“My life is full.”

Talking to a coworker shortly after I finished a story time program:

Coworker: “How was story time.”

Miss Print: “It was great. A kind of hyper little boy came and he kept saying ‘Do this book next.’ and it was the next book. At the end of story time he said all of the stories made him very happy. Which made me very happy. And now we’re best friends.”

Coworker: “You have a lot of best friends.”

Miss Print: “It’s true. My life is full.”

“I hate you. It’s my dress and you can’t have it.”

I am working in a bookstore. A very famous person was signing books at said bookstore last week. A very polite and well-dressed father came in with his 4(ish) year old daughter in a cute dress sitting in a stroller to meet said very famous person.

Miss Print (MP) completes transaction with Very Polite and Well-Dressed Father (VPW-DF) and turns to Daughter in Cute Dress (DCD).

MP: That’s a very pretty dress you have on.

DCD: I hate you. It’s my dress. You can’t have it.

MP and VPW-DF: Stunned Silence

MP: Well . . . it looks very nice on you.

DCD: Turns head away in disgust.

VPW-DF apologizes profusely before wheeling stroller away.

So . . . that happened. I can only imagine what the daughter had to say to the very famous person.

Big Shoes to Fill

A week or so ago I saw my sometimes twin the awesome and inimitable Ray Gunn. After a light lunch at Le Pain Quotidien (which is insanely cool! Why did no one tell me about it before now? Did you all want the place to yourself?) we walked around Union Square and chatted a bit.

At which point I mentioned that I hate shopping for shoes because my feet are huge:

Ray Gunn: [Looking at feet] “No they’re not. Don’t be ridiculous. What size shoe do you wear?”

Miss Print: “Ten. Wide wide.”

Ray Gunn: “Wow. That is big.”

And there you have it.

But in all seriousness, I think a lot of people have that one thing they hate shopping for. I don’t love shopping for clothes but I will do it. Shoes, I hate. Whenever possible I order online (preferably from Zappos because they use magic mail) because while I inevitably have to return some pairs the availability is so much greater when shopping online as compared to stores that only have shoes going to size nine, or just in regular widths, or just plain old out of my size (all of which happen often).

Anyway, what are your thoughts on shoe shopping? Am I alone in my hatred of the whole endeavor?

“Are you a Jew?”

For some reason I seem to be a magnet for quiet eight-to-ten-year-olds in whatever library I work. (I suspect part of our camraderie stems from them knowing instinctively that I enjoy children their age and am subsequently a pushover.)

Currently I have formed an acquaintance with a very quiet African American lad, call him JJ, who always greets me when he comes in and talks to me in a voice so low that I feel like a deaf Victorian grandmother with one of those ear horns because I can never ever hear him the first time.

The other day I really thought I couldn’t hear him because after giving him a new library card (his dog ate it, true story with a trip to the vet and all) he asked me “Are you a Jew?” I had to ask him to repeat himself, maybe twice.

Technically I could be half-Jewish but I’m not really because I don’t know that side of my family and was not raised in that faith (see previous comment about family). So answering that question is always a bit of a pain for me because I can never gauge what people want from me. Do they want to know where my family is from? Do they want to know if they can send me a Christmas card?

Is it because of some other thing I can’t understand because I have no grasp of cultural differences (in class we were discussion stereotypes of Mexican immigrants in relation to a book and I did not know any–for real) because those kinds of things always elude me (I knew a girl at school from age 5 to 18 and only realized she was Jewish in my senior year of high school–true story)?

So, like, a lot of anxiety for a little question.

I tried to answer honestly because JJ is a really polite, soft-spoken young man and I knew he wasn’t trying to be mean or whatever even though I was a little thrown by being asked if I was “a Jew” instead of Jewish (legitimate, not cheating-technically-speaking Jewish people is there a difference between the two or am I the only one who would be thrown?). I told him I was half Jewish more or less and might have raised my eyebrows or something because JJ went on to tell me he was asking because he thought I looked like a Jew.

