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Friday, December 21, 2012

Let It Snow

Here are some of the colorful snowflakes my teen volunteers made for the kids at Sandy Hook Elementary. You can make some too and send them there (this is one of the projects being sponsored by the Connecticut PTSA). It's something small to do, but it's still something.  


I wish everyone a safe and peaceful holiday.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


I saw this message scrawled on a bus stop sign near my apartment building. Considering the circumstances of the past week and past few months, seeing this sign randomly on a sunny street actually made me a bit emotional.

Let's just hope that it's true.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Yesterday, as I was leaving the library, a kid I know stopped me to say hi. (She’s about 12 and has said to me in the past: “You’re my best friend…in the library.” I appreciated this even WITH the qualifier.) She gave me a hug like she always does and I asked her how she was doing. She kind of looked down at the floor, nodded, and said “I’m okay.” I immediately grew concerned.

Me: “Are you sure you’re okay?”

Her: “Well, sorta.”

Me: “Is something wrong?”

She nodded again. “Things are kind of intense right now.”

My heart kind of dropped and I steeled myself for a conversation about Newtown, family trouble, school troubles, or any of the above combined. I would say the right thing. I would be there for her. I would get her help if she needed it.

“What’s going on that’s intense for you?”

“Well, ‘The Vampire Diaries’ is OVER. I have nothing to look forward to anymore.”

I let out the breath I’d been holding and almost laughed with relief. She was okay. I, on the other hand, have been a bundle of electric nerves and raw emotions since Friday.

There is no sense in tragedy. There are no lessons to learn, except maybe these: to give love (or at least kindness) freely, to listen to those around us and let them know that they are heard and understood. I do what little part I can in the world around me - even if it’s just listening to a lamentation about a favorite television show ending.

You never know what’s important to someone. You never know what will matter until it’s possibly too late.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Popular? More like BLAH-pular.

Being the children's librarian at my branch, I am usually on the kid's reference desk during the "after school" shift (which is why my Twitter feed starts filling up with kid quotes around 3:30pm. Sorry about that). Because a lot of the drama in a kid's life seems to happen at school, I very often get the immediate "fallout" from the day, whether it's good or bad. The tween girls in particular show their every emotion in their actions; they are usually either all excited and chirpy (if something good happened at school) or morose and dejected (if something bad happened).

Very often the kids use me souding board for their problems, and I am always fascinated by these small glimpses into their lives (especially because I had my OWN similar problems when I was their age, as I'm sure a lot of people did). One day, two girls were standing at the reference desk and telling me about their day, which in this case was NOT a good one. Sensing an opportunity, I put on my therapist/sociologist/cultural anthropologist hat. Instead of giving advice outright, I asked the girls some questions as they talked in order to gain some insight into what it's like for actual tween girls these days. Turns out, when it comes to the issue of "popularity," things haven't changed all that much since I was in middle school.

Tween 1: "I hate popular girls."

Me: "What makes someone popular?"

Tween 1: "They are snotty."

Tween 2: "They want to look pretty even if their clothes are ugly."

Me: "What makes their clothes ugly?"

Tween 2: "Pink! Pink! I HATE pink. What is UP with that?"

Tween 1 (pointing to Tween 2's shirt): "The horses on your shirt are pink."

Tween 2 (looking down at her shirt): "Oh. Well, I don't care."

We move on. The topic of "girly-girls" comes up. Apparently, these are the things that make
a girl a "girly-girl" instead of just a regular girl:

- shopping for a lot for clothes
- always putting on makeup
- wearing dresses and "frilly stuff"
- they want to get boys' attention

Tween 1: "Girly girls will always do what boys tell them to do."

Hmmm. An astute observation, especially as one gets older, but not a point that I really want to unpack with these 12-year-old girls at the reference desk.

Me: "Anything else?"

Tween 2: "They wear high heels."

Tween 1: "I wear high heels, but only on special occasions."

Tween 2: "Okay, they wear high heels EVERY day."

Tween 1: "And their voices! They are always like 'Oh my GAWD.' They say it in a certain way."

The original concern pops up again.

Tween 2: "They just think they're SO popular."

Me: "How do you become popular?"

Tween 2: "You hang out with cool people."

Me: "What makes someone cool?"

