Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Quick Meeting

 This year (as in past years), I am the coordinator of all the library volunteers at Nate's school.  I've been volunteering in the library there since Skip was in 1st grade, so I do know my way around  a little bit.  Every year's just a tiny bit different, so what I've been doing lately is to sign up my army of volunteers on
Registration Night (the night before school starts, where parents show up to hand in all the paperwork, and sign up for all the fundraising, and parent-participation programs).  Then I email them all to invite them to a "Brief Orientation Meeting" on the day before the library officially opens.

That would be today.

So I've spent the last week or so setting up the calendar (Libraries here are open every other week.  In our district, pairs of schools share a librarian (cutbacks), so our school opens for business starting next Monday), and building the database of volunteers, their times they signed up for, and contact information, so once i get this thing rolling, they can just argue amongst themselves as to who is in charge of which duty within the various classes.

Last night was the Back To School night, where parents come in to meet the teachers (officially), and see what the kids have been up to for the first few weeks of school.  A number of parents came up to me to talk about today's meeting.  Either "I'll be there", or "I can't make it, can you email me what I need to know?" to "How much time should I block out for this meeting?  Half an hour?  An hour?  I really can't stay longer than an hour..."

Heh.  To that one, I said "I intend on having this meeting last no longer than 10 minutes.  I have written up any instructions you'll need to take away from the meeting, and any hands-on stuff requires one-on-one attention, so you'll be getting some training on your first appearance in your designated time, starting next week."

I guess folks didn't really believe me.

People started arriving only moments before I'd scheduled the meeting to start (which was five minutes AFTER all the kids had to be in class, so parents should have already dropped their kids off at least 5 minutes earlier, and one would hope, even before that).  I waited for 5 extra minutes, and then started in on my schpiel.

Hey, I had places to be, too!

I handed out the paperwork, gave everyone a list of "Who's in your class" and "What to do when you show up every other week", showed the group the new lay-out of the library (with which I am slowly coming to an accommodation), opened the floor for questions, and then thanked everyone for their time, and told them I'd see them next week.

People were a little surprised.  "What?"  "You're finishing on time?"  "What will we do with all the extra time we blocked out for this meeting?"

I had a few parents come up to chat with me individually, and soon it was just me, the librarian, and 4 women sitting at one of the library tables, left in the library.  I recognized one of the women as Nate's last-year's classroom mom, so I went over to say hello.

"Don't tell me you're volunteering in the library, what with all the other stuff you're doing this year?" I asked, as a conversation starter.

She looked up. "Oh!  I'm not here to volunteer.  I'm just chatting with these three until their meeting starts..."

"Uh oh.  I didn't know there was another meeting happening here in the library.  I'd better clear my stuff out before I get caught up in some other maelstrom of volunteerism." I laughed.

"What other meeting?  They're here for the Library Volunteer Orientation Meeting..."


"Um, that meeting ended 15 minutes ago.  I started on time, and it was just a 15 minute meeting."

They all looked like deer in the headlights.  They couldn't believe that they'd come in, and MISSED THE MEETING.  And they were uniformly horrified that they'd made this tardy gaffe.

I just laughed.  Honestly, it was funnier than it was annoying.  And considering that one of the women had been sitting at that very table during the meeting, and had a brain fart and had FORGOTTEN that she'd actually BEEN at the meeting?  Just made it funnier.

I gave them all the paperwork, told them that they were smarty pants, and didn't need their hands held, and I was sure they'd do JUST FINE next week when they came in for their first library session.

And then I laughed all the way to the gym.

No comments: