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.