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!)


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.

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


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.

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.
"well, maybe once a year."
"once a year?!"
"yeah, its a drag."
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?"
"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.