Monday, September 15, 2014

Big Box Library

A lot of nonsense talk happens during break and lunch, like discussing the special pay check twice a year that has fewer deductions, my mom being peeved that I refuse to marry her banker (who took 12 days to call me back, which is only excusable if you’re comatose), my marriage plans (“When I marry I’m serving my guests $5 foot longs!”) and sugar babies on Dr. Phil.


Dating an older man is completely fine; being paid to “date” anyone is either outright or borderline illegal. Just don’t tell that to the young woman who said when she needs money she tells her sugar daddy, “my purse is thirsty.”

My purse is always fully hydrated, thank you very much.

So, one person jokes I should find a sugar daddy, another says he wants a sugar momma, and I ask, “What happens if my sugar daddy and your sugar momma meet each other and run off together?” Our sugar people hooking up and becoming diabetic together is almost as horrid of a thought as a sugar daddy trying to touch me.


Then sometimes the talks are serious, which upsets me because I should really only have serious thoughts when I’m being paid for them.  We wondered, should we encourage people to go to library school? Those who just graduated don’t all have jobs. Those with jobs aren’t always full time, and the library has been on life support since, I don’t know, 358 BCE? Maybe earlier.  Someone we knew wanted to attend library school and while you don’t want to break the person’s heart, is it any better to delay breaking their heart only to throw it out the window along with their bank account? (Talk about a thirsty purse.) So, where are libraries going? What do we want to be? It took a bit of navel gazing, but I finally figured out what I wanted us to be…


Libraries are in a panic trying to figure out how to ensure our survival. Change is necessary. However, when I attend conferences and see what everyone is doing I sometimes feel we’re offering everything short of surrogacy services and chiropractic adjustments. While I wouldn’t mind the latter for myself, you have the draw the line somewhere before drug-free childbirth. (Pain killers are your friends!) How much are we doing because we truly believe and how much of it comes from fear? What would we do with libraries if we weren’t afraid anymore?

What would you do if fear left the building like Elvis?

What are we doing because we’re passionate about it? What are we doing because it’s smart (saving for retirement)? What are we doing because we’re desperate (finding a sugar person)? What are we doing because we’re putting ourselves on sale and undervaluing our services? Are we focusing too broadly? Are we adhering to our core values or are we creating needs that didn’t previous exist because we believe the public will become dependent on them and thus keep the funding going? What are we doing that’s not really paying off and will hurt us in the long run?

Are we doing so much we're turning into Taco Town?

(Enjoy your 15 different flavors!)
Yes, we want to remain viable, yet we also need to be sustainable. Becoming the go-to place for everything sounds appealing in theory, but we already have a place for that…


What comes to your mind when you think of Wal-Mart? Is it high quality? Customer satisfaction? Happy employees?
Not exactly.

And that's a tame picture. As for the other pictures...

...I won't even link to those.

Wal-Mart is the place I go to when the last four stores didn’t carry what I need. There’s just something so freaking depressing about going there. I’m not sure if it’s being greeted by senior citizens who should be enjoying retirement instead of standing 3.5 straight hours for minimum wage, the listless customers, the fact that it has the same hours as hospitals and fire stations, or the bad lighting. Visiting Wal-Mart doesn’t inspire me, unless by inspire you mean remind me to wear nice clothes and fully fund my side retirement fund. (Another break talk is a librarian explaining, “I fund my Roth because I don’t want to be a bag lady.”) Wal-Mart has everything , it’s everywhere, it makes a lot of money, yet it has the worse customer satisfaction ratings, it pays its employees low, and it’s known for badly dressed customers.

On the other hand, Costco does things differently. You can’t get gas at midnight. You can’t run to it on Labor Day because you forgot mustard. It may seem like it has lots of products because your cart is full and you owe them $600,000 when you stopped by for detergent and toilet paper, but they only have a few thousand items. They specialize in treating their employees well, stocking high quality products by the pallet load and cheap hot dogs. Yet when we leave, we’re pretty happy. Sure, I may have to send someone to wait in line before I finish shopping, but we’re happy even if we have nowhere to put the 50 gallon drum of mayonnaise. They pick what they’re good at and keep doing it, trying new things while dropping some of the old, always maintaining their core products but keeping the overall number of products around the same 4000 so as not to overwhelm you.

