The Very Busy Manager (With Apologies To Eric Carle)

There was once a very busy children’s librarian. She sang songs and performed fingerplays. She visited schools, told stories and promoted Summer Reading. She did the hoky-poky and turned herself around and, when the opportunity arose, she spread her fairy wings and became a manager. 

On Monday, the toilet overflowed. She called Facilities and left work at 5:05 p.m.           

On Tuesday, she held a staff meeting. She got in early at 7:30 a.m. to prepare.         

On Wednesday, The Friends of the Library book sale ran until 6 p.m. and made $251.25.           

On Thursday, she attended the Library Board Meeting. The Board debated polices until 9 p.m. before deferring the vote for one month.          

On Friday, the Union filed a Grievance. She brought the contract and files home with her and read in bed until midnight.           

On Saturday, she had one lost preschooler, two staff absences, three roof leaks in the 300’s, four incidents of vandalism or theft, five teenagers arguing until the police were called and six broken machines: a clock with a run-down battery; an overheated electric pencil sharpener; downed telephones; glitchy circulation scanners; a photocopier paper jam; disrupted internet; and a crashed server. That night she had a glass of wine and went to bed early.           

On Sunday, the Library was closed. (It was Summer.)           

On Monday, the sun shone brightly. The computers and plumbing worked; a Board member brought flowers; a patron wrote a thank you note; she amicably shook hands with the Union representative over coffee; and a college student came back to show his A+ paper.

She realized she wasn’t a very busy children’s librarian anymore. She was a very busy manager! But as she sipped her coffee and reread the thank you note, she remembered the student’s A+ paper. She was a very proud Librarian.

Cynthia Long has over fourteen years’ experience as a children’s librarian working for the Free Library of Philadelphia and Lower Merion Library System (Ardmore, PA). She is currently the Coordinator of Library Operations for the Community College of Philadelphia and oversees Library staff and facilities.