Tween 2: "How should I know???"

My conclusions: it's damn tough being a girl, and you really never feel "popular" no matter what age you are. But as you get older, if you are fortunate, you start to realize that popular doesn't really mean anything anyway, and that you have the ability to surround yourself with people who make you feel good and appreciate everything you have to offer. (And who knows, maybe one of those people might even be a librarian.)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Screwy Dewey

Look what my nice friend over at Forgotten Bookmarks sent me! 

Yes, that is a classic 1987 vintage mint authorized collectible (I have no idea how to describe trading cards) Garbage Pail Kids trading card. I had a bunch of these when I was a kid, but I'm pretty sure my mom surreptitiously threw them out because some of the themes were pretty gross/disturbing (by 1987 standards, anyway). 

I'm not sure what the story is behind poor ol' "Screwey Dewey," but I'm just going to imagine that Dewey here is a librarian who had spent too many hours on the reference desk because his branch was short-staffed thanks to budget cuts (ahem). One day after work, Dewey was walking through a very industrialized part of town. He was so stressed and exhausted and distracted that he didn't see the giant pair of cogs in the sidewalk ahead and he fell into them. By coincidence, he was still holding the wrench he had used earlier in the day to fix the library's broken toilet (the custodian was substituting at another branch - again, budget cuts). Dewey tried to stop the cogs with the wrench, but they were too fast. His skull was crushed within seconds and he died.


Hmmm. Now I see why my mom didn't want me to have Garbage Pail Kids. 

In any case, it's obvious that Dewey has fallen on (or in?) some tough times and could use a little positive reinforcement. Speaking of which, there was a succinct but lovely little note on the package I received. As we all know, being a librarian is often a thankless job, so it's nice to hear this kind of thing every so often.

Thank YOU, Forgotten Bookmarks! You are awesome. Edit: I just learned he found it in a book, which makes it even cooler. 

Now let's see how much money I can get from selling "Screwey Dewey" on eBay.

(Just kidding.)


(Times are tough, that's all I'm saying.) 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sometimes I think about what it would be like to have a flashier job, a better-paying job, a job that would allow me to use my creative talents for "greater" things, a job where I felt a little more respected and a lot less frustrated.

And then a kid comes over and talks about something going on in her life and she asks for advice, and maybe complains a little bit like kids sometimes do (and when you hear what the thing was, you feel sad for her and know that she really just needed someone to talk to).
Or an adult will come over with a grown-up problem and I help him and then, because he couldn't fix the problem alone, he has actual tears of gratitude in his eyes, and suddenly I do too, and I remember that these are things that matter and I'm where I'm supposed to be.

So maybe the flashier things are empty and meaningless and maybe they aren't, but it means more to me to be there for someone than to be someone.

Sometimes I think about that.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Unusual Questions

There's this woman who comes into the library every day and asks very unusual questions. (That's all I will say about her other than the fact that she's a very nice lady who seems to have run into some bad luck over the years.) What I love about my job is that I am pretty much required to treat all questions the same, no matter  how unusual or what the subject matter. After all, at the reference desk, there's no such thing as a stupid question. Right?

So here's my favorite "unusual" reference transaction of the week so far (starring the aforementioned lady):  

Her: "I need to know what Nostradamus predicted for December 21st. Something's going to happen."

Me: "Something's going to happen?"

Her: "Yes. God has something in mind for us."

Me: "Ok...kay. Well, I found this information..." (I explain to her what Nostradamus allegedly predicted.)

Her: "So there's nothing about a comet?"

Me: "I'd have to do some more research to be sure, but I don't see anything in this about a comet."

Her: "So you don't know if there would be people in that comet?"

Me: "I'm sorry?"

Her: "People. Landing from space".

Me: "...In the comet."

Her: "Yes."

Me: "That's probably not something you need to worry about."

Like I said, there's no such thing as a stupid question. But there ARE unusual questions, and quite honestly, I am thankful for them. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Hurricane Book Help

From your friends at Urban Librarians Unite, a group of awesome volunteers of which I am proud to be a member (is that grammatically correct? I don't care):

"Urban Librarians Unite is calling on our friends and supporters to help us build a new collection of materials for NYC libraries as well as putting books directly into the hands of young victims of this storm.