And we’re happy for it.

I want the library to be that place.

(Hold the mayo.)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Least Wonderful Time of the Year

It’s the not-so-special time when I have to evaluate myself for work. It should be easy, yet for some reason (besides software malfunction) it feels worse than amending my taxes by hand, and as a person who has amended her taxes by hand, that’s saying something. I’m staring at the form, and the answers are coming, just not the right ones, because when it comes to work, even if you cough your liver up on the floor you’re supposed to keep trying. And while I do try pretty hard, my philosophy falls in line with what my mom wants told me:

“I’m not Jesus. If I start off with 100 sheep and one wanders away, I think, hey, 99 is pretty good.”

(Other things my mother is not: a plumber, a cashier, a doctor, a taxi driver, an ATM…)

So I’m trying to finish my evaluation, but written below is everything that keeps popping into my head.

Document performance goal status in this section
Goal: To not strangle anyone.
Status: In progress.

The ability to take personal responsibility and ownership of one’s own actions and behaviors.
Me: I am well aware that my every moment is being tracked by cameras and keystroke technology.

Effectively and appropriately communicates meaning within a particular context.
Me: I speak English and write legibly. (Guess those four years of speech therapy is paying off…)

Customer Focus
A commitment to identify and meet the requirements of all customers, both internal and external.
Me: Are we a business? ‘Cause businesses have customers. Libraries have patrons, so technically I cannot answer this question. N/A.

Professional conduct, appearance and attitude that is courteous, helpful, considerate, appropriate and business like.
Me: I’m the hot librarian. You can tell this by my shoes.

Ability to adapt, to support and support changes in the work environment.
Me: I can work without AC and around mouse droppings.

Acts consistently with professional and organizational principles and values; understands that dissenting opinions are necessary for a healthy organization.
Me: I’m always right. Dissent is not allowed. Resistance is futile.

Plans, monitors and adjusts work to accomplish goals.
Me: I change my goals to fit whatever I’ve already accomplished.

Organizes information, identifies key factors and underlying causes, troubleshoots and recommends solutions.
Me: I troubleshoot to the point I will sooner let a computer explode than call IT.

Works cooperatively as a member of a group or team toward a common goal.
Me: There is no “I” in team, but there is one in “Mojito”.

Demonstrates an appropriate level of technical literacy, as well as the ability to adapt and apply new technologies to improve the library’s service to customers.
Me: I know to dial 9 before calling out.

Supports the library’s commitment to customer service, vision, values and strategic priorities. Comprehends and acknowledges relationships.

Me: I’m not sure if I can be a public defender. I know, we said we were spreading our wings, but there’s a reason I decided not to go to law school.
Part of me (the crazy part) wishes to send this in, while the other part of me doesn’t want to hear what would happen if I did. If anyone has any suggestion for me, feel free to put them in the comment section below.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Have Your Cake...

After someone at work mentioned I hadn’t posted in months I made a mental note to post soon. Fast-forward several months later, and look, I’ve actually done it! Yay me!

(Paste gold star here.)

Anyhoo, I hosted a huge summer reading cooking program. Some would call me insane (I prefer ambitious) but we made a boat load of food. Now that I’m on an “eating plan” (the polite term for diet), I’m glad I went all out because I can’t have any of the foods we made, meaning right about now the only thing stopping me from braining someone for a peanut butter cookie is that I don’t feel like calling Hyjentec. We made toaster oven pizzas, BBQ pulled chicken with crackers, chocolate dipped strawberries, dinner salad, peach cobbler, popcorn, carrots with dip, decorated cookies and made cake pops. The kids loved it, one saying, “We should do this again!” before I even had a chance to recover, pat her gently on the head and say, “That’s nice, dear,” and another telling her mom she wanted to do some of these things for her birthday party, which made mom happy since it’s a lot cheaper than a bounce house.

