Like a wash of grief

I’ve been having a great time in the school library.  There’s so much to do – it’s still a bit like whack-a-mole – but I do think I’m making progress.  The kids love the furniture at the high school, and circulation is up.  Things are going very smoothly at the elementary with my new schedule and my splendid paraprofessional helping out.  

Then I came home today and thought I’d read a bit of the local paper, and there was a story about a soldier who died.  I’ve read lots of stories like this one, I don’t know why it affected me so, but the article mentioned a video that was played at the funeral.  Oh, I have a video like that, I thought.  One that I made that was shown at my sister’s funeral almost four years ago.  So I watched it.  And now I’m downloading sad songs on Itunes and thinking and crying.  There goes the whole night!

The good news is, I had a bit of a health scare a week ago but was checked out completely and got a clean bill of health.  I have a great job, a great family, good health that I can build upon with better habits.  

We just don’t know how long we have.  I’m happy that I’m now what I’ve literally always dreamed of being, a school librarian.  

It’s time to stop sweating the small stuff.

Beautiful Linda
1963 – 2007

Weeding woes

Every librarian knows that weeding makes a collection stronger. I know the previous librarian did a fantastic job weeding – in two years, she improved the age of the collection twenty years. TWENTY YEARS!!!  That’s pretty amazing. I’ve done a bit since I started in July, but it’s not always easy. (Well, sometimes it is – the 600-page biography of Lyndon Johnson from 1980 that likely hasn’t been checked out since 1993, for example.)  I think that since the books have moved out to the regular library space (long story) and I’ve done the weeding I have, it looks fantastic.  Before, in the cave, I didn’t think it was a good collection.  Out here, with some more weed-worthy books out, any student could find a book they want here – and the new books aren’t even out yet. It will only get better!
But getting there can be arduous. For instance, James Herriot’s book, Every Living Thing. It’s 300 pages,  is certainly a classic in adult literature, perfectly appropriate for teens, but it’s never checked out here, and it looks like it’s been here decades. There’s A Midwife’s Tale which won the Pulitzer Prize. I’m sure it’d be an interesting story. But it’s 400 pages, all text with maybe two maps included for illustrations, and it’s just not jumping off the shelves at a high school (apparently never checked out either).
Then there’s the The History of Iowa, a four-volume set. It was published in 1903. It’s in remarkable condition for being over a hundred years old, but that may be because it hasn’t checked out in my lifetime. Literally. Three of the four volumes, anyway, were last checked out in June 1970. (One checked out in 1978. Better save that one!) But shouldn’t we have a history of Iowa book? This surely goes into early history in great detail. There’s a seven-volume set on George Washington, and a six-volume set by Carl Sandburg on Abraham Lincoln. (Does it matter that we have no other books on Washington?  Probably should get one.) Surely these are important books in history, certainly appropriate for an academic library, but definitely not a school library. Then why is it so hard to set those aside?

I remember well what my Collections professor said – the quality of your collection tells your students what you think of them. If you have crap, you’re saying they deserve crap. Of course I get rid of crap, but what about quality history, just books that junior high and high school students won’t read?

Squirrel story

This is an email that my 12-year-old daughter sent me about her recent fun at Grandpa and Grandma’s:

So on Tuesday night, Grandma and Grandpa were gone and I was at [sister’s boyfriend’s apartment]. He was gone, but we were allowed to have some of his Twix ice cream, and L. and I were eating it outside on the deck thingy. When we were almost done eating, two squirrels abruptly jumped onto the same tree next to us. Okay, that’s fine. Well, then L. was talking about how brave college squirrels are, and I threw a dirt clod at the tree (not the squirrels) to get their attention. The clod lands on a big patio table below, one squirrel running away and one to investigate the dirt mess. Apparently the braver squirrel got mad at us and started walking up the long steps towards us. And we were just like,” Ooooooooooo herp derp it’s a squirrel”, thinking that the squirrel would stop midway. But it kept going, and L. got scared and started walking inside. I wanted to stay out, but the squirrel got all up in my face and was like,” I pity the foooool that mess with me. Yo, give me your food. I’m a squirrel” so I ran inside and L. locked the door! And that’s not all, about one minute later we looked out the blinds and there was the squirrel, a little aways, still on the patio, about five feet away. So L. sits down, and I go back to the blinds, thirty seconds later. And the squirrel is literally RIGHT OUTSIDE THE DOOR, on a ledge at eye level, looking right at me!!! So I freaked out, but quickly regrouped and decided to open the door just a crack, and the squirrel runs to the door and I have barely enough time to close the door! I guess L. was right when she said how brave those squirrels where! I better be good, or else L. will throw me out for the squirrel and his little friends and they will eat me ALIVE, I TELL YOU!

Watch out!!!

Picture day

It’s my first picture day as a teacher librarian!  I actually have been in a yearbook since my senior pictures graced the pages of my high school’s yearbook – my “Book Lovers’ Club” was featured in a yearbook, and the kids insisted that I was in the picture too.  That was nice.  But the angst of picture day . . . oh well.  They can’t do much about my extra chin, sadly.  (And, whilst practicing for pictures with my handy dandy computer camera, I’m reminded of what my daughter said to me a few months ago:  “I can’t believe no one’s ever told you that you have a huge nose.”  Wha, wha, what???)

Lots of exciting things are going on in the library and can I just say, I am very glad that I started in July because I’d be freaking out if I was starting in the middle of August.  In less than a month, the students will be here, and I still have so much to do.  But it is coming together.

I’ve been around the blogosphere a bit.  My friend and author Bri Clark had an interesting quandary, with a school librarian being bullied and I put my two cents in – at length or course.  I commented about what we’re doing with ebooks on the Unquiet Librarian’s blog. I wrote on my school blog about what’s going on in the elementary library.  I read this article about how we can’t teach students to love reading.  And I ordered a camera cable, so I’ll be able to post pictures soon.  But for now, I get to practice using Flickr and the Iowa AEA’s clip art!  🙂

cadfael1979 (2008, January 17). “I’m late, I’m late, I’m Terrible Late” Retrieved online from  Used under Creative Commons license.