I need to connect with the dead tonight. Charles Mallory Hatfield, to be exact. I read a fascinating biography about him a year or so ago. It was titled The Rain Wizard by Larry Dane Brimner. The book jacket description said, “Renowned nonfiction writer and longtime Sand Diego resident, Larry Dane Brimner delves deep into the life of the man who carried his rainmaking secrets to the grave. Was this man of mystery a scientist as he claimed or simply a fraud playing on people’s desperation?”
For weeks, I’ve been trying to figure out how to make it rain on August, 21, 2017. Six weeks ago, I didn’t even know there was going to be a solar eclipse. One week ago, I started having nightmares about it. I dug myself in a hole without knowing what I was getting into. Around six weeks ago, it was mentioned my library system might order solar eclipse glasses for a program. If they did, how many would our location need? Based on previous program attendance, I sent in a number and didn’t think anything more about it. Until a few weeks ago. The PR arrived and I put it up in the library. I did not set up registration for the event because the number of glasses we ordered were plenty for the number of families that usually attend our special programs. Then, an evil person provided the media with fake news. (Sorry my anxiety took over the keyboard for a sentence.) I don’t think it was a conspiracy just poorly written headlines.
Here’s an example from one news source.
Need Solar Eclipse Glasses? They’re Free at Libraries Across America
Most people probably only read the headline. Knee deep in the article was important information. “The Space Science Institute’s National Center for Interactive Learning and STAR_Net Libraries have teamed up to provide more than 2 million solar-viewing glasses at 4,800 public library locations across the nation, partially funded through the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.”
Across the nation, library phones started ringing off the hook. From the beginning, we told people we weren’t doing registration. We’ve never needed to do registration in the past at my location. It would be first come first serve, one pair of glasses per family. Then, the phone kept ringing. We realized we needed to order more. We did. I even ordered a pack of ten for my daughter planning to donate the rest to the library. With the extra order and mine, we would have more than enough. Then, I received the Amazon email informing me they were recalling the glasses I ordered. Seeing that we ordered the extra glasses for the library from Amazon, this did not bode well. That afternoon, my manager received the illustrious Amazon email.
Librarians across the nation have been having online group therapy… sharing their experiences and ideas. Here are some of my favorites.
needed: brilliant ideas for keeping eclipse glasses seekers as lifelong patrons
My Favorite Answer: Winter Solstice Glowstick Party?
*Coworker picks up*
“Sarah, it’s your mom”
“Omg, she never calls me at work, I hope everything is ok!”
*I pick up*
“Hi Mom, is everything alright?”
“Hi honey, I heard libraries have free eclipse glasses…”
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO…. E TU BRUTE???
so … what happens to all these eclipse glasses on tuesday?
My Favorite Answer: I heard on the radio that libraries are glad to accept them as donations (along with the M – Mil volume of a 1986 encyclopedia set)!
And most importantly – What’s the best way to hand out glasses?
My Favorite Answer: Make it like an Easter Egg Hunt
I’ve let every person working Monday know they are welcome to send all unhappy people to me. I’ve lived long enough to know that admitting your mistakes is usually the best way to handle difficult situations. I just need to remind myself throughout the event that this too will pass. If that doesn’t work, there’s always bourbon. I’ll be too busy with crowd control to see the eclipse. Luckily, someone has a bottle of bourbon on hand for me to have a post eclipse drink or four.
As for me, I learned a lesson. Our Slime Fest in September is a Registration Required event.