Saturday, March 19, 2011

This week at the library; or, Comics and the most horrible of weeks!!

Why was this week so insanely, horribly crazy? Was it because our director was out of town? Because spring is finally in the air and everyone is antsy? Because we are all tired and needing a break? For whatever reason, it was insane. Prepare to relive the insanity with me...

  • Crazy, crazy morning on the desk, gazillions of phone calls, poor circulation staff had a huge number of bins, crazy crazy crazy.
  • I started off my Make it and Take it craft program by making a kid cry. I have been firmly enforcing the 6 and up age limit - the crafts are not designed for younger kids and it was turning into a preschool program where I was spending all my time helping the little ones. Last week I found out that the little boy I assumed was a rather young first grader was actually FOUR. I felt horrible telling him he couldn't come in until he was at least in kindergarten next year, especially since he's very independent and asks his big sister when he does need help. But I can't turn away the other kids who want to come in and then make one exception. He silently walked away, brimming over with tears. I felt awful.
  • However, the craft went very well. We had big die cuts of ladybugs, butterflies, and dragonflies and painted them with tempera paint. Then we blotted them with paper towels to take off the extra paint, laminated them, cut them out, and used glue dots to attach them to small clips and clothespins. We tend to have mostly girls at this program and it was all girls today - and they really loved this craft. We took a lot of very cute, if slightly blurry, pictures. I'm very proud of this one, as it was all my own brilliant idea. I would use bigger clips next time, these were just leftovers I had in my closet
  • I made a quick run to Walmart to get more dishpans, which I'm using to organize our craft materials in the storyroom. I'm actually approaching a high state of organization, although the piles of miscellaneous junk all over the floor may not look like it.
  • Our Wii console is definitely broken and I mailed it in for repair on Monday, so Wii gaming is cancelled until further notice. At least five boys showed up though and wandered around looking forlorn and carrying their extra games and controllers they brought to share. Sorry guys.
  • Things were passable until today, when everything went INSANE. We did paint folds for Messy Art Club and I don't know why but an unusually large number of people showed up expecting Lego Building Club. The actual program went pretty well with a good attendance and everyone had fun. Our new paint cups from Discount School Supply are working very well (although my aide, who has to wipe them off afterwards, may have a different opinion)
  • However. Everything went nuts outside the community room where I was doing my craft. I had to speak very sternly once again to the tweens who persist in hanging out in a small lobby area - we can't hear or see them there and they completely block the entrance. They counter that it's the only place they don't get in trouble. I remind them that they won't get in trouble if they follow the rules. Several of them are very mad at us because we called all their parents in one huge marathon. They think being noisy isn't that big a deal. I think it is a big deal when they are noisy every day - not to mention all the other problems we have with them, plus why are 11 year olds at the library for hours after school?
  • While I was racing in and out, I looked up and saw some kids misbehaving in the old teen area, which we are trying to repurpose as a study nook. Basically, after all the brouhaha had quieted down, a group of teens, mostly girls with a few boys, were behaving inappropriately with lollipops. Plastic wrappers were also involved. I leave it to your imagination to fill in the rest. In addition, they approached a little girl with their inappropriateness, and her mother was righteously incensed. Hordes of librarians! Teens flee! We were very busy all through this of course, and we only ended up getting one girl's name.
  • Whose parents I then got to call. Yay. Remember our director is on vacation? While I was recovering at the desk that evening from this traumatic experience, a bunch of kids and parents showed up and I discovered that the forward-thinking teacher who had checked out all our biome books for her class project had neglected to tell me it wasn't just her class that was doing the project. Annoyance from all parties ensued. Then a parent wanted to know why I didn't have Lego Building Club much later in the afternoon than 3:30. I tried to give a diplomatic answer, refraining from explaining that with attendance averaging around 30 - 50 kids and their parents, I had no intention of changing the schedules of multiple staff and reorganizing programming and publicity just so his child could have a full hour or more of Lego building time. And I finished off the evening by kicking out a group of older teens who were yelling and swearing in our lobby.