My work here is done.

After watching someone make cake pops from scratch on TV, I concluded the process made the time I amended my taxes by hand seem downright joyful. I went online for easier ways. The easier ways weren’t quite easy enough for me, so I came up with my own because sometimes making something doable sometimes trumps my Martha Stewart dreams.


Easy-Peasy Cake Pops

Donut holes (purchased a box of 55 at Safeway)
Vanilla Frosting (room temperature)
Sprinkles (I got the tub, put them in small cups with spoons)
Food coloring (optional)

Other materials:
Popsicle sticks
Butter knives
Paper plate

1. Spear a donut hole with a popsicle stick.
2. Smother said donut hole with delicious, sugary, ooey gooey I-wish-I-was-allowed-to-eat-this frosting. I made several batches in different pastel colors.
3. Over a paper plate, sprinkle the cake pop with sprinkles.
4. Use the paper plate to funnel the leftover sprinkles back into the sprinkle container.

Okay, I’m off to eat some more broccoli now, but feel free to enjoy your cake pops. Just not in front of me, seeing as that would be totally wrong...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Halloween Horror

I was at home pondering the meaning of life when it occurred to me that I should ponder other things, such as:

Who is Quinn Perkins?

Who’s dead on NCIS?

Why does this man have his shirt off every other episode instead of every single one?

Why does chocolate have calories? Where did I put my salon hair products? How come Criminal Minds hasn’t been renamed Random Strangers Want to Kill You? Can I claim my house guest as a dependant? Why does Taco Bell think breakfast starts at 8 am? How come no one else thinks cookies and croutons are a balanced meal when they have the 4 Cs of chocolate, chewy, crunchy and carbs? Why don’t we have robots like on The Jetsons?

I was promised robots!

Since all of this was either fruitless or would be answered during season premiers (that would leave me even more puzzled), I went to the Halloween Store to find a costume.

I should have stayed home and pondered the origins of the universe.

First off, you walk into the competing sounds of screaming fake monsters, screaming real kids, and parents yelling, “Don’t cry! Let’s go to Pet Smart!” I honestly don’t know why kids need to be in the store when all you have to do is dress them as pumpkins and everyone goes, “Awwwwww!”

Elsie asked, “What’s your niece going to be for Halloween this year?” And I told her, “She’s going to be adorable.” Because kids can wear decorated paper bags and everyone will go, “How cute!” Plus kids don’t wonder, “Does this pumpkin make me look fat?” But adults can use Halloween help. After wandering around looking for something that didn’t make me look like I was working at, how shall I put it, “The Rabbit Farm,” I gave in and asked where I could find an outfit with more coverage.

I expected technical difficulty.

I didn’t expect laughter.

Halloween costume shopping while female is a real problem, one that won’t be addressed in a PSA.

Apparently after the first 8 million rows of minuscule costumes, the worker assured me the remaining 3 aisles had at least one covering costume.


Because having two would have caused a hurricane in Florida.

Everything was tiny. Even the nun’s outfit was almost nonexistent. They might as well come with a warning from the surgeon general stating, “This costume may cause you to freeze your butt off, catch pneumonia, and possible forfeit your right to future employment when pictures of you in it are posted on Facebook.” All I could think is, “What’s next, will they start selling us bags of air?”


Online was almost as bad. The outfits tended to be gorgeous and expensive or kind of sad and pathetic, such as the “Contestant” costume.

A rip off of the Hunger Games tribute outfit, this costume screams less “President Snow wants to kill me!” and more “I work at Target but they lent me this jacket so I can collect carts in the rain.”

I thought about being a replacement ref; however, since the strike is over that wouldn’t be nearly as funny. Someone suggested Effie, but that cost too much, and I know it’s Halloween, but she’s just too tacky, and the teens will take pictures and post them. So what is a woman to do?

