Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Being a Children's Librarian Rocks

During my thus-short stint as a children's librarian (as opposed to my time working with teens), I have had several noteworthy experiences that have "warmed the cockles of my heart," as an old friend of mine used to say. Two in particular during the last few weeks have brought a much-needed smile to my face. After all, even Dreaded Librarians get the blues.

The first was an older lady who visits the youth services department every few weeks with her caseworker. I don't know much about her, except that she is a very devout Christian who always bids us librarians adieu with the afterthought, "And I'll pray for you tonight!" She mostly fixates on the other more seasoned and familiar librarians, since I am a relative new-be (my predecessor is greatly missed by staff and patrons alike). However, just last week she came up to me and said in her sing-song voice, "Why hello, don't you look pretty today. You look just like a bologna sandwich and a glass of cold lemonade on a hot day! So preeetty, yes." Undoubtedly the single-most strange compliment I've ever had, but it created a certain delight that I can't quite explain. Sometimes those off-beat comments are the most honest and sincere, and subsequently the most heart felt by their receiver.

And secondly, just today a little girl I've never met before came in with her older sister and mum. They all spent some time looking around in the bookstacks, and asked me about the status of a few books they had ordered through interlibrary loan. Finally, they came to the desk and the older sister checked out her conservative stack of books, followed by the youngest child with her equally small (but carefully selected) pile. She smiled shyly up at me as I stamped each book and scanned her card, and as I handed the books back to her with a great great big grin and a "There you go! Enjoy your books," she quietly said, "Thank you" and turned to leave. Before she even completed one step she whipped back around, and despite having never seen me before in her life very politely asked, "May I hug you?" Well, my weary heart just about melted and I gave that little girl a nice little hug that hopefully made her half as happy as it made me. Such a small gesture, but it made my day. I wonder how she knew I needed that hug?

On an unrelated note, I finally (after 24 years) read "The Lorax" by Dr. Seuss! It was just as excellent as everyone told me it would be. I may just have to use it as a read-aloud for the kids ecology program I'm scheming up!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Dreaded Librarians: Good at Kicking Ass, Awkward at Making Friends

Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and erase those annoying, mortifying moments that make me want to crawl into the depths of a dusty closet and stay there until my eyes turn white from lack of lighting. Today was certainly one of those days.

For a few weeks now, I have been venturing out from my post at a new library, scoping out the neighborhood for friendly community places, and in particular looking for spots within walking distance to grab a cup of coffee or a juice on my lunch break. Unfortunately, this place lacks a sense of community as much as George W. Bush lacks a grasp of the English language. However, one day I made an unlikely acquaintance at a local Cumberland Farms while I was fueling my gas-guzzling-environment-destroying-car-contraption. He complimented my dreadedness and gave me a warm, non-creepy smile that I saw as "potential friend material." He thus became none other than Cumberland Farms Boy, or CFB for short.

Answer me this: how does a young, badass lady make friends in a city where she knows no one? I pondered and queried until I could barely sleep for all the thoughts floating in my head, then decided, heck, I'll never make friends unless I got out on a limb. What's the worst that could happen? 

Fast forward to today: I walk to Cumberland Farms under the guise of getting a coffee, but really to try and convince CFB to be my friend. I enter the door and he shouts, "hey Molly!" and flashes me a grin, and I shout "hey!" back with a smile, pour myself some coffee, and hit up the register. Thus begins the awkward conversation, that went something like this:

Dreaded Librarian (DL): So, can I ask you a question?
CFB: Shoot
DL: Wanna grab a beer sometime?
CFB: (Starts shaking) Uhh, well, uh yeah. Uh, I get out of work around, like, 3...but maybe not today, hm...
DL: Yeah, cool. Well, um, whenever. 
(Awkward silence)
DL: So, I have a boyfriend...
CFB: I have a girlfriend!
DL: Cool!
CFB: Yeah, wow. I was starting to freak out for a minute
DL: Nah, don't worry, I'm not creepy. I just don't have any, uh, friends.
CFB: Yeah, cool. I mean, not cool that you don't have friends. Um.... so, are you new in town?
DL: Yeah. Kinda. I mean, I went to high school here, but it was a while ago. I just moved back to work at L-- Library.
CFB: Oh really? Where's that?
DL: Um...it's... the library? Two blocks from here?
CFB: Oh.
DL: Yeah.
(Awkward silence)
CFB: Well uh, let me..
DL: Sure, yeah...
CFB: Here's a...yeah, here's some paper.
(hands me a ripped up receipt)
DL: Cool. (Writes phone number). There.
CFB: So... I'll, yeah, let you know if something happens.
DL: Thanks, I appreciate it. I want to meet people. You know, cool people. In the area. (Mentally kicks self in the face)
(Awkward silence)
DL: Well, thanks again. Uh, have a nice day!
CFB: Uh yeah, you too.

Maybe next time I should just stick to buying coffee.