All work and no play..

Some days kids can just drive you crazy. Ok, most days working in children’s they DO drive you crazy. Other days they are literally the best source of entertainment you can find. One of the most fascinating things I’ve found about children is the unlike adults, they don’t have chips on their shoulders. They won’t go out of their way to be dicks, they just kind of are what they are. They just have this sense of honesty and wonder about the world around them. The connections that they make can be surprisingly wholesome and intuitive.

Here’s 5 solid child interactions that happened today that shone some light on a day otherwise filled with a string of barely tolerable events starring helpless, confused and agitated adults.

Interaction 1. We have a Harry Potter program at the public this weekend. As part of the display there are beakers behind the info desk filled with water and food coloring of all different colors. This girl passes and looks at me and asks “Are those real potions?” I gave my best creepy YES and lifted my eyebrows a bit to look like I was up to something. She shuffled away kind of freaked out, and the next time she passed on her way back just straight stared at me. I love to mess with them. What I really wanted to do was splash some on her and tell her it was some sort of good luck potion so she would feel all awesome, but something like that may have gotten me fired.

Interaction 2. Three young cousins gave us their art at the desk. One drew a camera that looked suspiciously like the Instagram app icon, and the other 2 gave us hearts. There was also stick figure a picture of them at the library in a pink cloud. Pink because they love the library. I taped them to the wall and ensured them they would be on display for the rest of the day in their own personal gallery. *Tears up from the freaking adorableness*

Interaction 3. I handed a young boy a storytime ticket. He paid me in turn with a cheese it from his bag, not leaving until I accepted said payment. (Thank god he didn’t ask me to eat it in front of him).

Interaction 4. Two rambunctious brothers come in with a baby sitter and a baby in the carriage. The baby starts crying as the sitter is trying to put together a bottle. One of them looks at me and asks quite seriously: “If the baby is going to cry in the library, do they have to do it quietly?” I let him know that yes, that would be ideal and we would all prefer that but that’s not always the way it works. He seemed satisfied enough with that answer and bounded off to read his book about football. (Before this interaction one of the boys was looking for sports books. He figured it would be best to literally run up to the information desk and shout loudly where are the books about sports repeatedly to my co-worker that was helping somebody in front of him. Then when she didn’t respond he shouted this at the actual person she was helping before I intercepted him).

Interaction 5. This one was not experienced by me, but by a co-worker. Two young boys were exchanging books at the checkout so they could read the one that the other had just finished. One boy handed the other a Superwoman book, and to that boys delight he realized aloud that: “Wow, Superwoman is in her underwear.” What an epiphany.

I’ve been trying for some time to get back to that state of childlike wonder and excitement. I don’t know when, how or where we lose it as we get into adulthood. I know it could never work if we were all like the obnoxious yelling sports kid, but I think we could all use a bit more questioning and curiosity in our adult lives. Maybe learn to not get so caught up in narratives and our perceptions of what’s possible and what’s not. Take more time to focus on things that we really want and what interests us instead of what will make us the most successful monetarily, or what paths we have been pushed down by others. We should all take more time to play and be happy and less time getting mad over trivial things like study rooms, then expressing your rage at the illogical workings of the universe on the poor woman behind the desk who has no control over any of it. That could be a good start, one adult at a time.

Ruby Yachts

Its midterms, and Sunday as well as homecoming weekend which may be why it’s super slow at work today. There’s about 10 people in the building, 3 of us being people who work here. I forgot to bring my book from home, but guess what. I have thousands of them here at work, so I’m sure I can find something to pass the time. It’s not easy to read a novel at work, it takes up too much concentration so I’ll opt for poetry, or shorter stuff. This way when a question comes my way it’s easy to switch back into work mode. When I was a kid, I remember seeing this book Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam that my mom had next to the area where she kept her wallet, and crystals and feathers and other little worldly trinkets. It was there for a really long time, maybe years. The book itself was long and skinny, red with gold sided pages. When I was a kid I thought it was about some guy who had a yacht made out of rubies and sailed it around the world. Thank goodness it’s not though, that may be a little strange. Here’s a short poetry lesson that I learned today, thanks to a quick google. A Rubaiyat or Ruba’i is a Persian quatrain, or poem consisting of four lines. So basically the whole thing is just a bunch of short little thoughts strung together in lines of four. The individual quatrains were connected and pieced together to form a flowing story by the English writer Edward Fitzgerald in 1859, long after they were actually written.

