Thursday, March 28, 2013

Should a seven-year-old who requests "Party Rock" and "Sexy and I Know it" be given LMFAO's "Sorry for Party Rocking"?

That's an ethical issue I would have had to deal with today if it weren't part of my job to just give it to her regardless of its 'parental advisory' status.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

What color am I?

I was at the children's desk this evening. A small girl came up to me and asked "What color am I?"

I had a moment of panic. I am not equipped to talk to kindergarteners about race! Then I looked at her pants, which were purple, and her shirt, which was checkered purple and white. "Purple," I said, looking her over and feeling as though I had doged a bullet. "Definitely purple."

A few minutes later, I realized that she and her mom were nearby looking at our 'Early Reader' books, which are color-coded by difficulty level. The second level of difficulty is purple, and that's what they were looking at. Of course I hurried over there to talk to them, and, extremely fortunately for me, purple actually did turn out to be the right level for her.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

In which I am antique

A Sunday refgrunt.

Long complicated thing of trying to figure out why a confused patron can’t get onto a computer. Eventually turns out that her brother is already logged on using her account.

I ordered a book a long time ago through interlibrary loan and I don’t see it on my account.
Okay, what is the name of it?
You don’t want to know.
Um, it’s my job, sir.
It’s in German.

Computer science?
Anything in particular you are looking for? A specific language or anything?

As I am walking back to the desk after getting a drink of water, I go by our RFID sorter, which has a window for patrons to return materials.
Man sticking his head in the window: Excuse me! Excuse me!
Me: Yes, can I help you?
I think I might have just put a book in there that isn’t a library book.
That’s all right, I can check for you. What book is it?
Man (much more quietly): …it’s a potty book.
This one?
Don’t worry, this one is ours.

All the DVDs you have about Glacier National Park.

How do you print in color?

Super-anxious woman: HOW DO I PRINT!?!?!? Can you do it for me?!

Do you want me to show you how to print more than one document at a time?

Why isn’t the printer working?
It doesn’t take five-dollar bills.

I heard you have e-magazines. Can you help me sign up for those? This lady is chatty and pretty quick on the uptake so even though I have to work with her for ages it’s not so bad. While we’re waiting for her ipad app to download she shows me a picture she took on her phone of a pickup truck with spikes on its wheels and we commiserate about how they are practically at window-level if you drive a tiny sedan like both of us do. By the time she leaves I have told her that I don’t even have a phone that gets internet. She says “I thought everyone your age had one of those! You’re antique!”

Local State U branch told me that I can borrow books from them if I get a Tex-Share card from you. Can I do that?
(type type type)
Well, not here, since you don’t have a library card with us.

Do you have books about horseshoes? Not the shoes, the game.

Same anxious woman from before (she is especially hard to deal with because she has a thick accent, talks quickly, and is unfamiliar with the idea of phrasing something in a different way when the first way didn’t work): You help me with the computer? It say no require! No time!
No require! You help me! Hurry! Only two minutes!
Um, let me come and look at it with you, ma’am.
(She hurries over to her computer and points at it urgently. It has three minutes left on it.)
Okay, what do you need help with?
It say no require! (Totally incomprehensible description of the problem)
Sorry, I don’t understand what you are asking me to do.
No require!
Okay, do you want more time?

Dr. Seuss books.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Things the library cannot do for you

1. Make a copy of this already-giant map, "in color and about twice this size."
2. Help you fill out a Medicare form, with your nine-year-old son as translator.
3. Guess your username, password, or security question answer for any website.
4. Find your lunch, which you left in the library earlier.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Reverse identity theft

A woman came to the desk today to complain that her PIN wasn't working to log onto the computer. At our library, your assigned PIN is the last four digits of the telephone number you've given us. Often people change phone numbers and forget to notify us, then try to get into their accounts with their new number as PIN. I figured this was probably what was happening here so I scanned the card, then asked her what her correct phone number was. Predictably, it didn't match what was written in her account, so I asked her (rhetorically, I thought) "So 123-456-1234 is an old number?" No, it wasn't. In fact, it was completely unfamiliar. As far as she knew it had never been her phone number or the number of anyone in her family. "But you are Miz. Johnson-Smith?" I asked. She wasn't. It turned out that "her" library card belonged to a complete stranger. I don't think she had stolen it. I think she was just as confused as I was. In fact, she was concerned because she had originally taken the card from her purse and she didn't know how it had gotten there.

