Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Librarians Who Can't Sing

With this title you may be wondering, Huh? Librarians don't sing! They check my books out, help me find books, tell me how much my overdue fines are, tell my kids to stop running around the library while screaming and jumping on furniture- Oh, wait, those are my kids, not yours. So, anyway, just to clarify, as part of their official job description, librarians DO NOT sing to the library patrons. Unless...they're doing kiddie story time! Ah hah! you think.  This makes sense now! Laura has a bazillion kids and she probably takes them to library story time because it's free childcare for a blessed 25 minutes or so while she aimlessly wanders the library aisles looking for exciting, informative, engaging reading material.

Well...yes and no. I do take them to Pajama Story time at the sweet, little adorable Hastings Branch Library. (Although, I have been accosted by a nose-hating, strange woman there before. See my post last year "I Bet You Cry About Your Nose" I typically get Daisy and Chloe settled on their cute little bright blue or orange cushions and the librarian (who happens to have five kids - and he's young looking! Cute kids, too, and a nice wife. I really am very chatty, aren't I?) starts singing the ultimate, song-to-end-all-kids-songs "If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands! Clap! Clap! If you're happy and you know it..." (Is the tune starting in your head now? I bet you'll start humming it in about 3 seconds!)

The only problem that I have with this fabulous little song is that...the librarian really can't sing well - at all. He does try, but he cuts the notes short and is rather flat-sounding. Now, I'm no singing expert, but Tim is. Tim grew up in a singing family. In fact, their Sunday morning worship had no instruments, only singing - acapella, they call it. There's no lyin' when it's acapella! How your voice sounds is rather apparent to everyone around you. So, Tim will pick apart a singer and tell me why they're good or not and use all this official sounding musical lingo. I'm always impressed by his expert analysis, but hear myself saying, "Well, they sound OK to me..." So, for me to notice that someone's singing doesn't knock my socks off is something. But, the librarian singer is sweet and earnest and the kids don't care. They just sing along blissfully unaware of the marginal musical talent they're being exposed to. So, should I care? No, I really don't. Besides, I'm sure his own kids adore his singing and his smart  wife just tells him how wonderful he is, so who am I to tear the beautiful, idyllic picture apart with my unprofessional criticism? (OK, so I'm a bit melodramatic and overly imaginative, but it's my blog and I can write whatever I want to).

However, there was one story time at my second favorite library in the admirable Pasadena Public Library System that actually had me thoroughly IRRITATED! The L----  V---- Branch (this is to protect the innocent and the not-so-innocent) is a little library in this gorgeous neighborhood in the north R--- B--- area. They have the best toys in their children's department. I can look for books in the kids section while my girls (and an occasional tag along friend or two) play and everybody has a delightful time. So, a year ago I took Daisy and then baby Julia to story time there one morning. The librarian was very charming, but couldn't sing to save her life. She totally slaughtered the song. I was almost traumatized by it. And the little kiddos singing along with her weren't loud enough to drown her cacophony out. At all. It's possible I was quite postpartum, hormonal or whatever, but I found myself really bugged by how badly she mangled the children's songs. I decided to NEVER frequent THAT story time again. Would a whole generation of R--- B--- area residents and their children and nannies (oops! I let that one slip!) be forever turned off by story time and the required songs of childhood because this one well-intentioned librarian couldn't carry a tune? Would they be ruined in some way by the wretched sounds choking their way out of her mouth? Maybe she should've sung "If you can't sing and you shouldn't try shut your mouth (clap! clap!). If you can't sing and you shouldn't try shut your mouth (clap! clap!)..."  OK, so I'm sort of mean.

 (Check this out, library lady!)

Come to think of it, almost all the librarians that I've taken my kids to library story time to see have been marginal singers. But none was worse than the L---- V---- lady. Poor thing, maybe she doesn't know how bad she is. Then again, the library is a publically funded place, not some professional Broadway theater. And I really do love my local libraries and all the phenomenal and patient librarians who have helped me and my kids and taken hundreds of dollars of mine in overdue library fines over the years (yes, it's probably at least $200 by this time. Please don't tell Tim).Anyway,  I'm just in a punchy mood these days. I'm probably overdue for a relaxing, refreshing day off . But not at the library during story time.


dietcokegrrl said...

Funny post! And thanks for all the info on which libraries to frequent...and which ones to not. :)

foutfolk said...

A LITTLE punchy? It is actually hilarious. I love stories like that. :)