Poetry reaches us so deeply because it can be anything you want it to be. In my life thus far I find myself more attracted to non-rhyming, contemporary stuff, but a lot of the older stuff I never even bothered to visit because it felt so dry and boring. I guess I’m taking another look at older writings as I get older myself. Western culture and writings seem so young when you match it up to the older Eastern writings. But, East or West, human nature is still human nature, and we may think of ourselves as more evolved than our ancestors, smarter, more moral, the list goes on. The truth is that the eternal struggle has been and always will be. He describes my Saturday night wine and deep thought spiral that got me absolutely nowhere perfectly:

For “is” and “is-not” though with Rule and Line

And “up-and-down” by Logic I define

Of all that one should care to fathom, I

Was never deep in anything but- Wine.

-Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

Here’s encyclopedia Britanica’s explanation of this work:

“The verses translated by FitzGerald and others reveal a man of deep thought, troubled by the questions of the nature of reality and the eternal, the impermanence and uncertainty of life, and man’s relationship to God. The writer doubts the existence of divine providence and the afterlife, derides religious certainty, and feels keenly man’s frailty and ignorance. Finding no acceptable answers to his perplexities, he chooses to put his faith instead in a joyful appreciation of the fleeting and sensuous beauties of the material world. The idyllic nature of the modest pleasures he celebrates, however, cannot dispel his honest and straightforward brooding over fundamental metaphysical questions” (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2016).

In other words: That time when Omar Khayyam was basically all of us. Me especially this week.

Esperanto

Esperanto.

32 years on this earth, including many very peculiar conversations and I have never heard of this until yesterday. Apparently there is some strange auxiliary language that was created in the late 1800’s with simple universal grammar rules that was meant to be spoken worldwide in an effort to make lines of communication more open universally. The idea isn’t so bad. The language itself sounds a bit like a rip off of Spanish to me. It may be harder for some people to learn than others, seeing as the characters would be different for many eastern languages. The reason I even found this out is one of my co-workers explaining that she belonged to the Esperanto club at her high school in the 70’s. I was like, Esperanto?? What is that? She tells me, and another co-worker chimes in that he remembers all this. Really, how have I never heard of this?

Here’s the official site:

https://www.esperanto-usa.org/en/content/esperanto

I watched some of the YouTube videos, and I’m almost amused enough by this, and bored enough to try to learn it. Do people still actually speak it? According to the enthusiast websites they do, I’ve never encountered anybody in real life that spoke it, but then again I’ve never asked because I didn’t know it was a thing. Can I put bilingual on a resume and explain that I speak Esperanto or will people just look at me kind of crazy? I like it though… Maybe you’ll see a post in a couple of month in straight Esperanto.

Fun fact: There was a William Shatner movie made in 1966 entirely made called Incubus:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0059311/

Book Sitting

We have this section at the library called the parenting section. Basically we put books that deal with sensitive or tough subjects here in case parents want some sort of book that they can read to their children about said subject. These include, but are not limited to Autism, potty training, having two moms or two dads, death of a family member, death of a pet, you get the idea. There are some Easy books, and board readers, which are stories that the children can relate to. As well as larger adult nonfiction reads that help adults with certain subjects such as raising a child with ADHD, or how to learn common core standards. I think that it’s a really great idea to have these in one place, especially when ECE students come in and are doing a unit on something like death or another difficult topic to teach children. Here’s where I think it goes a bit astray…

