Thursday, August 29, 2013

Top tens

Following Love the Liberry's Dewey's Top 10 Call #'s I've Memorized, and other great Top Tens:

Dewey's Top 10 (Non-Fiction) Call #'s I've Memorized

1. 373 GED
2. 346 Do-it-yourself legal guides
3. 332 Crackpot get rich quick books
4. 741 Drawing and comics
5. 220 Bible and Biblical interpretation
6. 796 WWE/wrestling
7. 422 English dictionaries
9. 567 Dinosaurs
8. 746 Knitting
10. 597 Sharks

Top 10 reasons why people hate the library staff:

1. The computer logged me out and I hadn't saved my work
2. You have to be 8 years old to play the Wii
3. No eating in the library
4. The library internet is slow
5. We won't look up your library card number for you
6. No open-topped pop containers in the library
7. We will have to get that title sent over from another branch
8. The copier only copies one page at a time
9. We will not give you an infinite number and variety of free office supplies
10. An interlibrary loan costs $2.50

The top 10 types of items most likely to be "missing":
1. Antowne Fisher
2. Anything to do with the WWE
3. Junior DVDs of all kinds
4. Horror movies
5. Country CDs
6. SAT/ACT prep books
7. Any TV series popular with educated 20-somethings
8. Manga graphic novels
9. Paperback 'historical' romance novels
10. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Supply and demands

Within the first half-hour:

A woman came up to the desk to ask for scratch paper. I started to point out that around the other side of the desk (about 20 feet away) there is a bin with scatch paper and pens, but she said it was empty, so I fished around in the drawer and ended up ripping out some pages of a donated notebook for her (there is no such things as a scratch paper budget). As soon as she left I went over to refill the 'empty' bin--and it had about 20 sheets in it!

This was balanced out later by one of my favorite tween patrons coming up and asking if we had any headphones to give out. We don't have a budget for headphones either, but if someone gets a free airline pair or something we stash them in a drawer and give them out to desperate kids like them. I was excited to report that, even though we only have them once in a blue moon, we had them today, and a waaaay nicer pair than usual. I commented on this as I handed them to him and he pumped his fists and whisper-shouted "Yesss!"

Thursday, August 8, 2013

I am one of the many things in this library that is Unavailable

I got asked out at the reference desk AGAIN this evening. A fake wedding ring is starting to look like a better and better investment. These both represent about 4-5 hours' salary. Which do you think would be more effective at repelling creepy patrons, the more understated, non-jarring Option A:

or the gaudier, but perhaps more highly visible, Option B?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A refgrunt in which many people are anxious

We need to print some tickets and we sent them from out computer but then it says there are no jobs! I want to help but my bored coworker leaps up from her desk before I can respond. It’s been a slow morning, I guess.

Where do I get some change? (Stares uncomfortably at me for five seconds after I give him the answer, but does go off in the right direction)

I can’t connect to the wireless!

Different person: I talked to the gal who was here this morning about this, I don’t think it’s me because I have three different devices…
Me: Are you having trouble with the wireless? We can submit a request to IT but we don’t know what’s wrong, sorry.
Coworker, as soon as he leaves: He called from within the library to complain this morning!

I’m doing voter registration at the Civic Center. Can I have some of your voter registration forms? Long political ramble about how evil President Obama is.  Democrat coworker listens courteously without ever actually expressing agreement.

Bruno Mars CD “Doo-Wops and Hooligans.” Not on shelf where it’s supposed to be, and can neither find it nor convince the patron to put in a request.

A million questions about the “Library Legos” program, which is saturating the children’s area with sound. Where is it, are we too late, what is that noise…

Where exactly are your biographies for kids?

“Which way is to the Lego room!? My brother is in there!”

Where are the action movies? And also Stuart Little for my little sister.

Do you have any Scooby Doo?

Spy Kids.

