Last week, as I was quietly minding my own business at the reference desk, two middle school girls came down the steps. Since the steps are right in front of the desk, I tend to look up when I hear people, which is what I did in this case. When they saw me, one turned to the other and whispered, "it's him, it's him!"
I have to say that his kind of freaked me out. I had no idea what they were talking about, but it was pretty obvious they were referring to me. And when I say obvious, I mean obvious to every single patron on the floor at the time, because she "whispered" in one of those not-at-all-a-whisper whispers that middle school girls are so good at.
Anyway, they passed by me and went into the teen room, and sat working at a table for maybe an hour or so. Then, they came up to the desk and asked if I was the guy that came into their classroom to talk about how to use databases for research. Whew.
About a month ago, I and two fellow librarians visited the local middle school. Apparently these girls remembered me from that, and so were coming to ask me to help them with their project.
Which is great - in addition to introducing resources to the kids, our goal was to introduce ourselves to them, so they would feel comfortable approaching us and asking for help.
And our outreach program continues - today we visited the middle school again to talk to the second wave of students (about 250) who are just now starting this project. In another month's time, we'll go back again to speak to the rest.
Now for me, speaking to a group this large means I have no chance of remembering any of their names or faces. But this makes me feel that if kids know me as "that library guy," I need to be on my best behavior when I out grocery shopping or whatever - who knows who's watching, and may or may not approach me in the library as a result.
Having groupies is a big responsibility.