Today Kevin was back at work, and I was officially back from spring break in London. I had a wonderful time visiting with my mother and brother but was happy to be back, with the comfort of Internet and no more tour guide duties. However I knew I had some catchup to do regarding my hours. Unfortunately while on break I missed the farm animal session and wasn’t able to get a picture with a rabbit or a baby sheep, which would’ve been a very fun way to fill my requirement but hey, books can be fun too.
I wasn’t put on desk duty but rather accompanied Kevin to the storage building near his office. I was gluing on labels, covering books, and even went on the computer to learn the accurate distance to different drop off points for books for different schools. Showing Kevin the wonders of Google maps left me feeling a little accomplished.
Afterwards I was told to sort out books for said schools according to an inventory chart listing the book title and which school had reserved it. Easier said than done,having had to go through four large boxes of books to locate each one on the inventory. There was no easier way but to go through each book in each box. However I managed and then before I knew it it was time for lunch! I went to my usual haunt Wetherspoons because of it being so close. Though after going there twice while in London most would assume I’d be a little tired of it. Luckily the food came quick and after being in the musty storage area I had worked up an appetite and needed some food and fresh air.
When the time came to go back I was told we’d be going on a clinic/Bookstart run. It took awhile as we had a lot of clinics to drop off books at but it let me see parts of Wales I doubt I’d discover otherwise. And though the ride was quiet the scenery was beautiful, enough to make it worth it. After a little over an hour on the road and a quick stop for gas, Kevin surprised me by driving me all the way back to campus. No long walk back for me today!
So after the tedious book covering/envelope gluing from my prior session, I was up for a little bit of fun. Even though attending this fun wasn’t even required on my part! Kevin had been away due to a death in the family so I wanted to get back in and get some additional hours under my belt. The prize was mine after yet another event for the young, young crowd in Carmarthen. The event was a one man band named Bongo Clive. Going downstairs I was greeted by a librarian I’d gotten to know from prior children’s events. We took a seat by the other adults while the kids, mainly toddlers and younger, were scattered crawling or running around on the rug. Near to my surprise, countless musical instruments including African drums, bongos (no surprise), maracas, jingle bells, even a snare drum in the corner.
Soon Bongo Clive entered, a tall jovial African American man with a booming voice, and armed with his guitar. After introducing himself he gave the kids free reign to come over and get a closer look at the instruments, even play them if they saw fit. After he broke into a fast paced version of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” the kids did just that, the younger ones with some help of the adults standing near. Even the adults were given instruments to play and allowed to get up and dance if we found it necessary. I resigned to tapping my foot but got a kick from seeing older librarians get up to do the hokey pokey amongst other dances. I was also amazed to see even the littlest kids honing their musical skills. A baby busy crawling and shuffling on the rug like a tiny turtle in the sand, tried more than once to pick up and shake a small jingle bell, even putting it in his mouth once or twice. Since his mother had two other kids she was supervising along with him, I kept an eye on the little guy and even got a little crush on him. Overall it was a fun way to spend an hour or so.
So today it was back to the salt mines and another early morning session at CPL. Compared to the excitement of the last few sessions it was a tad dry but nothing too unbearable. My first stop was the front desk, where Kevin quickly found me and asked if I’d accompany him to his office in the book storage building next door. I followed and was greeted by two boxes of brand new books, all of which needed a small envelope glued to the inside cover to hold a stamped return date card. I recognized these from when I was small and made regular trips to the library. But back home they’d long been a thing of the past. This was not the case at CPL. And I should know because I glued on a good hundred after finishing each of the books in the box. Luckily Kevin told me I was allowed to use my iPod and wouldn’t be forced to sit in never ending silence.
Afterwards, I was treated to a brief tea break and then it was back to work. Now it was time to take the books I’d enveloped and cover them with plastic sleeves. Apparently this is done to every book entering the library to protect it. At home this is not a usual occurence, probably explaining why half the time when I’d check out books they’d be on the verge of falling apart. Anyways, I was taken to the second floor of the main library building and to a secret cupboard near the stair case. It felt like I was in Harry Potter’s room at the Dursley home which just made me grin from ear to ear. In this tiny closet/cabinet space which only had enough room for two comfortably, I was shown how to cover a book and then left to fend for myself. Eek! It took me long enough but after about ten minutes of trial and error (the covers could be very dificult to put on correctly, and finding the proper size, forget about it!) I got a stack of them covered and showed them to Kevin for approval. Luckily I got it, along with an additional stack to finish covering before I could call it a day. With my trusty iPod though I managed, and did a pretty good job if I do say so myself.
Today at the library was a short session yet again, another activity open to the young public of Carmarthen. But in the mood to revisit my youth I attended as yet again, was glad I chose to.
