I was treated to a fresh cup of coffee, waiting for me when I got in to work this morning. How very civilised, and relatively unusual that was. People working in libraries tend to be fairly iconoclastic loners, even working as a group. We tend to have a hugely diverse set of backgrounds and prior careers, leading to as awkward a set of independent attitudes and worldviews as you might hope for.
Somehow that seems to often manifest in everyone sorting out their own refreshments, hence my surprise at finding a big mug of black coffee waiting for me.
I might have a reputation for being a bit grouchy and uncoordinated first thing in the morning. I’m choosing to believe this was a nod to that from someone I’ve been working alongside for the best part of seven years now, rather than a bribe for their not having to perform Rhymetime.
I handled Rhymetime. We had fun. There was only one child startled into a screaming fit; and no injuries worth reporting were sustained if you don’t count the toddlers that headbutted each other.
There weren’t many parents there, and I didn’t recognise any of them, but I did recognise the slightly starry-eyed expressions among a few of the mums swayed by singing and a jolly appearance. I could almost hear the simultaneous laughter and growling of lady s and Lady M as I politely packed everything away at the end of the session. It’s flattering, and there’s no harm to a low level flirt, but that’s all it is.
All in all, it wasn’t too odd a day, and it was reassuring to work a Saturday in a library where I first restarted in libraries for a change.
Apparently there was a huge outage to water supplies in our area yesterday. The only indication I had of it was a disruption to the local coffee shop when I popped in, and certainly by the time I did the washing up everything seemed back to normal. It was only when I arrived at work this morning that I found out how widespread it had been. Things had been so bad that the library had closed.
I presume this was down to there being no toilet facilities, but no one who had been working there yesterday was there today to really explain, so it just falls to my imagination to write up a story that links the two events. Eldritch horrors may be involved.
Today’s moment of chaos came in the Rhymetime that I regularly lead at the library. This is a half hour event every Friday morning that features largely traditional nursery rhymes and songs for preschool children and their parents.
The number of children attending has been steadily increasing over the last few months. As a result the event has been getting louder and occasionally rowdier. Fortunately a childhood spent growing up in and around churches has taught me how to project my voice effectively, so I can usually pick up and drive the room full of chattering, distracted, and excited children and adults along with me. That was really put to the test today.
I lost track at 40 people in the room. I counted numerous babies banging their heads against each other and make each other cry. At least three children had to be rescued by parents as they got trapped between shelving and the floor to ceiling windows. One child got his hands on rattles we use to let the kids make “music” and decided to fight off all-comers with them. Another decided to wait until I had multiple children trying to get cardboard cutout ducks from me to crawl over and tie my shoelaces together. (The ducks are a prop for when we sing “5 little ducks”).
As horrendous as it sounds, with the screaming and shouting and chattering parents, it all still gloriously worked. We had a room full of happy, chattering parents and children at the end of it. No one got stabbed, or set on fire, and I had thank you greetings from most of the people there as we tidied up.
I’m still glad I’m not working this weekend though.
I was leading the library Rhymetime this morning and had one of those lovely transcendent moments that suddenly make all the pre-performance anxieties worth it. The session was full to the brim. If any more people had tried to get in to the Children’s library, we’d have had to think about elasticating the walls. If everyone had breathed in at the same time, the windows would have collapsed inwards.
I’d had to pretty much bellow at the top of my voice to be heard over the chattering, and I started by telling them I hadn’t had any coffee so my voice was likely to be a bit odd. They would therefore need to actually sing along in this session.
And they did.
About halfway through the very active session, with preschool kids running and dancing and clambering over the furniture and each other, I stopped singing, just for a couple of seconds. In that moment, I heard a perfectly in tune and on key rendition of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star from the mums, dads and children that was a sheer thing of beauty.
It was enough to make me grin and ignore the small child trying to eat my shoelaces. It’s not every day you can say that.