Tuesday, November 16, 2010


-from the Malleus Librarium, by Tater Lumpkin

          Monday during our busiest stretch of the morning, when we have about 50 kids all packed into this little library, I gave a detention to a 7th grade boy.  He cried, and I offered the barest of reassurances, staring down at him stonily.  Welcome to the harsh realities of life, kid.
          Here is how the absurd events played out:
The common stapler, a seemingly benign office tool
          We have ONE stapler on the circ desk that is for student use.  They are supposed to use it AT the desk.  The Offender (name withheld) made his first mistake by carrying the stapler to the back of the room with him.  When another student asked for the stapler and I found it missing from the counter, I yelled,
          “Whoever took the stapler from the desk needs to bring it back up here NOW!”
          No response from the Offender, but then some kids started muttering that someone had the stapler at the back of the room, and they were still using it.  I have no patience for this kind of thing, especially when I’m busy and there are 50 kids to supervise.
          “Whoever has the stapler needs to bring it to the desk right NOW, because there are other students who need to USE it!!!”
          Finally a helpful girl went over to the Offender, who I finally noticed.  He was trying to hide behind some other kids at the back while he finished his work.  He finished stapling, head down, and the girl took the stapler and brought it up to me. 
          I marched over to the Offender and demanded to know why he had ignored me, and why another student had to bring the stapler up to me, when HE was the one hoarding it.  He offered some lame, whining excuses, which I had no patience for.
          “Well, you get a detention.  Come up to the desk now.”
          He was horrified, eyes instantly red and welling.  I realized he was a 7th grader, a little guy I recognized from a class that meets in the Library 4 days a week.  Tears spilled down his cheeks, and his voice wobbled as he asked, “Will this go on my permanent record?!”
          I sighed, and assured him that it would not.  He asked if I would have to notify his parents, and I answered, “Not unless you fail to serve the detention.”  As I filled out the scary white/yellow/pink triplicate detention slip, he tearfully asked where to serve the detention, and when.  He’d never had one before, and had no idea what to do or where to go.
          I took a small amount of pity on him and assured him that it was really no big deal, he just needed to serve it and get it over with, and everything would be fine.  As long as he did NOT ignore/defy me again. 
          I’ve only made kids cry a few times in my years as a Library technician, so I thought it was worth mentioning.  Okay, well maybe more than just “a few” times, but probably no more than 10.


  1. OMG!!!
    You never give out detentions!
    I thought I was the only one who raised my voice. I told two boys today, "I'm not yelling, I'm Italian - its the way we talk!"

  2. I thought that you'd find that all his stapling was for a special valentine to Mr. Kovac and his Library...