How to Make a Librarian Cry

The title may be a bit misleading as to the content of this post.  I’m a stinker like that.  I mean, there are plenty of ways to make a librarian cry, but this is a nice way to make a children’s librarian cry at least one happy tear (if that’s your mission).  I thought I’d share this simple/fun idea both as a basic craft/project idea, but also as a fun way to surprise a special librarian.

I stumbled across some fun “picture frame border” paper several months ago and thought that I could do something fun with it.  Around the same time, when I was trying to figure out what I should do with my 3rd-5th graders in their Summer Reading storytimes, I had a SHAZAM moment. I was taking over this group of kids from our wildly popular Children’s Librarian Miss Jean.  I know she was fine with me doing this, but I also know that she has a tender heart, and that she was going to really miss storytimes with this group.  So, what if I used this paper to have the kids create a special Art Gallery for her? And what if I make it a secret activity with the kids and then surprise Miss Jean with it the next day?  So that’s what I did.

As the children were arriving for the storytime, I handed out several copies of a letter explaining what we’d be doing that day.  It went through why, what, and how we were doing it.  Several kids whispered questions like “Are we really doing this?” and “What’s her favorite color?”  They were warned that I would pretend to gather up their artwork in order to scan into our website for a special art gallery, and that I would say that I would be handing back their art next week.  In reality, the artwork would not get scanned, and the kids will be getting their artwork back this fall (if they still wanted their work back by then).

The kids had fun, and let’s face it – I had fun too.  And when Miss Jean stopped by to see what the kids were doing, I learned that we have some really good actors in that group.  Poor Miss Jean probably wondered why some of the kids giggled when she complimented their work.

Finally, after Miss Jean left for the day, I was up a ladder and standing on her desk with sticky putty stuff in hand.  It went up quite quickly, and the most difficult part was deciding what pictures to have face into the office, and what would face out into the library.

I wasn’t there the next day when Miss Jean came in, but she sent me a sweet email saying how much she loved her surprise. Later in person, she admitted that we did get her to shed a tear or two.

Mission accomplished.