Dealing with teens at the public library can range anywhere from rewarding to entertaining to frustrating.  A few recent examples …

I

The artist leading our drawing workshop is talking about incorporating different clothing and hair styles into character drawings.  Talking to one of the girls in the group, he says, “For example, you have big curly hair, kind of like Lucille Ball.”  The girl looks at him and replies, “Who’s Lucille Ball?”  I’m standing at the back of the room taking pictures of the program, and the artist and I look at each other over the kids’ heads and start laughing (this often occurs when he brings up “grown up” topics).  The girl says, “Never mind.  I’ll google Lucille Ball on my phone” and proceeds to do just that so she can compare hair styles.

II

A high school class is visiting my library, and after my presentation is over the students browse our collection while I walk around asking if anyone needs help finding anything.  Most of their questions are general, looking for things like sports books and “scary books, especially about ghosts.”  But then in the midst of these questions a girl comes up to me and says, “Do you have any books about rape?”  I take a moment to absorb this, and ask her some careful follow-up questions.  Is she looking for fiction books on the subject of rape?  Is it okay if the book turns out to be about that subject but it isn’t immediately obvious because it’s revealed later?  After I get a yes to those two questions I ask if she’d read Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, and she had.  I think about it for another minute and say we should look for All the Rage, which I read recently.  She asks me if the main character is the one who gets raped, and I say yes.  The problem is that I can’t remember who wrote it, so we have to walk all the way across the building so I can look it up in the catalog.  I see that we do have a copy, so we then we walk all the way back so we can find it on the shelf, and then back to the desk to check it out.  She tells me that she’s looking for more books on the same subject, but by this time we’re back at the service desk and I’m surrounded on all sides by other staff members.  I don’t know how forthcoming she wants to be about asking this question of other people, and I’m not about to say SO HERE’S HOW YOU CAN FIND BOOKS ABOUT RAPE in front of my colleagues.  So I take the copy of All the Rage that I’m holding, flip open to the copyright page to look for the subject headings, and see that it has “rape — fiction” listed.  I point this out to her, and tell her that when she has time she should go to our catalog and do a keyword search for those terms.  I’m pointing at the words, but out loud I’m saying, “so you type in that word, and then fiction,” because again, I don’t want to broadcast her question.  I walk back to help the other kids look for sports books, scary books, etc., and by the time I return to the service desk she’s decided that she doesn’t want the book after all and she wants to return it.  There’s this weird vibe going on, though, because apparently she’d had some kind of a conversation with D. while I was away from the desk, and HE’S the one telling me that she doesn’t want the book.  I don’t know what she does or doesn’t feel comfortable saying in front of him, so I take the book to check it back it, and I say, “Just remember what I told you.  Go to our catalog and type in those keywords, okay?  Because there are a lot of books around on that subject, and that’s how you’re going to find them.”  She leaves, and I ask D. about the conversation that I’d missed.  He says that she told him that she didn’t want that book, and when he asked if he could help her find another book, she mysteriously replied that she was interested in books on “that subject” but she wouldn’t tell him what the subject was, and THAT was the weird vibe I felt when I returned to the desk.

Brief tangent:

After over 20 years as a librarian, I’ve had plenty of experience with patrons preferring to ask their questions of one staff member rather than another.  You’re busy dealing with something, your colleague who’s a few feet away says, “Can I help the next person on line?” and the patron doesn’t accept the offer but just keeps looking at you instead.  Then you finish what you’re doing and take their question.  Sometimes you have absolutely no idea why they chose to wait for you.  Do they dislike your colleague?  Do they have a secret crush on you?  Do they feel that you’re better at answering information questions?  Was it racially motivated?  Is the patron hard of hearing and didn’t realize they were being called over?  But sometimes the nature of the question gives me a clue.  Like, they tell my male colleague that they’d rather wait and talk to me, and then when they ask me their question it’s about menopause or sex positions or something else of an explicit / embarrassing nature and I’m like Ohhhhhh, THAT explains it!

