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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.)