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Friday, June 3, 2011

If You Have Nothing Nice To Say, Come Sit By The Reference Desk

Last week was crazy-in-a-good-way for me. I did a presentation at BEA during the fabulous 7x20x21 panel, which was truly an exhilarating experience. Naturally, I talked about libraries: their current role in our communities, their future, their wackiness...I mean, importance. The next day, back at the reference desk, I was showing my coworker an old-school coloring sheet that I used in my presentation as a backdrop to talk about peoples' perceptions of librarians:

One of our teen regulars was also at the reference desk, and as we were talking, she told my coworker and me that some librarians at other branches were "mean." When she saw the coloring sheet, she said:

Teen: "See? THAT'S what librarians are like."

Me: "What??"

Teen: "They are old and mean. With missing teeth." (None of which is represented in the picture on the coloring sheet, but, you know, whatevs.) 

She then noticed that I was (lovingly) giving her the Librarian Glare of Death, so she hastily said, "No, no...not YOU. Other librarians." Sigh. Looks like we have some more work to do to improve the perception of librarians, folks. 

It's a start.
Speaking of those darndest things kids say, here are the Top 5 Things I heard/was asked today by youngsters at the library. They were especially punchy today for some reason, and I had many interesting conversations.

1) Teen: "What kind of phone do you have?" 
    Me: "Just a normal, boring phone." 
    Teen: "You need to get a stylish phone." 
    Me: "Do I look like I care about being stylish?" 
    Teen: (looks at me, considers): "...No." 

2) Tween: "Are you Jewish?"
     Me: "Nope."
     Tween: "You look Jewish. It's the freckles."
    (Actually, this is not the first time I've been told this.)

3)  Teen: "This girl at school wore a shirt today that came down to here." *points to place that indicates an inappropriate neckline for a teenage girl*  
      Me: "Why would her mother let her go to school like that?" 
     Teen: "Her mother is a stripper." 

4) Tween: "My math teacher is MEAN."
     Me: "Why is she mean?"
     Tween: "She's mad because she's divorced and she has no one to spend her life with now."
    (So much world-weary wisdom for a 13-year-old.)

5) And my very favorite quote, spoken by a girl in the third grade: "I don't understand love."     
     (Girrrrrrrrl, who DOES? Side note: this wasn't in the context of romantic love, but I thought that it could apply to pretty much any love-related situation ever in the history of the world.)

Yup. Still love my job.

(Unicorn picture borrowed from  here. Disclaimer: not a picture of an actual unicorn.)


  1. Whoa, you were at BEA?! I didn't know! Me too!

  2. Yes! Just on Tuesday. Sorry to miss you!

  3. Keep posting these! I gobble them like Hershey's Kisses.

  4. Obviously you need to get a stylish phone. That'll show the little meanie.

  5. Thanks, Patty, will do!

    Bill, librarians can't afford to be stylish. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it.)

  6. Tween girl: (Big sigh) "Boys are just silly. One boy in my class put a rock in his ear and called in a hearing aid"
    2nd tween girl: And some girls in my (4th grade) class are even *dating* them!
    My response? A commiserating "ewwww"

  7. I'd wear a dress like that every day if I could find them. Rockin' the bow. I'm really teaching my students that it doesn't matter what one wears, as long as one is kind and helpful. Useful, not decorative; that's my motto!

  8. Kids are hilarious, aren't they? My favorite was when a 9 year old told me this "joke"-Why do kids drop out of school? Because they get pregnant!

    Definite headdesk. But I laughed really hard at the stripper comment, so thanks!

  9. loving all this stuff - from far across the water in rainy gloucester, uk.
    Helen - prison officer/sometime relief librarian

  10. My recent highlight was telling a student she had communicable diseases overdue(book)