Okay, tangent over …

So D. asks me if I’ll tell him what the question was about, and I say that I’ll tell him after the class leaves.  After they leave and I’m walking through the office he asks me again, and I tell him.  His first reaction is, “So, do I need to take care of someone for her?” and it takes me a moment to realize he’s asking about beating up the hypothetical guy who hypothetically raped this girl.  And, while I definitely appreciate both the sentiment and the “guy” reaction of “what’s the problem and how can I fix it?” … well, it’s not exactly our place to issue vigilante justice.  But this led to a follow-up discussion about dealing with reference questions of an explicitly or potentially personal nature.  I said that as a librarian, my job is to answer the patron’s question, and that I should be as helpful as possible but I shouldn’t be prying into someone’s personal life.  Now, believe me, there are PLENTY of times that patrons tell me WAY TOO MUCH personal information, which can make me feel depressed / disgusted / nauseated or worse.  I also know that just because someone asks for books that are depressing it doesn’t mean that they’re going to jump off of a bridge (I used to write lots of sad poetry when I was a teenager, and I will never forget the teacher who treated me like I was suicidal because of a poem in my journal).  And I ALSO know that if this girl is going to be reading fiction books about rape, that some if not all of them are going to include resources for rape victims … so IF she does need those resources, she will find them.  I also mentioned a reference transaction I once overheard between Captain Bringdown and a teenager.  The teen asked for information about STDs, and Captain Bringdown asked if he needed it to write a paper or if he needed it for personal use.  I almost threw him out of a goddamned window.

III

I spent an afternoon sharing social media stuff with my teens.  It was cool watching their reactions to the stuff that entertained them the most, including awesome quotes by Oscar Wilde, fake library events, an old Sesame Street video, John Green’s review of the Kendall and Kylie Jenner iPhone game, a shout-out to Narnia, and the 2016 Best Picture Nominees, But With Puppies.

Yesterday I went back to work where the day was pretty much normal, except for once or twice when I talked for too long of a stretch at a time and then started having a coughing fit.  At which point I had to run into the office to drink some Vitamin Water and take a lozenge.  [Note to library patrons – I’m sorry that my 30-second answer to your question was insufficient.  But does rehashing the same question over and over again until I’ve stretched that 30 seconds of talking into 5 minutes of talking really help ANYONE, in the long run?]

Today was a much busier day.  First, I spent the morning doing opening procedures at the branch while regaling my colleagues with some of those “annoying patron” stories from the day before.

Then I went to my local middle school where I’d scheduled visits with several 7th grade classes.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the teacher of my 11:00 class said that I shouldn’t come because they were giving a test that period.  Well, maybe I won’t say “surprise” as much as “dismay and disappointment.”  Unfortunately, in the many years that I’ve been visiting classes in schools, this kind of thing happens a lot.  For whatever reason — last-minute schedule change, administrative decision, or bad behavior on the part of the students — I’ve been told multiple times that I’m not going to see the class that I scheduled time away from my library to visit.  Part of the problem was that I’d already met several kids from this particular class at my library, and I’d promised them that I was going to see them this week to talk to them about books and help them get their fines cleared.

After a few minutes of tense negotiation between the school librarian, the assistant principal, and the teacher, I was allowed to speak to the class for 15 minutes instead of my usual 45.  Which means that I only got to fulfill half of my promise; I got to talk to them about the fine-clearing program, but had no time to talk about my suitcase full of books.  *SIGH*

Oh, and as an aside, it seems that the test the students were taking today (and which their substitute teacher only learned about this morning, for reasons that defy logic), was the newly-instituted “measure of student learning” test.  The way my boyfriend explained it to me is that this is a pre-test that will be compared to a second test that will be given at the end of the year, and that a big piece of the teacher evaluation will ride on the improvement between these two scores.  So … isn’t it in the teachers’ best interest to have students do as badly as possible on this first test, so that they’ll show remarkable signs of improvement the second time around?  Just wondering.  Anyway, I guess I don’t feel so bad that the students had less time to take the test today.  Perhaps it’s part of a larger plan, or the greater good.

