"Shhhh" is actually a dirty word in the children's room. Children are encouraged to talk, to ask questions, to enjoy themselves....however, I am well aware of the archetypal shushing librarian...and think I might know the root of this occupational mannerism.
It's because librarians/library aides/pages/circulation people are bookish. That's of course no surprise. We like books. We work in a library. To play Devil's Advocate, I used to work at an acquiring bank and didn't particularly like...um, acquiring. So it really doesn't go without saying, although usually in a library, it does. Here's the hypothesis: people who work in libraries are REALLY into what they're reading. So they don't just enjoy reading, reading makes them drool and be distracted. Sort of like being on Benedryl.
For the past few days I have been (in between my library duties of course)reading the 1996 Newberry Winner The Midwife's Apprentice by Karen Cushman. It's a short little thing, maybe only 120 pages and I am completely enamored and immersed in it. How could I not be with quotes like, "She learned that newborn infants are readily seized by fairies unless salt is put in their mouths and their cradles."...and Cushman writes so practically, as if she were there in 1290 England...as if she were a fly (among many) in the dung heap that we first meet Alyse in. The simplicity of movement of plot that Cushman uses is so very unvarnished but total brilliance as well. What she does is she changes the main character's name during different points of plot and character development. Our heroine goes from Brat to Beetle to Alyse. That bold little plot tool proves that sometimes the simplest stories can pack the biggest wallop....and that's one reason she won the Newberry.
And I need to finish it now!!!!!
But I left it at the desk.
Mind, the feeling of needing to read this bantam is not as intense as, say, the first time I read The Shining or any of the aforementioned books in the Books I Can Read Over and Over Again blog entry...That feeling of manic desperation and total absorbing joy that monopolizes your being for the whole time you're reading the book. It's there, but not too terrible. Not enough for me to shush at patrons.
**I just found my notes I jotted down while reading The Midwife's Apprentice and noticed the line, "X is wicked..." and it made me laugh for obvious reasons. Because he is wicked. Wicked awesome.**