Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Great Barbie Massacre

If you've stopped by The Gnoming Librarian before, you've most likely read that I'm infatuated with zombies. They absolutely terrify me, but at the same time, I'm sickly intrigued with the idea of the walking dead. A few years back I got it into my head to host a zombie after hours program at my library.  A few weeks back I posted a Library GrabBag post on this year's activities (Zombie Fest 2013).

Well, I thought today I could tell you a story about that night.  It really started a week earlier.  I was trying to figure out how we were going to accomplish "zombie dolls" when I got the bright idea to just peruse Goodwill to see what crazy toys were available.  Much to my surprise, there were TONS of available Barbie dolls.  How creepy would it be to zombify the most "life-like" of dolls?!  So I start digging.  

I can only imagine the scene I was creating.  Here's this girl, who looks relatively normal, diving head first into a bin pulling out naked Barbie dolls.  By the end of my hunt I had collected 18 marvelously inappropriate naked women who were all having a really bad hair day.  When I get to the cash register the poor attendant stares at me with her mouth open.  "I know how this looks," I reply, equal parts joyous for the reaction and desperately wanting to get out of there as soon as possible.  "But it's for a good cause."  She smiles and starts ringing up the Barbies and thankfully putting them into a green bag out of sight.

Hands down...this is the strangest bag of whatevers that I have ever brought into the library.

When my director sees this, she immediately starts to shake her head.  Dear heavens, what is Emily up to now?  Followed very quickly by "No.  You are not handing out naked Barbies to a group of teenagers."  We agree that if I clothe them in some fashion the activity can continue.  This leads to a solid hour of sewing ponchos because I basically inept at sewing.

The night of the event finally comes around.  The teens have played "Guess the Organ,"  one lucky participant has survived "The Apocalypse," and they've spent a solid hour running around the library with the lights out for "Humans vs. Zombies."  It's time to pull out the Barbies.  When I arrive on the scene after escaping to grab the pizzas for later, I step into a war zone.

There is hair everywhere.  EVERYWHERE.  Limbs are strewn all over the tables.  The terribly ponchos are being torn up from some apparent zombie battle.  And everyone is laughing and having the time of their lives.

You might be thinking...Emily, is this kind of program really conducive to helping mold confident, well-rounded teenage minds.  To which I would reply...Absolutely!  Zombifying helped build a community among the attendees, encouraged creativity, expected responsibility, and showed them that the library values their participation.

It's not conventional.  But it's fun.  Not one teenager abused the activity in any way.  There were no lewd creations or spoken innuendo.  They took it seriously, wanting their zombie to be the most gory and disgusting of them all.  Not to mention the joy on the faces of teenagers when they discover what is inside a Barbie's head.  

Until you've cleaned up after a Barbie massacre, you have no idea what fun is at your local public library.

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