There’s this children’s book called “And Tango Makes Three”. It’s an adorable picture book based on a true story about 2 male penguins that co-parent a small penguin thanks to the help of a zookeeper. There is no sex involved in this book whatsoever, just two male penguins who raise a baby penguin together as a family. Here’s a really good blog post about it for banned books week by the NYPL, kind of old but it addresses the issue I’m about to talk about today:

https://www.nypl.org/blog/2013/09/23/banned-books-week-and-tango-makes-three

One of the things that libraries do to try to avoid conflict is they will “re-shelve” children’s books with taboo subjects in areas that are less browsed, or maybe not even browsed at all by children. I came across the board version of this book and tried to put it with the regular, highly browsed board books in the children’s area. Later I was pulled aside by the head children’s librarian and told that it would go in parenting, due to the subject nature. I don’t have a say here, I’m just the cataloger. But I was irked. I also think she said something along the lines of, not wanted to explain it to a pissed off parent. Didn’t librarians stop sitting on books years ago? I remember learning about a librarian that actually DID this back in the 50’s when I was in library school. She couldn’t control the books that were being ordered and put into the collection, so if she didn’t agree with one, or didn’t think it was appropriate she would literally sit on it so nobody could check it out. Seems so absurd right? But isn’t this strategic “re-shelving” pretty much the same thing. Especially when we already have 2 copies in the parenting section, and the mantra is usually to shelve it where it will get the most circulation, which would be the highly trafficked board book shelves? Look at us we’re progressive by having the books, but then let’s hide them where people can’t find them and get angry about it.

I just came across this again today. This time it’s a board book called “Daddy Papa and Me”. The whole book is basically a child playing with two males, one named papa and one daddy, they dress up, bake a pie, paint a picture, play music together and drink tea. Nothing scandalous at all. BUT. I go to check the record and notice the two at the other branch are already marked parenting. I’m going to try to push them through as regular board books and see what happens.

This also reminds me a story of when I first started working at the public and a woman came up to me and asked where the bible stories were. I asked if she was looking for non-fiction stuff, or stories in the picture books. You can find stuff in both the non-fiction AND picture books for this kind of stuff. She looked at me and said… “Isn’t it ALL non-fiction??” (Meaning the bible is clearly fact) and I responded “depends on if you believe all of that is true or not.” She couldn’t believe it. I have to laugh when I think about it. People seem to get so stuck in their beliefs that they can’t fathom anybody else’s way of life may be valid. I guess that’s just my little rant for the day. I would be willing to talk with somebody who was angry about the collection choice. I would hope that they would get mad and take it to the board or start a fuss. Libraries are supposed to uphold the first amendment, and freedom of speech and ideas we would just be doing our job.

Most librarians, myself included, shy away from conflict and I understand exactly why. I don’t like it, and I don’t want to deal with it most of the time, but for things I really believe in I will face it. And I think that these kinds of books should be accessible and not hidden away due to simple fact that they depict families with same sex parents. At the end of the day, it’s the parent’s responsibility to monitor what their child is reading, and what they are exposed to in the early years of their life. This is a HUGE part of being a parent. So if you aren’t on board with the material in a particular book, don’t read it to your child or allow them to check out the book. Simple as that. If you argue that it is the libraries responsibility to not put something like this within your child’s eyeshot or reach, it’s not. You should be watching your child while you are in the library together, engaging with them about their reading materials and supervising them especially if they are very young children. It doesn’t mean you have to be upset that certain materials exist and are accessible for people who may want to expose their children to it.

Anyways, since this is a “sensitive” subject. Let’s palate cleanse. Here’s a guy holding a bunch of kittens. Can’t be mad or upset after you see that, right?

 kittens

 

Photo obtained from: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/29484572530636343/

 

Motivations

I did the life coach session yesterday and I must say it went very well. I’m feeling excited again, for the first time in a couple of months, and ready to face even more difficult things in order to dissolve them and be able to get on with building my happy little life. So I signed on for the three month. There is one thing that bothered me though. She asked me a pretty straightforward question that stumped me:

“What motivates you?”

