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.
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.


Monday, December 24, 2007


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


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.