This time of the year is a little crazy: summer reading is beginning, the fiscal year is ending (budgets! kill me!), new displays that need making (I’m stealing your ideas, Mary Kay!), people going on vacations – see above – and at least in here in MA today, it’s unbelievably hot. Like 98 degrees and rising hot. The hotness makes days at the library fairly unpredictable: will everyone come to the library because we have air conditioning or just go to the beach instead? Actually, when I think about it, most days at the library can be pretty unpredictable. It’s hard to anticipate when you’ll look up from your work at the circulation desk and see a teenager in a Subway sandwich costume dancing around the lobby.
Anyway, the point is, I’ve got lots to do. Mostly, I’m trying to actually plan the programming that I said I would do for the teens this summer. I set my programs about a month go by basically just coming up with a relatively non-lame sounding name and putting it on the calendar. So now I’ve committed to things like – “Zombie Apocalypse!” “Library Olympics!” “Happy Hunger Games!” among others. Now I have to figure out what to DO in those programs and you have to DO something. You can’t just hang out around and expect the teens to sort of mingle and relax. From my experience, they like structure. They like to know what’s next on the agenda. As a class, at least in my limited experiences, teens in library programs would probably like a scheduled birthday party.
I have some good ideas for the Hunger Games event, since I just had one a few months ago. Still no shooting of people, sorry. And if I had my druthers, which I won’t, Library Olympics would probably involve bookcart bobsledding and dictionary shotput. I suspect those might be a safety hazard/liability. Zombie Apocalypse will most likely have zombie makeup tutorials since I convinced of the more adorable, theatrically inclined pages to help me, and a jello brain because why the heck not?
I’ve also got slightly easier things to plan like movie nights and craft programs where I get more outside people to help me, like a papermaking workshop (another delightful library page!) and henna tattoos (an amazing art teacher from one of the city’s grammar schools). I’ll take each program as it comes and see what happens. It’d be lovely to be able to plan – really plan – more than a week ahead of time, but there’s not enough time. There are too many other responsibilities and programming is only one part of the job.
Now some books: I’m currently listening to Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary “Jacky” Faber, Ship’s Boy by L.A. Meyer, the first in a series about a 13 year old girl who joins the British navy disguised as a boy. Hijinks generally ensue, expect for a squeamish attempted rape scene and the love story which bogs it down a bit. Next I’ll be listening to Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan, the book taking our library by storm since the author was there on Tuesday. I think it’s about a family who rents the same summer home in Maine every year? It will probably be the first adult, contemporary, women’s lit type of book I’ve read in a long while.
Also, if you liked the Hyperion books I’m always talking about, I finished Ilium and Olympos. Together, around 1500 pages of the Trojan war on Mars, robots who love Proust and Shakespeare, wormholes through space, Little Green Men, characters from The Tempest, and some pretty ignorant humans. Pretty awesome. Not as good as Hyperion (there’s no Jesuits) but still really, really great. Oh! And did I mention MONETA IS IN IT? Yeah, Moneta from Hyperion. What the heck? I still don’t know what it means.
I also finished The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison, a murder mystery that I had a hard time suspending my disbelief for in parts about an OCD, outcast high school detective investigating the murder of a stripper in a Cleveland slum. She, at one point in the book, doesn’t feel at all weird about trying to get a job a the same strip club where the victim works. Very strange to me. Next up: Cat Girl’s Day Off, a book about a high schooler who can talk to cats. Those are the books I read.