Anyway, after my shortened session I had some time to kill, which I spent in the school library trying to be inconspicuous (even though some of the kids recognized me).  Then I went to speak to my second class, which started off a little loud and rowdy but I soon discovered was full of constructive energy rather than destructive energy.  They were attentive and enthusiastic enough that I had time to talk about 8 out of the 10 books I brought with me, and after they swarmed over my books and my handouts at the end of the class, I was filled with a very warm feeling that I had actually done some good and inspired an enthusiasm for reading.  Then I left the classroom and rejoined the school librarian, who asked me how the presentation had gone, and I told her that they were my favorite class I’d visited.  She said, “Really?  That’s our WORST class!” which I guess is why it’s sometimes better that I don’t go in with high or low expectations and just try to evaluate each class for what it is at that moment.

Anyway, then it was time for lunch, then desk time, then a teen program where I had to raise my (barely-repaired) voice a few too many times because the kids were getting a little boisterous.  I dunno … does trying to get your friends in a headlock count as “boisterous”?  So the program ran long and I got out late, but then I came home and my boyfriend and I went out to dinner.  Where I regaled him with wacky stories about my day.

Tomorrow should be a pretty normal day, with just one program in the afternoon.  Then starting next week … more class visits!  Where I can inspire audiences with my booktalks!  Be a celebrity!  And get some frigging job satisfaction!

This blog post has been a long time coming.

I actually came up with the title of this post several months ago, as I was trying to find the words to express the highs and lows of working with this particular age group.  The highs are few and far between, but when they DO happen they are so sweet that I cling to those memories with a ferocity that is both poignant and (to be honest) a little bit mental.  The lows can be so frustrating that they leave me questioning my career as a whole, or at the very least wondering what’s the point of having a summer reading club kickoff if not a single participant shows the slightest interest in actually READING.

More on that in a moment.

One of the best things and one of the worst things about teenagers is that they will often speak to you without filters.  This has led to statements as uplifting as “You rock!” and “That was so cool!  Where did you learn to talk about books like that?”  It has also led to statements as painful as “I’m not saying you’re fat or nothing, but … are you pregnant?” and “Oh my God!  You’re older than my mom!”

Some of my favorite interactions with teens since I’ve been working as a young adult librarian have been when they’ve asked me for my opinion on a subject that touches their lives.  Sometimes these conversations happen in settings that I expect, like when I’m having a Teen Advisory Group meeting composed of some of my best and most thoughtful kids who are all gathered around a table for the purpose of talking and listening to each other.

But sometimes these conversations happen in unexpected places, like in the middle of a gaming program in which I’m multitasking between making sure the players are playing fairly (read: not cheating, yelling, or hitting each other), making sure that the other kids in the room are behaving (read: not making out, yelling, or hitting each other), and listening to a podcast through one of my earbuds while I check my email on my iPod Touch.

It was in this setting about a month ago that one of the girls who regularly attends the games program suddenly called across the room to me, “Miss, why would a boy who’s a high school senior keep dating much younger girls?”  I’d been watching her conferring with a girlfriend for the last five minutes, so I gathered that this was an extension of that conversation and that they’d been talking about one of their classmates.  I took out the earbud, closed my email, and gave the girls my honest opinion.  Well, I kind of had to yell my honest opinion, since we were across the room from each other and there were several boys playing a video game between us.  But the point is, after several months of attending my program, she’d come to the conclusion that even though I was an authority figure who spent way too much time in “bossy” mode, that I appeared to have a brain in my head and/or a sense of humor, and that it might be worth asking my opinion on one of life’s great mysteries.

NOTE: Actually, it’s really not all that mysterious.  It’s a similar principle to the “big fish in a small pond” theory that I apply to teenagers who keep trying to hang out in the children’s room after they’re clearly too old to be there.  It’s a lot easier to impress someone younger, and it’s a lot easier to fool someone younger.  At least, this is the conclusion I reached when I dated a classmate my freshman year of college, I broke up with him because he was a frigging mental patient, and he then proceeded to date a string of high school girls.  Because apparently, it took them longer to discover that he was an immature, unstable, and emotional screwup.