---Put on pajamas, grab your blankie and bottle and be a baby.

---Grab your track suit, and be an Olympic gymnast. You can either put on a stoic face and wear a button that says, “McKayla is not impressed.” Though I'd personally be impressed with any medal, seeing as I lasted exactly 1 day on the high school gymnastics team and spent the rest of the week crawling and asking if someone, for the love of God, could take me to the hospital.

Or you can put on a big smile and a button that says, “Making Russian gymnasts cry since 2012.”

Seriously, the Russian team looked so sad I wanted to adopt them. Then I remembered how hard it is to get teenagers to move out of your house (though maybe he’ll get the hint if I throw all of his belongings on the front lawn…). Plus their coaching fees would bankrupt a small island country.

---Wear wings. I have a collection of wings from Clare’s and JoAnns. A few were so gorgeous I bought them without realizing their span is so large you can’t walk through the stacks without knocking over books or maiming children. Stick to smaller wings and color coordinate your clothes.

 ---Be something random. At ALA I picked up a few things, including a hockey mask. You can be Jason on the cheap!

 ---Deconstruct a T-shirt. You can go 80s and be a flash dancer with a head band and leg warmers over leggings. If you're like me, you might have these things in your garage already because you never donated them the first (or secon or third) time around.

Or shred a shirt and be a flapper.

Or a zombie.

Or a zombie flapper.
Or layer the T-shirts over one another and create a mob of zombie flapper flash dancers. If you go all out, please do us all a favor and post the pictures on Friday Finale and upload the video on YouTube. Because I, for one, would love to see that, yet I don't have enough volunteers to pull it off myself.

If all else fails, bring something cute with you. No one will notice you’re not wearing a costume if you’re holding a puppy AND a kitten. Though I'm not sure exactly where you can find both of two who like each other, plus there is that taking care of them for the next 15 years thing to consider. Perhaps you should simply grab a child. Go ahead and wear your baby on your front. Or borrow someone's baby. I'm sure someone you know is looking for a babysitter.

These prisoners ALMOST make jail look like a fun place to hang out. Kind of like when Martha Stewart finished her sentence, got out looking skinny and sporting highlights and skinny jeans and a poncho and a bunch of women said, "I want to go to jail!"

For me, I just wanted the poncho and the weight loss.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

ALA 2012 Session: Books To Go!

Ever attend a lame-looking party and you don’t know if you should stay and hope it gets better or flee before you get trapped in a useless, fun-less black hole? Perhaps if you’d stayed you’d discover it was awesome (like me!), that they had free massages and a Mojito fountain, but the Mojitos were hidden away in the back and you’d already fled the scene.

That’s what a library is to a lot of people; a cool place they barely venture into.

Did you know the average UK library visit is less than 5 minutes? Or that no patron searching fiction at one library made it past the letter G? That’s right, just let the toddlers “shelve” the H section onward.

Why is this so?

According to Rachel Van Riel, director of Opening the Book, librarians assume that people a) know what we want, b) have the time to find it and c) will ask for help. But the truth is (in my words):

We don’t know what we want.
I don’t browse the library for books I want to read. I, first world citizen, shop online for those. The library is for items accidentally stumbled upon.

We have no time.
When you’re busy a library visit isn’t a refreshing treat; it’s an errand…an errand that ranks beneath buying groceries, milking surgical drains, and corralling your "house guest" of 10 months (not a typo) to clean up.

(Me: “Is your room clean?” Snotty Entitled Teenager: “It’s clean.” Me: “Send me a picture.”)

We don’t ask for help.
Help is a last resort for when we’re wandering around the desert because Google Maps was incorrect and we’re out of bottled water.

