Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Battle of the Books

Yesterday marked the beginning of our library's annual Battle of the Books. In case you didn't grow up with this kind of a competition, I will explain.

The library (meaning the children's librarians), beginning the day after the "battle" ends, starts to sift through children's and teen literature looking for books that we like. Usually, they are award winners, but we often pick one book that's just for fun. This year, our fun choice was the first Percy Jackson book (for the older group).

Then we order a lot of these books. Like, tons. After they arrive, we divide them up and give them to area schools. The schools (on their own) form teams of 10 kids. The "sponsor" (or coach) helps them study the books like crazy. Meanwhile, we're back at the library writing up questions.

When the battle finally arrives, we pit kids from all the area's schools against each other in a battle of memorization skills. When one team proves superior, we hand them a trophy they get to give back next year if they lose. If they win, we just take it, engrave it again, then give it back.

During the last Battle of the Books...

Well...it was my first week of work here.

That's right, I have now worked at the library for a whole year. When I realized this on Saturday, I told my coworkers, who did not really even believe me. But now they realize, it's true. One year.

In the last battle, I was wandering around taking pictures. I was afraid of everyone I worked with, terrified of the sponsors, certain that I wouldn't be using the camera right...I was a nervous wreck.

Now I know my coworkers aren't scary (unless they've skipped their coffee) and they've learned that yes, I am very scary, but not in a terrifying way, in a that-girl-is-so-odd-she-freaks-me-out way. They've become accustomed to my rambling e-mails, to me climbing up the stairs and mock-collapsing when I get to the top, or my going to the circulation desk upstairs only to jump midway into a conversation they know nothing about. Because it's been going on in my head.

This battle, I am up in front of a crowded room, reading out questions to the teams and judging their answers as right or wrong. This time I'm dealing with challenges, when the teams want me to prove that my answer to the question I've asked is right or wrong. I'm announcing the winners of each match, reporting our results to the scorekeeper, and someone else has the camera.

At this time last year, I was certain I'd faint if I had to get up in front of all of those people. Now I don't even flinch. I think it has to do with doing the bunny hop and the chicken dance in front of children and their parents twice a week. Or throwing on a Biscuit costume to wave at crowds of children. It might have been accomplished through what one could consider public humiliation, but I'm happy with the results.

Most importantly, now I have a yarn budget.

Oh--and I don't have to worry about the Honda dying. And I don't have to worry about being able to make student loan payments. That's good too.

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