Any ideas?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Trending topics among patrons today (actually, last week)

The 2012 presidential election--we don't have any post-election books yet.

Psy, and whatever country Psy is from. Also people who make videos imitating his dances, and why they would do that.

U.S. army basic training. This patron called me "ma'am" about 15 times.

Erik Erikson, child psychologist, and his stages of psychosocial development.

Mysterious book series of the week

Has anyone heard of the Thoroughbred juvenile book series? I had an extremely sweet patron come in this evening, looking for them I think for nostalgia purposes. The weirdness:

It has a lengthy Wikipedia page devoted to it. The only source it cites is a fan site that is now defunct. The earliest books came out in in the mid-1990s and it's not really clear how long they continued to be published.

We had a few of the books in the series in our catalog, mostly withdrawn or in-repair, and mostly later in the series. The patron had books 1,9 and 10 in a series of maybe a few dozen. Just out of curiosity I asked her whether they were paperbacks, and she said they were. I figure we probably used to own them all but most of them haven't survived. The really odd thing is that I couldn't really find anything in WorldCat, either.

These books seem to have been either massively popular or a sort of cult classic at one time, but hardly anything has survived. Does anyone know the story of these books? Even better, has anyone read them?

Also, PS: There is hope for this patron. Abe Books seems to have a good collection on their website.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Neat library thing of the day

I encourage you to check out this short article about tiny, camouflaged, anti-Nazi propaganda documents, courtesy of my favorite coworker.

A very representative refgrunt

I think the magazines are there? No, the other corner, ma’am.

Do I need to reserve a computer?

Phone request: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

My computer went off and I can’t switch to a different one because it thinks I’m still logged on. (I log him off from the control station and then go to investigate—the monitor had become unplugged somehow)

Can I help you find something? Yes, the ladies’ room.

My uncle wants to know if you have phonebooks.

Tour of OverDrive, which does our ebooks.

How do I print?

Excuse me, ma’am, I don’t know how to print on this.

Phone: Do you have Valueline? What about Morningstar?

More printing help.

Long thing about reserving the program room for a college fair waaaay ahead of time.

Which of the books on this display would you choose if you were going to read one? (further questioning reveals a suspense/thriller/horror one would be best for her) Select Devil in the White City. Favorite question of the day.

Lady at the self-checkout machine: Excuse me, what do you do if it rejects one? She keeps saying over and over, it looks like the SKU is wrong, it must be the wrong SKU…a year ago (before I worked retail) I won’t have known what a SKU was and would have been quite confused. I probably would have heard it as “skew,” for starters.

I want to put a book on hold (Cinder).

Question about the tax help we host.

Two YA holds—Finale and Boundless.

Can I call my mom on your phone? Long distance?

Five minutes before closing: The eAudiobooks help said I had to come to the library for the first time to set up my account and I am leaving at 8 a.m. tomorrow for a road trip!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Crowdsourcing attempt of the week

This is my problem. I've tried looking on a few different library blogs and I've tried some different Google searches, but I haven't found anything:

I often come across a DVD that is fairly scratched up. I want to know whether to put that DVD back on the shelf or send it to be repaired or withdrawn. However, I want to do that without playing the entire DVD in order to see how much damage the scratches actually represent. Does anyone know if there is a way to tell by looking at a DVD if it is sufficiently damaged not to play well, or at least to make an educated guess?

Thanks, world!