Old Lady: “Do you get excited about every Lego program?”
Me: “Actually this is the first one we’ve had this summer. But it does seem to be going over well.”
Lady: “So no one’s been ejected yet?”
Me, laughing a little: “Not yet!”
Lady: “Good luck!”

Dora the Explorer books in Spanish, for a little girl who speaks only Spanish. All of them are at other, lily-white branches. Grr!

Oh no, I left books on this table to check out and now they are gone! I thought they were abandoned so I put them on the returns cart…no worries.

Walk PLEASE! Oh my goodness you are going to hurt yourselves.

Curious kid: What’s wrong with this computer? Don’t worry, kids, I fixed it.

Can I have some of this scratch paper?

Do you have a public phone?

Man in a “Warning: You can go Blind from my Extreme Awesomeness” shirt: Do you have a pencil or something I can borrow?
Me: Sure, just bring it back when you’re done.
Man: Indubitably!

Phone call from a man trying to use one of our online databases. He doesn’t understand that he has to register the first time he uses it. Then he gets it, but the database says the email address he gave them is already in use. I explain that he can sign up for a new account without giving them an email address at all. He asks for my name at the end of the call—never a good sign.

The guy calls back about 30 seconds later—it says my username is already in use too! What do I do? Um, you can pick a different username, sir. I’d suggest something other than “Bill.”

Where would your phonebooks be?

Information about our ESL conversation program.

Can you print things in color here? (No, so sorry!)

The printer is asking for the ‘staff password.’ Also we put our money in the copy machine instead of the printer. Sorry.

Accidentally scan the UPC on my water bottle with the barcode scanner.

Coworker: “Here’s your new Consumer Reports!”

Supervisor’s son: “Is [supervisor] here? I’m her son.”

Do you have any bookmarks?

Where can I find these books? Presents two-page school reading list.

Star Wars. “I got this book for my birthday a while ago. It was like one book that had the whole story, and I kind of wanted that book again.” He can describe the cover in detail but I can’t find ANYTHING that looks like it on Google image searches.

One of our computers has been destroyed by a massive pop (coke, they call it down here) spill. It has obviously been there for a while and even seeped inside the casing of the CPU. Aargh! My coworker and I perform triage and save the mouse and keyboard, but IT will have to come take a look at the computer itself.

Go to try to tell my boss about the damaged computer. She’s not at the desk, but a waiting patron is—show her how to print (she can’t find the command in the menus in Word or Adobe) and how to release her jobs from the library printer. Takes forever.

The rest of the hour is so busy that I don’t have time to write anything down, and then we close!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Library management annoyance of the day

The staff is always annoyed that parents don’t stay in the children’s area with their kids, instead going off to use computers in the adult areas or to sit on the comfortable chairs by the entrance. Our library is located in a relatively poor area, and many of our patrons are not very educated. No one will say it out loud (actually, a couple of people would, but I try to avoid those people), but it’s clear that most people on staff think that Bad Parenting, endemic to ‘the kind of people who live in our community,’ is the problem, not anything about the library or anything the library can influence. However, I’m not convinced that this is the case. Here’s why:

 The children’s staff has also tried to make the children’s room kid-friendly, with weird furniture, kid-sized tables and chairs, and computers that are lower to the ground than anyone has ever seen. They’ve been very thorough about this, so much so that it’s not possible for most adults to sit at a table where their knees actually fit under in the children’s area. So of course they don’t choose to read or use computers there. I think in the minds of the administrators parents would suffer the tiny furniture because they would be actively engaged in reading or otherwise interacting with their kids, but for the families that spend hours at the library, that makes no sense. Even the best parent in that situation isn’t going to be involved with the child the whole time, and the moment they detach from their kids they have no aesthetic or comfort reasons for staying in the children’s area. Couldn’t we put some adult furniture in there so parents could keep an eye on their kids without sitting in a chair that is only a foot off the ground?

Add this to the long list of ‘Couldn’t anyone with a shred of common sense figure this out?’ issues at my library.