Sunday, May 31, 2015

Overheard in the Library

3rd grade girl: Where are the girly girl books?
Me: What exactly do you mean by that? Can you explain more clearly what you are looking for?
Her: (looking at me as if I just fell to Earth from Mars) You know the books girls would like...
Me: Well, I'm a girl and I like motorcycles. Are you looking for books about motorcycles?
Her:(completely certain of my dullness in comprehension) Uh, no!
Me: Ok, then tell me what you like.
Her: (wheels are spinning...no response is forthcoming)
Me: (smiling)How about you think about it while you keep looking.


She trots off and returns a moment later to declare, "Princesses! Do you have books about princesses?"
Me: I sure do. Fairy tales or biographies?
Her: Fairy tales.
Me: Now we're getting somewhere!
Library Girl may have other superpowers but she doesn't pretend to read minds.That way she has a chance to challenge them to work a little.

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Library related conversation with my daughter:
Me: So do you want to know what the least frequently checked out books in my library are?
C: I can't even guess.
Me: Presidential biographies. Forty-seven of the bottom 50 titles are presidential biographies.
C: That's a shame. I can recall having a fascination with Taft when I was a kid.

That there is evidence of a nerd begetting a nerd.

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Things you don't expect to say in the library: Please stop comparing your bellies and choose a book.

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And then there are the library questions which momentarily make you take pause.
An articulate, well-mannered 2nd grader walked into the library and inquired with all seriousness, "Mrs. Lime, could you please tell me where the pink beaver book is?"
Me: (wheels spinning wildly as I try to shift into school appropriate mode rather than wildly inappropriate double entendre mode and actually generate an answer) *blink...blink...........blink blink* Uummm.....
Him: (with utter propriety and impeccable diction) It's the book where he tries on lots of clothes.
Me:(delighted for that piece of clarifying information as it immediately fires the correct synapses) Ooooh! You mean Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed?
Him: (still with great composure yet gratitude that we have communicated effectively) Yes, that's exactly the book. Do you have it?
Me: Yes, friend we do. It's my very favorite Mo Willems book. It's right here.
Him: Thank you so much, Mrs. Lime. You have a nice afternoon.
Me: (smiling) Thank you. I already have, friend. I hope you do as well. Enjoy your book!

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I had to close the section where Disney books are found because of the extreme level of destruction which has been occurring there repeatedly and the reminders of library etiquette going unheeded. The young patron who told me she wants more Disney books in the library lamented that she couldn't choose anything because there were no other good books. I directed her to 398.2 in non-fiction, three whole shelves of folklore and fairytales as opposed to half a shelf of Disney in the picture book section. Her eyes boggled.
 
And I am left to consider, where is my own vision so narrow I cannot see a new world of joyous wonder?

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It's standardized testing season in our great commonwealth. In the interest of formulating questions relevant to the real world here's one for all you kids.

If Miz Lime spends $50 a week for gas to get to and from her job and she just paid more than a week's pay to fix the vandalism done to her car while at work (because the cost came in under her deductible amount) and the district says she's SOL for being reimbursed because she wasn't in a school parking lot (because said school doesn't even have a lot, thus necessitating parking on the street) how much money could she have saved by just not going to work during testing week (when she can't see classes anyway because they take over the library for testing) and merely being docked pay once she exceeds her 4 remaining sick days? Generate an equation to express your answer.

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Her: I forgot my book, can I bring it tomorrow?
Me: Well, tomorrow I am at my other school.
Her: You have TWO schools you have to go to?
Me: Yes.
Her: What's your other school?
Me: Warren G. Harding
Her: Warren G. Harding?? That's another big school! Isn't that a lot of pressure?
Me: (smiling) Sometimes, it is. Yes.
Her: Man, That's just a lot.

The kid gets it, more than the school board or superintendent. There is hope

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Bless the poor, toothless kindergarteners and first graders. It drives me nuts when at the end of the school year they still don't know their own last name but when they know it and the lack of teeth makes it impossible for them to pronounce it I feel great pity.

Thowweth. My name is Thowweth.

Feel free to guess.

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Crap that makes Library Girl want to open a can of whoop ass:
When I ask a student who just stepped OVER a book if he saw that book on the floor and he says no while looking at it. Then I ask if he sees it now and he nods. Next question from me is, "Well, what would be a wise choice when you see a book on the floor?" Student response is to walk away.
I compelled the student in question to demonstrate the wise choice. I did so calmly, without violence or profanity. I love elementary aged kids but some days making sure my edit button works and I don't hurl a heavy reference work at anyone is challenging.
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Another young man informed me he didn't want a book.  Said student cried bitterly the week before when I didn't allow him to check a book out due to egregious misbehavior.  I asked if the earlier tears had been crocodile tears.  He was confused as to what that meant so I explained the idiom. He insisted they were sincere but he didn't want a book this week because the one he liked wasn't in.  I guaranteed he could find one he liked among the 10,000 volumes if he looked.  He was skeptical.  I asked what he liked.  He said animals.  I put a book about crocodiles in his hands.  He regarded it and declared it sufficiently interesting.  Next week we may tackle sarcasm.

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Finally, a simple but satisfying exchange with a kindergartener after she checked out her book.

Her: (a little sheepishly)  I can't read this book but I reeeally like the pictures.
Me: That's okay.  Sometimes the pictures help us figure out what is happening in the story and the artist made them hoping you would enjoy them.  I am a grown up but I still like to look at picture books because some of them have such beautiful art in them.  If you want to read though, I bet you can find some of your sight words in the story.
Her: (excitedly) You sure are right about the pictures!  Look at this one!  It's sooooo pretty!
Me: (smiling) It really is.

She continues paging through the book reverently regarding the artwork then discovers a page with a large rip.

Her: (in dismay) Oh, Miz Lime, someone didn't take care of this great book!

And another book and art lover is born, may her tribe increase.

7 comments:

Anvilcloud said...

What an interesting post!

Craig said...

You have 47 books of presidential biographies? I used to devour those books when I was a kid. . .

And, uh, 'The Pink Beaver Book?' I didn't know they had books like that in elementary-school libraries. . . (seriously, your self-control in that circumstance is above-and-beyond. . .) ;)

Suldog said...

This is truly magnificent stuff. And you, my dear friend, are one truly magnificent library lady. Whatever else happens in your day-to-day (and I wish I had a formula that would make your fines and insurance problems work out to a positive, but I don't) you are...

Making the future better one little person at a time.

(Feel free to have that carved somewhere near your desk.)

Secret Agent Woman said...

That was a fun post to read. It distresses me to think of a girl having the opinion that princesses are what appeals to all girls.

Bijoux said...

Fun times at the library!

Shammickite said...

I love this post! Libraries used to be hush hush and don't make any kind of noise when I was a kid (back in the dark ages) now our local library is vibrant and busy and full of action. Bet the librarians could tell some stories just like yours!

samia hussain said...

nice post