Today was mostly a lovely day. We had a nice police officer working overtime from opening to closing. We didn't have to throw anyone out. Everyone made nice to each other.
Boss drove me slightly insane having me proofread her letters to the surrounding schools and the police reports. She doesn't trust her spelling and phrasing. (Boss and I are friends outside of work--major recipe for disaster. We were friends before she became my boss...unfortunately, this also means that if everyone on the staff screws up I am the one who gets in trouble. I may elaborate on this at the end of this post.)
All the kids who came in were quiet, mostly respectful and didn't laugh at the adults.
We held all our usual Saturday groups.
None of the trouble makers even came near the place.
And fortunately the little trouble maker who jumped on Boss's car was so light weight he didn't leave anything but muddy foot prints behind.
My favorite teenager and her brother and sister showed up so I had a pleasant half hour discussing "House" and the implications of Cuddy's actions for House's future at the hospital. (Honestly, you would think she and I personally knew these people!) It really was mostly a nice day.
Re: computer sign ups and limits. Our policy as per our insane Library Board (never have so many people who know nothing about a subject been gathered together to administer laws upon that subject) is that children nine and up may use the computers without an adult present. However, state law is that children have to be twelve to be in the library without a guardian. That law tends to get lip service in our area because some parents can't stay home with their kids and others don't want their kids staying home with them. We figure it's better for an eight year old to be in the library alone than freezing out on the streets or being home alone and eating rat poison or something.
OUr board takes the view that ALL computer needs are equal, so we are not allowed to filter anything, prevent people from accessing any sites and so on. All we can do is put a lock on computers to prevent people from downloading programs onto our computers. (This does make sense. If I had a dime for every time someone walked in with one of those aol free service disks...and tried to install the software on our computers, I could retire and take KittySuch to a nice warm tropical island where they would serve her fat mice daily.) Our computers are also set up to wipe away anything accessed that day, including Word. Nothing can be saved to our C drive, so we sell floppies.
According to Library Policy (as approved by our Board) each patron is allowed three half hour turns each day. However, each branch tweaks that policy to suit its clientele and we tweak like crazy. There are eight computers in the main library (we have, seriously, only one big room that is divided into three sections: Kids, Adults and computer area, with our tiny reference section floating between the kids' area and the computers) and four laptops that Queen sets up three times a week for the study room (which is our community room--that room serves as the Story Hour Room for me about five times a week, homework room for Queen, Quilter's Club Room twice a month, Free Walk in Clinic Twice weekly, craft room, program room and movie room). Sorry, I'm giving a tour when I should be explaining the computer list.
Each person signs in (and we've had to get to know faces and names because some kids will try to get three more turns using their "street" name) and they are called when their turn comes up and when their turn is over. If the homework room isn't open for whatever reason, and kids can prove they are really doing homework and not e-mailing each other on myspace, they can get extra time each turn. Like I said: we tweak like crazy. So if a kid is doing homework or an adult is doing research (as described by Slartibartfast above
) they can get maybe up to two or three hours of time for one turn. If, however, they're just playing Runescape or whatever, then it's only half an hour. It doesn't jibe with ALA's rules, but ALA doesn't work here. It seems unfair to remove a kid whose actually writing up a science paper in order to let someone who wants to watch rap videos on youtube get on.
We are looking into the computer programs that will shut off after a certain amount of time...there's been some success with those downtown, from what I understand. Unfortunately, further changes to policy have to go to committee and then to the Board for approval. Empires have been built and destroyed in less time than it takes for them to give their approval on anything. (This is the group that thought it would be a good idea to close down my branch and a branch about three miles away and relocate both staffs to a new location in the middle of a business complex that would serve neither of the already underserved communities we currently serve. They were finally talked out of this by the Director. But it was close...)
Slight Hijack of my own thread:
The only thing that really spoiled the day was...I was late. I walked in at one minute to the hour. Boy was behind me. Boss had walked in two minutes before us. Boss chastized me for being late and noted that I have been late or, at the very least, not early for several months now. (I could give a long digression about mental and emotional health here and it would be true, but it is also not relevant. I am most ashamed of my inability of late to get in on time. I am struggling to improve my credibility in this area. What frosts my cupcakes is that when I do leave home with plenty of time to spare inevitably, I am stuck in some kind of messy traffic jam. Believe it or not, I am six miles and ten minutes from my job, but I have to leave 30 to 45 minutes early because of the traffic. There is only one direct route and it's a scary drive. Still, it's no excuse for being late.) I will say, though, that I stay late, cut time off my lunch hour and rarely take my allotted breaks.
Anyway, Boss chewed me out for being late--again. However, she said nothing to Boy or to Queen who strolled in fifteen minutes late (and does so almost every morning). I said she was right to give me the lecture, but I would like to see other people disciplined for the same thing--and for worse infractions I do not commit. Her response: "I'm aware of what they do, but YOU are the professional. I cannot discipline them if I do not discipline you." I said "But you DON'T discipline them. You only discipline me. Ever. I get yelled at for things I didn't even do." "I don't have time for this! You're the professional and you should do better."
End of conversation.
What she really means is "You are someone I know. We go on vacations together. You are the same color and race as me and YOU won't go to the union and have me hauled up on charges of racism." And she's right. I even understand why she doesn't want to get into battles with the rest of the staff...but...
Like I said, she is perfectly correct to take me to task for my lateness. But it really chaps my lips that everyone else gets away with murder.
Ah well, all that will have blown over by Monday. I plan to be in an extra half hour early if I can help it. (I have comp time coming to me and I get to pick up my furbaby from the Kitty Spa and Camp--Yay!) I plan to be in early ALL THE TIME from now on.
Any bets on how long it will be before I am in trouble for being in too early? Technically, according to Library Policy, I'm not even supposed to be in the building alone and unsupervised. Can't win in this business, not even for losing.
Thanks for your patience, your suggestions, your kindess and your prayers...all of us, even crabby Boss who claims she doesn't believe--can use 'em.