Now here’s something to warm the cockles of a librarian’s heart, and just in time for the holiday season, when hot cockles are just what you need to keep you toasty as Jack Frost is nipping at your toes. It’s the “Little Librarian” kit. The sales pitch is, “be a real librarian. Just add books!”
You can tell immediately that this kit captures the spirit of most librarians quite well. Notice the exclamation marks!
Little Librarian is the first personal library kit made just for kids! It encourages reading and is powered by creativity and imagination, not batteries!
Wow! That sure is exciting! Powered by creativity and imagination! Wait a minute, maybe this isn’t a real librarian kit at all! And no batteries! How would our laptops and smartphones work without batteries?!
Let’s see what the Little Librarian kit considers the essential tools of librarianship. According to the site, each kit has 7 File Folders, 15 Book Pockets, 15 Book Cards, 4 Library Cards, 4 Reading Awards, 2 Bookmarks, 6 Overdue slips, and 1 Reading Journal.
Hmm, one wonders when the creators of Little Librarian were last in a library. I rarely use file folders these days. Those are reserved for people who still print out their emails. The last few libraries I’ve worked at haven’t used book pockets or book cards, either, but have used various sticky sheets or printouts instead. My library’s patrons have to supply their own bookmarks, too, Maybe we’re being stingy. I’m not even sure if we still send out paper overdue slips, either. Perhaps the Little Librarian kit should have contained a few Overdue emails, as well as a Little Librarian Integrated Library System to keep track of inventory and circulation.
Then there’s all the suggestions for fun. “Let’s Play Library!” they say, and what could be more fun than playing library! As the joke goes, isn’t that a kid’s game? Not the way I play it!
And what great ideas for play!
-Set up a library in your house
-Transform your books into a personal library
If you have any books, don’t you already have a personal library by default? Adding book pockets and overdue slips makes it more of an impersonal library, doesn’t it?
-Have a library class at your pretend school
Yeah, that’s fun! And I’m sure it’ll be stiff competition for your Wii.
-Set up a city and include a library
And then set up pretend disagreements with your Tea Party-backed library board of trustees!
-Use the book pockets and book cards to keep track of readers in a book pass group
Practical, but it doesn’t sound very fun.
-Host storytime at your pretend library or school
Why not just volunteer to host storytime at your real library or school? The library might actually go for it. I could see that being an innovative program.
-Write a story and host a reading at your home library
Or better yet, don’t. No one wants to hear stories written by librarians. There are too many talking cat characters.
-Keep track of your summer reading in the reading journal
Good plan. Then you can be one of those obsessive folks like Art Garfunkel who make a note of every book he’s ever read.
-Start a book club at your home library
Then you can sit around discussing the intricate plot devices of The Cat in the Hat while sipping merlot, just like grown ups do!
-Parents can use this kit as an incentive to help motivate their children to read
Wait, that doesn’t sound like a fun activity at all. It just sounds sneaky. If you want to motivate your children to read, you’d be better off reading to them and reading for enjoyment yourself. If you’re the kind of parent who never reads books, but can’t figure out how to motivate your child to read, this kit won’t help you much.
Of course, we real librarians know that this kit wouldn’t be turning kids into little librarians. It’ll be turning them into little library clerks at the very best. That’s not the plan, I’m sure, but this kit could advertise itself by saying, “Prepare your child for low-paying tedious work in a dying field!”
They should consider adding a “Little Bookstore Clerk” kit as well. It could have little price stickers and little receipt books, to mimic the way books were actually sold back in the day before barcodes and scanners. Then the kiddies could price and sell their books to each other. Maybe there could be little orange remainder stickers to put on the books no one wants to buy.
So get a few of these kits as Christmas presents for the children in your life (or the child in your soul!), because they’re sure to be the hot present this year, right behind just about every possible other present you could think of.