Not that I’m still bitter, or anything.

Anyway, I gave the girls a condensed version of the conclusions I’d drawn from my own tragic dating history, and they seemed suitably impressed.  I’m sure they continued to discuss this boy and maybe they’re STILL discussing him, and I hope that my words helped them to see this boy from a different perspective.  After all, age and experience have to be worth SOMETHING, right?

Teenagers at the library are more likely to smile, and laugh, and say over-the-top things like “This book changed my life!”  They’re also more likely to show up at the library wearing fairy wings (“just because”), or offer me a fist bump, or come at me like they’re going to hug me …

Well, that’s when I get to make a split-second decision.  If it’s a girl who I’ve developed a bond of trust with, then it’s okay.  If it’s a boy who presumably wants to test my boundaries / wants to distract me from noticing his friends who are hitting each other / wants to cop a feel / wants to show off to his friends / etc.  then the answer is a definitive NO.  Or, as I expressed it to the last boy who tried it, “Nice try, Bright Eyes.  It ain’t gonna happen.”

So there are the positive interactions with teens that fill my heart.  The times they laugh at my jokes, or tell me how much they enjoyed my presentation to their class, or talk to me about the books they love, or ask me questions about real-life issues (mostly about boys, but sometimes about other things, too) and then they LISTEN to my answers.

And then there are the negative interactions.  By which I mean …

God help me …

it’s now time for me to share the story of MY MOST DISASTROUS SUMMER READING CLUB KICKOFF PARTY EVER.

So I’d spent a lot of time getting the room ready.  Rearranging the furniture, setting out free books, preparing handouts, putting out refreshments, setting up a laptop for online registration, and preparing a raffle.  Then the program started, and the first boy showed up.  Which, frankly, was weird, since it’s usually girls who come to my book-themed programs.  Then another boy showed up, and another boy, and another boy, and another boy, and another boy …

This was a momentous occasion, Dear Readers.  I have NEVER, in almost 20 years of public librarianship, had a reading program attended by all boys before.

And on a related note, the next time I complain that I don’t have enough boys come to my reading programs … please remind me of this day.

Anyway, every time I tried to start the program, some new distraction happened.  One of them took too many cookies, and the other boys started yelling at him.  Then one of them kept leaving the room to see what his friends were doing on the computers outside.  Then another one left to use the bathroom.  Then another one left to see where the other boys went.  Then two of them wouldn’t stop giggling.  Then one of them took out his foam dart gun and started shooting the other boys with it.

Most of them had the attention spans of hummingbirds (or is it goldfish?  Which species remembers less?)  I started talking about the badges they could earn on the summer reading website, and one of the boys said, “Badges? Where???” and started pawing through everything on the table as though I’d hidden them beneath the bookmarks.  When I referred to myself as the young adult librarian, one of the boys (the one with the shortest attention span, who was of course the one with the foam dart gun) interrupted me and yelled incredulously, “Wait … you’re YOUNG???”

So, yeah.  THAT was a highlight.

So I was getting to the end of my rope when one of the boys who’d been running in and out of the room came in and told one of the other boys that they had to leave, so then they asked if we could do the raffle early.  I walked up to the raffle box to discover that one of the boys had had enough mental faculties to write his name down on a piece of paper, but had apparently spaced out on the “then put the paper in the box” instruction.  I also decided to double-check a sneaking suspicion that was nibbling at the back of my brain and confirmed that yes, one of the boys (the one with the shortest attention span) (the one with the foam dart gun) (the one who thought it would be ironically HILARIOUS to refer to me as “young”) had put his name into the raffle box multiple times.  What a gem!

