Love and Work. And food.
I helped kids find adventure books, mystery books, and books about Zimbabwe. I helped parents find counting books and books they could read aloud to their 5-year-olds that would not make them want to gouge their eyes out like the Rainbow Fairies (Here are a couple: Catwings; Pippi Longstocking). I more or less taught one mom all about early literacy and how to help her kindergartener get ready to read in a way that would be fun for both of them (Yes: reading together, rhyming, singing, finding books they both like, looking at signs and labels. No: memorizing vocabulary lists, formalized teaching of phonics) and she seemed to really get it and to be happy for the information. I showed a kid how to find information about prehistoric people on an online database, and how to e-mail the articles to himself to print out later, and his whole family gathered around the computer terminal to watch and encourage him.
I helped an older woman wearing a poppy find "The Story of Ferdinand" for her grandchildren. I tracked down a book about Remembrance Day at another branch for someone who wanted to read it in her class. I helped a parent find a DVD about how to talk to your kids about sex. I found a CD-ROM about dinosaurs that a kid remembered playing two or three years ago. I did not find the French Christmas books because they'd been moved, and the other librarian on duty didn't know where they were either, but the patron who was asking me eventually found them herself, and she showed me where they were. I retrieved many video game disks for kids who wanted to borrow video games. I told many, many people that the bathroom keys were right on the desk and they were welcome to use them. And right before we closed, as everyone was hurrying for the exits, I helped a woman find some books about origami and haiku.
I logged 86 questions in five hours. By the end of the afternoon I was a little twitchy. If someone-- like, say, one of my fellow librarians-- came into the corner of my field of vision, I would jump a little bit and reflexively say, "How can I help--" then laugh a little and say, "oh, hi." But it was fun. Well, mostly fun. I was doing the kind of reference I like most. It was fun to feel needed and knowledgeable and helpful.
Then I went out for an excellent dinner with friends and laughed and laughed. I'd started the day with good food and laughter too-- the Mermaid Girl woke up in fine form, wanting to cook popovers and fruit soup out of the book Pretend Soup, by Mollie Katzen, and it turned out to be a really scrumptious breakfast. The Renaissance Woman is still sick, but was well enough to sit up and eat and chat with us before I had to go to work.
I've had some tough days this week, but today was a really good day.