All donations of new and good quality used books should be sent to:

Urban Librarians Unite
45-06 Queens Blvd
Suite 120
Sunnyside, NY 11104"

See the entire post here for more information.

Also, there is a specific wishlist of books up on the Powell's website, making it really easy
to choose books for these kids:

Sandy Children's Book Relief

Thank you for your help!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Just a Little Patience

 Kid: "Can you see if my book is here yet?"

Me: "Sure." (I check the kid's library card.)

Me: "There are a few holds ahead of you."

Kid "You mean I still have to wait?"

Me: "Yes. I'm sorry."

Kid: "It's okay. As long as I eventually get it. If not, I'll just shoot this whole library with a gun."

Me: "Um, WHAT?"

Kid: "Sorry, I get aggressive when I get mad." (She smiles sweetly.)


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Voting Booth...

I am happy to say that my voting experience this election was mostly positive. I know that some other people had a tougher time, but I only had to wait about 30 minutes to get a ballot. There wasn't much confusion, and people were behaving themselves. There was one woman who was shouting about how she "HATES this crap" (I wasn't sure if she meant voting in general or the new electronic ballots), and another woman who very loudly proclaimed that she thinks the system is "crazy" because they don't ask for ID. But other than that, things went smoothly. 

Here are a few interesting things that happened:

- The lady standing in line behind me was holding her daughter, who looked about 4 years old. The girl asked for french fries, and the mom said "We can get french fries when we leave. We have to vote first." Aww! That mom has her priorities straight. 

How I view you when you tell me you've voted. 

- When I left the polling site, a man who had just parked his car asked me if he could park there. (I guess he didn't see the signs? Was he messing with me? Whatever.) When I said I wasn't sure, he remarked about how tough it was to find a spot. We then had this conversation:

Me: "Well, I guess it's tough to find parking because it's Election Day."

Him: "It's Election Day?"

Me: "Yes."

Him (sarcastically): "Huh. Well, good luck to us all." 

Me (cheerfully, because forget that guy): "If you want to vote, it's right around the corner."

Him: "Who do I vote for?"

Me (now I knew he was messing with me): "Vote for whomever you'd like."

Him: "I don't vote. There's no one to vote for."

Me: "That's never true." 

And I walked away. I seriously hate this kind of faux-jaded apathetic stuff. I'd much rather hear you calling me an idiot because of my political views than hear you say "Oh, I don't vote. It doesn't matter anyway." It DOES matter. I don't care what state you live in. Because if you don't vote, you live in a STATE OF IGNORANCE. 

(Hey, that was a good one. I'm going to use that in the future.) 

How I view you when you tell me you don't vote. 

- I walked by a nutty lady on the corner screaming about how she was a lifelong Democrat, but this time she voted "straight down the f*cking Republican ticket." (I have my suspicions as to why she did this, seeing as how she was cursing loudly at any minority person who passed her). But, lucky for me, she was an equal opportunity offender. She looked right as me and yelled "FUUUUUCCCKKK YYOOOOUUU" to me as I walked across the street. Awesome. I LOVE NEW YORK. 

Anyway, I hope other people had positive voting experiences today (or at least interesting ones). I'd love to hear your stories! And if you haven't voted yet, you still have time! Get out there and get potentially yelled at!

Monday, November 5, 2012

V-O-T-E! Vote! Vote! Vote!

Remember when I posted a few months ago about the guy who came into the library to get a voter registration form and it was really inspiring to me and I talked about how much I love voting and how I think it's really important? Well, THIS IS YOUR FRIENDLY-slash-ANNOYING REMINDER TO VOTE! THE TIME HAS COME! 

No matter what anyone tells you, Election Day is TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 6th. There have been some bad people out there trying to trick voters into thinking it's a different day. C'mon, son. 

IMPORTANT: if you live in NYC, your polling site may have changed because of hurricane damage. Please check out this PDF document from the NYC Board of Elections to double check. 

Here's information about transportation to polling sites in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island

There used to be a great site that compiled links for aaaalll of the State Election Boards for each state in one place, but alas, it seems to be defunct. But, in case you've never used a computer before, it's really easy to find out the information for your particular state: just Google your state name + board of elections and WHAM. Information city. You are are a voting GENIUS. You're like the Indiana Jones + Stephen Hawking + Bon Jovi of voting. Boards of Election BOW BEFORE THE BREADTH OF YOUR KNOWLEDGE AND WEEP AT THE STRENGTH OF YOUR POWER. 