So we had the raffle, and the winner walked off with his prize (a Plants vs. Zombies hat that my boyfriend’s daughter had picked up at a convention and donated to my program).  And I tell you, Dear Readers, not ten seconds had passed after the raffle was done before one of the boys (I’ll let you guess which one) yelled, “CAN WE GO NOW?”

I looked at the clock, I looked at the boys, and I said, “Yes, I think that’s a good idea.”

As they left, I called out after them, “Next time, we’re going to talk about books you’ve read lately!”  But I’m pretty sure that my words fell on deaf and disinterested ears.

I have high hopes that this week’s program will go better … by which I mean that more girls will come, and that those boys will find something more constructive to do.

I managed to catch the early bus this morning, so I got to work early, which meant I had time to pick up a “cholesterol special” on my way in.  That’s a bacon, egg, and cheese on a roll, for those in the know.  I actually had time to eat it (well, most of it) before I had to start getting the branch ready to open, so THAT was positive.

And then it was time to open our doors to the public, and my day went downhill from there.

During my first two hours on the desk, the task I spent the most time doing was helping our local lawyer with the ongoing issues with his legal briefs.  How to attach files to emails.  How to rename files, and save them again, and save them again.  How to deal with “these weird error messages” that kept coming up.  Each time he’d walk over to the desk to try to describe the current problem, I’d listen to the question, realize that I couldn’t solve it without actually looking over his shoulder or sitting at his computer, and make the trip over to see what was wrong.  But it wasn’t until I went to answer the “weird error messages” question that I started feeling overhwelmed, both from the scope of the problem and from sheer exhaustion.  Because what I didn’t realize was that even though the guy had lots and LOTS of documents on his flash drive, apparently there was ONE document where he’d been saving EVERYTHING.

Did you know that there’s a limit to how big a Microsoft Word file can be before Microsoft Word just throws up its virtual hands in surrender and goes all kerflooey?  Well, apparently, if you have one document that’s THOUSANDS OF PAGES LONG, then that’s what happens.  And some of those thousands of pages were not important, but some of those pages were VITALLY important and COULD NOT BE LOST, and …

Yeah, so it was while I was in the middle of dealing with that problem that I decided that God must have been punishing me for stopping to get that bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich this morning.  On the plus side, though, I’m pretty sure that I burned off all those calories and more between all of the walking and all of the mental exertion.

Er … mental exertion burns off calories, right?

Other highlights of the day included:

  • Dealing with a group of loud teenagers who thought it would be a good idea to hang out, make lots of noise, and LIE DOWN ON TOP OF OUR TABLES.
  • Dealing with the teens in my games program who were so full of boundless energy that I had to keep reminding them to quiet down, to stop swearing, and stop fighting (but who, when it was their turn to play the games spent so much time fixating on which car they were going to drive in the racing game that it was like they were girls trying on prom dresses).
  • Talking to a guy from our facilities department who explained how our plumbing problems were due to our female patrons flushing their feminine hygiene products down our toilets.  He described the problem in such detail and used the phrase “feminine hygiene products” so many times that I started wondering if he thought that *I* was in some way behind the problem, as though I’d been secretly encouraging our female patrons to use our toilets for these purposes.
  • Learning that our male patrons can be gruesome, too (surprise!) and that Something Awful had transpired in the men’s bathroom today.  In fact, whatever happened was So Awful that my male colleagues saw fit to be chivalrous and protect me from the truth, solemnly intoning, “You don’t want to know” when I asked for details.  And you know what?  I think they had a point.  I really didn’t want to know.

Chaos in my boyfriend’s family is on the downswing.  Which means that in order to balance out the universe, chaos in MY family is on the upswing.  On Sunday afternoon, my boyfriend and I will be visiting my mother’s apartment for stage one of that favor I mentioned yesterday.  Which means that by Sunday evening, I will be in need of a stiff drink.

Due to a confluence of varied ailments, we have been very VERY short-staffed this week.  Working on the daily schedule has been an exercise in frustration, and everyone’s workloads have become just THAT much heavier.