I get that all the time. I was getting my old, shitty smartphone fixed and the guy at Verizon asked if I was Jewish because I had the dates for Chanukkah in my calendar (and I think because he was looking for a nice Jewish girl which he soon realized I was not, alas). People have also thought I was Russian or Spanish (like they talked to me in Spanish and I ignored them because I knew I wasn’t Spanish). A fellow bus rider even asked if I was French when I was wearing a jaunty beret. I rarely get people asking if I’m Italian, which is funny because that’s what I most identify as after being simply an American from New York.

I’m not sure where I was going with this post, I just wanted to talk about what happened. But let’s make it into a comment discussion as well. So, dear readers, are you ever “mis-identified” by people? How do you respond to what are, essentially, totally irrelevant and prying questions from strangers*?

*Which reminds me that the same day a patron asked if one my coworkers was gay. I told her I had no idea and it had nothing to do with anything. I don’t know if she found him irritating in some way or wanted to ask him out. Welcome to the world of public service!

“Twitter saves lives and blogs make careers.”

Since I just posted a teaser about my new project in an earlier post, it seemed like a good week to post a more “official” release. So, here it is along with some firmly stated ideas:

I don’t care what anyone tells you about blogging being old news and Twitter being a joke. (Not that people aren’t entitled to their opinions.) No matter what some people think, Twitter can save lives and blogs can make careers.

I am a living example.

I said it to “Sarah’s” class when I guest-spoke (I just made a new verb) last year and I’ll say it now to you, my readers.

Twitter is one of the fastest, most reliable sources I have for information. It’s a way to connect with authors, coworkers, and other like-minded people I would never encounter otherwise let alone converse with regularly. It has given me a chance to talk with some of my favorite authors, one of whom actually recognized me at a signing. It’s a great place to ask questions and share ideas. It also has Maureen Johnson which should be enough all by itself.

As for blogging, well . . . I can’t overstate the value of using an open forum to demonstrate your interests and expertise. People are always reading, and listening, so you might as well say something. Since starting this blog in 2007 I have received recognition from authors, colleagues, and coworkers. It has also led to a lot of great career opportunities in my place of employ and, of course, introduced me to a wonderful community of like-minded bloggers. Tangentially, blogging also brings me ever closer to realizing my plot of world domination through a high Amazon reviewer ranking.

Back to the “official” release side:

I was graciously invited by “Sarah” to be a guest speaker last year at a library school class to talk about blogging and the myriad reasons librarians decide to be librarians. I had a wealth of data on this subject thanks to an informal survey I conducted before starting library school in fall 2008 among my friends and coworkers.

“Sarah” remembered that project (conducted entirely through Facebook and Goodreads incidentally) and asked me to talk about it. She also urged me to formalize it and publicize it. Which I have.

It is with great pleasure that I introduce you all to The Why Libraries Project (YLP for short). At its core, YLP is meant to be a place for people to talk about why they decided to work in a library setting and what they do in that setting. Submissions are open to anyone who has ever worked in any kind of library setting as an employee, intern or volunteer. It takes a lot more than librarians to make a library run and I hope that eventually YLP will reflect that variety in the stories it holds.

Right now you might notice that YLP is thin on submissions, that’s because it’s a work in progress. So please, spread the word and help the project grow. And if you are a library worker, maybe you’ll consider taking part.

“Like an alpaca, but it’s a llama.”

Mom: “What does a llama look like?”

Miss Print: “Like an alpaca, but it’s a llama.”

Bonus content via Eleanor’s Trousers: Alpacas are social. No word on if they are lonely.

I’ll let you draw your own conclusions as to why my mother and I know what alpacas look like.

“Some people can cook and some people just can’t.”

A conversation my mom and I had about cooking a few days ago:

Mom: “Some people can cook and some people just can’t.”

Miss Print: “I don’t know about that. I can’t cook but I follow recipes and I’m learning.”

Mom: “That’s because you can cook. You’ve seen me try to follow recipes. It just doesn’t work.”

Sadly, she is absolutely right. Sometimes it just doesn’t work for her.