working in children’s

My shift in Children’s today started off perfectly, with two 10 year olds who were looking for books on art. Because they were going to the Art Gallery and wanted to know something about art before they went. Oh, and they wanted to know about Vivaldi and the books about composers just weren’t doing it for them did we have anything about Jonahan (pronounced similarly to Callahan) Strauss and the Pizzicato Polka? He was Barock, you know. They wanted piles of information so they could show their teacher and then their teacher could teach everyone else in their class what they found out. Put that way they sound like horrible little jerks but they were funny. I had to send them on a scavenger hunt through the library for Vivaldi stuff because we didn’t have anything with more than a couple of paragraphs that they’d be able to take out, only reference material. Up in Section 22 they found a DVD and a Vivaldi biography after staff told them to go downstairs and they explained that I’d sent them up there. I don’t know how things went up the fourth floor.

There was also a girl who came to the desk to make sure that the copy of Alice in Wonderland that she’d gotten from the shelf was “the real one. The one with all the twisted stuff in it?” She seemed maybe 15? She talked a mile a minute and I couldn’t quite tell if it was natural or chemically induced. Do the kids today take lots of speed or anything? I thought if you were 15 you’d just be smoking pot. She also asked about a Timothy Leary book “about Tibetans and Death and stuff? I guess you’re supposed to take a bunch of acid and then have someone read it to you and then freak out? A guy showed me this book on the bus once, and I said ‘I have to get that book!'” I found it in the catalogue and placed a hold on it for her. We also changed the phone number she had on file to her cell phone to avoid parental inquiries about what she’s getting from the library. I’m not sure if I’m actually supposed to do that. But I did.

And then she was still talking (she got completely sidetracked by a picture book with the title I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato – eventually she was all “It is a double negative! She’s completely going to eat a tomato!”) and said “You know what? You seem pretty cool. Like I could see chilling with you.” To which I replied, “If you hang out with old men like me, there’s something fairly wrong there.” Which ended the conversation before it got creepy. I think before it got creepy. The whole thing was odd. I’m used to the creepiness being from crazy/drunk people, not possibly-high teenagers with a thing for psychedelia.

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