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Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Librarian's Christmas

Yesterday during Arts & Crafts, the kids and I made paper bag reindeer (which turned out cute, as you can see from the picture below) and paper snowflakes (which, due to my inherent lack of crafting skills, came out not-so-cute...thus the lack of a picture).

Introducing Rudolph's Lesser-Known Cousin, Boris the Blue-Antlered Reindeer
One of the kids who came to the program (who is amusingly sassy) kept taking markers from the bin and discovering that they were dried up. After this happened about four or five times, she threw down a marker and exclaimed:  

"Nothing works around here!"

I sighed and apologized and gave my standard half-serious, half-smartass answer when sometimes faced with a disgruntled person who complains about the current state of library services:

"Well, you can write a letter to the Mayor asking him to not cut the library's budget any more so we can buy better arts and crafts supplies."

The kid was amenable to this plan. 

Her: "Okay! I would sign the President's name because I have really good script. I would tell them to give the library two million dollars a year."

Me: "Why two million?"
Her: "Just because. And all librarians will get $2,000 a month."

Me (jokingly): "Hmm. Not two million?"

The other kids joined in and started yelling out numbers. 

"Two million!"

"No, a BILLION!"

"A trillion dollars!"

"A sextillion!"

"Did you just say SEX?!!"

That made them dissolve into shocked giggles. Ahh, to be 10 years old again.
I'm not going to lie, I'd happily take sextillion dollars per month. A librarian can dream, right?

After Arts & Crafts, I got a nice surprise: a Christmas card from one of the kids, and handmade drawings from two others. These are my very favorite kinds of gifts.

Name of artist covered. I did not pay this kid to write those things, I swear.

So, some of my markers are dried up and I don't make two million dollars a month, but I'd still say I have it pretty good. Happy Merry Christmas (and everything else you can possibly celebrate) to all! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

You've Got Books

The other night I walked into the mailroom of my apartment building and was greeted by this sight. (Please ignore the unattractive and oddly patriotic flower arrangement, I had nothing to do with that):

I've found random books in random places before, and I know that people leaving reading material behind for others to take is nothing new. But that's kind of the point. Libraries (or reasonable facsimiles thereof) just seem to organically generate themselves wherever there are people. For some reason, it was a comforting thing for me to think that the person who put them there thought "These are books. These are special. Someone else will want these." It's a true case of one man's garbage being another man's treasure. Try THAT with e-books! 

Also, I'd like to draw your attention to the amusing titles of some of these books. (Well, I found them amusing. You might not. I have a strong and irrational love of bad puns, inherited from my father.)

Death Threads

A Stitch in Crime

Sins and Needles


Anyway, I didn't take the books myself, and they were gone from the mailroom the next morning. I'd like to think that a mystery-loving pun-fan in my building scooped them up and that they weren't just thrown out before someone found a use for them. *cough Mayor Bloomberg cough.* 

Happy holidays, everyone, and merry reading. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Et Tu, Penguin?

I'm sure you've all heard about the Penguin ebook thing. Yeahhh. It's been bugging me for the past couple of days, so instead of a posting funny library story, I'm going to say a few frustrated words about the whole mess from my perspective as a children's librarian.

A great post by Librarian by Day reminded me of something I heard at a wedding last year. During the reception, I met a woman whose sister used to work for one of the "Big Six" publishing houses. (I can't remember which one, and I don't remember her exact title, but she was pretty high up there.) When I told the woman that I was a librarian, her eyes lit up and she said that her sister had a motto: "Get the librarians on your side."

It stuck with me. And if you think about it, it just makes sense. Librarians exist, in part, to push books to a wider audience. Children's librarians especially focus on getting kids excited about reading so that they become life-long readers. Librarians don't do this job for any kind of profit (except, you know, a salary). There's no commission earned when kids read more books. We don't get special prizes for doing storytime. We do it because we love books and reading and we want kids to grow up loving books and reading. Call me a sap, but it's really that simple.

We also do it because we recognize how libraries fit in to the greater picture of kids' lives. We know that libraries fill a gap that might be left open because of ecnonomic  hardships or educational deficiencies. Literacy is quickly getting edged out as a priority in this country, and that is wrong. We in the book business should be making it EASIER for people to read books, not more difficult.

