Let's start with the boring back story first, shall we? Fantastic.
We had to move a fire extinguisher at work yesterday. It was built into the wall in the Children's area near the activity wall. Even though it was in a case with a lock on it, we couldn't actually keep it locked. If a fire were to break out it would be silly to have to find the key to be able to put it out. Needless to say, little patrons with small fingers found it intensely interesting. Obviously, it had to be moved.
I knew maintenance had been doing some work over there, but since it is all the way across the building I hadn't really been paying attention to it. It wasn't until a coworker told me it looked we cut a hole in the wall, changed our minds, and then patched it up that I wondered what the heck was going on. Another coworker then explained what had happened.
Being a curious person, I had to see what exactly they were talking about. This is what I found:
Very attractive. Not noticeable at all.
We started discussing that we were really missing an opportunity to get creative by just patching it up and making it a boring old wall again. Someone said we should have a Library Elf who lived in there, and we could make it his little house. Another person said we should make it a cabinet of interesting things for little kids to play with or touch. Both very sweet ideas which will never happen. I took it in a different direction.
**Friends: I feel the need to explain here that none of my following suggestions are to be taken seriously. They are jokes. Maybe not funny if you don't work in a library, but they are jokes. People misinterpret shit all of the time on the internet, so before anyone starts freaking out about child endangerment or the likes let me be very clear: NOT SERIOUS. JOKING! I WOULD NEVER HURT OR ENDANGER A CHILD IN ANY WAY. We clear? Excellent.**
I thought they were missing an excellent opportunity for a way to control story time behavior. It could be a teaching tool. Just think of the possibilities!
Idea #1: For the child who cannot control their frustration/anger
"Jimmy. Jimmy! You cannot hit other children during story time! That's it, young man. Now you have to sit in the hole in the wall for the rest of story time and think about what you've done."
Idea #2: To encourage parent participation
"I don't know, Jane. I don't think your Mommy was really singing along today. I'm pretty sure she was just lip-synching. Sorry, kiddo. Looks like you have to go in the hole. Maybe Mommy will learn how to participate better by next week."
Idea #3: For the over-zealous participants
"Bobby! This is Toot & Scoot, not a demolition derby! Smash into one more kid on purpose and it's off to the hole with you."
It would work for the older kids as well. It might be a tight fit, but I think it would still be doable.
Idea #4: For the kids who like to push the boundaries
"Look, Elena. I know you know the rules about using the computers, but you choose to keep trying to skirt around them to stay on longer. Keep it up and you're going in the wall. You think Harry Potter had it rough? His cupboard under the stairs was freaking cozy compared to what you'll find in the hole."
The beauty part is you wouldn't even have to do any of them -- just the threat should be enough to deter any problems. Make that hole in the wall look creepy as hell and no one will ever want to be sent there.
Idea #5: On a less traumatizing note, it could be made into a game.
Put a little door knob on it. Every few days you switch what is behind the door when you open it: it could be a picture, a toy, a book -- anything that would fit inside. You make up a little bingo card and each square has an item that could potentially be behind the door. The kids can pick up a card, and every time they come to the library they have to check what is behind the door. They get a staff member to initial the correct square verifying that they really checked the door on the proper day. (There are a lot of cheaters out there. Trust me.) When they get a Bingo they get a prize. Like a reward for coming to the library regularly.
What? I'm full of all kinds of ideas, Friends. I'm not an evil person. My sense of humor just skews toward the dark side at times. It was a long week.
It's all highly irrelevant, however. Soon it will just be a boring yellow wall once again, although it did make that last hour of the work week a lot more amusing.
Note: None of the names used in the examples are actual specific patrons. They just popped into my head as random names to use.