Sunday, November 01, 2015

Long Time No Post...

This poor blog has been languishing, so much so that I even failed to marked its 10th anniversary back on October 12.  I gave it to myself as a birthday present a decade ago.  Although I have been largely absent the last couple of months I am still grateful for all the remarkable people I've had a chance to meet as a result and for the countless ideas I've been exposed to and creative opportunities It has brought.

Now, what has been keeping me so insanely busy?  the start of the school year has been horrendous.  Basically, I walked in the first day of school to find the 10,000 volume library had been packed up over the summer and unceremoniously dumped on the stage for me to put in order....with no help.  Oh, and the stage still had all the curricular materials from two past reading programs on it as well.  And it was filthy.  And my desk had been thrown away.  And my book carts had been given away.  My computer and printer were missing.  And the locked closet of my book repair supplies had been pillaged.  I was, to understate it in the most extreme way, not pleased.  To put it bluntly, I told the principal in so many words that this was the third library in two years I was told to reassemble from scratch by myself and to date this was the biggest damn clusterfuck I had been handed yet, so congratulations on attaining that distinction.  Yes, I actually looked him in the eye and said those words.  There were other words after that wherein I went on the detail the level of clusterfuckedness and what was necessary to uncluster the massive fuckedness of the situation.  This all fell on deaf ears.  It was a time of unparalleled joy and delight if you enjoy being subjected to the whims of incompetent leadership. 

Since that time I have put to order the utter chaos that was over 200 boxes of books plus shelves.  I tracked down and reclaimed my carts, computer, and printer.  In order to get through the weeks of heavy lifting I took my yoga mat to school.  I lifted boxes and books until my back said enough for one day then I rolled out my mat and did yoga until it felt better and the homicidal urges passed....since zero assistance in the process was provided.

We have resumed circulation which means I finally have the chance to enjoy the kids again and all the hilarious conversations they provide.  Here then are some of the early conversations this year, which have amused me and reminded me why exactly I endure the stupidity of this school district.


2nd grader: Miz Lime, are you gonna dye your hair?
Me: Nope, I like it the way it is.
2nd grader: Did you dye it to get it all grey and white?
Me:(laughing) No, I let time do it for me.
2nd grader: That's a lot of work?
Me: Indeed it is.


When checking out books I ask for a student's last name so I can find them in the system. For kindergarteners it's a crapshoot as to whether or not they know their last name. When one wee one told me her first name I asked, "what is your last name?" She stared at me blankly so I rephrased my question, " What comes after Agatha*?" She brightened and announced proudly, "Sleepyhead!"

And then there was the boy who answered my question of what comes after Hobart* with, "Hey, white boy."


Fridays with kindergarten are telling...

Conversation #1

Librarian: What month is it?
Kindergartener: TUESDAY!!!

Sweet mother of Bill Murray, if it were Tuesday all month I would drive a truck with a groundhog in it over a cliff!

Conversation #2

Girl comes up to my desk with no book. I ask where her book is and the librarian says no books for her because she was throwing them.
Me: uh-oh, was that a good choice?
Her: (shrugging)
Me: Are you learning to make good choices in kindergarten?
Her: (with great sincerity) Nooooo....
Me:(stifling giggles) You're not?
Her: No
Me: Do you think you will be able to learn to make good choices?
Her: (enthusiastically) Yes!
Me: Oh good! What's one good choice you think you could learn to make?
Her: 7? 8?
Me: (confused puppy head cock)

Conversation #3

Boy comes to me crying that someone hurt his feelings.
Me: what did he say that hurt your feelings?
Him: He said I was stupid.
Me: Well I can understand that doesn't feel good. Let me ask you, do YOU think you are stupid?
Him: (shaking head no)
Me: Do you think you are a smart boy?
Him: (nodding yes)
Me: Good. I think you're a smart boy too. (He smiles) Do you know what smart boys do?
Him: No
Me: They remember that they are smart and let comments about being stupid fly away from them. Do you think you can do that, smart boy?
Him: (big grin) Yes!

Conversation #4

Me:(as little dude steps up to check his book out) What's your name, friend?
Him:(using his fingers to pinch his mouth into fish lips) mmffmm fffmmmp...
Me: (chuckling) Can we try that again without fish lips?
Him: (still pinching and now shaking head no)
Me:(mumbling as I'm making fish lips) Can you understand ME now?
Him:(grinning ear to ear and nodding emphatically)
Me: (laughing because OF COURSE this backfired ) Well, fish can't have library books because they get the books all wet.
Kid behind fish lips boy: His name is Charlie!*


And then there are the parents...

I had a young teacher tell me a student's parents inform her she needs to be patient with their kid because...wait for it......they aren't.
Idiots: holding teachers to higher expectations of self-control than they hold themselves.