And speaking of ailments, my sore throat and congestion of the last few days have been getting increasingly irritating.  I am now fighting an uphill battle using zinc and lots of fluids as my primary weapons.

During my latest Teen Advisory Group meeting, my middle-schoolers and high-schoolers were facing off against each other in a friendly but … um … spirited conversation about how they were so different from each other because they were so far apart in age.  I made the mistake of chiming into the conversation with the year I was born (because I thought it would give them a sense of perspective), and one of the 7th graders looked at me in astonishment and said, “Wow!  You’re older than my Mom!”  I smiled politely and suggested that we move on to another subject.

And finally, the rumor about one of our higher-ups being replaced by a decidedly evil woman has now been UN-confirmed.  So once again, we don’t know if the replacement person will be lawful good, chaotic evil, or somewhere in between.  Fingers crossed, Dear Readers!

First off, in the potentially good news department, we MIGHT be able to move into a larger apartment in our building very soon.  Of course, this plan relies on being able to contact someone at our building management company.  Who, up until now, are not answering their phones, not responding to my voicemail or a priority overnight letter sent by the woman who is moving and needs someone to pick up her lease.  Oh, and the management company’s fax machine seems to be out of order, as well.  So part of my vacation might be spent hauling myself downtown to visit the management company offices in person.  Which on the one hand will suck, but on the other hand should resolve the issue once and for all.

So in other news … you know that awkward “third wheel” feeling?  Where there are three of you, but there should really be two of you, and YOU are the one who should leave?  Well, yesterday I had that feeling TWICE IN ONE DAY.  I spent the morning with my boyfriend and his daughter, who had been going through a Personal Crisis and thus had spent the night at our apartment.  So I’d asked my boyfriend several times if I should leave or if he wanted to take her out for a walk or out for a drive so that they could talk about her Personal Crisis.  He said no, so instead the three of us spent hours together in my tiny studio apartment.  Sometimes we didn’t talk at all, and sometimes we did talk, but we talked about anything else EXCEPT the Personal Crisis.  And then I’d get up to go to the bathroom or to change my clothes, and as soon as I left the room they’d start talking about more serious subjects.  And then I just decided that I would go in to work a little early and leave the two of them alone.

So, yes, I was going into work even though I’m on vacation.  That’s because one of our central programming people scheduled a multi-part teen program that extended into my vacation time.  Since I try not to create extra work for my staff (and since I was going to be in town), I arranged to give back several hours of my vacation time to come in and cover the program.  So the woman who’s leading the program is doing several different things with the teens, and one of those things is a personal interview.  Since they were going to be conducting the interviews that afternoon, the program leader asked me if I would leave the room so she and one of the girls could talk.  While this was not standard practice, it isn’t without precedence — during one of the earlier sessions, the teens interviewed each other and ALL of the adults left the room.  Anyway, I took off and hung out in my office, checking my email while waves of deja vu swept over me.

One of the other chaotic things that happened this week was that I finally had my long-awaited appointment with the Ear Nose & Throat specialist that my primary care doctor referred me to.  One of the highlights of my visit was that I scored 100% on the hearing test (I was hoping to learn that I’d scored 150% and that I was officially diagnosed with a superpower, but I guess I’ll settle for 100%).  I saw THREE different medical professionals before I got to see the doctor I was actually expecting to see, which might explain why I was at the hospital for THREE FRIGGING HOURS.  Fifteen minutes of which were spent with the ENT specialist whose name was on my calendar.

Anyway, we’re making some progress.

I’ve been told that I should do the Brandt-Doroff exercises rather than the Epley Maneuver (which is what had stopped working for me earlier this summer).  She gave me a handout with an overview of BPPV (Benign Proxymal Positional Vertigo) and a diagram of how to do the exercises.  I don’t know exactly how old this handout is, but I’m going to guess it’s a 10th-generation copy of a faxed copy of a mimeograph.  Seriously, though.  What’s their budget for handouts?

