Love, dragons, and other joys of the children’s reference desk

It’s been a particularly enjoyable couple of weeks on the children’s reference desk. The ever-funny Screwy Decimal had a great post recently about what kids actually want to read. In the spirit of  that post, I thought maybe I should share a couple of my favorite recent interactions with young patrons.

Interaction #1

A seven or eight year old girl wanders up to the desk. We talk about Dewey the library fish for a minute or two before she leans in and whispers, rather theatrically, “Can I ask you something?”

Me: “Sure, go ahead.”

Her: (pause) “Do you believe in dragons?” Oh, this is a child after my own heart.

Me: “Well. I’ve never seen one, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t real.”

We spend a few minutes looking at pictures of dragons from her favorite cartoon (some kind of Arthurian thing?) online before she asks me for a book about dragons. We have a great book in our children’s reference collection (which mostly means it can’t be be checked out) called Dragonology. It’s styled to look hand-written and illustrated, is full of “facts” about different breeds of dragon, and is replete with little pieces (letters, badges, pull-outs, etc.)–which is why it doesn’t circulate. I gave that to her. She flipped through it for a little while, then brought it back to show me a letter she found in an envelope on the inside cover (you can see what I’m talking about on the book’s Amazon page).  She was struggling with the handwriting font, so I read the letter to her. At the end, she sighed, “I think this is the perfect book for me.” Hooray!

Interaction #2

Another little girl, maybe four or five, asked me for books about the Little Mermaid. I tried, unsucessfully, to steer her away from Disney and toward Hans Christian Anderson. (“No, I mean ARIEL.”) But eventually we found Ariel, and she happily flipped through it on the floor, asking Grandma to read a few choice passages aloud. When they were getting ready to go, we had this little interaction:

Her: I have to go now.

Me: Ok, well thanks for coming to the library! Come back soon.

Her,  ducking her head a little: I love you.

Me: Thank you very much.

Her: What’s your name?

Such cuteness. I love making a good impression on the little ones, because I want them to want to come back. And hopefully these two will!

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