goodbye HPL

I’ve worked at the Horicon Public Library since 1994, save for a brief 8-month excursion to another library (quickly abandoned). Today was my last day there.

I will miss you Horicon. I will miss my patrons, many of whom feel like family now. I have watched kids grow up and have kids. Three year olds in my first storytimes are in college now. (OK this makes me feel old)

At the Horicon PL I have:

  • kissed a pig
  • learned to play spoons (not well)
  • told hundreds or thousands of ghost stories, funny stories, folktales…
  • played a man in several different plays (my favorite was Sir Robin)
  • been attacked by zombies with nerf guns
  • laughed
  • been the very first person a child has ever read a book to (thanks, J!)
  • not slept for 39 hours for readathons
  • held dozens of babies, favorite stuffed animals, people’s drinks, snacks, coats, books, used kleenex…
  • worn kimonos, a dragon costume, dressed like a pirate, a witch, a gypsy, a knight, a queen, Scooby Doo, a Wild Thing, Curious George, the Cat in the Hat, a scarecrow, a tiger…
  • worn underwear on my head, had underwear shot at me like a rubberband, stood up and said in a crowd of over 100 people “I pooped my pants”*, and invented the now-famous or infamous granny panty relay race.
  • held snakes, rats, owls, a possum, bunnies, lizards, tortoises, led an ostrich into a closet, let tarantulas and hissing cockroaches on my hand.**
  • cried
  • worn my pajamas to work. Including fuzzy slippers.
  • been hugged by approximately 1000 kids
  • been peed on by hamsters, frogs and babies
  • gotten in a bit of trouble for dropping the f-bomb in front of a patron***
  • danced the salsa, square danced, danced to a kinect and on DDR—all badly
  • warbled with Tenacious D and screamed my favorite Kurt Cobain song on rockband–also badly. And loudly.
  • hugged another approximately 1000 kids
  • broken my leg
  • almost broken my hand
  • hallucinated after taking Benadryl
  • caught my computer on fire
  • loved my boss, my coworkers, my board & my patrons
  • frogged many knitting stitches
  • cooked and eaten many snacks, including sugared bugs and umaboshi (I’d rather eat the bugs)
  • made jewelry out of legos, guns with marshmallows and bracelets out of toothbrushes
  • held a protest storytime in which three year olds chanted “what do we want? ice cream! when do we want it? now!”
  • gotten a massage and a manicure
  • learned to do everything that I know how to do (more or less)

I’ll miss you, Horicon.

* it’s a game much like “hot potato.” you take a tiny pair of tighty whities, crush a chocolate covered graham cracker in it so it looks like it’s been *ahem* used. Then if you are teh sucker holding the nasty underwear when the music goes off you stand up and shout “I pooped my pants.” We did this for a Capt. Underpants festival.

**only sheer strength of will and the fact that a bunch of impressionable kids were watching me allowed me hold that damned millipede. (Note: my worst fear is NOT death, or public speaking, but centipedes. Really.) The spider was almost as bad because it was very large and very furry. Mammals are furry. Spiders are either smooth and nowhere near my skin, or they are flat. I told the kids how freaked out I am by large bugs, they saw my fear in my face, I’m sure. But they also saw me hold the things, for quite some time, and how I calmed down. I hope I’ve earned some kind of good karma for this, because even thinking about that millipede makes me want to run screaming.

***Ok, so the fact that I’m revealing this may be a bad idea, but the f-bomb was planned and deliberate. At the beginning of each sleepover I told the teens the rules (the old “respect each other, respect the space, respect yourselves, and don’t get me fired”) I always then said that their language was not censored–the could say f*** if they wanted to–but that they had to respect the feelings of those around them and try to make everyone feel comfortable and welcomed. I used the f-word because if the librarian says it, all its juju is lost and the kids feel little need to “shock” me. This is the only time I ever used a “bad” word in front of the kids, but it worked for me–they hardly ever swore and were even more rarely rude. Except this one time, when an adult patron overheard my little speech about language and became cranky…

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