Friday, February 15, 2008

Broken Hearts and Dead Flowers

Anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely hate Valentine's Day. Yes, I know I used the "h" word, but it's true. I won't go into why, because I've done that before, but I can tell you that tonight, I celebrate my hate for the day.

One of my Young Adult Librarians (she is an adult... she WORKS with our teens... just to clarify) came up with the idea for an Anti-Valentine's Day Masquerade Ball. Which is why I sit here, at 9:30 on a Friday, at work, monitoring the library for any of the 40 teens who showed up to ensure they don't partake in any ... well... typical Valentine's Day behavior in the library. The party goes until 10. The cleanup will extend well past 10:30, I believe.

The ladies and some of the teens decorated our activity room with Christmas lights, gauzy stuff, and dead flowers (courtesy of the local supermarket, who was pleased to find somewhere to dump a particularly bad shipment of V-Day flowers). We even baked broken heart cookies and decorated them with all sorts of Anti-V-Day messages. Awesome.

Within a half hour, the teens had trashed the place. They are still having a great time, but there are rose petals all over the (new) carpet and lots of feet stepping upon them. There are pages from weeded romance novels all over the floor. It's like a scene from Animal House without the beer and with nicer duds.

But the teens are awesome. They are having a great time, they are all dressed up with masks and everything, and I'm pretty happy. Granted, I suspect some of the boys showed up in order to meet girls... which isn't very anti-Valentine's-Day, but it's pretty pro-teenage-boy... so it's forgivable.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Possession is Nine-Tenths

Last night we had a little dinner party. The family that came over includes Mommy, Daddy, Son Age 7, and Twins Age 4. Ellie is one half of the fraternal twins and the poor thing lives with two brothers, so when she and Athena get together, it's girl-stuff galore.

Several things happened that made us laugh. One was that the girls got into Athena's closet (on which I have a child-proof door-knob thingy on to keep her out) and they romped through all her clothes that don't fit, her dress-up clothes, and her flip flops. Ever since then, she has been wanting to wear her sandles (despite the cold weather) and can't understand why I had them locked up.

Later, big brother reported back to us that Athena was painting Ellie's fingernails. AACK!, says I. Chris went up to check it out and found that Athena was A) almost done, B) had insisted on laying a washcloth under Ellie's hands, and C) had done a REALLY good job. She's going to do mine next week. Heckuva lot cheaper than going to the Nail Cafe down the street.

Finally, the best moment, which had little to do with Ellie, actually, was a dinner conversation we overheard. Here is is recreated for you:

Ellie: Athena, what does your name start with?
Athena: A
Ellie: Oh
Athena: And MY Aiden starts with an A too!
Ellie: *blink*
Athena: Not Callie's Aiden, right, Mom? MY Aiden. Aiden is not Callie's.
Me: Meow.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Library Secret #4 - Weeding

Books are a funny thing. No really. Maybe not books, as much as people who HAVE books in their hands. There is something about books that is sacred to most humans. Here's a little game for you:

I'm going to make a statement. Then I'm going to tell you the first thing most people think when they hear that statement. Then I'll tell you what most librarians think. Mind you, we don't always ACT on these thoughts, but just to give you some insight... Let's see if you are more librarian, or more "People."

"I need a book on dog training"
People: Good idea! My dog is acting up and I can find the answer in a book.
Librarian: Your puppy will eat this book. Trust me. Really.

"I have a set of Encyclopedias from 1975."
People: A collector's item! Wow! I bet the library would want these.
Librarian: Oh, how I wish we had a conveyor belt from our gift book receiving area to the shredder dumpster.

"I have all the National Geographics ever published."
People: These must be saved!
Librarian: Look! Kitty litter!

When asked how my day was by People (not my husband, who knows way more about librarianship than he ever expected to), I will sometimes say, "Well, it was good. I got a lot of weeding done. I sorted through about 500 gift books and added about three to the collection, and I cleared shelf space in the stacks by culling out books that haven't been going out and books that look like someone ran over them with a car, then peed on them."

I smile triumphantly and wait for the well-deserved pat on the back. Instead, I get a puzzled expression and then I get a simple, one word question: "Weeded?" Suddenly, I am faced with a trembling lower lip and big round doe eyes, and I remember that I am talking to "People."

"Oh," I say. Well, er... I umm... well, you know... we don't, you know... throw books away, of course. No... of course not. We ... um... send them to the book sale!" I exhale forcefully as I revel in my skills to not really LIE so much as bend the truth. "You know... even the smelly moldy ones... because, you know... you can't throw books away!" *cough*

And then the People in front of me look relieved and we all chuckle and I realize I need to make a hasty exit before someone catches my lie.

The fact is, we throw books away. Well, we shred them... so they don't end up accumulating in the land fill, but we do get rid of them. That book you snuck back into the book drop after you dropped it in the toilet? Yeah, well... we don't have a miracle cure for that. And guess what! By not fessing up and bringing the thing to us (or even better, throwing it out and just telling us you left it in a hotel in Borneo), you just ruined ten other books in the book drop... and that's on a SLOW day.

We also weed old books that aren't getting read any more. We are no longer the Library at Alexandria. We have computers for that. And we don't have unlimited shelf space. Surely this has happened to you at home... you buy a book, get home, and realize there is no room for it on the shelf in your bookcase. So you go through your books and pull a few out to throw...

Oh, wait... no... you just take them to the library, don't you?

The good news is, we make about a quarter of a million dollars at our booksale every year. People don't want to see those books get thrown out!