Wednesday, April 21, 2010

PARC and Wreckreation

Was I the only one to breathe a sigh of relief when the PARC system temporarily went down?

After weeks of, “OMG, I don’t know what I’m doing!” and an hour long training that made me certain that yes, I was completely clueless, there was a part of me---I believe it was my brain---that made me grateful to have a bit longer to figure this out. Who would have thought I’d be nostalgic for the old paper system? Let’s see, 1 hour spent on my 2009 evaluation vs. months spent pulling out my hair trying to determine the meaning of life. And it’s not even the unwanted hair I’m pulling out, so we really have a problem.

Honestly, do I really need goals? My job consists of telling people where to find Magic Tree House books, avoiding paperwork, pointing out where the bathrooms are, telling teens lower the volume on their iPods if they hope to have any hearing left by the time they hit the old age of 25, playing movies, telling stories to classes, and making crafts, mainly paper bag puppets, with toddlers. So far we have made a pig, a cow, a dog, a cat, a bunny, a lion, and even a Christmas tree complete with presents and bows. Go figure. After looking at my schedule and discovering I’ll put on over 130 programs over the next year (movie nights, toddler times, class tours, DCA, summer reading) I think maybe my goal should be to stop looking at craft sites and other library systems’ events calendars and saying, “I wanna do that!”

But a person has to have real goals, right? So I thought about it and created a few that should do the trick:

1. Lose the inches I’ve put on since I started working here.

Time line: By my class reunion.

Is it measurable: Very!

I’d feel better if I went down a size. In turn, I would treat people better. In time this kindness would trickle down to actual patrons. In order for this to happen, an hour of my shift should involve hitting the gym, with another hour devoted to taking a shower and doing my hair. Since I’d feel more comfortable showering at home, where I have all my products and won’t tell a fellow bather, “Those are fake,” I need another hour for travel time, plus one more to get a massage at Mellow Me Out to relieve the tension.

2. Not strangle anyone.

Timeline: Ongoing

Is it measureable: Yes, by number of incident reports.

Adults are not too happy that they can’t use kids’ computers. I get so many complaints. The majority of them boiling down to they are doing their kids homework for them helping their kids out, or the reservation sent them downstairs because they’ve been using their kids’ cards to avoid paying the $700 fine they owe. Then I get the stray adults who want to sit in the purple chair, lay on the bean bags, and are most upset that they have to take the elevator up to the 2nd floor to get to a bathroom when it’s so much easier to walk down a flight of stairs and to the ends of the earth to use ours. Whatever it is, they’re not happy with me, and the feeling is reciprocal. I’d hate to hurt one of them and end up in jail while waiting for my lawyer to get me off scot-free. Jail may have worked out for Martha Stewart, but I’ll take a pass.

3. Stop buying things from patrons.

Timeline: Ongoing

Is it measureable: Yes, in the amount of money I save.

Whether it’s candy or pizza, somehow I am guilted into buying items I don’t need, don’t want, and can’t use in order for some kid to get to Sly Park, Sutter’s Fort, or some other miserable, God forsaken middle-of-nowhere, don’t-know-why-they’d-want-to-go-there place. Can’t anyone go anyplace nice with air conditioning, indoor plumbing, and something entertaining to do? I have yet to have a child say to me, “My class is doing a spa retreat in Carmel and we could really use your help getting there.” Instead I’m wasting my (sometimes) hard earned money so a kid can get frostbite while panning for fool’s gold in the dead of winter.

4. Read more juvenile books.

Timeline: Ongoing

Is it measureable: Quiz me.

The only time I seem to have to read kids’ books (discounting board books and Where’s Waldo) is when I’m on a trip. I read The True Meaning of Smekday during a Thanksgiving gathering at a vacation resort, and The Lightning Thief on my flight to Florida. Seems to me it is in SPL’s best interest to send me on as many trips as possible to enhance my reader’s advisory skills. I’ve always wanted to go to the French Riviera. Just think of all the books I can read on the way over!

I’d write more goals, but I have to be realistic. These four will be hard enough to accomplish.

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