Libraries strive to make it easier. That's why this whole Penguin kerfuffle makes me (and many other librarians, by the looks of Twitter and other library-related blogs) confused and sad, especially coming on the heels of the Harper Collins controversy. We WANT kids, teens, and adults to read books and buy books and borrow them from the library. Reading is the one of the only things I can think of that is both intensely personal and ideal for sharing. It seems counterintuative to prevent the sharing of books by focusing solely on potential sales.

As of today, Penguin has restored Kindle lending, but it still isn't allowing the lending of new titles. I sense that this is only the beginning of problems that libraries will face as we move forward into the digital age. My advice to all publishers? Make this your motto: get the librarians on your side. Not only will your books be read, but you will be contributing to the advancement of literacy for new generations of readers. Isn't that what publishing is supposed to be all about in the first place? 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

How I Beat My "Evil" Name Twin

I'm not saying anything new when I say that being a librarian is a tough job. Yes, I realize it's not rocket science or brain surgery or some other hard work-related cliché, but to anyone who says that being a librarian is easy: I challenge you to a duel. That's right, a duel. Like, with gloves and swords and horses and other duel-y stuff. (Okay, I don't really know how a duel works.)

The job is difficult for numerous reasons, but sometimes it all boils down to the fact that certain people can be outright MEAN. This clip from "Ghostbusters II" (one of the greatest sequels of all time and if you disagree, see my previous comment about dueling) rings a little too close to home sometimes. I'm sure any of you other librarians could insert the name of your city and it would still be applicable.

Don't get me wrong, librarians can handle it. Difficult patrons are part of the job, and difficult people in general are part of the charm of living and working in a busy and diverse city like my beloved Brooklyn. To me, providing good customer service is ultimately what being a librarian is all about. You can't choose your customers, but you can choose how you react to them. (And let's be honest, sometimes librarians are the mean ones. Remember this sad graffiti?)

And of course, here's my favorite mean movie librarian:

This is how I feel when people ask me for the bathroom key.

The challenge of a difficult patron can be invigorating, but also very trying. I like to face the situation as if I'm a doctor making a diagnosis: what is going on with this person? It's almost never personal, so what is the REAL reason he or she is acting in this manner? And most importantly, what can I do to remedy the situation and have he or she be on his or her merry way??

The other day, an elderly-ish woman on a computer waved me over for help. Although I hadn't interacted with her that much as I am usually on the children's desk, I recognized her as being one of the more "unfriendly" patrons - the type of person who thinks that the whole world is plotting against her at all times.

Combine that with the fact that she was in a hurry, had a broken flash drive, needed to revise a cover letter and the fact that she didn't really know how to use a computer in the first place, and we had a DIFFICULT PATRON situation on our hands. Here's a rough depiction of what I saw when I approached her computer:


I calmly tried to guide her in writing the cover letter. I explained each step I took, each cut & paste, each bullet point. She didn't get it. Everything I said was wrong. Everything I did was a source of frustration. She argued, she sighed, she shook her head. "Why does EVERYTHING have to be so difficult?" she finally shouted, throwing her hands up in the air.

Aw. There it was. I know how maddening technology can be when you don't know what you're doing. (Watch me try to use an iPhone sometime. You'd be amazed at the things I click on that shouldn't be clicked on.) But even when I tried to commiserate with her, she was having none of it. To her, I was only trying to make life more difficult. I was one of THEM. 

Honestly, I wasn't having the greatest day either, but I didn't want to lose my cool. That would be unlibrarianish of me, after all. Feeling desperate, I decided to break the cardinal rule of not acknowledging a patron's personal information during a reference transaction. I pointed to her resume on the computer screen, saying "Hey, my name is Rita too."
That was all it took.

Her hands dropped to her lap. Her eyes softened.

"It IS?" She almost smiled.

"Yup!" I replied, showing her my work ID. "There aren't too many of us around, right?"

"That's because we're special," she said, with a hint of what appeared to be wistfulness. 

Then, to my surprise, she put her arm around me and said "You're such a nice person." (And this might sound weird, but it almost made me cry because MAN, sometimes you just need someone to be nice to you.)

I don't know what this lady's story is or what life did to her to make her the way she is, but I'm going to try to use this other Rita as inspiration - to be more patient with patrons and loved ones, to have more compassion for people who may be struggling, and to appreciate the nice things that are done for me.