Ummmmmmmmmm. (Followed by dead air for at least two minutes passing as I stare at the corner of the room where the ceiling meets the walls). I don’t know. I really had no answer to this. We moved on eventually, in the effort to not waste too much time. But then came back around to it. Maybe I didn’t understand the question. I eventually asked her:

“What motivates me to do what? Wake up every morning? Do my adult chores? Go out and socialize?”

She shrugs, it’s up to me to figure this one out. But it’s something I’m going to have to think about right now. So what do I do today? Of course I turn to the internet and Google “what motivates me” looking for tests, quizzes, advice?

I find the first test at:

Random Google generated online motivation quiz

According to them I am motivated by emotions. Well I KNEW that. Of course family, love and friendship motivate me. Maybe they motivate me to want to be a better person and that’s where all this soul searching is coming from. OK I guess that’s helpful. But I don’t really know the validity of this test or Psychologies magazine from the UK. Emily Blunt is on an advertised cover, and there is some really bad stock art with a business lady and a headset on the quiz, I’m going to group this being about as valid as Cosmo magazine, maybe the quick Google isn’t going to be the best place for this. Let’s redo this a different way…

I put together a Library guide a while ago about career services. I have self-assessment tests on there and I’ve taken probably all of them a million times. I can revisit those and see if they give me any direction, even if they are geared towards finding a job that suits you I think that it will probably line up pretty well with passions/interests/motivations…

Myers-Briggs is always a fan favorite. I have taken this test probably at least 25 times in my life, once or twice I think I got INFP, but about 90% of the time I score INFJ so we will stick with that. This score reminds me I’m extremely empathetic and an idealist. I value beauty, art and truth. Which I assume could be things that motivate me.

Myers-Briggs Test

Strong Interest Profile, this one tells you your interests, which I suppose could be the same thing as your motivators. I got artistic= 14, investigative= 11, and social=9 as my high points. My closest job match came up to be music therapist. That’s kind of interesting. But then of course I do see library sciences, post-secondary institution. WOOT, it’s right. That’s what I do. And creative writing, which I’ve been trying to do more of lately. Go to assess yourself, then interest profile and rate a bunch of tasks on whether you like or dislike them. It’s kind of interesting.

Strong Interest Profile

What about the Life Values Inventory? This one is a bit more involved. I had to actually create an account, then go in and take a 4 part assessment. Which only took about 10 minutes, but still seemed like a lot of work. Then it generated me a 13 page report about it, which took a while to get through, but turned out to be generally insightful.

Life Values Inventory

So what have I gathered from all this, what motivates me. Independence, creativity, lots of time for myself, and the need to feel belonging to some kind of social group. That all seems so basic though and I feel like those are just things that may motivate everybody. So let’s go back to these questions above again, the first three that came to mind

Why do I wake up each morning? Because I’m glad to be alive and each day could bring something new and awesome. (Gratitude or spirituality)

Why do I do my adult chores? Because I love living on my own in a space I love that I keep according to my standards, including décor and cleanliness. (Independence and privacy)

Why do I go out and socialize? AKA participate in other’s life events and occasionally go to concerts, or bars on a random Tuesday: Because I need to feel like I belong to a social group or body of peers and need love and acceptance. (Family, love, friendship, etc.)

I think it’s all starting to make a bit more sense to me now. Of course these assessments are just for educational purposes, they are in no means supposed to substitute for a therapist, career counselor, life coach, etc. But they are fun. Self-discovery can be prompted by almost anything, and assessments like this can be tools that give insight into yourself that was otherwise unclear, or maybe unseen. Maybe it’s easier for some people to just instinctively know what makes them tick and what motivates them. For me it’s been more of a challenge, especially these days. Maybe one of these tests can help you, even if not it will kill some time, and allow for some light reading. Life is really about just finding your own truth, and that may sound super simple and straightforward.. But it’s pretty complicated. This discovery brings to my mind a Keats poem Ode on a Grecian Urn, which was once so brilliantly incorporated into a Simpsons episode where Lisa enrolls in military school:

454603

Meme courtesy of Frinkiac.com. If you are a Simpson fanatic (seasons 1-10 only disclaimer) like myself you should really go and check it out.