Taking inventory of a collection of 34,000 items is both more and less than I bargained for. I did not expect, for example, that scanning 11,000 fiction titles would only take two panic-free days. I also didn't expect that the next section I would try to scan, Reference - a mere 1800 items, would require nearly the same amount of time. New spine labels for almost everything, some new bar codes, a lot of computer-wrangling to make it all work properly. This part of my job is both tedious and satisfying in the way that trigonometry was. Why the problem exists is a bit of a mystery, but solving it makes you feel like a genius.
Taking inventory required closing the library, which is a real inconvenience in the last weeks of school. Since I've been advertising it for a few months, most students and teachers have taken it pretty well now that it's happened. A few people here and there have called to beg for extensions, but I have been firm and loving in my denials of these requests. Today though, I witnessed a reaction to the closure that I really did not anticipate.
Around ten this morning I was finishing my skim-milk latte and sorting through the remainder of the overdue notices that needed to go out to teachers (still almost 700 items out). In walks a youngish teacher (young woman, has taught for 6+ years I think) that here I will refer to as Ms. Menace. Ms. Menace approaches my assistant at the circulation desk and asks if she can send groups of students to the library to work on a project. My trusty assistant explains that, no, we are closed to that sort of activity. Computers are being repaired, books counted, etc. She tells Ms. Menace to speak with me if she has further questions. I have not heard any of this and Ms. Menace bypasses the table where I am working, going to our teacher workroom to laminate. 15 minutes later she reappears, returns to the counter where my assistant is working and asks why she can't send students to the library. My beloved assistant explains, for a second time, the principles behind being closed and refers her to me. She declines, instead saying (and in the presence of my student workers to boot!) "Well I think that policy is stupid and I want you to tell Mizz Murphy I said so!" She then high-tails it out of there, literally running, laminated whatever tucked under her arm. That part I saw.
I ask these questions:
Why didn't Ms. Menace come speak with me? I was available. I am friendly.
Why did she not know we were to be closed?
Why did she run?
I believe I will never truly know the answer to that last question, but I have my theories about the others.
Another day, another panic attack, another after-school cocktail. So be it.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Monday, June 18, 2007
I am back at work with so much to say, but STILL have not found the time to write. Should I comment on the fact that all library materials were due last Friday so that we could start inventory today, but more than 1100 items are still wandering out in the universe? Or should I write about the girls who called me some very unfriendly names when I caught them cheating on a test and then proceeded to berate their teacher for believing me, a "liar lady", over them? Perhaps the lack of AC on the entire campus today would make a good post, or the fact that there were announcements every 30 minutes to tell teachers to open their windows or turn on fans (um, do our teachers really need to be told that?). In that story I would have to mention that a huge fan provided by the custodial staff for an entire hallway was somehow stolen along with its extension cord.
On the other hand, I could tell you about Yesenia, Darlyn, and Mayra, three 8th-grade girls who begged me to allow them to take books home over the weekend even though it was past the deadline to turn in all books. They each read two huge novels in two days. Or there are also the 9 kids who came in today to apply for a job in the library (not for pay, but as an elective) and spent nearly an hour perfecting their applications. Or the teacher who actually spent 10 minutes explaining to his students what inventory meant, and why it needed to be done, and how he had done it (on paper! Oh my God!) when he worked as a knife salesman long, long ago.
I can't decide. Vacation melted my mind.