Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Lessons Learned by a Volunteer School Librarian
The school serves a couple of small communities so the library isn't huge. We don't have a computerized system so there is often a lot of guess work involved. Since the library is organized by volunteers, they all have their own ideas about how things should be shelved. Some things are easy: books on horses go in the animal section but what do you do with a book about tanks? Military or machinery? Finding something for a student can be a bit challenging.
Then there's the kids. Here's a few things I've learned.
Kids Don't Know Authors
The older children have a fair sized novel section but it is alphabetized by author. Guess what? Kids never know the names of authors. They know the titles but names... forget about it. Unfortunately, neither do I. You think I would, doing what I do, but I have the worst memory for names. Most of the time I end up when a kid asks for a book I end up scanning the shelves for them. It's a good thing we don't have a lot.
Kids Are Curious
A couple of weeks ago, I had the grade ones in the library. There was a girl who was not at all shy. She walked right up to me. "You got a kid in this school, lady?" Yeeees. I told her who. "Oh yeah, I know her." I guess I checked out. She reminded me of Junie B Jones. It was so funny.
Kids Might Be Too Curious
Sometimes I get a request that surprises me. I'm not really surprised by young girls looking for Twilight books, even though it seems we do not have them in the library. The school has kids ages 5-12 so I imagine the school only gets books for that age group. Twilight might be a little old for them. What did surprise me was a request for The Lovely Bones. I can only assume that the girl asking for it was unaware of the brutal rape and murder scene at the beginning of the book.
No One Names Their Kids 'John' Anymore
Part of the check out process involves writing down what child took out what book for the teacher. This is always challenging. There is a healthy immigrant population and as expected they have names I've never heard before. However, there are the other kids with run of the mill names. That should be easy. It's not. I think I've spelled Kaylee about a dozen different ways now. Even when you think you got it, they'll throw in an extra letter or two to keep it interesting.
Kids Like Hamsters
I get many, many requests for the same books from kids. Spongebob and Pokemon are at the top of the list but they are second to the most requested book. It's a book on taking care of hamsters. Everybody wants it. It's always out. My daughter has had it out twice. We don't own a hamster! We have no plans to get one either.
When They Like Something, They Stick With It
I notice that some kids take out the same book several times, but one little guy takes the cake. He took the same book out (sports related) six times in a row.
Kids Are Adorable
Like this is a surprise. A while ago, a little red haired boy came up to me and whispered. "Miss?" I bent down, thinking he wanted me to find something for him, "Can I help you, Bud?" He looked at me. "Um, no, I just wanted to say I love the library." Aw! So cute.
I'm sure I'll learn a lot more as the year continues.