Two Kids in the Library
Kid One. Looks maybe 15 years old, in a sideways baseball cap and basketball shorts. Skin the color of black coffee, but accompanied by two adults who were more along the lines of milky almond shavings. I’m not sure your relationship with them (foster parents? Adoptive? Aunt and uncle? Grandparents?), but you were all comfortable with each other, scouring the books, suggesting this one or that one, gently teasing each other.
You asked me where the “documentary books” were, already holding a pile of DVDs. I was hesitant about just turning you loose in the nonfiction section, as it’s fairly large and not intuitively organized, but when I asked you what subjects you were interested in, all I got was a teenage shrug and, “I dunno. Stuff.” So I took you over to our reference librarian. When next I saw you (and I suspect she just did what I’d been hesitant to do, and just threw you straight into deep water in the nonfiction section, because she didn’t spend a lot of time picking your brain), you and your parental figures were roaming around, pulling down an impressive number of books off the shelves in all kinds of subjects. When you left, all three of you had stacks of books that took both arms to hold. I tried to recommend specific books, but none of the ones that crossed my mind were on the shelf.
I hope you learn to navigate Dewey. I hope you do not incur late fees on all those books. I hope I see you again.
Kid Two, also a teenager.. Flagged me down and asked me where to find a specific title. Told me this was your first time in the library. You just got your first library card! Welcome! And hooray! I showed you how to search for things on the catalog kiosk. How to tell if the book you were looking for is on the shelf at the branch you’re at. It wasn’t, so I walked you through how to put in a request. You didn’t even know what a call number was, but you were so excited to have a library card. I showed you where your book would have been if we had it on the shelf, so you could maybe find a different book on the same subject. When I saw you later, you were sitting on a couch, trying to get your dad’s attention to tell him about your book, while he talked indifferently on a cell phone.
I hope your dad brings you back. I hope your book comes in soon. I hope I see you again. I hope your excitement at having a library card never goes away.
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