Tonight, I was checking in some books from our teaching materials section (aka kids books) and was suddenly very nostalgic about my old elementary school job. Granted, I was seriously underpaid and spent alot of time crawling around on the floor shelving books, but I had an unusually good time w/ the storytimes, and formulating my own discussion questions (much cooler than the ones we were supposed to use according to the district plan.) And damn, just how excited those kids were about books and reading, which after 5th grade so seriously dwindles and you end up with the near-illiterate like I deal with NOW. I also had fun having little trivia games with prizes, and coordinating our school's district-wide creative writing contest. Since there was one district librarian for every ten schools, I was pretty much running the library, with the exception of ordering books. My bulletin boards and book displays kicked ass. Mind you, I was so mentally drained by the end of the day I virtually wrote no poems in the year and a half I worked there, but I at least had some outlet for creativity. I mean, you had your good kids and your bad kids, but some of them surprised you. I wound up coming off as an infinitely cooler, younger librarian than what they'd had before...and certainly cooler than my own elementary school librarian who was, if I recall, a beast who wouldn't let me keep Little Women out an extra week so I could finish and once yelled at my sister for not sitting Indian Style like everyone else during storytime.
For my first five years in school, the library was in the center of a "pod" that lovely 1970's idea of arranging schools. (Incidentaly, Hillman, where I worked, had a similar arrangement and basically sat out in the middle of a big octagon of classrooms divided by partitions or shelves, or whatever worked.) It had orange carpeting, squat shelves, and a sunken floor. My favorites were a small section of tiny Peter Rabbit books, largely becase the pages were glossy and smooth and the books looked old and schoolish. On the shelves, where the teacher materials were, was a pickled pig in a jar that disturbed me beyond belief. When we moved as I was going into fifth grade, there was an actual library with taller shelves and a ratty green rug for storytime. We weren't allowed to renew and all the high demand books--then Judy Bloom and Beverly Cleary--were hard to get hold of anyway. As were the Shel Silverstein's (Incidently, twenty years later it was still the same.)