The Librarian

Beep.
Item 2527 added to catalogue.
The cover was bright and shiny, protected by the plastic sticky wrapping. The spine devoid of creases, evidence of its unopened status. After months of searching and waiting, she finally had the book and it was just begging to be read. She should have a little time to finish the first chapter before…
“Good morning, Ms. B! Can you please open the library?” Startled, she looked up to meet the eyes of the dozen students waiting expectantly outside. A quick glance at the clock told her that it was past time to open.
The precious tome was quickly deposited into her drawer.
As soon as the doors unlocked, the students streamed in, grateful for the coolness of the library. Sighing, she knew it would be impossible to get anything else done.
On cue, a student ran up. “Ms. B, the printer isn’t working again and my homework is due next period!”
Wincing, she walked over to the recalcitrant printer. Like clockwork, it always jammed in the morning which was terrible for students who left their homework to the last minute. The printer began spitting out printouts, but she had barely taken two steps when another student ran up.
“Ms. B, can I have a book recommendation? I’m looking for a good fantasy romance book….” Tapping her lip, Ms. B mentally flipped through several books….The Selection series, the Matched trilogy, the Evermore series…
“How about the Hush, Hush series? I have heard good things about it from other students.” Quickly, she summarized the plot while leading the student to the right shelf. The student was barely settled with her book when Ms. B heard her name being called again. “Ms. B, can you help me find a research paper? I can’t find it on the library databases.”
And so on it went…“Can I have a book about dogs” “Is there another book like Wonder?” “I just can’t find the book, Ms. B,” “Ms. B, can you check my bibliography?” “I can’t remember the title but it was about dragons…” “I’m sorry, Ms. B, I didn’t mean to spill orange juice on it!” “Ms. B, is the newest Magnus Chase book here yet?” “Ms. B, how do I do an in-text citation for a website that doesn’t have an author?”
Her feet began to ache and it wasn’t even first period yet!
Finally, the clock struck 8.30 and the library was quiet again. Grinning, she reached for her drawer.
Beep. Email received.
Subject: Class materials – URGENT
Hi Ms. B,
Can you help me find some papers about acupuncture before second period? I will need around 8 papers that were published in the last ten years, concluding the benefits of practice.
Thanks!
Mr. Jones
Resigned, she began an hour’s worth of research. After painstakingly searching through the school’s databases, skimming abstracts and conclusions then sorting out the papers that fell under the teacher’s specifications, she sent the email off. A quick time check revealed she had sent the packet right on time.
Longingly, she looked at her drawer but knew that the time for a quick read was past. Now she had to process the book returns, re-shelve, and clean up the reading areas.
She also had to double check the budget, fill out acquisition forms, renew the magazines subscriptions, brainstorm new displays, and compile a list of which books needed replacing.
The next time she glanced at the clock, it was half an hour before lunch. She had finished over half of her tasks. Surely, she deserved a quiet 30 minute read.
Her hand fell away at the sudden opening of the door. Blinking, she stared at the students and then her clock.
“Hello, isn’t it a bit early for lunch time?” Ms. B queried, wondering if she had to add fixing her clock on her to do list.
“Oh, our science class is doing research! Actually, Ms. B, can you help me find some books? About water?” Thus began a chorus of “Me too’s” from the rest of the cluster.
“Alright, but you all need to think about search terms, for example do you mean tap or drinking water? Also do you know how to use our databases?” Looking at their collective blank faces, Ms. B bit back a sigh. “Alright, gather around and I’ll show you how and we’ll also figure out some search terms.”
By the time she had finished giving a crash course on research, it was lunch time. To make things even worse, it was raining so it seemed like the entire school was in the library. It certainly sounded like it.
“Ms. B, Ms. B! Sandy hit me with a magazine! Kick her out of the library.” Hurriedly, she made her way towards the conflict.
“That’s because he stole my phone!” Sandy argued, still brandishing the magazine.
“Alright, Sandy, put down that magazine. And Tony, give her back her phone. Now apologize to each other and settle down.” Frowning, as they mutinously glared at each other, she snapped, “unless you prefer to hug out your differences instead?” That got them to sprout apologies that were semi-sincere.
It felt like an age when the clock finally hit 2.15. Did she dare think she had time to read just one page-?
“Ah, Ms. B! Could I have a quick chat about the curriculum next year? I need some advice on what books would be appropriate…”
Ms. B wilted but gamely made her way over to the teacher who was legendary for her 45 minute ‘quick chats.’ The book will just have to wait until after school…
Finally, 3.20! The students swarmed the buses. With a great sigh of relief, she retrieved the book from its hiding place. Now she can finally-
“Oh my god! Is that Hate U Give?” Ms. B’s stomach lurched as her gaze fell on two girls goggling the book.
“Yes, Chloe.” Looking at the girl’s pleading eyes, Ms. B’s heart sank. She knew what was coming.
“Ms. B, please can I borrow it? Please, please, please!” Her friend next to her protested.
“No, I want it! Ms. B, I’m your favorite, right? I should get it first!” Chloe elbowed her, “Nu-uh, Tracey, I get dibs!”
As the girls continued to bicker, Ms. B closed her eyes, resignedly bidding farewell to the book she would probably not see for a month, if not more.
“This will be due back on the 25th, Chloe,” she said, reluctantly relinquishing the book to its new borrower.
“Thank you, Ms. B!” The girl fairly squealed, her friend pouting mutinously.
“It will be your turn after her, Tracey.” Ms. B assured her, setting up the reservation.
Tracey lit up. “You hear that, Chloe? You need to return it on time! Like tomorrow!”
“No way, I have two weeks like everyone else!” Ms. B waved the arguing pair out of the library.
As they walked towards the door, the words “Lucky Ms. B, she gets to read all the new books first!” floated back.
She shook her head ruefully.
I would be lucky if I could read two words on the first page.

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