Solution: Books To Go displays

This is when the vendor tries selling us products. (They’re a business, not a non-profit.) However, they had the money to research what works. Essentially it’s a display set up right inside the library doors that allows people who don’t know what they want and neither have the time to find it nor to ask questions to spot something attractive, grab it and go. Libraries using these displays report that the 5% of items placed on display account for 30% of checkouts. Since SPL is sadly lacking in fountains of cash, I used a book cart.
Note: even if you don’t decorate your cart, clean it before stocking it.

Now, what should you stock it with? Skip the best sellers. It’s not like we have tons on the shelves. People will request book club titles. People can readily find 50 Shades of Grey…

It’s at Costco, next to pallets of LCD TVs and gallons of relish.

Fill it with nice looking older books, cookbooks, WWII stuff, DVDs, beach reads, duplicate copies, items piling up in the back because your branch was shut down for lack of AC, etc. The ideas are endless! It takes about 30 minutes to put together, including cleaning, selecting, and making a temporary sign. Hey, perfection is nice, but it's Saturday and I have storytime prep.

So get started today on Books To Go display and enjoy the music!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

ALA 2012 Wrap Up: Awkward Moment Edition

If you left ALA annual not totally in pain you did it wrong and have to do it over. Every part of me was burning to the point that I’m pretty sure I asked, “Where’s the eyewash?” My pupils were on fire. Fire!

Very little sleep should have occurred. My brother says sleep when you’re dead, but since I have an inkling we’ll be in a post-life work release program my mantra was “NO SLEEP TILL TUESDAY!”

(Tuesday was a lot more doable than 2072, when a family member discovers I've passed in my sleep in one of my luxury mansions and decides to hide this fact to avoid reenstated estate taxes.) 

Unless you’re a student, you get points deducted for commuting in. The rest of us stayed in hotels that wanted $14 to use their gym and printed instructions on their “deluxe” shower caps (in case you mistook one for an iPad 2) and either spent 6 uncomfortable hours crammed in a Mini Cooper with 2 co-workers and 14 boxes of swag, or got patted down extra special by the TSA.

I “chose” the pat down.

When asked by a glove-wearing body-gropping agent, “What’s in your jeans?” I stopped myself from saying, “Fat. That’s my butt.  I like to loaf around in yoga pants while eating brownies and watching Grey’s Anatomy.  Now you owe me dinner, or to explain on my behalf to the online community that Shondra Rhimes didn’t kill off Lexie because she has a personal vendetta against them, and why I went from hating Kepner to really liking her."
(BTW Kepner, God was ready to give you a fist bump for hooking up with Avery, but then you upset Him by booting Avery out of bed. Had you not done this, you would have passed your boards.)
In preparation for the return flight, four plus hours should have been spent cramming 3000 pounds of swag into your carryon while saying, “Miracles can happen. Don’t people see Jesus on food all the time?” As a last resort, you dumped swag outside the closing session ballroom.

At at least one event you should have felt overdressed and socially uncomfortable. Like at the ALA Dance Party. I knew it would be in an unusual place---they always are. What I didn’t know was the Saloon was a country line dancing spot.

I don’t think anyone had a clue.

Who knew you needed a choreographer to have a good time? Since we paid $10 to get in, my friends and I made the best of it. When they asked for two-steppers, we did the tango.


While laughing hysterically.

The only line dances I knew that they did were the Cupid Shuffle and the Wobble.  Yes, the floor was packed with skinny dancers in cowboy boots line dancing rap music.

And I just loved it when the Saloon regular I danced with asked me about my favorite books. He said, (I kid you not):

I’ve never heard of the Color Purple.”
Please guess which response I used:

a)      “How cool is it that you live under a rock! Awesome!”

b)      “You’re a drunk guy in a bar.”

c)       “It’s like the Shawshank Redemption for women.”
    d)      “It’s a movie.”

Hint: I went on to list The Hunger Games and Stephen King novels.

But at least Am and I had fun.
(For those of you who don't know, my full name is Tabin Am Rain Crume, so imagine my shock at meeting someone named Am? Score!)

