Tales From the Library

Every moment of my free time has gone to polishing a good (enough) working copy of my novel. My hope is to send out my first query letter this Monday – YIKES!! Normally, I balance my writing time between keeping my blog updated, visiting and commenting on other blogs I love, and editing my novel, this week has definitely been weighted toward the latter. But I would be remiss if I didn’t post my weekly Tales From the Library. 🙂

This week’s topic: Parents.

Ah, parents. The idea to write about the lovely parents who haul their brood of children into the library came to me yesterday as a tiny kid screamed bloody murder in the middle of his visit to us.

We’ve all seen those parents (men and women alike) whose parenting skills we see in practice and say to ourselves, “I will never be like that!” Of course, this is rarely the case, but it’s a nice idea. There are four main categories of parents who come into the library:

1. The Perfect Parent – Laughing and joking with their amenable children, they are a rare breed. Both adults and children find the items they are looking for with relative ease and depart said library with joy in their hearts and books in their hands.

2. The Blind Eye Parent – This parent absolutely can NOT be bothered by their screaming child. The ignored child either a. runs away until a librarian or other patron finds the child and drags him back to the parent or b. screams and carries on while the parent continues to browse the DVD collection. You can always spot this parent by the expression of “how did I get here and whose child is this?” on their befuddled faces.

3. The Inculpable Parent – You may recognize this parent by remarks such as: “Oh isn’t Johnny cute?” as child pulls all the books from the shelves or “Can you tell Sally that she shouldn’t scream in the library?” said to a librarian or “Come on Billy, we need to leave now?” said over and over and over as child ignores parent and continues to play and/or tear books from their shelves. This parent is passive in every sense of the word and refuses to exert any authority over the smaller version of themselves.

And finally:

4. The Bad Example Parent – The ones who live by “Do as I say, not as I do” law. Perfect example: Woman returns book that is wet, is told about it, says she doesn’t have time to deal with it and will take care of it next time. Next time she comes in and is told about the book (which is ruined and can’t be circulated), says, “Well, it’s not wet anymore, so why do I have pay for it?” Great role model. Or the woman who asked my colleague to reprimand her screaming child and tell the kid how to behave properly in the library. Um, that’s a new role – Librarian Nannies.

Do you have a favorite parent story to share?

  1. Since I worked in the children’s department I have LOTS of parent stories, but one of my favorites was when I was covering a branch library and told a Mom that a video she had checked out was overdue. Naturally, she told me she had returned that she had returned that awhile ago, but her daughter piped up, “No, you didn’t. It’s in the garage!”

    Ratted out by her own offspring!

  2. I have a ton of parent stories since I taught in an alternative school for fifteen years. Some of the stories are not really pretty. Others are beautiful.

    Good luck with the querying!!!!!

  3. Those parents come to vet clinics too where they let the kids run wild and reach into sharps containers with the used needles and run up to sick books and stick their hands in cages.

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