And by God, I am going to learn how to use a damn iPhone.

(BONUS: just to show you how special "Ritas" really are, above is a clever Venn Diagram that was created by one of my Twitter friends. I don't know about anyone else, but I am proud that my name was featured in an R. Kelly song.)

Be nice to each other.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Back to the Library of the Future

UPDATE! So, some of you might remember my post from several months ago about a "Library of the Future" essay contest I helped to judge. In the post, I gave a few examples from some of the essays, in which kids discussed their views on the future of libraries - with relatively hilarious results.

Last week, a staff member of the councilman who sponsored the essay contest very belatedly-but-kindly emailed me an contest entry that didn't make the final cut, but that he thought I might want to read anyway. He was correct. The essay is kind of amazing.

With permission, I've included the entire essay here, omitting the kid's name and the name of his high school. I'm not going to analyze it or speculate on what it means for the actual future of libraries or make any of my usual cynical remarks. I just want you to read it and draw your own conclusions.

Okay, I'll make ONE cynical remark: with statements like "The library of the future will be a hellish place and should be abandoned," I hope this kid grows up to be an award-winning horror writer and not, for example, a library director. Alls I'm sayin'.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Occupy Something

I took this photo yesterday in Zuccotti Park. I don't know what's going to happen with Occupy Wall Street, but the sign gave me a feeling that sort of resembled hope. (Perish the thought!)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Story Within a Story

These notes were found stuck inside a book at my branch. I don't know who wrote them, nor do I know their original purpose. They were handily numbered by their creator(s), who, if I HAD to guess, were teenage girls. Despite the fact that a few pages seem to be missing and they are out of context, I think the notes make for a pretty interesting narrative:

Introduction of conflict.

More conflict!

(Oh, she cares. We all know she cares.)

Awww. (Turning point 1.)

Things take a dark turn...

(Note: the library is not culpable for any "accidental" deaths.)

Yeah, girl! (Turning point 2.)

Optimistic climax.

Aaaaand resolultion.

So there's your lesson on narrative structure! Sadly, we'll never know the real story behind these notes. Maybe one day I'll fill in the blanks and win a Newbery award or something. But I think that last note contains pretty damn good advice on its own. Live on, everyone. Live on.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

They Don't Need No Education

A kid recently asked me to help him print out some Google images of the following subjects:

- The Joker from The Dark Knight
- Tupac Shakur
- A poster for the movie "Scarface"
- An artist's rendering of the sinking Titanic 

The kid told me that he needed these pictures for an English project at school, and other than the fact that Tupac wrote a book of poetry,  I couldn't connect the dots. I casually asked the kid what exactly he needed to do with the pictures.

"These are for my writer's notebook. They're supposed to give you ideas."

He explained what the writer's notebook was (a place to write down thoughts while reading - to be used later for book reports and the like) and that he was going to paste these pictures on its cover for inspiration.   

This doesn't exactly scream "literary inspiration" to me,
but then again, I'm not a 10-year-old boy.
I contemplated the pictures. They had potential for sparking creative impulses, I guess, but they were also a little dark for the fifth grade. Although I didn't want to outwardly judge or give unsolicited advice, I still felt compelled to ask: "Do you think 'Scarface' is appropriate for school?"

The kid shrugged.

Me: "Why do you like it?"

Kid: "I dunno. It has a lot of action."

That's an understatement.

Me: "Yeah. It's pretty violent. Then again, so are things that the Joker does."

Kid: "Yeah. I want to be in his gang!"

Sigh. I guess it's good to have role models?

"Was THIS the grade on your your report card?"

I recently sent out a message on Twitter: "Helped a kid with homework. I had to inform her that Long Island is not a state and 'fivity' is not a number. Lord help us." I was being flippant, but this transaction really did bother me. This kid was definitely old enough to know the number 50. Did she really not learn this in school? Was it just a language barrier thing? Was the fact that she was asking ME for help after school, rather than a parent, a troubling sign of the times?

It's not really my intention to talk in depth about the state of education in America because A) Others have done it better B) I feel pessimistic about it for a variety of reasons C) thinking about it too hard makes my stomach hurt (primarily because I had a VERY brief and unsuccessful stint in teaching high school English, an experience that deserves its own blog post or possibly a tear-soaked memoir). But every day I see evidence that cutting funds for education and libraries is NOT in the best interest of this country. (Are you listening, politician people?) 

