Thursday, October 16, 2008


This afternoon I had some "free" time that I could have spent blogging (or more likely doing laundry and stripping wallpaper).
Instead, I ended up helping out at our tiny village library.

"It's for the children" gets me every time.

"Library" is really too grand a name. It's just one small room on the ground floor of the old rectory near the village church. For years it was open to the public on Saturday mornings and a couple of times a week for the school. And it was all run by volunteers. These days, however, volunteers are hard to come by. Most people now have jobs that keep them busy.
So, the village library is no longer open on Saturdays and they are even hard-pressed to find people to keep it open one afternoon a week for the schoolchildren.

That's where I come in.

The woman who has been running the library has had a change of work schedule and can only come about once a month now. The twins' teacher told me this last week, looking all sad and wistful. "Such a shame, really, if the children can't go to the library. They so look forward to it. I don't suppose...?
And what could I say?
I would go against everything I stand for to be even indirectly implicated in something that would deprive children of books.
So, I said "Oui". Not that I was all that happy to go when the time came. I had a million things to do at home and was a bit peeved at the idea of spending two and a half hours at the library full of French books.
I was in no mood.

Grumbling incoherently, I climbed into the car, drove to the post office, mailed a box of cheese to a shepherd (long story) and then went to the library. The other volunteer was there waiting to show me what to do. Then she left.

And suddenly, there I was: Queen of the Village Library!
And of course, I loved it. The kids were adorable and I had great fun chatting with them about the books they were checking in and out.

I even used my long-dormant knowledge of the Dewey decimal system to help small children find the books they wanted. My favorite of the day was Luna, a funny little thing with huge eyes, even huger black-rimmed glasses and mad-scientist hair. She was very intense as she asked me "Madame, Do you have any books about God?"

I LOVED being the Library Lady and will definitely be spending more Thursdays there.

6 comments:

babzee said...

I believe Luna was illustrated by Mary GrandPre even before you met her? http://tinyurl.com/3mp4uy

La Framéricaine said...

I have a deeply held secret desire to be the Queen of the Library in Le Blanc, so I know just how you feel/felt!!! That is so exciting!

You have no idea how big my smile is right now.

Also, on the topic of time:

http://peripheries.net/article320.html

was sent to me by my husband's lovely fille cadette. I hope that you will read this and send it to every Francophone reader you know, especially the women or the women wannabes.

Amitiés,

Beth said...

Yes! That's her! Just needs Industrial Strength glasses.

Thanks for the link to the great article, H to F!

La Framéricaine said...

I thought it was a superb article and I was particularly touched because Le Framéricain's daughter sent it to me at the very moment that I needed it and I also knew that it was an expression of how she--the mother of two daughters, 11 & 14, fully-employed, and very recently divorced--was also feeling.

Share the wealth!

oreneta said...

It's great when something we are forced to do turns out to be something we love doing. I have been looking enviously at our village library for a while, I just need to get better at Catalan and learn Spanish and I am all set.

babzee said...

Thank les cieux for Babelfish!