Thursday, March 22, 2012


Week 1: The Silver Peep
     For the three weeks leading up to our Library Book Fair next week, we've had a Peeps Hunt Contest. Each Monday we've hidden a marshmallow Peep somewhere in the library, and the first student to find it wins a $10 gift certificate to the book fair.
     I anticipated the admin's objection to sugary candy lying around in the library and possibly drawing ants by painting each Peep with a layer of Elmer's glue to seal it. I also anticipated the way kids are sneaky and occasionally dishonest by spray-painting each Peep a different, secret color. (So a kid wouldn't be tempted to buy a package of Peeps, sneak one into the library, and say, "Look, I found it!")
Week 2: The Blue Peep
     The first Peep was found in about 5 minutes.
     The penultimate Peep was discovered after about 7 minutes.
     The final Peep, though, I inadvertently hid VERY well, apparently. It was sitting on a very bottom shelf in the corner, atop a book on Egypt. This was the black Peep, so it was harder to spot in its shadowed location.
Week 3: The Black Peep
     By the third week there were plenty of kids who were aware of the contest, and determined to get the last gift certificate. I counted at least 30 students who filled the library as soon as lunch started (that's when I said the hunt would begin) and immediately spread out and began frenziedly searching.
     After 10 minutes no one had found it, and they were all clamoring for hints. One of the girls eyed the two eraser hamsters that sit on my monitor and said, "I bet THEY know where it's hidden."
     I said, "Maybe I didn't tell them."
     She smirked, "I think they see EVERYTHING that goes on in here."
     After 15 minutes the Peep was still undiscovered. I started thinking I might have to let it stay there until after school, when they could search for it some more. But in the meantime they were racing up and down the aisles, peering under tables and chairs, knocking into each other, the panic building...
     One of the boys kept saying, "Found it!" even though he hadn't, just to screw with the other kids' heads. They kept yelling at him to stop saying that. I couldn't help snickering.
     More and more kids were coming up to me, eyes wild, begging for hints.
     "Is it in the locked cabinet?" (No, of course not.)
     "Is it up higher than where we can see?" (Duh, NO.)
     "What color is it this week?" (Not telling.)
     I had to tell them that it was definitely not anywhere behind my desk, so they didn't converge in my work space.
     I could see the artificial ficus trees at the back of the library thrashing and shaking like there was a hurricane blowing through the room.
     "Hey!" I yelled, "I did not hide it anywhere that requires DESTROYING anything!"
     I realized the library would never survive more hunting after school, so I had to start giving hints.
     "Okay, first hint: Neither of the eraser hamsters can see the Peep from where they're sitting."
Eraser hamsters
     One of the kids said, "The brown one is missing his left eye, is that important?!"
     "No," I sighed. "Just pretend he has both eyes."
     The kids began assessing the hamsters' lines of sight, which was pretty funny. But the clock was ticking away and still they weren't finding that stupid Peep. Meanwhile, there were a bunch of other kids working on the computers, printing stuff, and checking books out. I was ready for lunch to end.
     One of the Peep-hunters ran up to the desk and asked earnestly in a rush, "Do you have a ladder?"
     "Okay everybody!" I yelled, "Second hint: the Peep is LOW."
     All 30-some Peep-hunters dropped to all fours throughout the library, and it sort of looked like a covert military maneuver. One of the high schoolers hanging out by my desk shook his head in amusement. Most of the hunters were junior high kids.
     I thought for SURE they would find it after that hint, but a few more minutes passed.
     One of the kids asked, "What if somebody ATE it?"
     I said they'd be very sick because it's covered in a layer of glue and spray paint.
     The cleanup bell rang. 
     "Third hint: EGYPT!" I yelled.
     In the resulting chaos, one of the kids yelled, "What? Regis? Did he say Regis?"
     "Not Regis, EGYPT!" I clarified, wondering if that was a Regis Philbin reference. Do teenagers even know who Regis Philbin is?
     There was a chorus of exclamations and squeals, thundering of feet, etc. Finally the sounds of triumph and disappointment as an 8th grade girl claimed the prize.
     The cool thing is that because of the nature of this particular school (college-prep academy with high standards) the girl who found the Peep went through the Egypt section and straightened it up for me of her own volition, because she had noticed what a mess it was after the frenzy of the hunt.
     Incidentally, I ate a few stale Peeps last night. They really do taste like shit.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