I took this few months ago outside a Manhattan B&N.
Kinda says it all, doesn't it?
The truth is, I worry I'm not doing enough as a librarian to guide these kids when they are in my care. I do storytimes, class visits, book displays, and endless reference work. How much responsibility do I have if a kid doesn't do well on a paper? How much guilt should I feel when I sometimes have to tell a kid "I'm sorry, I don't have time to sit down with you and help you with your homework"? Should I be running down children on the street to make sure they all have library cards?

It's a hopelessly complex topic, this education thing. (Another understatement.) There are no easy answers. Hell, even the questions aren't easy. But it's my hope that I am doing my own small part to help raise a generation of Homers instead of Homer Simpsons. Sadly, I'll never really know. Sometimes I wish I still got a report card too. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday Dumb

A strange book cover found in the foreign language section by one of our part-timers:

Why so literary?
I have no idea what the title's translation is and I'm too lazy...I mean, busy to research it. I just hope Brad Pitt has some good legal representation.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Forgotten Bookmarks, Part 2

Just a quick note to say that I am once again honored to have a little guest post up on the wonderful Forgotten Bookmarks site. Check out the post here!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Spelling Good is Hard to Do

In honor of "Back to School" season, a fellow librarian created a tongue-in-cheek library display using the following picture of a misspelled street sign. Remember this? We all had a good chuckle, right? (Picture borrowed from this article.)

Putting the "cool" back in school.
 Look, we all make mistakes. No one is perfect, that's why pencils have erasers, blah blah blah. As much as I like to consider myself a grammar/spelling enthusiast, I slip up too. My own parents sometimes email me days after I publish a blog post to let me know about an error I've made. Red-faced, I fix it, hoping that no one else noticed. (FYI: if anything is misspelled in future blog posts, it's merely a test to see if you're all paying attention. Yeah.)

But to showcase this level of ignorance and/or carelessness in PAINT and in front of a SCHOOL is both hilariously ironic and disheartening. Where are the standards? Who is double-checking? Is our children learning? It reminds me of this photo of me printed in a library-related newsletter a couple of years ago. If you can't spell "librarian," can you really support librarians? Only time will tell.

Last night, right before the library closed, I was chatting with a coworker while standing next to the aforementioned back-to-school display. My coworker looked at the "Shcool" picture and commented, "You know, the driveway outside the library says "No Paking" instead of "No Parking."

"No way," I said, my voice filled with skepticism. 

"Way," he replied, giving me a solemn look. 

I've worked here over a year and used the driveway hundreds of times. How did I not notice this before? So, when the last patron was gone and the security guard was ready to lock up, I left the building and walked over to the driveway. Lo and behold, there it was: "NO PAKING." I shook my head. How could this have happened? This is a LIBRARY, dammit! We're supposed to set an example!

Public libraries: paving (ahem) the way to literacy.

I guess no one and nothing is immune from poor spelling and bad grammar, not even educational institutions. Should we all just throw in the proverbial towel and resign ourselves to the Idiocracy, or continue in our quest to make the world a more intelligent, literate place? Something to think about...er, I mean, something about which to think.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

How to Mark Your Territory at the Reference Desk

Some kids see the reference desk solely as a place to ask questions about homework or books. Other kids pass by the reference desk without even glancing at it. And then there are those kids who see the desk as a place to hang out and talk to the librarian incessantly.

Recently, one 11-year-old girl (I'll call her Maria, although that's not her real name) went so far as to make a warning sign for anyone who might dare encroach on her self-designated area of the reference desk.

The smiley faces soften the threat.
 Me: "So what happens after they get two strikes?" 

Maria: "We have a talk." 

Me: "Okay. What happens after that?" 

Maria: "Another talk. Then a poster." 

Me: "A...poster? Like, a 'wanted' poster?"

Maria: "Yes. It will say their name and that they are not allowed to pass this area."

Me: "Wow. You're strict." 

Maria: "I'm just marking my territory. I always stand RIGHT HERE." She then proceeded to jump up and down in place next to the desk.

Me: "You have to relax, lady!"

Maria (thoughtfully): "Yeah, people say that to me a lot. But it's hard to relax."

How true. How very true.