  • More angry biome parents, joined by angry teachers who want books for their classes, a large and very antsy group for storytime (we did bugs - Beetle McGrady Eats Bugs, Katy Did It, chanted "Five Hungry Ants" and decorated die cut bugs on strings)
  • I signed us up to try out Junior Library Guild, but didn't watch the time and ended up with no lunch time. I also found out that the art and music programs in our school district are in jeopardy and dealt with crazy patrons (crazy is the nicest thing I can say about them).
  • The tweens tried to hang out in the small lobby AGAIN and I nearly lost it, as it was I got very close to yelling. Argh! Felt slightly better when, acting on a tip-off via cell phone from a patron in the parking lot, I discovered two teens making out in a corner outside the building and kicked them off library property.
  • Got up at 5:45am to take the train down to Chicago for C2E2, a big comics convention. I was overall disappointed and Sara-the-librarian and I only stayed for about 3 hours. There were a lot fewer vendors - almost no manga, which was specifically why I went, Boom! wasn't there, another reason we went, and it all seemed very sparse. Although there were plenty of I-haven't-climbed-out-of-my-mother's-basement-since-I-was-ten used comic vendors. I wanted a shower after visiting their booths. Yeesh. There were only two professional presentations, neither of which was relevant to us. We went and bought fancy chocolates, apples, and fresh herbs at French Market to make ourselves feel better.
  • I went in to work early around 8:45 to try and make some sense of the very confusing mess of receipts I had collected yesterday - some of which were scribbled on bits of paper.
  • Our five year old birthday party was pretty successful, considering I suddenly realized mid-Thursday that I hadn't planned anything. Our theme was trucks and we had an ambulance come for the kids to check out and they got a little safety lecture. They were very well-behaved (for five year olds) and the ladies who drove the ambulance and did the presentation were great with the kids. I brought out everything vaguely round or tube shaped I had in my storage closet and told the kids the challenge was to make a car - they went one better and came up with all sorts of crazy things, which was totally cool. I love little kid imaginations! We had shakers (made of paper towel tubes with big wooden beads inside), several fishing rods (paper towel tubes with ribbon spools attached and pipe cleaners for lines) and pipe cleaner flowers. Pattie brought a bunch of cut-out crafts - pinwheels and finger puppets and stuff, and we had almost 30 people.
  • I went down to McHenry; one of my teens told me the Borders there was closing and had great deals on manga and she was right! I am still a long way from filling in our very scattered series, but I have used up most of my manga budget for this year and may even have a little left over, with all the money I saved. I do not understand how we ended up with such a scattered collection - very few consecutive numbers and not a single complete series of anything! But I am doing my best to remedy the problem.
  • In a final fortuitous series of events, which made me feel much better about the whole week, among the last few cooking books unsold was the exact bread book I really wanted and when I made a wrong turn coming out of the shopping center and turned in at a gas station to turn around, I happened to glance at my gauge and realized it was almost empty. Phew!
  • I got home around 4:00 and am now preparing to do dishes, finally put together my rowing machine, vacuum, clean the bathroom, write up a backlog of reviews...
  • Or just read comics and eat caramel popcorn from the train station in Chicago.
Weeks like these I want to wack over the head all the well meaning people who talk about how much fun my job must be and how easy. Yes, I love my job (mostly), yes, it's often fun, yes, sometimes it's even easy. But there's also a LOT of dealing with recalcitrant, annoying, bored, and mentally ill kids, teens, and adults. We're expected to constantly grow our circulation, programming, and patron numbers without additional staff to adequately supervise and serve said patrons. Mostly we rise to the challenge. Sometimes we just have crazy weeks.Good thing we got chocolates yesterday.


Stephanie said...

I feel your pain. Last week was Spring Break here. I had programs every day last week with two on Wednesday. Oy! I'm still recovering.

Jennifer said...

Our spring break is the week of Easter - I do two or three programs, but that's less than a normal week! We don't get many spring break kids after the Monday, lots of people go out of town - or spend the week watching tv and playing video games.