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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.)