Both You and Your Library Care

<img class=”aligncenter wp-image-5405 size-large” src=”″ alt=”Keeping a small board book with a &quot;GPL Cares&quot; sticker on the back cover in my purse at all times for library advocacy and outreach (while being a good human being). |” width=”700″ height=”595″>

I know that this idea is&nbsp;not super-original, but it’s worth sharing and reconsidering if you’ve come across it from elsewhere. For me it was the result of two things: something that I had done, and something that I had read.

<b>DONE:</b> When I was attending the Nevada Library Association’s conference in October 2016, I was having breakfast with some amazing <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>Storytime Underground Joint Chiefs</a> when an adorable little girl in a booth next to ours started playing peekaboo with us. We&nbsp;explained to the parents that we were Children’s Librarians mainly to keep them from seeking security to remove us from the restaurant.

Long story short – I surprised the girl during a “peek” moment by holding up one of the handheld fans I carry since some of my medications can raise my body temperature. The little girl was enamored. When the parents offered to pay me for the fan, I refused and told them “take your girl to one of your library’s storytimes – I’ll consider that payment.” It was a really cool experience for me – and one of my many cherished memories from that trip.

<strong>READ:</strong> Somewhere online I read a post or comment from a Children’s Librarian who was telling the story of a toddler who was melting down at a restaurant. She said that as a Children’s Librarian she almost always keeps&nbsp;free books in her car, so she went out, grabbed one, and gave it to the child who was instantly enraptured with it. <em>Awesome Librarian Act of Random Kindness Achievement unlocked!</em>

<strong>THE RESULT:</strong> I was like&nbsp;<em>Hey! I should totally carry around a board book with me at all times to give away to a child!&nbsp;</em>And I did just that. I took one of the smaller board books that we were using for our&nbsp;<em>GPL Cares&nbsp;</em>campaign (where we donate donated books to local dentists’, doctors’, and veterinarians’ offices) and put it in my purse. And there it stayed for months – mostly forgotten about.

<img class=”aligncenter size-large wp-image-5404″ src=”″ alt=”Donated books that we put a red &quot;GPL Cares&quot; stickers on to donate to area offices |” width=”700″ height=”525″>

But last week the time finally came for me to give out my first book, <em>and I almost completely missed the opportunity.</em>

I was walking around the Nebraska State Capitol building after having met with my Senator for our Advocacy Day. I was pretty jubilant that I’d found my way around, had a good meeting, and wasn’t having a fibro flare. &nbsp;I was so caught up in myself that I walked right on by a mom, dad, and child who were having a rough day. The toddler was screaming while the mom tried to get a warm jacket on him – and lemme tell you what: that building is a giant echo chamber.

I am ashamed to say that I kept going past them for about a yard, but then it hit me that I had a book with me that might help them out. I sucked up my courage (<em>believe it or not -&nbsp;I’m a super shy introvert IRL</em>), and approached the family. I said, “Hi, I’m a Children’s Librarian – is there anything I can do to help?” (<em>yes, I know I’m not a Children’s Librarian, but it was easier saying that than what my real job title is</em>). The mom said, “Oh no thanks, &nbsp;he’s late for his nap and is not happy about it.” I pulled out my book and showed it to the toddler and there wasn’t even a hesitation – he reached for it IMMEDIATELY. The mom said that they have that book at home (<em>yay!</em>), and so I told her that she could pass this one on.

Let me tell you, the full minute I had walking down the long hallway where there wasn’t any shrieking was one of my favorite parts of the day (<em>and there were lots of good things that happened that day</em>). Yes, the kid returned to fuss-mode, but I like to think that it wasn’t quite as loud as it had been. And maybe I made the parents consider going to a library and bringing their child – that librarians care and have good resources for them.

All that might be&nbsp;wishful thinking, but I believe that you never know how little things can impact the life or lives of those around you. So why not grab a book (stickers are optional since they&nbsp;<em>are&nbsp;</em>potential choking hazards), keep it in a bag you carry, and be ready to swoop in and blow a stranger’s mind? It’s a pretty great feeling.

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