Anyway. Sorry. 

Remember, if you have problems at your polling place, you have rights. Please contact your board of elections and let them know if there's something shady going on. I get really, really angry about voter suppression or disenfranchisement and I want to see that it doesn't happen. So don't be afraid to speak up if you are being treated unfairly. And everyone please be nice to each other and to poll workers. We're all in this together! (I don't want to see more stories like this.) 

Lastly, just for fun, here are some voting-related posters I like. GO OUT THERE AND GET YOURS, AMERICA! 

*Sorry for all the caps in this blog post. I am REALLY EXCITED ABOUT VOTING.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

NYC Hurricane Relief

Like most people, I feel really sad and weird about the hurricane and its increasingly worrisome aftereffects. Personally, I am very lucky; I am fine,  my apartment is fine, most of my family and friends are fine. My parents on Long Island lost power for about four days, but they are fine as well. Unfortunately, my cousin's rental house in Sheepshead Bay was destroyed by flooding, which I feel absolutely horrible about, but she and her family are unharmed and living with her mom for now. There are stories worse than that coming out each day. It's just crazy. 

Anyway, I'm doing what I can from where I am. I don't feel like it's enough, but rather than feel completely helpless, I've compiled a bunch of links for the recovery effort in case you live near these areas and can help out. (You might want to check for yourself if the information is still current.)

1) You can donate money here or sign up to volunteer in your area here: NYC.gov
And of course, you can donate money to the Red Cross

2) There is a very useful page on Facebook for Occupy Sandy Relief NYC that is frequently posting information.

3) Bay Ridge Journal has posted a ton of Brooklyn volunteer opportunities. 

4) This page is for the recovery effort in Red Hook.

5) Here is how to volunteer on Staten Island, from Gothamist

6) From Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn Borough President (posted on Facebook today):

"From City: We need people out this weekend on our street teams, canvassing neighborhoods door to door and bringing out info, supplies and emergency help as needed in various neighborhoods.

If any of you want to help, or know of groups or individuals who want to help, our nonprofit partners will be at the Distribution Centers in Far Rockaway (all locations except Red Fern), Coney Island, Staten Island and Manhattan (all LES, East Village and Chelsea locations) at 12PM.
Please have folks go and join them to help -- we would certainly appreciate all the help we can get. 

"Below is a list of the distribution sites with street outreach teams in Brooklyn:

Surf Ave Playground West 25th and Surf Ave Coney Island, Brooklyn

Red Hook East and WestRed Hook Coffey Park, 85 Richards Red Hook, Brooklyn"

7) According to Councilman Steve Levin, they are collecting warm blankets from 11am to 6pm at 410 Atlantic Avenue and 122 Java Street in Brooklyn today. 

8) Southern Brooklyn information (including information about schools, etc.) from NY State Senate candidate Andrew Gounardes

9) Here's a Rockaway Rescue Alliance Facebook Page. And here's more information about helping the Rockaways

10) Weekend volunteer opportunities via Brokelyn (LOTS of information here). 

11) To help our neighbors in Hoboken

12) If you are near Forest Hills, Queens, Thank Heaven Children's Boutique is collecting donations today and tomorrow.

13) Information about gas/gas prices in NY. Also, according to Gov. Cuomo, gas IS being delivered to the area. 

14) From Twitter user @MonicaDien: "Race to Recover is donating hotel rooms from marathoners to people who need a place to stay. race2recover.com

15) Where & when to donate blood

16) More South Brooklyn information from Andrew Gounardes (as of 3:10pm, Saturday): 

"Thank you all for your generous donations over the past few days. For now, we DO NOT have the capacity to accept ANY more toys, clothes, food, etc. We'll be delivering the toys to a daycare distribution center in Staten Island this weekend. A Bay Ridge resident is accepting food and toiletries donations at her home at 8622 Ft. Hamilton Parkway.  A group in Sunset Park is accepting food at 5406 4th Avenue and will distribute it to southern Brooklyn, the Rockaways, Red Hook, and Staten Island. Otherwise, please direct your donations to the Salvation Army or your nearest collection center. We'll continue posting those locations as we receive updates."

