...am a book pusher.
There, I said it. It's true. I prey on children with their impressionable little minds. I prey on the desperate, frantically looking for their next great read. Fellow book bloggers beware, I've been slowly but surely pushing books on you, too. Your TBRs may be large, but I'm the little devil on your shoulder whispering "More! More!"
I'm the worst kind of pusher, because I am also a user. My own TBR is proof enough. It's an addiction, and if you've read my In My Mailbox posts, then you know the idea of recovery is a pipe dream. I have accepted this and have embraced my Book Hoarding Disease. Why take only one or two books when you can have ten or twenty?
When kids come into the library looking for a book, they sometimes ask me how many books they're allowed to take out. I can't help myself. A huge smile breaks out across my face and I reply, "As many as you can carry!" Then I gleefully offer them library tote bags so they can increase their load.
I justify this by my job. As a librarian, isn't it my sworn duty to encourage the joy of reading? And who better to encourage than children and teens just discovering the wonderful world of books?
But I have encountered an obstacle I could have never predicted. I have a nemesis, and you wouldn't believe who they are. Are you ready for this? It's...
Yes, I know, you're shocked. I am too. Aren't parents supposed to want their kids to read? Don't they go to PTA meetings and engage in "My kid read more books over the summer than your kid, for fun!" bragging contests? I'm sure I've seen a bumper sticker along these lines.
So what's up with all these parents coming into my library and telling their kids to pick one book only? Come on parents, what gives? Do they not see the joyous smiles on the faces of their precious children melt away at the utterance of this terrible phrase?
Do they not care for the perplexing dilemma they have unceremoniously dumped at the feet of their children as they stare down at the collection of books they have lovingly scoured the shelves to create? Put all but one back? Are they mad??
Oh parents, why? Whhyy?? You are breaking my librarian heart. I have to bite my tongue and take deep calming breaths. You see, not only do I feel it is my sworn duty to ensure these kids discover the wondrous joys of reading, but I am also a firm believer in The Backup Book.
Here is a piece of wisdom I've picked up along the way:
One is none, two is one!
Don't get it? Let me tell you a story. I'm sure you're all familiar with this story or one of its many incarnations. You go to the library and you pick up THE book. You can't believe it. You actually have, in your possession, THE book. You have lusted after this book for months. You have pinned all of your reading hopes and dreams on this book. You just know it will be amazing. The glorious day has come, and the book is finally yours!
You're devastated. You don't want to read this book. You want to chuck it across the room and purge from your memory the few lines you allowed to pollute your eyes. Ever see a baby eat something they don't like? That look of "EWW ACK YEE GADS GET IT OUT!" Yeah, that's what you're feeling. But guess what?
The library is closed.
This, my friends, is why The Backup Book is so very important. Without The Backup Book, you could be left stranded with nothing to read. Do these parents know they may be dooming their children to the worst possible situation on the planet? And for what? To avoid a few pesky little library fines? (And, come on, they totally know I'll cut their fines in half and backdate their returns for them so the computer "thinks" they returned it two days before they actually did). Is not the eternal happiness of their child worth this small and not-necessarily-inevitable price? For shame, Parents, for shame!
Have any of you encountered these perplexing parents? ARE any of you these types of parents? (and, if so, then I'm totally sorry if I've offended you, but, seriously, what's up with that?) What about The Backup Book? Is anyone else out there with me in lugging around two books in their purse "Just in case"?