I find myself in school libraries filling in for librarians on a part-time basis. (My alter ego is Shelverine, like Wolverine but related to shelving books. Though, I don’t have claws like Wolverine, because I work with books and children and I don’t want to slash either, but it’s a fun nickname and I have posted silly photos on my Instagram related to Shelverine.) I’ve filled in reading to kindergarten classes who applaud with delight after I read a book to them. I’ve filled in through middle and all the way up to high school, where I mostly ask for passes and for kids to sign in, although in one high school part of the monitoring included walking around the library, making sure to travel on the far side of the walls and shelves out of sight of the circulation desk as a technique to break up any potential romances that might be brewing. Phew. It’s quite a range. I enjoy the elementary school kids, because they always say what’s on their minds.
Not long ago, I spent a lot of time at one elementary school library where the permanent librarian had been out for not just months but years, though every year or so she would seem to come back for one, maybe two weeks, but then she’d disappear again into the “stacks” (that’s just my clever way of saying she was gone again), and I’d be back in the library. When a long-term sub (not me) was hired, I told each class everything I knew.
“I’ll be here through next week. Then after that, a long-term sub will be coming in, Ms. X. She will be here through the end of the year,” I patiently explained to each class.
Without fail, each class asked me questions like, Where is the real librarian? When are we getting a real librarian? Aren’t you the real librarian? Where is the other librarian?
Since I was also on a need-to-know basis about the “real librarian” status (past or future), I told them I didn’t know, but tried to assure them that all would be well.
“I’m not the librarian, but Ms. X will be here through the end of the year. I’m sure she will be great.”
One kid called out, “What if she’s not?”
Isn’t that what we’re all wondering?
Happy reading, everyone. May you find your real librarians, and may they be great!