17) Pet food and supplies are desperately needed in Sea Gate, Brooklyn. Contact the office of Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny if you can help. 

18) NYC Salvation Army distribution centers

19) Where to volunteer in Brooklyn from the Ditmas Patch.

20) New Facebook page with volunteer information: Hurricane Sandy Relief Volunteer Group

21) NYC food trucks are coming through! Here's an easy way to donate a hot meal to someone in need. (Just $7 = one meal.)

22) From the Bay Ridge Home Reporter: 
Text "BROOKLYN" to 25383 to donate $10 to the Brooklyn Recovery Fund or donate online at brooklynrecoveryfund.org.

23) Information about transportation to polling sites in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island

I'll post more as I see them. Feel free to add anything in the comments! (Last updated 7:38pm, Monday November 5th.) 

Also, here's a great article from SLJ about how libraries have been there for people during this difficult week. Brooklyn Public Library was closed for three days and a few of the branches will be closed for a while due to damage, but we're up and running and continuing to provide services for the people of Brooklyn. (The other NYC library systems are doing the same.) I truly hope anyone who reads this is safe and warm and surviving. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Kids Say the Darndest...Well, You Know (#4)

It's FRIDAY! You know what that means...it's time for FUNNY KID QUOTES. (Please ignore the fact that the last time I did this was five months ago. I'm really bad at "being consistent.") Anyway, I know we're all stressed and there's been a lot of just terrible, horrible things in the news lately, so here's your chance to read the TOP 25 funny/weird/interesting things I've heard from kid in the past few months. (Some of these have already been Tweeted or Tumbld, so I apologize for any repetition.) In an attempt to be a good, organized librarian, I've separated the quotes into something that vaguely resembles categories. I hope you enjoy!
Here's some miscellaneous fun:

1) Woman (to me): “Hi miss, can you help us?”

Girl (to her mother): "Don't call her ‘miss’! Call her 'librarian.'"

2) Kid (to another kid): “Stop being a jackass!”

Me: “Hey!”

Kid: “Sorry. He just got me mad.”

Me: “Well, use a different word.”

Kid (to the other kid): “Stop being a jackbutt!”

Got me there.

3) Kid (to me): "You wouldn't let me sell DVDs in the library, at LEAST let me put makeup on you."

I am a cruel, cruel librarian.

4) Kid: "Why are your arms so freckly?"

 Me: "I dunno. I guess 'cause I'm part Irish."

Kid: "So do leprechauns have freckles too?

Deep thoughts.

5) Kid (to me): "Smell anything different about me?”


6) Kid: "You know how when a kid eats too much and they vomit? That's what happened to my goldfish."

Thanks for the mental image, kid!

7) Kid: "My home computer is broken. I won't be able to live without it."

Me: "Yes you will."

Kid: "Well, I won't live a life that's HAPPY.”

Pretty much sums up this generation, no?

8) Girl, picking up my water bottle from the reference desk: "Do you care about other peoples' spit?" JESUS GOD YES.

Sometimes kids are just MEAN:

9) Kid (to me): "You smell like flowers."

Me: “Oh. Thanks.”

Kid: “It’s an annoying smell.”


10) Kid, to me, with derision: "You look like a farm girl in that skirt."


(That was the same kid, if you couldn’t tell. And you might also be able to tell that I’m not really good at thinking up original comebacks.)

There were several odd/dangerous questions:

11) Kid: "Do you like sweatpants?"

Me: "Sure, I guess."

 Kid: "Have you ever WORN sweatpants?"

 Sometimes I think they think I'm an alien.

12) Tween: “Can I strangle you?”

Me: “No.”

 Tween: “Why not?”

Me: “It's illegal.”

Tween: “Not if you don't die.”

13) Tween: "Do you think it's possible that I could kill you with laughter?"

These kids have it out for me, I tell you.

And the most challenging question of all:

 14) Kid: "What does MILF mean?"

Me: “Go ask your mother.”

A couple of questions to make Jules Verne roll in his grave:

15) Kid: "Do you have a book called 20,000 Leagues Under the Water?"


(Just kidding, he was really adorable.)

16) Kid: "Do you have 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea?"