"Read, Know, Grow," plus a sneak peek at the upcoming book fair
     Okay, after processing a bunch of new books we were able to order with profits from our Amazon Associates Account, I finally added wording to the Library Pinwheel Bunnies board. The Librarian suggested the old stand-by, "Read, Know, Grow..." Simple and springy.
     I just printed the letters out using the "Curlz" font on green paper.
     I also printed out some sneak preview pages from the Mrs. Nelson's Book Fair website. We're hosting one of their fairs the last week this month, right before we all go on spring break.
     By the way, the background on this bulletin board is striped because I didn't have enough of any one of these colors. Time to hit the school supply store, again.
     After spring break the only things I'll have to change right away are the Easter Eggs and book fair preview pages. That'll buy me some time.
     Our district is planning to lay off all the credentialed Teacher Librarians again this year. They threatened that last year, but this year the general consensus is that it will really happen. By law the district has to keep ONE Teacher Librarian, but how effective is that going to be, for 18 school sites? Please. Anyway, this will mean all of us Library technicians will have almost no support at all, and have to establish new parameters as far as what we're willing to do, and what we're NOT. Some services will have to go by the wayside. One person can only do so much.
     Anyway, that's one of the reasons I'm thinking bulletin board decorations may be low on the priorities list when we get back. There's already lots of angst and drama and resentments brewing. Easter Bunny better bring me some f*cking Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs.

Friday, March 9, 2012

BULLETIN BOARDS & DISPLAY : Library Pinwheel Bunnies!

Yes I made these myself, out of discarded library book pages and construction paper.

Library Pinwheel Bunnies!
     Library Pinwheel Bunnies!
          Library Pinwheel Bunnies!
     Are you trying to figure out how to decorate your library for spring? Not sure what to do? Library Pinwheel Bunnies!
     There is no situation that can't be improved by Library Pinwheel Bunnies!!!

This photo is blurry because I was shaking slightly from being SO EXCITED about the BUNNIES!!!
     Never mind that I can't come up with a reading or library-related slogan, yet. I'm still thinking.


Thursday, March 8, 2012


It's a blurry cell phone pic, but you get the idea.
     There's a class that meets in the library 4 days a week. In early December, their teacher was organizing a Secret Santa gift exchange, and asked them each to write down 2 or 3 things they would like, to give their Secret Santas some ideas for gifts.
     After the class left that day, I found the above slip of paper lying on the floor. I stashed it in my desk because I thought it was funny, and forgot all about it until I recently re-discovered it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Book Fair Peeps Bunny Contest!
     We're having a book fair in the school library. To create excitement for it, I thought it would be cool to do a contest and give out three $10 gift certificates to the book fair. We could give one out each week for the three weeks leading up to the fair.
     Seasonally speaking, we have Easter to work with, which is pretty fun. So... Peeps, right?
     Instead of an egg hunt, we're doing a Peeps Marshmallow Bunny hunt. Each week a special Peeps Bunny will be hidden somewhere in the library, and the student who finds it first wins that week's gift certificate, to be redeemed at the Book Fair at the end of the month.
Secret Silver Peep
     When I first emailed the Principal to get her approval for our contest, I forgot to mention that I'd be coating and spray-painting the Peep. So this was her first response:

Would you be willing to hide plastic colored eggs with a specially marked message inserted rather than the marshmallow bunny?  We definitely support the promotional idea!

To which I responded:

Is the marshmallow bunny a problem because it’s food and might attract bugs or something? Because I had a plan for that. I was going to paint them with sealant and then spraypaint them a different secret color each week. Does it help that they would be inedible and coated with sealant?
     It’s not that I wouldn’t be willing to do plastic colored eggs instead, but Peeps bunnies sure would be more INTERESTING, in my humble opinion.
     Plus, I wanted to use the slogan, “HOP on over to the Library Book Fair and take a PEEP at what’s new!”
     But whatever you say goes, boss. ;)

So she wrote back:
Yes, the issue was that it was a sugary food item, but sounds like you in your great wisdom thought through all of the administration's possible objections. So , Peeps it will be since you are making them inedible and using a sealant.

     I'm assuming that was the most inane conversation of her day.
     Oh- and another good reason to paint the Peep a secret color is to keep sneaky kids from trying to claim the prize with just any old Peep from the store.
     The only promotion I had a chance to do last week was to put up a bulletin board (at the beginning of this post) with a message about the contest, and to put the contest info on the "date due" slips we put in all the books that check out. But even with that minimal amount of PR, we had a bunch of kids asking about it first thing this morning. I let them all know that the secret Peep would be hidden by lunchtime, and the hunt would start then.
Where is it?
There it is! Do you see it?
     A group of very determined girls came flying into the library at lunch and hunted for about 15 minutes. We watched them pass right by the hidden Peep several times. Then finally, shortly before lunch was over, one of them spotted it, and won the first gift certificate.
     Now the other kids are jealous, but I've been assuring them that we have 2 more Peep hunts before the Book Fair.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


     I just did this post about e-book formatting on my other blog, and it's book-related so I thought I'd mention it here.