You should have experienced at least one awkward moment. Pick which ones happened to me and which belonged to colleagues (or you):

a)      Running into a former ALA president in a swimsuit cover-up because someone put all their meetings on the same floor as the pool. (Thanks a lot!)

b)      Not recognizing an author you talked to the day before.

c)       Having someone lie about being drunk so they can claim not to remember what they said.

d)      Trying to avoid weird non-ALA people who insist on joining your group.

e)      Having to publically clip your nails as you break them one by one while “bowling.”

f)       Telling people, “I’m awesome! I rock! I’m worth millions of dollars! Why doesn’t this menu have prices on it? Hey, waiter, can you tell me how much this stuff costs?”

g)      Trying to explain a personal philosophy called “Don’t be in an orange jump suit” to an author.

h)      Explaining how it is easier to get a job when you’re not crazy-in-a-bad-way.
i)     Asking someone if they had a designated driver and it turning out they weren't drunk, they were just a "questionable" dancer.

j)    Dancing to misogynistic rap music while saing, "This song is sooooo feminist!" 

k)    Lying to get into something you don't have a ticket for.

l)    Sitting alone at an offsite ALA event for 45 minutes because no one wants to wear their badge and admit they are a librarian there for an ALA event. 

You should have also dealt with lots of shushing. I had to explain to someone, “I don’t  shush. I call security.”

Inspired by a truly awkward moment (that I really wish I had witnessed because it would have made my year) a friend and I decided every time something awkward happens during a conference you should say, “This moment was brought to you by ALA.”

Does anyone have anything they want to add to this?

Who were you in the hot tub with?

And was Warren G really at Fire and Ice?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Fire! Fire!

Katniss Everdeen, aka, Girl on Fire, aka heroine of The Hunger Games, got her own Barbie.


I wasn’t sure how they’d pull it off---would they stick to her cool-Lenny-Kravitz-made-this-stunning pre-slaughter reaping dress?

(I want this dress!)

Would they create the post-traumatic stress dress with sewn in state-issued-plastic-surgery-dodging padding which screams, “Look, I’m innocent!” and makes President Snow less likely to send mutts to kill her in her sleep? No, they went with her arena gear.

Or at least the original version of her arena gear.

It’ll be interesting to see if someone will alter this to create a fresh-out-of-the-arena Katniss doll. You know, after she’s been stabbed, starved, dehydrated, hunted like she’s Number 2 of Al-Qaeda, poisoned by venomous insects, concussed, deafened in one ear, burned by balls of fire, wearing filthy one-legged pants and a hood with attached sleeves, her hair matted, face dirty, and overall looking like a traumatized wounded rabid animal on the attack after killing four people to save her own life while nursing someone else back to health. You know, what reality TV producers call her “before” picture. In the next movie they can have Tyra Banks telling her to widen the gap in her front teeth because it will make her unique. Unique and possibly toothless, but unique nonetheless.

Personally I liked the book better than the movie. Except for the boring books I was forced to pretend to read in college, I usually like books better. Books give more detail. Books let you wallow in the scenes you enjoy and skim the ones that give you nightmares. Books let you use your imagination, allowing you to delude yourself that characters described as black are white, followed by you getting called out for tweeting you were no longer sorry the character died because she was blonde in your imagination.
Yes, and in my imagination I click my heels and someone landscapes my backyard for free.

(Reminder to self: start hanging out in Lowes in hopes Yard Crashers will appear…)

The top reason I prefer books to films is writing is cheap. Typing extra words cost 3 cents in ink. Translating words into film costs mucho dinero. Ever see a book turned into a TV movie? I was watching one and wondering, “Where are the plane crashes? She didn’t have a brother in the book, which was set in Georgia not California. I’m pretty sure I’d remember an Argentinean nationalist being in the book. What, did they start letting Universal Studio tourists take turns acting?” I have to remind myself they were given 21 days, $37.58 and a case of Power Bars to make the film, and it’s still more entertaining than anything on the Lifetime Movie Network. (“I think the ghost of my ex-husband’s sister’s dead cat is stalking me!”) There’s the occasional studio that has lost its freaking mind turning books into films, like when they made the Scarlet Letter. How many high school students flunked their “book” reports after watching the movie version? However, with the Hunger Games I realized if the movie had followed the book a tee, it wouldn’t simply be R rated, it would be NC-17 and viewers would need therapy.

