read each week. and if the kids complete one of the weekly puzzles they will be awarded a prize each friday. now, when i say "prizes" i am talking about utter crap: rubber bracelets, pencil erasers, temporary tattoos that say "read," etc. you know, things that are worth about 20 cents.
even though i just started at this library wednesday, i have already made a mortal enemy, and i shall hereby refer to her as crazy mother. crazy mother thinks here children should get prizes for everything. if they show up to the library, if they tie their shoes, if they are still breathing ... prizes prizes prizes. she is obsessed. her kids don't even care about the prizes as much as she does.
on fridays at 1pm we give out prizes for those who successfully completed the weekly puzzles, which this week were a word search and a connect-the-dots. so she strolls over at about 4:30 asking for her kids' prizes. i explain to her that she needs to get here at 1 pm for the prizes, but i give her kids the prizes anyway. then she tells me that she did the puzzles as well and she too deserves a prize. oh yeah lady. you're a 45 year old woman who can do a connect-the-dots. i am not impressed. so i try to explain that the prizes are for children only. but she keeps going on and on with a deranged grin on her face proudly telling me how she did the connect-the-dots and the other librarian said she would get a prize.
"i'm sure the librarian meant that your children would get prizes. this is the children's room."
so we go back and forth about this for a few minutes and then she switches gears and says "my children were in the program at 3 pm? the oragami?"
"ok," there were about 20 kids there, and i have no idea what this has to do with anything.
"they did not get the prizes."
"i just gave them prizes."
"no they were in the program and they did not get the prizes."
"they don't get prizes for going to the program." how many smiley face erasers does one child need? does anyone even use this junk?
so then she switches gears again and tells me that her children have read SO many books and they should get prizes. they read all the time. SO many books.
"didn't they get prizes yesterday for the books they've read? they only get prizes once a week for their reading log."
i remember her getting the prizes yesterday because she said that she too deserved prizes because she had read some books herself. this would be cute and endearing if she wasn't a complete psychopath.
"yes but they read so many books. they only got one prize yesterday."
"but they only get one prize for the books they read each week."
i think you can see where this is going. back and forth and back and forth. now, while this is happening, other children are hearing the word "prizes" being said over and over again so they are lining up trying to get in on the action. some of them even have legitimate questions about books and stuff.
"look," i tell her, "i need to help these other kids. your children have already gotten their prizes. that's it."
she then tells me that i am very rude and mean and that she wants to speak to a supervisor blah blah blah what a huge injustice.
by this point i'm just trying to get rid of her so i tell her she can come in monday (she comes in every day) and speak to the regular children's librarian. then she starts raising her voice, yelling that i don't know what i'm doing and that if i'm going to be here i should know how the prize distribution system works. but i DO know how the prize distribution system works, hence why i am not giving her anymore prizes.
so i just turn away and start helping the children who are waiting all patient and well-mannered. some of them are even a little scared of crazy mother and are slowly backing away from her. as i am distracted by helping the children, crazy mother turns to my teen volunteer. he is a very nice 14 year old boy who helps out every day. let's call him V. so she turns on V and starts interrogating him about the prizes and asking him why i won't give her any prizes.
now i let this go on for a minute while i help others, and then suddenly the two of them are screaming at each other. V is saying "there are no other prizes to give out! get over it!" not quite appropriate for a representative of the library, but he is only 14 and he is usually very helpful.
then she screams back at him, "you can't talk to me that way! i'll have you fired!"
"you can't fire me!" he's now both yelling and laughing, "I'm only a volunteer!""
so then i jump in and tell V to calm down and tell crazy mother that if she has a problem she must talk to a supervisor and no one else. they continue yelling at each other and, and V shouts "the prizes are crap anyway! what do you care!?"
i ponder if i am going to have to physically seperate them.
finally V shouts his piece de resistance, "learn to speak english, lady!" not a good thing to say. never say that.
i tell V that he has said enough and he needs to calm down or leave, then crazy mother goes and sits at a table and i overhear her loudly telling another mother how mean and rude i am.
eventually she leaves and i tell V that even though he was right and she was wrong he can NEVER speak to patrons that way. even if they are insane. i think he understood. he really is a good kid. then V and i talk about whether or not the two of us will be fired on monday.
i'm left in charge of the children's room one day, ONE DAY, and this is what happens. i tell you, crazy people follow me where ever i go.

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