Friday, December 27, 2013

Tax information in Spanish

I was going to write a follow-up post to last year's discovery that most tax forms, including the 1040s, are not available in Spanish, but that wasn't producing anything except frustration and anger, so instead I present to you a list of resources that CAN help a Spanish-speaker do his or her taxes. Please feel free to share this with anyone who might find it useful, and to add comments if I am missing any good resources:

-The major 1040 forms are NOT available in Spanish. 1040-PR, which is in Spanish, applies to Puerto Rico only.

-The IRS maintains a separate Spanish-language version of its website, (or

-The toll-free IRS cusstomer service phone line offers service from Spanish-speaking IRS representatives. It is 800-829-1040, then press 8 for Spanish.

-A longer list of Spanish-language resources is available at

-The list of IRS forms in Spanish with Spanish-language descriptions can be found at and the list of publications in Spanish at The (SP) or (ENG/SP) designation indicates the language of the document.

-Despite the fact that the IRS hasn't found time to translate Form 1040, it has found the time to create an English/Spanish glossary of tax terms, which it calls "Publication 850." This document can  be found at
-Pub 17, the overview of American taxation (English title: "Your Federal Taxes") is available in Spanish:

Ereader season

Today all the questions are basic. How do I get on a computer, how do I print, this thing keeps spitting out all my money, why did my copy not work--mostly text-to-speech things as usual. One of our patrons with some mental disorders, a very nice man just quite slow, doesn't actually want help, just to say hello and shake my hand. The guy sitting next to him who needed 45 seconds to think of whether he had an email address says "He's my neighbor!" but I don't know if he means that they live next door to each other or just that they are sitting at adjacent computers. Either way it looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

I dread the weeks after Christmas at the library because they are the beginning of tax season and got-this-ereader-for-Christmas season. Tax season should be more under control than it was last year despite my anger at the lack of Spanish-language tax forms but I can never keep up with all the different e-readers. We have a vendor called Overdrive that supplies our ebooks, and this is the basic process to read an e-book:

1. Look in our catalog for e-books and realize that that doesn't work.
2. Go to the library website and use that to link to our library's overdrive site
3. Search for the book you want. FInd that we don't have it because our collection is pretty small.
4. Select a different book. Check it out in the incorrect format.
5. Be confused that the book hasn't automatically appeared on your ereader. Realize that you have to download the book as an extra step even though it is already checked out to you.
5. Realize the format doesn't work with your e-reader and repeat step 5 with a different format.
6. Realize that you don't want the book you have finally managed to download, then call the library to ask how you can return it.

Normally old men are my favorite patrons but for some reason middle-aged people all seem to think that it's a GREAT idea to buy ereaders for their elderly parents, so now I am watching all approaching old men warily for signs that they are carrying Nooks, Kindles, or something even worse.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Library writing

Title of an email I sent to a coworker yesterday: "Incident with rude man in hat on computer 4"

Misleading sign on a public computer: "No printing is available from this computer at this time. Please see the reference desk for assistance." (The reference desk can't actually make this problem go away)

Found written on a little slip of paper next to one of the compters in the compter lab: "cease & desist."

Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th has been appropriately atypical here at the library home of Don't Mess with TX-LIS. I.e. the patrons have been phenomenally low-maintenance. Pleasantness of the day includes
1) A patron who knows what a masters' in library science is,
2) A patron who starts to talk about her medical and financial problems and then stops of her own accord before it gets uncomfortable
3) A patron who is really, really excited about the oversize books

I also love getting to show people the awesomeness that is the KDL What'sNext Database (

The only bad weirdness was that I found a three-books-in-one anthology of Anne of Green Gables for one patron who had read the very first book but wanted to read the rest of the series. The first book included was Anne of Green Gables, but the other two were not numbers two and three as would be expected, but instead were three and four. Mysterious.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A first

A middle-aged guy as I am going over to shush him and the new friend he made a couple of computers over: I'm sorry, are we too loud?

Bad weather

Today I'm running the ref desk all by myself because the roads are iced over and the adult services librarian who lives one town over couldn't make it in. Before we opened the other staff people were saying oh geez, why are we even here, no one will come today, but the library is about 1/2 as busy as normal, maybe even a bit more, and we have some extra visitors because power and even heat are out in some places. Mostly though I have been fielding in-depth phone calls from people who are stuck at home, including of course some people who want *my opinion* on whether it is safe to drive to the library (It's very tempting to say "Well, I made it here alive, but then again I'm getting paid!").
 Other things people want today:
-Dysgraphia Guy, wants help with the copier and to chat
-Can you watch my ipad which I am charging here while I go look at books?
-What kind of e-reader should I buy?
-We are staying at the Motel 6 down the road but there's no power. Can we get a pass to use your computers to do our schoolwork?
-Can you help me print these emails? They are evidence in my divorce.
-From the director of libraries who is here today because her HQ branch has no power: Do you shelve large print new books with the regular new books? (I am living in fear of her because last year I complained about the Christmas decorations making non-Christians feel unwelcome and she called me personally to condescendingly dismiss my complaints, but as the day goes on I am getting more and more convinced she has no idea that I'm that person.)