Stapling it All Together With Miss Mandel

Stapling it All Together With Miss Mandel

Stephani Spindel, Staff Writer, Senior Editor

As many of you may or may not know, every few weeks Miss Mandel, the school librarian, hosts the Tiny Stapler Contest in which students come to the library and ask her any question they’d like, “as long as it is not something you can Google, and it does not involve geography,” according to Mandel.

When asked why she decided to start the stapler contest, only half- jokingly, Mandel said, “I thought it might be a good way to convince people to talk to me.”

Mandel started working at Out-of-Door in 2008, saying, “it was my very first library job, and apparently nobody knew that the old librarian had been replaced. So when I showed up on the first day, only a few of the faculty members knew [who I was].”

She wanted to find a way to introduce herself to the student body, and to attract students to the library. Her first idea was to post the daily schedule in the library, saying because she was new to ODA, and a bit confused with the schedule, it would help her keep track of her schedule and hoped it would help the students as well.

As the year took off she noticed a recurring trend of students who always came to the library to try to staple their papers at the last minute, and she came with the idea to start the contest.

Mandel said she found that, “people are usually fearful of librarians and assume that they’re bothering us [when they ask for help], or that we have work to do and that they shouldn’t talk to us because we are too important.”

In order to break down the barrier between student to librarian, she posted the contest, adding that, “its official title was The Reference Question of the Fortnight Contest,” which she cleverly came up with because, “offering a prize weekly seemed too soon,  and monthly was not really enough.” Mandel joked that the only question students were not allowed to ask was “what is a fortnight?” (Which for you readers who don’t know, 1 fortnight is the equivalent of 14 days, i.e. 2 weeks.)

When asked to explain the selection process, Mandel noted that, “initially, I thought about offering a prize for the best question I was asked, but that seemed too qualitative and, honestly, who gets to decide that anyway,” so the tradition became a random drawing selection process at morning assemblies.

Mandel said the contest worked well because it gave the students an excuse to introduce themselves to her, and allowed Mrs. Mandel to show off all of the library’s incredible resources.

“It served to remind people that Google was not the only option,” she noted.

When asked if she ever considered giving away any other prizes, she very enthusiastically revealed her little box of prizes, including Edgar Allen Poe action figures, Library temporary tattoos, Chinese letter cards, key chains and, of course, an array of colorful tiny staplers, “but I’m saving the other fun prizes for special occasions!”