Wednesday, October 19, 2011


So here's the scoop...I have a legitimate reason for not posting. So much has been happening around these parts and I haven't had the time. Honestly.

Why? What's going on? What is keeping you so dang busy that you can't be bothered to pop on here to tell us all about it?

Glad you asked.

I got a job. That's right. A J-O-B. I think y'all know that I graduated library school a couple of years ago and have been (halfheartedly) looking for a job. Well, we figured Chloe was old enough not to spend all of her time with me anymore (and really, she cheered the loudest of any of us when I got the job offer because it means she gets to go to big girl school). And we also want to get our house done at some point before our kids are in high school. And if I didn't start using my library skills, I may as well never mind ever using them.

Plus the right job came along.

I was hired to be the library media specialist (though I prefer the term librarian) for a small private school that services special needs children in grades K-12. I started the end of September and have been B-U-S-Y at work. This school has never had a "real" librarian before. They had a very nice woman who would read books to the kids, diligently kept up a paper card catalog, and kept her circulation records in a spiral bound notebook. She retired last year. Then, over the summer, they decided to move the IT guy into the library, building a cubicle for him in the corner. To make it fit, they took out two walls worth of floor to almost ceiling shelving. Unfortunately, the left all of the books in piles on the floor for me to sort through when I started.

I spent the first week throwing out books. I'm talking English textbooks older than me, math textbooks from the 80s, books that were literally falling apart at the seams. Then I spent the next week or so shelving the nonfiction, then the fiction, weeping and wailing when I ran out of shelf space. (Okay, I didn't actually weep and wail, but I did run out of shelf space. They had to make me six more shelves for my wall unit...hopefully that should take care of most of the ones still in boxes.)

Once all of those books were shelved, I had to do something with the dozen or so boxes of books that were not cataloged or labeled in any way. I spent the last week or so looking up the Dewey Decimal numbers for these books, creating spine labels for them, and then shelving them.

It's a night and day difference in the library. But I'm not done yet. Our school got a grant they didn't expect to receive and are funneling it into the library. What does that mean? It means I was able to submit (and have approved) my wish list - new tables and chairs, a really cool circulation desk, new bookshelves, posters, a rug, and - are you ready for this? - BOOK REPAIR SUPPLIES! The previous librarian left me with three rolls of book tape. That's it. No book jacket covers. No glue. No paper tape. Just three rolls of clear tape. You can do a lot with clear tape, but you can't do everything.

I am particularly excited to start receiving my two favorite publications - School Library Journal and Booklist. Why are they my favorite? They contain reviews of new materials so I can continue to add books to my to-read list. It's just about the next best thing to reading a good book - reading about good books to add to the list.

But don't think I've been just sitting around admiring my beautiful new library. I've also been busy with classes - today I convinced a group of fifth graders to sit and enjoy being read to. We read Hooway for Wodney Wat. Caleb recommended it to me after they read it in his classroom. Several other classes came in to check out books. Once all of the books are in their permanent home, I need to start teaching library orientation courses to the kids so they know where to find the materials they need.

Want to hear a horror story? It's almost Halloween, so you may be in the mood. The other day I overheard a staff member (a man in his mid-20s) explain to a student that all of the books in the library are stored in alphabetical order so to find a book on trains, just head to the T section on the nonfiction shelves. What? No! Only the fiction is shelved alphabetically! Nonfiction is all by Dewey Decimal Number, ordered by subject. Yikes! I have a lot of work to do!

So what does the rest of my family do when I'm working? Good question. Rob was able to rearrange his work schedule so that he works twelve hour shifts three days a week. That means he is home every morning to put our kids on the school bus. Chloe goes to a day care (big girl school) a mile or two up the street. We love her teachers, we love the facility, and we couldn't be happier. Chloe likes everything except nap time, though she actually does sleep about half of the time. The big kids get home from school about an hour before I'm able to be home, so we have a teenage girl we know from church come over after she gets out of school and keep the kids for an hour or so. She's really great. She makes sure they have their homework done and then she gives them a snack and plays games with them.

And I still get to do most of the grocery shopping, the meal making, the housecleaning and laundry so I stay pretty busy. Don't worry...Rob's not totally slack...he's been working like mad on the house. Our master bathroom is almost done - we just need to put in a light switch and hook it up to the circuit box in the basement, our kitchen now has a beautiful new back splash, and the trim is just about all painted. He's making really great progress on the house, especially now that he has two solid days to work on it without anyone else around.

The kids are staying busy too. Chloe loves going to school. She's making friends, doing lots of art, and playing hard. She's definitely ready for bed by the time bedtime rolls around.

Caleb started cub scouts this year, so every week I get to haul all three kids to scouts since Rob works on scout night. This last week they met in the school library, so while they had their meeting I busied myself by straightening books on their shelves. The librarian in me can't stand looking at jumbled bookshelves.

Caleb also started playing an instrument this year. Each week he gets to haul his trombone to music lessons. I'm hoping this next week is the week he really figures out how to play a note or two. In the meantime, I console myself by thinking "at least it's not the oboe!"

Camille remains our little artist. The art teacher at school let me borrow some big art coffee table books for her to look at over the weekend. Before I returned them, I asked Camille if she had a favorite artist. She thought really hard and then replied, "Yes, I do. I'm my favorite artist!" I'm so glad she has such good self-esteem. She's doing well in school and loves to read. She's currently reading Swiss Family Robinson and has read more than 100 pages!

Well, that's about it for now. I actually have some work I took home that I have to finish before I go to bed tonight. Plus, we're having a bake-off at church tomorrow and I need to make sure I tuck away my pumpkin pie cake so that no one gets into it. I do have pictures of Chloe's first day of school that I'll post sometime when I can make time to do it. Maybe this weekend.

Maybe next time I'll tell you about our whirlwind trip to Baltimore. Or about the conference I get to go to next week. Or about the fun Halloween costumes I made my kids if I can just make the time to actually do it!