“Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys”

13406986_10153566220727371_623513095724235842_nA few weeks ago I came across this statement. I fell in love with it and it has become entirely too applicable in my life. Today I was brutally slapped with it again as I had to deal with some craziness that while affected me, was not my circus. Thank God. I can walk away.

I have had this idea since last year while watching Paris When It Sizzles, a favorite Audrey Hepburn movie. I mean, I seriously love this film. And I got this idea for my local library. What about ‘Summer When It Sizzles’ for a book theme where you pull off all the romances and steamy books and trashy romances….  okay, not super trashy, but heck, even a few Harlequins have some ‘bodice ripper’ style covers. It is what it is and hey, the library has them on their shelves. It’s not like I would insert naughty books. Heck, the Fifty Shades of Grey books are right there.

So I talked it over with the librarian this year. I thought, heck, while the kids are having their summer reading program, the adults can have a fun “summer sizzling’ kind of reading program. Nothing fancy, just all the romance are pulled out and showcased. Up on shelves with little cut out tidbits of  ‘something steamy in here’ or “sweet romance’  or ‘a classic romance’. See?  Simple.

The librarian loved it. She even said, she would pull out one of the extra kids tables and set it up by the door for me to set up the display. I was even wishing I had some red fabric for a Valentines-y look.  I was tempted to cut out hearts.  And I like to think the librarian was excited for this display because the day before the first of July, when we were going to set it up, she made sure I was coming in to do it and seemed super excited.

So, I set it up. You can see my display.

July 1st rolled by and we got a laugh when she had to hunt for a book that I had pulled out to showcase and she had to switch labels…..

The the holiday came…….

Then today.

I walk into the library with my stack of due books and before I barely get in the door, one of the volunteer ladies immediately tells me that they didn’t think it was appropriate that the children’s table had been used for ‘those kinds of books’ so they put them all back in the library and set up children’s books instead, and oh, would I call the librarian.

Fortunately the librarian was trying to catch me before I was slammed with the switch.  But I would have liked her to have maybe stood up for me a bit. I mean, I had spent two hours making the labels and wording for the sign, and another hour setting up the display. And good grief, what? The table is not specifically a ‘children’s table’ but just a small table in the kid’s section.  I didn’t know that kids could get an STD by picking up a romance novel…… which they can check out and the librarian cannot stop them (I should know, I worked in the library and when I saw a 12 year old check out Hannibal, I was shocked but couldn’t do a darn thing about it….)

The shock and horror that was in the volunteer woman’s tone was like I was this awful bad person.  Yet, aren’t we supposed to be promoting reading? At a library?  And aren’t romances part of the library? And a lot of them? And Fifty Shades made the rounds.  And yes, I’ve read some of it.  (Personally I find it terrible writing. I’ve read much better erotica in my time, but I digress)

The point being was, how petty can you be? How utterly childish and prudish can you be?  Now, I’m not naming names because I plan on sending this to a few friends who know these people, but my gosh.

This is where I say, not my circus, not my monkeys.  You can go take your own GD monkeys and well….. I’ll leave the option up to you.  Needless to say I was not happy. In fact, I was kind of fighting tears later this afternoon because honestly, one day. The display was up one day with the Librarian’s permission and people got upset.  Emma was one of the titles for pete’s sake!

It reminds me of Marian the Librarian from The Music Man (modern version best)

Professor, her kind of woman doesn’t belong on any committee.
Of course, I shouldn’t tell you this but she advocates dirty books.

Harold:
Dirty books!

Alma:
Chaucer

Ethel:
Rabelais

Eulalie:
Balzac!

OMG! Dirty books! I mean, who knew that Emma and Emilie Loring books were dirty?

And this is one reason I don’t get terribly involved with the library. And this is one reason why younger people don’t get involved with the library. It’s having to deal with anyone over the age of 55….. and their lack of , well lack of a lot.

Is this a rant? You bet it is. It hurt. And am I going to let it go? Yep. But seriously, this is the last time I bring up an idea to the library.

Kate

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5 thoughts on ““Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys”

  1. Oh Katie Lyn, I am so disappointed on your behalf! And mad! That is devastating. I showed my mom and we agreed it was an AMAZING display! Plus such a wonderful enticement to get people to read in a library that, frankly, needs the help.

    I must say, please don’t stop fighting for awesome displays at the library. If you abandon it, things will never get better at all, for you or for anyone else. Think of what people say when a president they don’t like is elected: I’m leaving the country! Well fine, but in Canada you’re not a voice of dissent, and you don’t have a vote to try to change policies you disagree with. You’re just a Canadian! (disclaimer: I love Canadians, this statement has nothing to do with the quality of Canadian people). Not to say that it’s your responsibility, but you have such excellent ideas and the skills to bring those ideas to life. I want to see your ideas will flourish! It’s not your circus, nor your monkeys, but it is your hometown and the only library within.

    I guess I’m saying this because earlier this week I heard a quote that truly successful people are those who get back up and try again after they fail. I have this embarrassing sneaking suspicion it was Michael Scott on The Office, but Jon Bon Jovi said it well too: “Success is falling down nine times and getting up ten.”

    You have the power to change things at the library! Don’t let anyone, not even cranky prudish old women tell you that you don’t. Just because they don’t see the need for change doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. FIGHT THE POWER, KATIE!

    • Ah, yes, the good fight…. Things I am terrible with! But having gone through some of the prudish women in the library, it’s expected. This is definitely another discussion for us all to have on censorship within the library system. While I might not fight this particular instance, at the same time, it’s nice to have the support and the reminder to keep fighting for fun displays. We want people to read! (Dammit!! read people!!!) And we want good displays. I’ve been thinking about cool displays for all kinds of things lately. Okay, so maybe bodice ripper romances (not that these were) are not the personal taste of these ladies, but there are a lot of other cool things out there! So while I don’t want to have to fight, it’s not a bad reminder to keep fighting for these things.
      Thanks Meems. What would I do without a friend like you goading and pushing me on? I might never try new things. Pick a little talk a little is right. I loved the second comment and have been singing the song for the entire week.

      And gosh darn it! It is my library. I should whip some monkeys into shape!

  2. (Also:
    “HE LEFT RIVER CITY
    THE LIBRARY BUILDING
    BUT HE LEFT ALL THE BOOKS
    TO *HER*!
    Peck a little, talk a little,
    Peck a little, talk a little,
    CHEEP CHEEP CHEEP
    Talk a lot peck a little more!)

  3. This makes me so sad. Just this week, as my daughter was signing up for yet another kids summer reading program, I was thinking how much I wished that libraries created summer reading programs for adults, who might want to dip into something a little different, but needed some direction. This would have been perfect for me! I agree with the other commenter. Please try again. Perhaps another location could be found? Good luck!

    • Shala, thank you so much for your comments. I don’t think enough libraries court adults when it comes to summer reading programs. Funny thing was that another local came into the library commenting on how we needed an adult summer reading program, but the librarian told her that I already had something in mind. It is rather a shame the librarian then didn’t stand up for me. I will have to try again. Yes. We need to attract adults as much as kids. And I think that is so sweet you would have liked something like this.

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