Shannon Stacey

Here there be bad words—a lot of them

I had a rather inane post planned for today, which is now postponed. (Lucky you, you know the inanity is coming tomorrow. Is inanity a word? I don’t know. It is now.)

Anyway, now that the reverberation in my skull from my head exploding has faded just enough to allow my brain to fire signals to my fingers, I will share my outrage with no promise of coherency, but a warning it might get ugly.

A friend of mine tried to sign her kids up for her library’s Summer Reading Program and was told “Sorry, it’s full”.

Whooooosh! Houston, we have ignition.

I was the children’s librarian for our library before the short kid was born and I’ve done the Summer Reading Program. It’s a lot of work. But you don’t ever, ever, ever, fucking EVER turn away a child who wants to be a part of summer reading.

Those nifty little charts on which the kids track their books? If you’re running low, you take your lazy fucking ass over to Staples, buy some cardstock, stand in front of the copying machine and make more. Themed bookmarks? You copy sheets of them, and then you sit with that damn paper cutter I know you have. If you’ve got scavenger hunts, you divide the kids into groups by the hour or day.

Maybe instead of performances being held in the children’s room you have to go to the high school and arrange to have their audicafegymatorium for a couple of hours. And maybe you have to walk from business to business to business asking for $5 or $10 donations because the ice cream party at the end’s going to be bigger than you thought.

You pull in parent volunteers. You maybe change things up, have simpler crafts, more activities in which you group the kids by age. You put up signs warning adult patrons the library will be insane on a certain day at a certain hour. You suck it up, make it work and hope for a bigger grant next year.

You don’t tell a kid who wants to be a part of Summer Reading “no”.

If you do, you don’t deserve to be a children’s librarian because you don’t give a shit. You don’t deserve to dust the junior encyclopedia sets. You don’t even deserve to sit and scrape dried glue off the craft tables with your fucking fingernails.

I’m going to go fume now.

11 comments to “Here there be bad words—a lot of them”

  1. Charlene
      · May 29th, 2008 at 10:02 am · Link

    Go Shan. Without little readers, libraries don’t get big readers. I hope those kids get signed up at another library.

  2. Jaci Burton
      · May 29th, 2008 at 10:23 am · Link

    What you said. My fondest memories of my childhood are summers spent at the library.

    I’m appalled that someone said no.

    Children should never, ever be turned away from reading.


  3. Anne
      · May 29th, 2008 at 10:39 am · Link

    holy crap! Did you go to the library administrator? I’d be going to somebody and making her get up off her lazy ass and DO HER JOB. Go Shannon!!! Kick some lazy librarian ass!

  4. Angie
      · May 29th, 2008 at 10:52 am · Link

    Ohh, there were lots of bad words there. I liked it. I totally agree with you. It’s hard enough to get kids these days interested in reading, without being told “no”.

  5. Jackie C
      · May 29th, 2008 at 10:53 am · Link

    :x Are they nuking futz, turning away children. Damn. :censor:

  6. Heather Rae Scott
      · May 29th, 2008 at 11:16 am · Link

    You go, girl. You’re right, no one should ever turn a child away from reading. I don’t know if you can go to them and politely bitch–perhaps an editorial nix the :censor: would be a good bet, saying everything you’re saying–that there are ways to facilitate to allow more children to participate. This pisses me off as much as the ‘no child left behind’. Seriously, :wtf: is going on in our country?

  7. Melani Blazer
      · May 29th, 2008 at 1:50 pm · Link

    :thumb: Well said, Shan. There’s really no excuse other than a person’s unwillingness to make it happen, and it’s a crying shame this is going on in our libraries.

    I hope you voice is heard in the places it needs to be. I hope anyone who reads this and comes across something like this speaks up. Reading is SOOOOOOOOO important with children.

  8. SandyO
      · May 29th, 2008 at 2:04 pm · Link

    The library has books. That’s all that is needed for the Summer Reading Program. The other stuff is nice, but it’s books and READERS that are important. Go kick librarian ass, Shannon.

    The thought of turning away children who want to read makes me want to cry.

  9. Ann
      · May 29th, 2008 at 5:05 pm · Link

    She could join my program (seriously- I’d love to have more kids sign up than I have forms for). It’s full? I don’t think so. :x
    I’d say what I really think about that, but there are children in the building and then I’d have to kick myself out for cursing.

  10. Natalie J. Damschroder
      · May 29th, 2008 at 8:38 pm · Link

    I’d be speechless at the mind-boggling idiocy if I wasn’t cheering the rant. Go, Shannon!

  11. Shannon
      · May 29th, 2008 at 9:45 pm · Link

    Unfortunately said library is halfway across the country from me or I would have had a conversation with the trustees.

    And, yeah, it doesn’t matter if the summer reading program consists of kids trying to fit a paper-covered wall with the titles of books read—what’s important is the willingness to read and the recognition that the library is more than a babysitter for latch-key kids.

    I’m still pissed, dammit.

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