4th of July Parade Librarian Style
A few months ago the rumblings of an idea started reverberating throughout our library branch, the Bookmobile should be in our town's 4th of July parade! Apparently the Bookmobile had made appearances in an event in every other town in our district, with the exception of ours. How could this be? The appearance equity equation had to be balanced!
The Bookmobile is part of our network's outreach department, or, as @jacobtothe recently told me, the outcast department. He would know, he is one. HA! I have been referring to him as an Outreach Puke since he abandoned our branch for the social part of librarian work, but outcast has a nice ring to it. Plus there are all sorts of Outkast songs that I can write ridiculous parodies to and annoy JT for years! That's a win-win scenario right there!
Sorry, I diverted a bit. Anyway, our town has a few parades, but it was agreed upon that the Independence Day parade would make the most sense to walk in, and I agree. I still haven't recovered from being the Snow Queen in one of the last town functions that the library participated in. Wearing a fire engine red ball gown in single digit weather whilst leading carols was not in the job description. Hmmm...walking in front of a huge book filled bus and throwing candy wasn't either, but I am always up for adventure!
I have never been in a parade before, but I sure love watching them. My manager told me to bring my daughter too. Intern I loves to participate in library functions. She and my manager's daughter, Intern J, got to parade themselves in front of the Bookmobile dispersing library card applications and magnets bearing the library network's logo. Tween happiness achieved.
The cool thing about our town's 4th parade is you just show up, grab a participant ribbon from one of our town elders, and get in line. That's it! Anyone is welcome. There are 40 year old trucks without doors, shirtless people in flag shorts dancing, superheros in golf carts, A LOT of patriotic music blared from UTV's and assorted vehicles, and the usual assortment of townies that can be counted on to show up every year. I love it! Low key, relaxed, non-bureaucratic, it's awesome!
As we lined up, it was explained to me that not only was I allowed to throw candy to the children (SQUEE!), but I also was to engage in the art of crowd control. The Bookmobile is a big bus, with a wide turning radius, so we needed to keep the spectators a safe distance back from the bus. Pieces of cake. I used the candy to achieve crowd control, as I carefully chucked it up against the curb. It's kind of like when I feed pigs or broiler chickens, just throw the food where you want the ravenous piranhas to go.
@jacobtothe was not so subtly reminded, again, to throw the candy to, not at the children. Apparently there was a slingshot idea that had been nixed as well. Sigh, outcasts are really a challenge sometimes.😉 We began rolling down the street with the rest of the entrants after waiting around for awhile.
It's important to note that while we were waiting to procession down the streets of our town that the Commander of the Bookmobile gave us a tour. I will ashamedly admit at this juncture that I had never set foot on the rolling book repository. It is a pretty cool bit of moving space, and as a librarian I really appreciated its organizational structure and collection features that were uniquely tailored to the community that it serves. The Bookmobile rocks novel patterned socks!
Something that shocked us as we rolled along the streets of town was the sheer volume of people lining them. In years past our parade lasted probably all of ten minutes, just a bunch of locals lined up on Maine Street doing our thing. There were at least a couple of thousand spectators crushed onto the streets of our town. The secret is definitely out about our awesome little lake village.
This crush of folks presented us a with a bit of a problem. Although we had what I thought was more than a fair bit of candy, we were quickly running out. Due to the massive amount of attendance, we easily needed five times the amount of sweets that we currently possessed. I did my best to spread the wealth, but I have to admit the worst feeling ever is to be out of candy when there is a crush of expectant looking children casting their glucose desiring eyes upon your over dressed form.
Good thing the Bookmobile has a horn! Our driver would blast that beast of a horn and I swear its reverberations caused people to lose their minds. Every time she honked there were more screams and WOOO'S than at a Harry Styles concert!
We finished the parade and all of us hopped onto the Bookmobile and cruised back to the library. A couple of things were agreed upon:
That parade was way larger than last year!
We needed a small kiddie pool amount of candy!
And we were totally doing the whole Bookmobile in the parade thing again next year!
As we dispersed to go enjoy the rest of our day, I gave Intern I a squeeze and pondered the rather largish amount of mirth that I was currently emanating. It is some kind of marvelous to engage in your community. That theme was continued as we stopped at our town's newest restaurant and I bought Intern I a massive ice cream cone, spent the afternoon paddleboarding and swimming with my family on our beautiful lake, and watched our town's yearly firework display with a very boisterous and enthusiastic crowd.