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Today was a great day for conversations with the littlest tots at the Children’s desk. For instance, a red-hatted little boy, age 3, came up to me with a very serious face, his caregiver nearby, choosing books. And we had this conversation:

“I like numbers,” he announced. (Our Children’s desk has illustrated numbers, one to ten, right at his eye level.)

“Me too!” I said. “Which is your favorite number?”

With no hesitation, the very serious reply came, “My favorite number is five.”

“Five is a great number! Do you want to count to five together?” He nodded. So we counted out loud, one, two, three, four, five, then he walked away to join his caregiver. 

A few minutes later, my number-five-loving friend was back. “I like nine too.” 

“That’s awesome!”

Non sequitor: “Can I sign up for the computer?”

“Sure,” I said, “What’s your name?”

He stood silent, just looking at me. His caregiver came around, and was surprised to see her young charge, signing up for the computer, all by himself. She watched him watching me. “Tell the librarian your name!” she urged.

“Nine.”

“Your name is Nine?” 

“Yes.” Again, a solemn nod, but there was a not-quite-sure look in the eye.

“Okay,” I said, and I started to write down “Nine,” but the caretaker urged again. “Tell her your name. Your name is not Nine, is it?”

I smiled encouragingly at him, waiting to see what number he might come up next. But he surprised me.

“Santa.”

“Your name is Santa?” I asked.

“Your name is Santa?!?” asked his caregiver, amused yet really wanting him to give his name.

Solemnly, Santa nodded. “Yes, my name is Santa.” 

“Are you really Santa?” I asked him, my eyes wide.

“Yes,” he was sure he is Santa. 

“Do you really like giving gifts to people?” I asked.

“Yes, especially the number five, and the number nine,” Santa answered.

And so there you have it, folks. Santa is about three years old, and he loves giving numbers as gifts. And he visited the library and signed up for the toddler computers at 12:30 pm today. For proof see the photo I took of the computer sign-up sheet below!

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[PS – You can see where I erased, “Nine.” :-) ]

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Exchange at the Children’s desk today:

Kid: Excuse me, can you find me the book The Children The Series?

Me: the what?

Kid: The Children The Series

Me: (scratching head, and starting to type into search box to play for time) Um, hmm… okay so the title starts with the words The Children?

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Kid: Yes.

Me: … and then what’s the next word?

Kid: The Series.

Me: Are you looking for a series of books called The Children?

Kid: No, I just want one book called The Children The Series.

Me: (typing the whole improbable sounding title into Google) Well, maybe there is a series that is called The Children The… (I stop, seeing what I have typed, and suddenly it all snaps together in my head.)

Me: (happier, elated, that I know [i hope] what he really wants) Oh you want the children’s Thesaurus!

Kid: (relieved yet still serious face) Yeah, that’s what I want. The Children The Series.

end scene.

Today, a young girl came to the library, seeking two specific books. One was a Grimm’s fairy tales book which she knew was checked out and which she wished to place on hold. The other was a fairy tale book which she wanted to find on the shelf. As we were seeking the second book, I took the opportunity to explain to her the magic of the 398.2 shelves and all the treasures contained therein. She beamed at this bit of library lore, and so we got into a bit of a longer conversation. Wanting to encourage her to join our Summer Reading program, I asked her name and what grade she was in. “I’m in fifth grade,” she said, “and my name’s Arieanne**, that’s Ari with an ‘e,’ and Anne with an ‘e’)”

At this, I stared at this clear-eyed ten year old, and remarked, wow, that reminds me so much of a character in a book called Anne of Green Gables! “Oh yes, I know,” she said, “Lucy M. Montgomery is my second cousin twice removed.”

Stunned and thrilled, I told her how many times (embarrassing to admit here) I’d read and reread Anne of Green Gables in middle school. Turns out her mother is reading the eighth “Anne book” to her now.

I feel like I’ve met royalty. Pinch me, someone, please and bring me down to earth.