Turns to friend: "I hope they're BASEBALL leagues."

That’s one kid who is going to be sorely disappointed.

There were some disturbing media-related questions:

17) Tween Girl: “Have you heard of the movie ‘50 Shades of Grey’?”

 Me: “Umm…why do you ask?”

Tween: “I am VERY concerned about who is going to play Christian Grey.”

As are we all.

18) Kid: “What’s your favorite TV show?

Me (half kidding): "Did you ever see The Golden Girls?"

Kid: "Does it have vampires in it?”

This generation knows nothing. NOTHING.

And there were some interesting/funny/inspiring bookish questions/comments.

19) Kid: "Can you help me pick out some books?"

Me: "Sure! What kind of books do you like?"

 Kid: "That's what I need to find out!"

Touché, kid.

20) Kid (when I asked her if she needed help finding books):"I already read all the books I like."

21) 5th grade girl: “If there was no manga in the world, I'd totally freak out.”

22) Girl (after realizing that the book she just picked might be too difficult for her): "I'm going to just mix up all the words in my head and forget everything I read in this book."

23) Me: "So what have you been doing all summer?"

Tween: "Reading!"


And my favorite:

 24) Girl: "I'm going to read THIS book last because it's the most beautiful."

Wait, no. This was my favorite:

25) Kid: "Do you want to help me look for a book that might not exist?"


BONUS: This last one isn’t a kid quote, but I had to include it because it pretty much sums up every librarian’s experience:

Drunk Lady at the Bar: "So what do YOU do?"

 Me: "I'm a librarian."

 Lady: "A librarian? That's still a 'thing'?"

Yes. Yes it is. Looks like STUPID is still a thing too.


Friday, October 12, 2012

The Librarian's Plea

If you happen to see the librarian at the reference desk during a quiet moment, please do not
approach her and bellow "Well! YOUR job certainly seems easy!"
The librarian realizes that you're probably kidding around. But every time you accuse her of having an easy job, she feels like what she does all day holds little value.
And what you don't know is that not five minutes before, the librarian had been dealing with something.
That "something" could have been any number of things. She might have:
- helped a patron look up homeless shelters for the winter
- quieted a screaming child by holding an impromptu picture book reading session
- talked to a teenage girl about her school/home/boyfriend troubles
- assisted someone with filling out an application for unemployment benefits
- assisted someone with filling out an application for disability benefits
- assisted someone with faxing a form so that he won't get evicted from his apartment
- gone upstairs and then downstairs and then upstairs again to find that ONE PERFECT BOOK for a kid who needs it
- had a run in with that old, creepy "Ref Desk Romeo" who won't leave her alone
Etc. Etc. Etc. Infinity etc.
So, yes, in that rare quiet moment, the job may look easy. But it's really not easy. And it's not supposed to be easy. The librarian knows this, and she loves it anyway. But sometimes, when she's TOLD that it's easy, she wants to put her head down on the reference desk and weep.
This is easily preventable. Just go up to the desk, smile, say hello, talk about the weather or the ball game or did you see that on TV last night my goodness and then politely ask your question. The librarian will be happy to help you.
This is the librarian's plea. She thanks you.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mackenzie Update

Here's a short update on Mackenzie's Letter! After all the tweeting and Facebooking and blogging and whining (on my part), Mackenzie received a package from 13 Management (Taylor Swift's management company) containing some sweet Swift swag.

According to Kenz's mom Christine, the package included a t-shirt, a CD, a world tour book, some jewlery, and an autographed picture. As you can see, Mackenzie loves all of it!

Photos provided by Christine Lentz

I'm not going to lie and say I'm not a TINY bit disappointed that Kenz didn't actually get to meet or talk to Taylor Swift or even get a letter (yes, it was a long shot, but, you know, DREAMS) but Mackenzie's mom said that since Mackenzie's expectations were so low about all of this (she wasn't even really aware of the campaigning behind it), she was "beside herself with excitement" about the package. To me, making Mackenzie happy was all that matters. So, thank you to 13 Management, and thanks again to everyone who supported Kenzie and her story. Now go out and do something nice for someone! Go on, go!

