Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Slice of Lime-Disorder in the Library

As one who runs two elementary school libraries with 22,000 books between them I spend a lot of time shelving books.  I don't mind.  I like the library to look neat.  It's more inviting that way.  Shelves such as this one are not what anyone wants to search through.  At the beginning of the year I discuss with all my students how to help keep the shelves neat.  An important way is to use a shelf marker to hold the spot a book came from while a student looks at a book to decide whether or not to check it out.  If they don't want it they slide it back in where the marker is and move on.  It's a good system...if it's used. I also tell them if the books tip over they can use the book ends to give the books a hug to help them stand up again.  Certain popular shelves like this one containing the "how to draw" books often wind up looking ransacked because too many kids crowd into it at once and just start grabbing books.





Over the course of a day I have many requests from students to help them find particular books.  I am happy to help.  That's my job.  It's why I am here.  I am sometimes astonished that the same kid can ask me every time where the same thing is and can't remember from week to week.  It's not as if I go moving around the entire library for kicks and giggles just to confuse them.  I even have signs labeling the walls and shelves as to locations of certain genres.  But I roll with it.  They are kids.  Kids need things repeated.  However, when I take someone by the hand to show where the graphic novels are located and I walk into this kind of disarray after a day of books on the floor and ill-behaved classes....well, let's just say I begin to teeter on the knife edge between gentle library lady and cranky library lady.









I'm not fond of the above scenes but at least all the books are still on the shelves and, in the first shot, sort of in order.  When I see books on the floor like this I get a wee bit testy.  Pick them up and lay them flat on a shelf.  Earlier this week I made one class stop what they were doing and come take a look at a particular aisle because  well over a dozen books were laying all over the floor and people were walking around them and ON them and Mrs. Lime.was.not.one.bit.happy.about.that!  Furthermore if you were in that aisle you better fess up now and get yourself back in there to pick a book up off the floor. NOW!  You have been coming here all year and you darned well know better than that.




My darlings, I want you all to learn a love of books.  I want you to enjoy your time in the library, what little of it you have (and admittedly, it is not your fault the administration only allows each class 20 minutes).  I want to make it a safe and happy place of learning.  For the love of books, I want you to pick up the books and use the shelf markers.



13 comments:

Stephen Hayes said...

I don't think I'd want to cross the Library Lady. Just point me to the art section.

joeh said...

I do not ever remember books on the floor in my day. Me thinks some kids have not been taught respect for books and probably other property. Leaving them on the floor is not a casual slip up, it strikes me as intentional and looking for attention.

Hilary said...

Yes, Mrs. Lime. (skulks toward exit)

Bijoux said...

I've visited the library on a weekly basis since I was a preschooler and I've never seen or heard of a shelf marker.

June said...

Well.
It's good to know your books are being handled and looked at, even if not being shelved tidily afterward.
You could have a pristine room full of books that nobody ever touched. What good would that be?

Tabor said...

That shelf marker is new to me as well, but it is a great idea. I do not remember books on the floor when I was teaching in elementary school. I do see such in the children's libraries of public libraries these days and I think it is because parents do not impress neatness and respect for items upon their children. They are too tired or don't care. Keep repeating...maybe a carrot and stick approach?

Craig said...

I'll be good, Mrs. Lime, I promise I will! Just. . . please don't give me 'that look'. . .

Anvilcloud said...

20 minutes, eh? Not enough.

Suldog said...

You do such valuable work... Really, I mean that. And I admire you for it. Aside from that, you're a mighty sexy library lady :-)

(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip, said...

What Sully said.

Oh, and you might rejigger the title.
I spent a bit of time trying to figure out what Lime-Disorder is.
Maybe I spend too much time playing word games?

Secret Agent Woman said...

Good luck with that!

I always loved being in the library as a kid - but I was also a little fanatical about putting books back excatly where they belonged.

Kat said...

You go, Library Lady! You tell them how it's done. Love it!
I am looking forward to being able to volunteer at the kids' school in the library when they are all in school full time. I want to be a Library Lady too. :)

Jocelyn said...

I get this way as a teacher, too: when you live the experience every day, with hundreds of students, the accumulation of "REALLY?" moments can make me cranky. That's why I'm always so careful to appreciate those who handle their sh** and don't transfer their need to me.

And that's why I make myself step back and try to view each interaction with each student as a "new day."