The doctor also was surprised and possibly alarmed that I had been taking pseudophedrine (to alleviate my sinus pressure) and meclizine (to alleviate my dizzsiness) for four months, and she wanted me to stop taking both of them.  I told her that I would stop taking them as politely as possible, by which I mean I didn’t say BUT IT’S ONLY BEEN FOUR MONTHS BECAUSE I HAD TO WAIT FOUR MONTHS FOR THIS FRIGGING APPOINTMENT!!!  Anyway, the good news is that the Flonase inhaler is still okay for me to take, and she gave me a new prescription for that.

I guess one of the most vital pieces of advice she gave me is that if I get another vertigo attack, the vertigo will pass more quickly if I keep my eyes open.  Which is the exact opposite of my previous technique of being so panicked that it looked like the world was spinning around me that I immediately shut my eyes.  I started doing the exercises today, and I made sure to keep my eyes open as much as possible.  I felt slightly dizzy while I was doing them, and felt lightheaded for about an hour afterwards.  But she said that was normal, and that it’s going to take several weeks of doing these exercises to make me better.  At least I’m starting this while I’m on vacation, so if I do feel woozy and crash into something, it will be a piece of my own furniture rather than one of my library patrons.

Anyway, that’s been the most chaotic stuff so far.  I’ve also been doing some cooking (more on my Crock Pot adventures in a future post!) and catching up on podcasts.  Over the next few days I’ll also be catching up with some reading, and maybe a movie or two.

We’ve spent the last few days readjusting from vacation mode into work mode, and dealing with the unnerving sensation of coming back to an apartment where someone else (my boyfriend’s daughter) was living for the last week.  Our reactions have varied from Why did she use THOSE towels instead of the brand-new ones we left out for her? to Why is my coffee cup overflowing?  Ohhhhh, she reset the cup size on our Keurig machine! to Please God, tell me she didn’t have sex with her boyfriend on our couch!

You know, the usual stuff.

I want to write a more comprehensive blog post about Chicago, as well as put up a ton of pictures on Flickr.  But I want to put up some older pictures first, and I haven’t gotten around to doing that yet, so now I’m just in limbo mode until I get the motivation to catch up with the tasks I’ve assigned for myself.

Today I went to set up for my teen game program, and discovered that one of the major components had been stolen from the box, making the game basically inoperable.  I want to say “Heads are gonna roll,” but what I really mean is, “When I find the person who did this, I’m going to hang said person off of the roof of our library by his or her ankles until he or she convinces me that he or she is REALLY VERY SINCERELY SORRY ABOUT DOING THAT.”

In the meantime, though, we have to wait and see if a replacement game is in the library’s budget.  Would anybody like to start taking bets???

This afternoon we were subjected to one of the loudest programs I’ve ever heard in a library setting.  Note to performers:  Please decide whether or not you actually need an amplifier for a program in a public library’s open space, and if you feel that you DO need one (like if the people sitting between two and ten feet away from you have stuffed cotton in their ears and wouldn’t be able to hear you otherwise), then would you please consider TURNING THE DAMNED THING DOWN, PLEASE???

I’ve spent the last several days shopping for my summer reading club party, which promises to be an event to be remembered.  Okay, if previous years are any indication, it promises to begin with my teens diving for the refreshments like hyenas tearing apart a dead zebra, and end with a rush for the prize table like … well, it’s kind of the same thing, really.  On the plus side, all that rushing usually means we finish earlier than usual, and I have some time to decompress afterwards.

We’re going out to dinner with the Geek Patrol at a Filipino restaurant, so I emailed Cara (one of my oldest friends, and coincidentally someone of the Filipino persuasion) for some pointers and recommendations about what we should order and/or avoid.  Armed with her extremely thorough notes (Thanks, Dear!) we should have a cool new dining experience ahead of us.

The rest of the weekend, we’ll be decompressing and catching up with stuff like laundry, reading, writing my next podcast episode (two words: CORE CURRICULUM), finishing (finally?) the editing process on our last collaborative podcast effort, and cat snuggling.  Hooray for three-day weekends!!!