Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Yes, I'm a Children's Librarian

HOLY FRIJOLES! Yesterday was a tad crazy over here. And by over here, I mean at my library. And by crazy I mean me ---> overwhelmed, slightly panicked, rushed, exhausted.... let's just say I slept quite well. (Read: fell into bed and was dead to the world until well beyond my set alarm time.)

It was all POLAR EXPRESS over here and has been for the past month. So with that, let's dive into my nonstop day.

11:30-12:00 p.m. As soon as I arrived at work, 15 minutes early to be exact, I quickly checked email and voice mail (a family called to say they weren't going to make the evening's program) and then packaged my cookies. Being the baker and cookie maker that I am, I decided I'd make Grandma Barb's famous cut-outs as part of the BINGO prizes the kids could take home. I made the dough last Wednesday, cut the stars out and baked on Friday, and frosted the cookies Sunday night. Late Monday night, I had visions of packaging the cookies in individual festive bags along with a Santa napkin only to realize, once home, I left the napkins at work. So 11:30 found me packaging a whole bunch of cookies. At least Mr. B hadn't eaten them all.

12:00-2:15 p.m. For over two hours I wore quite the path between my office and the meeting room where the program was held. I brought up from the basement the Christmas tree and other decorations borrowed from previous programs to give the room a festive, North Pole feel. I decorated one of the doors to look like the train, as well as laid down some train tracks with duct tape. (By the way, I don't think I have any fingerprints left, and duct tape is very loud in a library.) Alas, as I began the second track rail, I ran out of duct tape. A quick phone call to a co-worker, who was coming over later to help with the program, and my tracks were put on hold. Onto setting out all of the chairs (which by the way, if all 20 kids brought 20 adults, we wouldn't have enough chairs anyway, nor the floor space).... ai yi yi.

2:15-4:00 p.m. By this time I realized I hadn't had anything more than a cup of coffee all day, and decided to scarf down a sandwich at my desk while printing out hot chocolate and North Pole signs. Once those were finished, I attached the reindeer food signs to the reindeer food bags, which contained rolled oats.

Realizing I bit off more than I could chew (being the overly-ambitious person that I am), I nixed the Pin-the-Nose-on-Rudolph game. I had a bunch of red noses and no Rudolph. I guess we'll play Tape-the-Nose-on-the-Child.  <--- the kiddos loved this, actually.

The last hour found me rummaging the basement for festive-looking baskets to hold all of the program materials, setting up the two other games I had ready, and organizing everything...making sure I had all I needed and what order it went.

Oh, and I was needed to help a patron find a play for her seventh grader. After a ten-minute search, resulting in nothing, she informed me the play was online and she could just print it off if I showed her how to work our computers.... 34 pages later I was back in Polar Express land. Thankfully, the library was quite slow.

4:00-5:30 p.m. My co-worker arrived! So, so, so grateful for her help. While I checked to make sure the movie and technology needed were working properly (that would have been a program-ruiner, for sure), she set to finishing up the train tracks. Afterwards, she hung up my lovely take-home Christmas countdown decor while I filled her in on the layout and order of things. I set out the bags, tickets, name tags, and BINGO cards. A half hour before the program began, my library's PR person arrived (to take pictures, of course,) and helped with making the hot chocolate and filling the popcorn bags. I needed all of the help. Definitely all hands on deck. A quick change into my pajamas and....

5:30-7:15 p.m. All Aboard! The Polar Express. It was program time. The program was open to all ages and family, but I had K-2nd kids mostly. Our small room packed in 21 kiddos, plus 18 adults and a few infants. Add in four library staff, strollers/carriers, and the already tight space, many of the dads decided to take the strollers/carriers and wait out the program in the actual library. Wise decision, guys.

Program highlights ---> the Rudolph noses, the golden ticket to enter, hot chocolate and marshmallows, and the surprise bell gifts at the end. But the BIGGEST hit of the night by far were the paper airplanes. And, boy, did those suckers fly! One was even stuck in the top window. I forgot about it completely; it may still be there. After about 10 minutes, I had to spoil the fun so they could continue with the rest of the program. Plus, Santa was about to show up on screen. We can't miss Santa.

7:15-8:00 p.m. Shall I say clean up? I forgot how messy popcorn and children are. Not to mention the one case of leaking hot chocolate, the two chewed gum pieces stuck to the floor, and the dozens of candy wrappers littered throughout. HOLY FRIJOLES. At least there were two sets of hands to clear the chaos.

Once the chairs were moved to the sides and wiped down (marshmallows are quite sticky, fyi), my co-worker grabbed the vacuum while I loaded everything leftover onto a cart and wheeled it to the back. (I'll think about it tomorrow. I can't think about it now. I'll go crazy if I do. <--- name that movie.) Afterwards, up came the tracks and (very delicately) down went the train. The tree will eventually be moved into the children's department; it was so nice of the children to decorate it for me ;)

Finally, my butt found a seat, a quarter 'til closing, where I promptly devoured the last bag of popcorn. My co-worker just smiled and said, "Now. Let's talk about our snow princesses program." And that's how we spent our last few minutes.... at least that's not until January. (And, by the way, her day was supposed to end at 7 p.m. So grateful she stayed to help clean up!)

And with that my [major] programming is done for the year. Onward.

Feel free to read my other Children's Librarian adventures here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

With Love and God Bless,

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