Trying to Settle in…and Thinking About Their Health

I’ve started week three at “the job” and I think so far it’s going pretty well. I made it through spring break without running out screaming, and that says a lot for a new librarian.

My branch has an unexpectedly high number of middle school aged young men. My oh my what a challenging bunch they are. Old enough to be mouthy, but young enough that there is still some respect for authority figures. Old enough to understand the big words, but short enough that in heels I’m still taller. They’re bright, they’re bored, and they don’t really like to read. I’ve noticed, though, if I leave something out on a table…they’ll page through it. So I just have to figure out what to leave casually “lying around” open to a juicy scene.

They do love games though. We had a huge group join us for Uno last week and we seem to be on a high spurt of playing checkers and chess again. We have two boards and a set of chess and checkers pieces that are just stored on a shelf. The kids can come and get them at any time and I just ask them to put it away when they are done. I only found two pieces on the floor this morning (and I left at six last night—mid game) so that’s pretty good! They’re not so hot on crafts, I think it’s perceived as a little too girly. I’d love to start a knitting group–but I’m hesitant to take foot long metal needles in and hand them to rowdy middle school students. Wish I could crochet with dexterity. Maybe my long suffering roommate will sit through it again with me.

One concern I do have is for their health. The neighborhood I’m in is politely described as middle class/lower income, with an emphasis on the latter. Call it whiplash from my daily overdoses of medical news–I look at these kids and I see health problems. When a child is the better part of a foot shorter than I am and weighs over half again as much as I do…I see a child who will probably continue on this overweight/obese trend and who could be a poster child for pre-diabetes.

Is that something a librarian should try to educate about? A children’s librarian no less? Perhaps a “healthy” bulletin board or something but I’d really like to do something where I highlight three major diseases–something like: Heart Disease, Diabetes and Fill in the blank.

Suggestions?