Maria recently tried to teach me how to make a lanyard bracelet. As I've said before, I have absolutely no talent or patience for crafty-type things. This picture above shows how far I got with mine (and this was with a lot of guidance from Maria.) My lack of lanyarding prowess was absolutely mystifying to her.

Maria: "Come on. This is one of the easiest skills besides eating and tying your shoes."

Me: "It's not easy for me! I've tried and I'm just not good at it."

Maria: "I don't know what talent you have, but you have a talent."

(Yes! Someone finally noticed!)

Me: "I can sing. I can't dance, though."

Maria: "I can't dance either. I can't even do The Robot." (Because being able to do The Robot is the true marker of dancing excellence.) She then started dancing - some kind of fascinating Robot/Cabbage Patch hybrid dance - at the reference desk. When she stopped, she said, "Did I actually just do that? I pictured it in my head and it was AWKWARD." Hee.

Something to strive for.

Maria also has the distinction of being the only kid to remember that it was my birthday when it occurred last month. (Not that I expect anyone to know or care about my birthday; I was just amazed that she DID.) Maria took the time to make me a pillow in her summer camp Arts & Crafts class. When she gave it to me, she warned me: "Don't get your hopes up. I didn't make you a blanket." My dreams. They are crushed.

Maria: "I just want you to know that the needle to sew the thread was SO BIG."

Me: "Well, thank you for putting yourself in danger for my present. I love it."

Maria: "Now you have a birthday to remember."

How true. How very true.

So there you have it. Two effective ways to mark your territory at the reference desk: menacing notes and/or presents for the librarian. Personally, I recommend the latter. (And if you want to give me a belated birthday present, I could use a blanket. The reference desk is kinda cold for naps.)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Librarian of the Year

For a variety of reasons (work stuff, weather stuff, & personal stuff), it's been a rough couple of weeks. Hell, let's be honest, here: it's been a rough couple of months, and I think a lot of librarians might agree.

So it was a happy surprise when a girl who hangs out at my library came up to the reference desk yesterday and asked me "How long have we known each other?" When I said "About a year*," she said "Oh, good!" and handed me this piece of paper:

Well. I don't mean to brag, but that says Librarian of the YEAR, you guys. This ain't no flavor of the month nonsense. Now, the girl wasn't sure how to spell my name - "Reeda? Reeta?" - so another kid who was standing at the desk filled it in. I was very touched to receive this prestigious award, even when the girl said: "Next year, it will probably be Ally" (my awesome co-librarian, who I'm sure would have gotten this piece of paper herself if she were the one who happened to be there at that moment).

THEN, a different girl, who was also standing by the desk (there are usually about five or six of them at any given time), gave me a drawing that she had been working on for a few minutes. What a special day!

This particular kid has given me similar drawings before (and I try to ignore the fact that she must find my head massive), but this time she added the reference desk to the picture and told me "I wanted to draw your desk because I know it's important to you."

It is indeed.

*Actually, it was exactly a year ago TODAY that I transferred into this particular branch. Happy Libraversay to me!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Librarian Smash

Here is a picture drawn yesterday by a kid at the library. We made a mural during Arts & Crafts class, and the kid wanted to practice his "Incredible Hulk" skills on a piece of scrap paper before putting it on the mural. (Incidentally, the drawing is a good representation of how my mood has been for the past few weeks. Is summer over yet??)

There was no time to draw the body. Not so incredible now, are ya, Hulk?

On a happier note, here is a picture of the completed mural. My coworker created the "We Love Our Library" caption and the kids drew in book/cartoon characters and whatever else they felt like.

As you can see, there was a lot of artistic talent displayed. There was also a heated discussion about crayons. "Crayons are epic." "No, crayons are horrible." "Crayons are weak." Who knew the topic of crayons could stir such passionate debate between kids?

Can't we all just get along?

Although I liked the entire mural (I have to say that, right?) my favorite part was "We give kids books for learn" and "We learn things at public library" written by a little girl whose first language is not English. So adorable. And so true!

Arts & Crafts is over for another week. And now, the lonely librarian goes back to the reference desk...

Friday, August 5, 2011

Flippin' Out at the Library

I recently found this flip book sitting on the children's reference desk. I'm not exactly sure who made it, but I was told that it was most likely the handiwork of one of our teen "book buddy" volunteers (apparently, he/she was creating samples for an arts & crafts program). I was impressed by not only its artistic merit, but its message.

