BlogReaders Ask, I Answer: Question #1

I guess I should say, Questioner #1, because I got a set of three questions from Angela Noelle.  Let's dive in:

What is your favorite holiday tradition?

I'd have to say that in recent times, my favorite tradition is something I made up--only that's not why I like it so much.  The original idea behind it was to keep Oldest Nephew occupied back where there was pretty much just Oldest Nephew (and maybe Niece as a wee baby but my memory's a bit fuzzy on that detail).  Anyway, there wasn't really anybody else around his age at our family get-togethers.

I've talked about this tradition before: the Polaroid Project.  Briefly, I became the owner of a Polaroid camera one summer after a crazy photo scavenger hunt took place at my old corporate job, in place of the usual company picnic.  They raffled off the cameras after the whole ridiculous thing was over.  I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it, but when Thanksgiving started looming on the horizon, I thought, "Why not play 'reporter'?"  It was hands-on and got people to talk.  All I needed was some posterboard, scotch tape, and markers.

The response from my family was amazing.  Mom let us tape up the posters in the dining room.  Everyone read each others' answers and laughed.  I'm pretty sure my mom has kept most or all of them as a record of who attended, not to mention her grandchildren's handiwork.  Because, you see, now Niece, Middle Nephew, and Youngest Nephew (who got a new set of washable crayons this past project) want to be involved, too.  Even if Middle Nephew gripes about getting his picture taken at first.  I've added in glitter markers and seasonal stickers to the materials. . . not to mention a Polaroid printer for my digital camera, after Polaroid stopped making film for my camera.

This event isn't limited to Thanksgiving or Christmas--as I found out one time when Oldest Nephew asked where the camera was at Christmas (silly me, I thought they'd be too into presents)--but we try to do it at Easter as well, when there's a big gathering of the family.

Hey, maybe one day there will be Polaroid posters at my wedding.


Is working as a librarian what you expected it to be like or very different?

O.K., this definitely isn't a yes-or-no question.

I'd have to say that of the things I was prepared to expect--for example, working with young people, reading and making recommendations, materials selection, working with teachers, working within a budget--I pretty much got what I expected there.

I don't think I expected things like writing a ton of lesson plans, grading assignments, dealing with red tape and/or restrictions on many occasions, non-supportive parents (some, not all), and just plain being exhausted and frustrated so often.  Just this past month, I had to throw out two weeks of lesson plans to accommodate a special project for November (Library takes the first leg of it).

I thought I'd have my summers off to write, too, but that seems to be a very distant possibility at this point in time.

But mainly, I did not expect how long I'd have to pay my dues (or how long I will be paying them).  I thought I'd fall into this more easily, but I still have that "What am I doing? Where am I going?" feeling more often than not.  But I'm pretty sure I'd feel that no matter where I was.

If you could pass one law that everyone had to follow, what would it be?

Oh, wow, good one.  I often lament that discretion is dead--a lot of it comes down to realizing you're not the only person in the world and what you do affects others, looking out for the little guy--so I guess what I'd say is Be Considerate.

Maybe we could talk more quietly into our cell phones, or better yet wait to have that discussion about the relative who's getting on our nerves until we get in the car or get home.
Maybe we could pick up your trash instead of thinking someone else will do it.  Maybe it's not even our trash--but we just take pride in your environment.
Maybe we go back to the old driving textbook idea of "Defensive Driving" instead of Offensive Driving.
Maybe we can't stand people of a certain religion/political view. . . but we realize that they are human, too, with families and needs.
Maybe we just start saying "please" and "thank you" more often, especially when nobody expects to hear it.

As "social" as we've gotten with social media, we tend to be more isolated and more impatient than ever.  It's time we show our machines what they're missing.

Next up: Sara's question


Anonymous said…
Aw, I absolutely love that tradition! It's so meaningful, and it's great that it engages the kids in the celebrations.

When I was a kid, I dreamed of becoming a librarian, so I was really curious to hear about what your impressions are. It is interesting that you're slotted in a sort of teacher/librarian position. I don't think most people realize how much those school librarians have to organize!

And I totally agree with your law, it takes such little effort to be considerate, but it certainly is a lost art :/
Kate P said…
Angela--it is really a fun thing that gets the kids AND the adults to participate.

"Teacher-librarian" is one of the other terms for "school librarian" (on Twitter you'll the see the hashtag #tlchat). . . I think I am far more into the informal side of instruction, which is why the whole grading/lesson-plan-writing stuff gets me down.

The lost art of being considerate--yeah, I'd agree. I think there will be an etiquette revolution as personal digital devices continue to become more commonplace.

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