Here are a couple of Anne of Green Gables quotes, for those who are just as delighted as I am with this very Anne-ish encounter:

“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

“But if you call me Anne, please call me Anne with an ‘e’.”
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

**The name and some other details have been changed, for privacy reasons, but the spirit of the exchange has been saved.

Yesterday, on the President Obama declared National Day of Making, another Youth Services colleague – none other than the fabulous Emma Carbone of Miss Print — and I worked with teens to create marbled paper, in our weekly Makerspace program! The teens got a real kick out of it, as did we, as well as some of our colleagues! No one wanted to stop~ :-)

Two lessons we learned:
  1. We Must do this program Again!
  2. Next time, we will most definitely use cardstock, as that had the best results, although the thinner paper did yield some lovely floaty tie-dye results.
Enjoy the pics!
(oh and if you’re wondering what we used to get these effects, the kit we used is called the Aitoh Boku-Undo Suminagashi Marbling Kit. It’s fairly simple: You just need to also have water and a large(preferably shallow) container containing water. And a willing clean-up crew. :-)
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Yesterday was quite stressful at the library. I came home soul-exhausted. There were some incorrigible customers who seemed to relish putting the librarian through her paces. But on second thought, there were some thought-provoking and delightful encounters that made the day well worth living. Here are some highlights.

Two Pakistani-American girls befriended me at the children’s desk. One of them shadowed me all day and even helped with reference transactions. I think it made her feel grown-up and responsible. The best part was when we were talking about how bad my spoken Hindi/Urdu is. I explained to them that Hindi isn’t my mother tongue. Then they asked me where I come from. India, I replied. We silently digested the fact that “our countries” are having some “problems” at the moment. One of them said, Read the rest of this entry »

picture an almost-two year old. When quiet and watchful, her wan February face is so pale and serious.But now picture her all in pink. Various shades and permutations. Her top is pink. Her pants verge on magenta, but still firmly pink. She has a stand-out little skirt on too. Pink, of course. Her sneakers are, though white, graced here and there with touches of pink and silver.and what she does is jump.
up.
and down.
and up and down and up and down and up and down. and looks across the library at the marveling bookish woman. and lets out a chortle full of glee. and jumps. again and again. with both feet, each time. up.
and down.her mother and the bookish woman share a smile.

this is how we celebrate leap day at the library.

I am loving this Web 2.0 how to design your website with simplicity guide by Ben Hunt (found on the website design by scratch site) which I found via an online search recently, but which, due to grad school pressures, I didn’t have time to look into. Ironically one of my grad school assignments was to create a website, so actually, I could have used the tips from this site…

But no problem, I’ll take their lessons to heart for my real, actual honest-to-goodness website which I will create soon. When? I don’t know. But… soon.

In the meantime, here, check out Alex Dukal’s beautiful site, which was given by Ben Hunt as an example of a website which works extremely well, being simultaneously simple and yet richly nuanced. Alex Dukal is an illustrator and graphic artist, and after having seen his site, I now want to share it with one of my favorite coworkers, the children’s librarian where I work… I love the synergy of the web sometimes. :)

Years ago, I wrote a short story about a young woman who got into trouble with her long distance phone company by racking up a huge phone bill. In that story, in the days before ubiquitous cell phone usage, her “astronomical phone bill” was in the whopping amount of $853.52, which many of my Writing workshop peers found to be somewhat unbelievable. Well… better believe it, ‘cuz, as they say, “Truth is stranger than Fiction.”

Check out the below story to learn just how much financial trouble technology can get us into: Read the rest of this entry »

Right about now, all of the MLS and MLIS students I know are quite stressed. So I thought I’d share some Library/Librarian Humor that I found on various blogs and websites. Not too many though, since I need to get back to my own website project!

LISNews: Librarian Pickup Lines

YouTube (Sesame Street): – Rock & Roll Readers

Warrior Librarian: Library Quiz Answers From Middle Schoolers

Life Story Writing Network: Something Called B-O-O-K 

ERIC’s serious take on humor: Librarian Humor in Classroom and Reference

Biblia’s Library Weekly: Computer error alerts for OPACs (wishful thinking)

I’ve been working on school projects for much of the day… So I thought I’d share one of my my favorite ways to take a study break– Muffin Films!

This website, featuring 12 delicious and riduculous films about, of all things, muffins, was first introduced to me by a friend at an online community, 43Things. I’ll write more about the wonders of 43Things in a later post.

In the meantime, enjoy a study break with muffins!