To me, the flip book shows a tale of struggle, despair, man's innate cruelty, and universal longings. But do we want our children learning these concepts in an arts & crafts class at the library? Should they be exposed to life's harsh realities with the help of cynical, gritty projects such as these? Or do we shelter them under a haze of innocent macaroni art until they are ready to be out in the world on their own?

I cannot answer these questions. You must decide for yourselves.

I hope we all learned something from this.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Goin' to the Ref Desk and We're Gonna Get Married

It's my guess that every unmarried woman over a certain age gets asked one or two million times in her adult life why she hasn't yet found a nice guy and settled down already. The subtext of this question is, of course, "What the hell is WRONG with you?" I've talked in previous posts about patrons being overly and inappropriately concerned with my marital status. Because I am happy with my life as it is right now, it doesn't bother me much anymore when people grill me at the reference desk on this topic. I don't get defensive, but I also don't engage (no pun intended) with the patron either. I give a humorously evasive response - "I'm saving myself for Robert Downey Jr.!" - and then I change the subject.

However, when the kids & teens talk about marriage with that incredulous, pushy, "this is the way it has to be and THAT'S THAT" attitude they all seem to have, it bothers me a bit more than when adults do it. Not that I see anything wrong with having the desire to get married, but when they view marriage as a absolute life requirement, the latent feminist in me kicks in. Haven't we moved away from the days when marriage was seen as the ultimate goal? Aren't modern females supposed to prize their independence, seek higher education, have a fulfilling career? Am I less of a woman if I don't choose to wear a white dress and walk down the aisle? Well? AM I?? (Uh oh. Sounding defensive. Better move on.)

Maybe I just watched Beetlejuice too many times as a kid.
I mean, look at the fear on her face. 
I realize that there are socioeconomic and cultural factors working behind the scenes with these girls and that a lot of them will probably relax their attitudes when they get older,  realizing that many women are unmarried by CHOICE. These young ladies will get to dodge their own bullets...I mean, have their own experiences someday. If they happen to tie the knot, that's great. If they don't, that's fine too. As a wise man once said, "Now, the world don't move to the beat of just one drum. What might be right for you may not be right for some."

On good days, I am able to have poignant conversations with the girls about what they want their futures to be. This is always illuminating and interesting - they want to be teachers, doctors, designers. More often than not, however, the focus is on me and my loudly-ticking biological clock. Recently, one of the more loquacious teens was hanging out at the reference desk chatting to me about school and friends and, of course, boys. The conversation quickly spiraled into a discussion of how I am going to die old, alone, and surrounded by cats.

 A projection of what I'll look like in the year 2070. 

Teen: "Are you always going to JUST have a boyfriend?"

Me: "What do you mean?" 

Teen: "Don't you want to get married someday?"

Me: "Why do you always ask me that?"

Teen: "I just don't want you to be ninety years old with no kids. I can totally picture you as a cat lady."

Seeing as how I am allergic to cats, this prediction did not bode well for my future happiness. I talked to her about life circumstances, and how 30 really isn't THAT old, and how marriage doesn't have to be for everyone, which she didn't buy in the slightest. A bit later, she asked for a pencil and some paper and started sketching away.

Me: "What are you drawing?" 

Teen: "Your wedding dress." 

Me: "Oh BOY." 

As she drew, she described the dress to one of the part-timers, who (unfortunately for him) was standing nearby:

"Look, I'm making Rita's wedding dress. It's gonna be tight from here *guestures towards waist* and strapless." 

She said to me: "Do you want a long dress or a mini dress?"

Me (*looking down at unspectacular legs*): "A long dress." 

Teen: "Okay." She pointed to the paper. "THIS part is going to be lace. You know, the stuff with holes?"

Me: "I know what lace is, yes." 

Teen: "Just checking."

The final design. Get on it, Vera Wang!

After she finished the drawing, she returned to the topic of having children:

Teen: "How many kids DO you want?"

Me (*looking around the loud, chaotic children's floor*): "HAHAHAHA."

Teen: "Why is that funny?" 

(She's going to be working at the library next month on the children's floor. She'll learn. Oh, how she'll learn.)

Do I still love my job? I do.