How to stay healthy?

With all the scary talk about the H1N1 virus, I’ve been trying to figure out how to keep myself healthy in the face of the onslaught of germs that comes my way, especially during storytimes. 

I’ve toyed with the idea of adding a little note to the library’s published calendar that says something like, “Please help our community – and your children’s librarian – stay healthy, and don’t come to storytimes if either you or your child are sick.”  But I can’t come up with wording that says what I want to say in a way that’s friendly and kind, not obnoxious.  So for now I’ve followed the suggestion of a library patron, and bought an enormous jug of hand sanitizer that I put outside the door to the story room.  On the way in to the story room for each storytime, I’m encouraging attendees to use the hand sanitizer if they’d like or if they think they should.

Logically, I know that hand sanitizer won’t solve the issue of germs being spread at storytimes, since I know for a fact that every time that I’ve gotten sick recently it has been from airborne germs (I never, never, never touch my eyes or mouth or nose while at work).  But hopefully the mere presence of the hand sanitizer will remind people that germs spread quickly in the confined space of the story room, and hopefully anyone who’s sick or has a sick child will choose to stay home.  Hopefully.  And maybe I’ll be able to find a gentle way to let patrons know that when the children’s librarian gets sick, everyone loses, because then there are no storytimes until she gets better.  And given her tendency to nasty bronchial infections, it could take her a long time to get better if she does get sick. 

And I’ll definitely be getting my flu shot as soon as I’m able.  Definitely.

5 thoughts on “How to stay healthy?”

  1. I think a little note is very appropriate! I told my own students, on the first dayof class: If you’re sick? Stay home. The students all agreed, and then we talked about contingency measures, such as using our class website to post assignments, etc.

    So, what if you wrote this:

    Given the current concern about the H1N1 virus, please help everyone in our community stay healthy: If you or your child are sick, please don’t attend storytimes or other public events.

    I bet your patrons will be grateful!

    And, if you cajoled your library director, I bet you could get a Flip Video camera ($200), video tape your story times, and post those on the website. Cool stuff that!

  2. Our schools all have that type of notice, asking people to take responsibility keeping everyone as healthy as possible. I think it’s totally appropriate, Abs.

  3. Thanks, Jean, for that great wording. It now graces a discreet sign on display outside the story room, right next to the bottle of hand sanitizer.

  4. We went for the “less than subtle” approach, mostly because we all have horror stories of parents sending children too sick for school to the library or bringing them on their way too and from the doctor office. We pulled the puzzles (too many pieces going in mouths), put up polite signs, and announced in all of our storytimes our request that please, if you or your child is ill, please stay home out of consideration for other families and the library staff. We don’t want to end up as the typhoid Mary’s passing it from child to child as they interact with us here.

    We’re also all going through lots of hand sanitizer.

  5. Isn’t it funny how parents will bring a child to the library to pick out books or DVDs when the child is so sick that he or she has had to stay home from school? That baffles me every time.
    One of my favorite library patrons just made another suggestion to me today – that in addition to the signs and hand sanitizer in the children’s room we have a huge jug of hand sanitizer by the front door into the library next to a sign requesting that everyone please use the sanitizer before handling library materials.
    Though I do worry a bit about what all this hand sanitizer will do to our immune systems…

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