Heading to the basement I spotted a group of kids seated in uniform surrounded by teachers. Likely they were all attending thanks to a school field trip, but there were younger kids in attendance as well. Sitting towards the back while the kids congregated on the rug, I noticed three young adults, a bit older than I was, assembling a silver ladder and other various props towards the front of the room. Curiously I waited for them to introduce themselves, and they did with a blaring boom box and a three minute dance party.
Right away I knew these weren’t your average storytellers. The woman and two men introduced themselves in loud jovial voices, informing us they were here to read and reenact some books. Five were selected and doled out to the kids so they could get a feel for the tales. And then after the reenactments began. The stories were in English but I’d never heard of any of them in my life, putting me in the same situation as most of the kids in the audience. The stories were interesting enough on their own, but being brought to life with a comedic improv team, proved very entertaining to watch. Though the performance was geared for a younger audience, they had me laughing quite a bit (despite it all I’m a kid at heart). The reenactments were fluid and continuous, jumping from one story to the other with ease. The only sign they were switching was loud blaring from the boom box. Once the performance was done, the teachers received multiple copies of the books to bring back to their classrooms for the kids to read. I was half tempted to ask if I could get a copy but restrained myself. A short session but still an interesting one all the same.
Today I was invited to an event I’d heard of since my placement at the library but hadn’t had the privilege of experiencing yet. I attended a Welsh story hour. After I arrived I was put to work right away, putting up posters and organizing chairs in the children’s corner. I also put together a nice spread of a fruit plate, water and raisins for the kids and parents to enjoy when the hour was up. I was introduced to the woman holding the story hour, older with bright orange hair, conversing with Kevin in a spirited mix of Welsh and English.
The kids also showed up in every type of costume under the sun. Buzz Lightyears, cowboys, princesses and Wonderwoman’s running around all over the library. Very entertaining scene.
I remembered in the States attending story hours when my brother was small, so I had an inkling of what I was getting myself into. However none of those sessions were ever bilingual. Though the story told was in Welsh, it was a basic children’s tale and wasn’t incredibly difficult for me to translate. Even more interesting were the songs that came afterward. I heard tunes that were familiar with lyrics that weren’t. But I could still make them out and realize the meaning, which was pretty fortunate. After the session ended the kids made a beeline to the snacks while I was put in charge of camera duty. Candid shots were a must for the library’s website as were group shots I was assigned to take. Soon enough though Kevin tapped me on the shoulder suggesting I take off to beat the rush. Since the rush included strollers and screaming toddlers, I figured it was my best bet.
So today I was very much looking forward to my visit to the library. For one thing I didn’t have to be there until 1:00 and for another..the owl lady was coming today!
When I went to the basement of the library I was one of the first to arrive. And immediately greeted with a loud ‘hoot’ from the right corner of the room, inside a cage half draped in a blanket. To my surprise there were four other crates close by. I was only expecting one feathered friend to make an appearance.
I spoke a bit with the owl lady before she introduced me to the four birds she’d brought with. One was a small barn owl, one was a tawny owl, and the other two looked like you’d see them in some classic Halloween movie. Either way they were incredibly impressive creatures. The owl woman informed me of the proper way to handle the birds, and that they were trained to fly to only two locations, a tree branch perch or a leather glove she wore. They’re rewarded with what looked like scraps of meat. I didn’t really care to know exactly what kind.
Soon enough guests began to arrive, parents and grandparents bringing children, ages ranging from newborns to five year olds. I was stunned expecting older kids to be in attendance, not so many toddlers or younger who were crawling around on the floor.
The kids were completely hyped and excited which was adorable. I took a seat next to Alexandra, an older librarian who told me many times over, she’d be okay near the owls so long as they didn’t fly within ten feet of her.
I had similar feelings, and no intention of trying on the glove that’d allow a huge bird of prey’s talons to linger on my arm. I happen to like my arm. However, when children smaller than the owls themselves were graciously letting them land near them, I felt compelled to as well and am glad I did. It was a very cool moment, I highly recomend it.
The day was short but very fun and memorable. And I got a picture too!
["Never underestimate the power of alliteration, my friend."
-Paris Gellar, Gilmore Girls]
So my second library session started similarly to my first. Was up bright and early and arrived at CPL at 9:30. I wasn’t in the door for a few minutes though before learning we were heading on a field trip! (Yay, another one so soon!)
Kevin and I wandered on over to Waterstone’s, poking around the children’s section on the prowl for new inventory. It was fun going back reminiscing over titles I haven’t looked at since my elementary school days. Shortly thereafter we returned to the library where I was put on desk duty. But since I’ve become an old pro at checkout they promoted me to filing and alphabetizing, a welcome change of pace. I went through a humongous stack of index cards and put them in name order. (I realized Davies is a very popular surname in these parts). After a few tea breaks I sorted through some more DVD’s and CD’s. I’ve gotten to know the staff a bit better in the coffee room and have a feeling I’ll be getting along with them well in the coming weeks. Also Kevin gave me a sneak preview of what’s to come next time I go to the library…here’s a hint, they have wings!