If you want to feel like a rock star push a cart full of books into kindergarten.
If you want to feel like a priest hand out the little paper positive behavior reward to 1st grade. As they sat along the wall while I handed them out a few kids reverentially placed one hand palm up inside the other as if they were ready to receive Eucharist while I went down the line . I thought a couple would cross themselves.

Is library a religious experience? I think so and I try to make it a sanctuary. Does that make me the Priestess of the Library?


I love it when the tough guys love books.

Tough guy Fifth grader: Miz Lime, where's the poetry books?
Me: These three shelves.
Friend of tough guy: Where's the good books, Miz Lime?
Me:(opening my mouth to speak my standard response)
Tough guy: (totally stealing my line) Man, they're ALL good books in here!
Me: Amen, brother! You beat me to it. Rock on!


And there's always the challenge of figuring out which book a kid wants...

2nd grader: Can I have the book with the little white guy? My classmate had it last time.
Me: Tell me more about the book so I can figure out which one you mean.
Him: He has yellow on him and goes up to the sky.

He wanted......

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss.  Proud to say I nailed it.


And finally, there was the administrator who studied the posters I put up on the backs of the bookshelves facing out into the gym from the stagebrary (that's what I call it now that it's located on the stage at one end of the gymnasium...because OF COURSE that's where the library belongs.

Her: (with great irritation) Who put up those posters?
Me: (with pride) I did!
Her: (chagrined) Oh.

*names changed to protect student privacy


(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip said...

I was gonna say something about the use of the notorious f-word.
Then I looked over at and found it defined.
I bow to your superior vocabulary.

Oh, I was at a local grammar school the other day and heard a second grade teacher treat the kids like they were less than human.
I wanted to go punch him in the throat.

It' said...

So happy to hear from you again! But seriously, how could the school leave the library in such a mess? And 3 years in a row? Someone needs to have their head examined.
Like you, I would have been so pissed off I would have been rendered speechless....but not forever. :-)

lime said...

Skip, I apologized for the verbiage but really, sometimes a good four letter word of teutonic origin connoting a carnal violation is really the best one for a given situation.

Crazy world, it's actually been three different libraries in three different schools....but still...

Craig said...

I find it immensely amusing that your 2nd grader identified the Lorax as a 'little white guy'. Never even occurred to me to wonder about his race. . .

And I have to agree with you as to the quality and magnitude of the clusterfuck. Actually, I admire your restraint. ;)

And no. . . not a Priestess; of course not. Mother Superior, maybe. . .


Craig said...

And hey, good to see you out and about in blog-space again. . .

stephen Hayes said...

I've missed your experiences with school libraries and the great comments you get from interacting with the students.

Tabor said...

It makes me so angry because I can see what a very special librarian you are. Much better than I ever was during the one year I was an elementary school librarian in a white privileged community. My job there was not valued very much either. Those kids are so lucky to have you!

KellyJMF said...

I think I would have sat down in the piles and cried. And cursed.

Is it possible to get volunteer help? Maybe some parents who are free during the school day? Or high schoolers after school? Girl Scouts? I wish I lived near you--I'd take a vacation day or two and get my alphabetizing on. My first job in high school was at the town library and I still compulsively put books back in order when at the bookstore or library.

Kat said...

Oh Lime. I love you so much. Thank you for sharing these beautiful little moments with us.
I have been working in the library at my kids' school and I hope to channel you to inspire the kids I come in to contact with. You are a treasure!
I'm sorry your work situation is such a complete clusterf*ck but those kids are DAMN lucky to have you. Awesome.

Anvilcloud said...

I have to say that I look forward to your posts. I also admire your spirit. You really do take your trials pretty darn well. Excuse me: pretty fucking well. :)

Jackie said...

We need to clone you!!
And.....I love it that the children have you to love them and teach them.

Secret Agent Woman said...

Looks like you've been as busy as I have! Sorry about the clusterfuckedness of the library, but I sure love all your conversations with the kids. Rock on with your own bad self!

Ami said...

The librarian in the elementary school where I work started working there about 25 years ago. She planned to stay for five years and move on.:)

She loves the kids, too. And makes sure she gives them 100%.
She gets help from a lot of different places. I liked the suggestion up there ^ to get high school kids or girl scouts or someone to help you.

Don't stop blogging, please.

My kid stories are what keeps me coming back to my *own* blog...

Suldog said...

Damn, it's good to see you back in this space. Great post, lovely and funny stories. Are you collecting these?

(Well, you are - here and on FB. Let me rephrase the question...)

Are you collecting these with an eye toward possible publication? I think a volume illustrated appropriately would sell like that (picture me snapping my fingers and smiling like some oily used car salesman.)

Tim VanSant Writes said...

Keep fighting the good fight. And keep posting.

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Unknown said...

not a Priestess; of course not. Mother Superior, maybe. . .


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