That, or it would be a mini-series on HBO called “Game of Thrones: Teenage Edition.”


Speaking of fires, did you know the American Red Cross provides free disaster parties for libraries? They’re greeeaaat!!! I love them not only because they are free, but because they do a really good job with them. They provide the publicity, bring everything with them, and the only thing you have to do is set up chairs and advertise in E-Vanced. Pretty neat set-up, huh? I learned things about safety that I had not known before. Did you know you are to use the back of your hand to feel for heat at the door? I always thought we felt with our palms. Apparently we’re used to heat on our palms, making them less sensitive. Or did you know there are two ways to stop, drop and roll? If your upper body or hands are on fire, you don't want them anywhere near your face and should hold them to your sides while rolling. Most of us know we should have an emergency supply box. My box consists of hoping I have my ID, my American Express card, and that I'm close to a Marriot or Hampton Inn. (Perhaps I should work on this.) As for emergency numbers, I have 9-1-1. What good is calling my family on the side of the road? Get me to the hospital ASAP! I'm O-, 5-6, my official weight is "Why do you want to know?" and I don't take NSAIDS or aspirin.

To go along with this program I created a special storytime. Comedies joke about fires---maybe your boyfriend bonfire got out of control, or you ran back into the room because you left your wedding shoes in the closet. This means young children are not prepared for an emergency and need some practice. Be warned: you will get dirty looks from parents (see below).

Fire Safety Storytime

No Dragons for Tea
Valuables---an empty computer bag, keys, an empty purse, etc.
A stuffed cat or dog
The ability to set aside your dignity for at least 7 minutes

Extra Books:
Stop, Drop and Roll
Fire Safety

1. Wear jeans for this storytime. Not a long skirt, not yoga pants, jeans. This storytime requires crawling. You don’t want people staring at your butt.
2. Before storytime set up a table behind you or to your side filled with valuables.
3. Read “No Dragons for Tea.” In this story a dragon sets fire to a house during tea, then tries to run back in for a toy.
4. After the reading go over the important parts---when there is a fire drop to the floor, crawl out and never go back in because WE CAN’T REPLACE YOU!
5. Have everyone practice crawling to safety.
6. Before you reach the door/safe spot, jump and say, “Oh, no, I forgot_____!” and return to get it. At this point the children should try to stop you. Ask, “Should I run back for______? No, why not? Because WE CAN’T REPLACE YOU!” Emphasis never going back, especially for an obsolete laptop.
7. Repeat step 6 with the valuables, saving the stuffed pet for last. Emphasis that it represents a real pet. They shouldn't return inside even for Fluffy. DON’T say you can replace a pet---storytime is a tear free zone! Tell them, “The firefighters can save your pets.”
8. This is where the adults will give you the evil eye. The kids have to meet at their designated spot. Most families don’t have one. When you’ve reach the designated spot adults are to call 9-1-1. Kids only call if adults can’t do so, which is where the next bit of homework comes in: kids need to know their full names, their parents’ full names, and their address. Address is required when calling 911 from cell phones, and names are useful. A few weeks ago we had a lost parent, and when I asked the child for his parent’s name he said, “Her name is Mommy. It’s spelled M-O-M-M-Y.” For some reason this didn’t help much.
9. Here is the final homework assignment: ask parents to have a practice fire drill. A good idea is to have them twice a year when they change the batteries in their smoke alarms. It’s much better to know now that your child’s first instinct is to hide in the closet or that the alarm volume is too low to wake people up.

I hope you have fun with this one. Remember, safety first, jeans second!