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Second Generation Librarian.

Today I joined Library Day in the Life – which is sort of a library blog aggregator… with a twist. Basically you add your name to this list of other librarians (word to the wise, right-click and select “add row” rather than putz around for 10 minutes trying to change the table properties like SOME people – me – will start you on the road to success) then you write a post every day in your blog and tag it librarydayinthelife. Whoo!

Today was basically like being stuck in the doldrums on the open sea of the library.

I had a few things that I really needed to do today – the most arduous of which is to seek out a drama program for the Winter 2010 season (yes we’re planning already). But none of those things got accomplished due to some last minute trouble-shooting regarding room set-ups for Musical Theatre summer camp, mysterious lingering courier boxes that may be essential to running camps next week, and… other stuff. I also had a program to do tonight: “Spy Kids Week” for the Summer Reading Club. So I just forgot about doing all of the “grown-up stuff” (how I think of administrative work) and got straight to the emergencies and Spy Kids. Basically I had planned for kids to make code wheels, invisible ink, and “spy-dentity” cards. Originally it started off as a one-hour sit-down program, but I modified it to a drop-in program at the last minute because most of the other branches are using volunteers to run the program. The following are lessons learned:

1) There are 3 kinds of ways to make invisible ink. Lemon juice, Lemon juice and baking soda, and baking soda and water. Lemon juice works the best, but lemon juice and baking soda gets the best reaction. However since the kids had done it before, they remained unimpressed. Especially because I refused to use a “heat source” to develop the ink and went for the less library-liable version of painting over the dried ink with grape juice. Some kids said they would have preferred to drink the grape juice. I would have let them, except that I bought it over 3 weeks ago and it had been opened and possibly fermented. Or maybe I should’ve let them drink it… hm. Either way, next time I will bring in a hair dryer or something.

2) For some reason, I find that explaining the concept of code-wheels to other people is next to impossible. Go ahead and try it! I either end up sounding like it’s quantum physics or just sound like an idiot. I should have guessed when a librarian from another branch called me to ask me how to put it together and “what it was supposed to do” and I couldn’t really explain it to her. Blank stares ensued tonight… They did like the fact that it spun, though…one little boy thought it was a clock. With letters. I did not correct him, but hey, he was 4 and by far my most enthusiastic participant. Code wheels will not survive this iteration of the program, although I do love the idea of making your own code…

3) Kids do not understand what “Alias” means. They do not understand what “Agent number” means. I said “Just make it up!” They looked at me like I was a lunatic. Or like they were humouring me. Except for the little 4-year-old boy who said “I’m SPIDERMAN!” He was pretty awesome. Some kids even asked me what they were supposed to put for “Name.” Next time I make an identity card project I will just put their pictures next to a fancy seal and call it a day.

Meanwhile, back at the info desk – the entire library was being staffed by two people. So when all this was said and done we all looked like info-zombies. I suggested that we close the library due to the fact that none of the librarians could think straight. Somehow we muddled through the last half hour, eyes slightly glazed. Think I also got the courier boxes straightened out, but only time will tell. Why ARE there mysterious courier boxes in the program room closet?!?! The saga continues…

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