(And Taylor, if you ever happen to read this, I'm sure Kenz would still love to hear from you.) :)

Friday, October 5, 2012


People who know me personally can attest to the fact that I'm a very honest person. In high school, for example, I once told a waitress that she left a soda off of the check when I was out with my friends at T.G.I. Friday's or whatever. My friends, bless their hearts, rolled their eyes and were like "GOD, Rita." Even the waitress was like "Okaaaay. Um, thanks for telling me?" I would have been called a square, if the term "square" were being used by Long Island teenagers in 1995.

Anyway, I'm saying this now to reiterate the fact that the things that I present on this blog are true. I don't make any of it up, which is probably why I don't post as often as "highly effective" bloggers do or worry about page views or creating daily content. I really just try to deal with moments as they happen - good moments, bad moments, moments that make me think or laugh or want to cry (or even vomit, depending on what's been going on in the public bathrooms).
The other day, after a series of frustrating moments, I had a good one - and as I've said in the past, they always seem to come just when they are needed.

I had hopped on the circulation desk to help out because the line had gotten really long and the reference desk wasn't too busy at that moment. A woman and her young daughter came up to me with a bag full of books, and the mother started putting them on the counter to be checked out.  

Me: "Wow, that's a lot of books!"

Kid: "I love to read!" And she actually clapped her hands. I don't know if I can stress to you enough how much it NEVER gets old when a kid tells me he/she loves to read.

Me: "That's great!"

Mom, continuting to remove books from the bag and rolling her eyes good-naturedly (there were SO many books. Like, clown-car proportions.): "She reads so much she can't even remember WHAT she's read."

Kid, almost protesting: "But it was still an adventure!"

I wasn't sure I had heard correctly. Did this kid just call reading an adventure?

Me: "Did you just say 'it was still an adventure'?"

The kid nodded.

Me: "That's true. Reading IS like an adventure. That's very true."

She smiled.

And that is the kind of moment that lets me know that I'm still in the right place. And it also makes me wish I had a tape recorder so that I can show people that YES, kids still love to read and YES, libraries are still providing a great service. Because there are other moments when I feel like people forget, and sometimes, admittedly, I even forget myself why I am here (like those moments when the Phantom Defecater hits the public bathrooms. I mean, COME ON).

But then a good moment occurs and I remember. If only all of our moments could be good moments.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Once, Twice, One Time a Lady

Girl (age 12-ish): "I don't feel well."
Me: "Aw. What's wrong?"
Her: *shrug*
Me: "Like, you're going to throw up?"
Her: "No."
Me: "Like, you're getting a cold?"
Her: "No."
Me: "Oh. Then what is it?"
She grabs my notebook.
Her: "Can I write on this?"
Me: "Sure."
She grabs my pen too and writes the following:

Me: "Ah ha."
I had a feeling it was that, but I deliberately didn't bring it up in the interest of avoiding a potentially AWKWARD SITUATION. Luckily, awkward situations always seem to find their way to ME.
Her: "Yeah."
Me: "Well...is this...the first time that's happened?"
(I was all ready to get out a copy of Are You There God, It's Me Margaret, which, incidentally, was where I first learned the word menstruation, with amusing results.)
Her: "No. It's almost my ONE YEAR anniversary of it."
Me: "Oh. Wow!"
Her: "Yeah, it happened on Halloween."
Me: "Well, that's kind of a SCARY thing to have happen."
Did I mention I made bad jokes when I'm in awkward situations? Luckily, she's a smart kid with a good sense of humor and I won't have scarred her for life, making her think that getting your period is a horrible, frightening thing (even though that point might indeed be arguable. Sorry, feminism.)
She looks at me sideways. "Not really."
I love when kids call me on my bullshit, I do.
Me: "I know, I was just kidding."
Her: "But it does HURT."
We discuss heating pads and Advil (which she is not allowed to take, and I should
probably not be administering medical advice anyway). Then she sees her friends across the
room, says "Okay, bye!" to me and runs off.
In situations like these at the library, I'm never really sure what my role is. I know it depends on the kid and the context, but I never want to say the wrong thing. Am I a parental figure? A cool, sage older sister? (Or, more age-appropriately, a cool, sage aunt?) Should I just shut down the conversation? Do I ask questions? Should I offer advice? Where is the line, and have I crossed it?
Ahhh, womanhood. It ain't easy for anyone, I don't care what they say.