Saturday, August 30, 2008

Kids Say the Darndest Things

As a teacher, I have heard some wild comments from students. And, I am always amazed how perceptive kids can be.

After enjoying my summer off, I had lunch with a colleague last week. She spent the summer working with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

One morning in the library, she was stopped by Diana, who was soon to be in second grade. “My grandmother used to be a teacher,” Diana proudly informed her. “That’s why she died.”

Wow! I’ve been back in school for five days – I get it!

The Old Man and the Books

It's been a tough week at the bookstore.

General Manager on vacation, one supervisor in the hospital and some sort of bug causing sick days galore.

Stress? You bet.

Added to that, I forgot today was Saturday and I have to head off to work in 15minutes. I just remembered I have a blog to post. I have to do it now because I won't be home from work until after midnight. Yikes!


What helped to relieve my stress this week?

Silly old man.

I was working the register during a very busy time of the day. Up came an old man buying three books. I asked him, as is required, if he would like to get one of a rewards cards.

His answer, "I don't have time for that. I'm 80 years old. I have to get home and read these books before I kick off!"

That made me think. I hope I don't die in the middle of a book that I'm really enjoying!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Men ARE From Mars

Quite simply put, this all happened in one, eight hour period this week.

A call came about a man in the "Ladies Room". He simply walked through the wrong door.

A man wearing leather chaps was standing in line to purchase his book. This caused calls back and forth throughout the store with uproarious laughter in the background. Because, not only was he wearing chaps but he was wearing loose fitting jeans which caused his pants to poof out at the rear over the chaps giving the illusion of a diaper.

A young man walks into the store and straight to the restrooms. He comes out wearing a neon orange gorilla suit. Why? He was immediately escorted from the store. It's just not a good idea to conceal your identity in a retail store.

Wacky Wednesday.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

At least one conscientious library user

Most of the time, books from my library are returned in worse shape than they went out. The most common scenarios include, writing all over the margins or copiously highlighted text; although, a book once came in covered in kiwi too so, there's no limit to the destruction we see. As a one time student, I found this terrible, and apparently widespread, habit very VERY annoying. As a librarian, I find it completely disrespectful - and even more widespread than I previously thought!

Because of the vast number of highlighted and scribbled on books that come through the library, I thought I was alone in my frustration. I began to believe that students think writing in library books is the trendy thing to do or think that their marginalia are ideas of great genius meant to be shared. Well, I was wrong. There is at least one conscientious student out there who feels my pain.

The other day, as I was checking in books, I opened the front cover of a fairly new book to find an interesting post-it-note. The note summed up my feelings exactly; I could have written it myself. The post-it read:

"Please don't write in this book. You will ruin it for us all. It is really very annoying!"

Ah, finally a kindred spirit! I would like to find this mystery person and shake their hand. If there is one conscientious student out there maybe there's more and, maybe one day, all books in the library will be free from grafitti.

Hmm, fat chance of that. But at least I know there's one person on my side, fighting for good and not evil.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Born Free to Read

I grew up in a small town. I was able to ride my bike to the library downtown, which I did about once a week. We had one high school and we had one bookstore, which was really more of a news stand that had some books. My mother is a great reader and collector of books (auctions and garage sales were her bookstores) so we never had to buy a book for English class. We simply stepped into the stair well and got whatever classic was assigned in class. We were allowed to read anything in the house, no restrictions. This is why I attempted I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in the sixth grade. I don't think I finished it. I did love the little red hardcover biographies available in the school library. I think I read the whole series, I wish I could remember who the publisher was now. I hate history unless it's in biography form.

Imagine my excitement when I entered Jr. High School in 1974 and discovered The Scholastic BookClub! Do they still have that? Once a month, or so, we would get a four to six page hand-out of books we could order! Current books! I went crazy! It was a rare book that would escape by check mark. So while other kids were getting two, maybe three books from each circular, I was getting a dozen at a time! Never once did my parents question what I was getting or how much money it was costing them.

I read everything! Go Ask Alice, The Effects of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, The Pigman, The Outsiders...books that are still read by school kids today. They were brand spanking new then. And then there was the book that got me in trouble in this small town school. It was the fault of an ancient study hall teacher and the cover:

I was sent directly to the vice principals office to be reported to my parents.

When the principal called my mother her response was simply that as long as I was in study hall I could read whatever I wanted. When he described the book cover to her and said I shouldn't read it in school Mom said, "She got it from your school, she can read it in your school." So there you go. And, because I don't like being told I can't do something without valid reason, even at that age, I went on to do an oral report in English class to the horror of yet another small town Jr High School teacher in 1974.