Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Too Many Ladybugs - A Library Story

I look back with fondness at my years as a librarian and realize that many of my more interesting days in the library involved children.  As the manager of a small library, my duties and those of all the staff could be summed up with "we do a little bit of everything."

Planning for the annual Summer Reading Program began in March and as soon as school let out in May, the library was a hub of activity.  An example of the need for quick thinking and flexibility took place one year when we were focusing on bugs and insects.  One program was about ladybugs, and we decided that we would send each child home with some ladybugs to release.  We learned that ladybugs would remain dormant if refrigerated and we placed an order for several thousand. 

We kept the sleeping ladybugs in the library's refrigerator until the morning of the program and then removed the package to put them in the hundred or so film cartridges we had collected.  We took the package into the auditorium and opened it, finding that the ladybugs were far from dormant. They were awake and very energetic and many quickly escaped into the large, open room.  We couldn't catch them, but were able to sweep them towards and out the back door of the building.  More than half of them were lost -- and probably found homes in the neighborhood gardens around town.  We were able to scoop enough of them up so that each child received a few.

I also managed to catch a few in my clothing.  They went down the front of my dress and up the skirt.  I shook a few out as I walked to the restroom and removed a few more when I was able to lift my skirt and reach down the front of my dress.  When I went home that evening, I found still more nestled in folds and crevices -- places I wouldn't have imagined that they could have been!

The program was a success and I gained a new appreciation of ladybugs, especially en masse.

This is the time of year when children all over the country are signing up for their library's summer reading program.  If you have the opportunity, you might give a special thanks to the librarians who work hard to make the summer special for the kids in your community.  They will tell you, I'm sure, that the pleasure is theirs, even when it involves the unexpected -- like thousands of ladybugs!


p.s.  The ladybug photo is from the Thomas Hawk Digital Collection.


Grandma in the yellow house said...

This story made me laugh, I will have to blog about the time our son decided to get rid of the wasps in our back yard.
Lois aka okiewife aka Grandma in the yellow house

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

Oh My Goodness! I can imagine that would be a vivid memory! I enjoyed reading about it. You visited my blog and I had mentioned Steele, MO. I live in Ark., but I'm still very close to Steele. It really is a small world - especially with the internet. laurie


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