Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Meow

A pack of kids making eerily accurate cat noises for no apparent reason passed me on their way out of the library this evening.

Kids are so weird, guys.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Haikus

Someone on another website I read started a guessing game where you describe your job in haiku and other people try to guess your job title. I thought a mini version for library-themed poems might be fun. I submit:


I cannot tell you
What your email password is
This place is for books


and


Yes I pick the books
This collection is for everyone
Please don't yell at me

Friday, June 9, 2017

Mooselookmeguntic

This week's patron of the week is the woman who called this afternoon to ask: "What is the longest name of any town in the United States?" I struggled for a while to find an authoritative source, but I was able to learn that there exists such a thing as the United States Board of Geographic Names (it's some arm of the federal government) and that this question is #22 on its page of Frequently Asked Questions!


For those of you too lazy to click on the link, I present:


The following list is for names of communities only, and does not represent the longest name in the database.
These are the longest community names with a hyphen or "-" in the name and total number of characters.
    • Winchester-on-the-Severn, MD (24)
    • Linstead-on-the-Severn, MD (22)
    • Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, FL (21)
    • Vermillion-on-the-Lake, OH (21)
    • Wymberly-on-the-March, GA (21)
    • Kentwood-in-the-Pines, CA (21)
These are the longest community names without a hyphen or "-" in the name and total number of characters.
    • Mooselookmeguntic, ME (17)
    • Kleinfeltersville, PA (17)
    • Chickasawhatchee, GA (16)
    • Chancellorsville, VA (16)
    • Eichelbergertown, PA (16)

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Programmed

We are hosting a programming class at our library in a couple of weeks and have various things around the library advertising it. Today I overheard an older man say about his wife, "So I can bring here in and you can re-program her?! There's hope after all!?"

It's funny. The Old Man Fan Club tag used to be for old men who were my fans; now it's generally for old men of which I am a fan.

Strip malls

What I wish West Side Library shared its strip mall with:
1. An office supply store (for regular envelopes, manila envelopes, resume paper, etc.)
2. A post office (for stamps, and for posting tax returns at 4:50 p.m. on April 14th)
3. A childcare center (of course, convincing patrons to use it instead of us would be another matter)

4. A cheap cafe (drink your coffee and brightly-colored energy drinks there, please, not at our computers!)

What West Side Library actually has in its strip mall:
1. A hair salon
2. A tax preparer
3. A taco place
4.A liquor store

Monday, June 5, 2017

Best comments

One of the things I love about doing this blog is all the stuff I learn from the comments, especially because they are usually delivered in a humorous way. Here are some of the best things I've learned from the blog's comments:

"no one wants to *look* "stupid" --we prefer to *act* stupid." (On Hypocrisy)

"Libraries would be better if their policies were based on good data rather than on what some middle-class white woman has been doing for 30 years." (On How Are My Numbers?)

"Emergency cake is a fabulous idea. Working scissors is a pipe dream." (On Supplies I Have Wished for at the Reference Desk)

"Pseudoscience, the patrons love it." (On Things To Worry About)

"patrons with coats over their heads=trouble" (On Curses)

And my very favorite:

"people really do want to be told what to do, but not in respect of the things I want them to do, if you know what I mean." (On Overheard by the Staff Elevator)

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Things Small Town Library does well


I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago about ways in which libraries could do a better job of living up to their own values and I illustrated some points with examples from Downtown Library and Small Town Library. I don't want you to get the idea that either of those places are bad, or even below average, compared to other libraries, so today I want to tell you about some of the things that make me proud or happy to work at those places. I wrote one about Downtown Library already. Downtown Library was easier because it's part of a big system that, like most big public library systems, tends to conform well to the American Library Association's Code of Ethics. The strengths of libraries like Small Town Library are significant, but ideological purity isn't its strong suit (nor, I suspect, is it the strong suit of most small-town libraries). When you have limited resources and different demands from your community, it doesn't tend to be a priority.


That said, here are some ways in which Small Town Library practices what it preaches:
  • Items on the self-serve hold shelf are covered with white paper so that other patrons can't easily see what their neighbors have on hold.
  • The library offers study rooms in which patrons can have private conversations, and which library staff could conceivably use for confidential reference interviews (Downtown Library, to my constant annoyance, has cubicle-style study rooms that are roofless and not private at all).
  • Privacy screens are offered by default at all public computers for adults.
  • The library has held on to Fifty Shades of Grey and similar materials despite patron complaints about the 'inappropriateness' of those titles for a public library.
  • Despite an overall chatty atmosphere, staff members very rarely share what a patron was looking for with a coworker unless it's specifically to help meet that patron's needs.
  • The library has refused to place rating-based restrictions on what DVDs kids can check out, despite patron requests to do so.