Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Computer problems

At the Old Library, the number one computer problem was people not being able to copy and paste. It was such a huge issue that I anticipated it being the number one computer problem here at the New Library, too. However, the biggest one we get here is people who type their search into the search bar, do nothing, and then get upset that they are not taken to the page they want/their search results. Today a woman came up to say:
Can you make the things on my screen [i.e., the pictures on the library homepage] go away so that I can use the computer?

This comes up at least once a week here for some reason--this was also the problem for Flinstones Guy.

Other "highlights" of this afternoon's reference desk shift:

Does the printer take dollar bills?
It should; have you tried that one?
No. Can you just give me change?

An older couple comes in. The husband wants books about "lake boats," ore ships and other commercial boats on the Great Lakes. He is pretty satisfied with the one I show him but his wife is stirring up trouble--his original hope was to find ones he had looked at before, and she wants me to help them locate those, but "He's had a stroke. He won't be able to remember anything about them."

Guy wants to "get his music back" on his reset Samsung Galaxy phone. Can't type, can't tell me what app he uses to listen to music. He claims to have a Samsung account but eventually says, wait, no, that is Verizon. I don't think I have a Samsung account. Who knows how he got any music on there in the first place. While I am helping him, a different phone starts ringing. After my prompting to silence it, he takes a second phone out of his backpack, but can't figure out how to turn it off. His friend has to silence it for him. I have so many questions.

Coworker, answering phone: "Reference department, how can I help you?...He's dead." (hangs up) "That woman drives me crazy."

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A service we can't provide

Me: Downtown library information desk, how can I help you?
Caller: Hi, if I tell you about a book, can you tell me whether or not you have it?
Me: I sure can! Do you know the author or the title?
Caller: The title is "Jason and the Argonauts." I don't think I know the author, though...
Me: Okay, I think I see it. Is it a kid's book?
Caller: Yeah? I'm in seventh grade, and I was just reading it at school?
Me: Okay. Do you remember what the cover looks like?
Caller: Yeah, it had a ship on the cover.
Me: Is it blue with purple writing?
Caller: Yeah, maybe.
Me: Well, we do have a copy here. We can put it on hold for you, and if it turns out this one isn't the one you wanted we can see if we can borrow it for you from another library. Do you have your library card with you?
Caller: No, I don't.
Me: Well, did you just want to know whether we owned it or not, or were you thinking you would come in and pick it up soon?
Caller: Well, uh, I was thinking of coming in to get it, but I don't know...uh, how does it work? Can the library email me the book?
Me:, no, sorry, we can't do that.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Why I work at a public library

Today a man around 60 came to the desk. He said "I have a son, and my son just had a daughter. He sent me a picture on my phone. Can you help me see it?"

So I helped him navigate his phone to open the file and get his very first look at his granddaughter. Needless to say, he was very happy.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Know it when you see it?

When someone comes to the desk to tell me that "That man on computer #X is looking at pornography," it is Facebook 90% of the time.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Not as exciting as Gangnam Style

At the community college we have an online form that students can fill out to place interlibrary loan requests. It asks for the title, author, etc., and one of the items is "Cited in?," asking where the student found a reference to the item(so that if the information entered on the form does not match a real journal article, the ILL person has help finding the real citation).

Last week a student put that something was "Cited in? MLA Style."

Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday challenges

Security escorted from the building a man who had been taking drugs in the restroom on the second floor. He started for the stairs, but Barney the Security Guard said "Sir, you're not in any condition to walk down the stairs." Then he wouldn't let the guy push the buttons in the elevator, either. Later Barney comes back to check in says, "Yeah, he had blood all over him."

A woman wants an autobiography (maybe a biography? She says "I know he had a hand in it") by "the journalist Peter O'Reilly," about how he overcame alcoholism. We can't figure out what that might be. Damn.

"This computer isn't accepting mouse commands"--sounds like when a patron says "the computer turned off" when they really pressed the monitor's power button, or a similar kind of problem, but in this case he's actually telling the truth.

Woman wants books about the Bauhaus school of architecture/design, but she can only stand still for about two seconds and she never lets you finish a sentence, so it is very difficult to help her. I turn away for five seconds to get her an encyclopedia, and she's completely gone when I look back.

Help my counterpart process weeded books that are going to the Friends of the Library book sale. I'm not sure that we should really be ripping RFID tags out of books right at the desk; it might give patrons some bad insight into theft.

Librarian hurries out of her office to grab the walkie-talkie and warn security "that guy who you escorted out earlier is heading down to the checkout desk."

Guy who earlier wanted my help getting an "Obama phone" wants my opinion on his resume--I am not a resume expert! I work two part-time, low-wage jobs without benefits, for goodness sakes.

I can't teach an angry woman to copy and paste because she just clicks and clicks furiously and never stops to listen. Grrrrrrr.

My first fan a man who is trying to advertise his photography business on Craigslist. Most of his questions are text-to-speech issues. Fortunately he, unlike many aspiring small business owners at libraries, is not a big fan of  questions like "What do you think I should call this?" "Do you think it looks good?"  and, the worst, "Would you buy that?" Also, he has gmail and I've seen him log into it once unassisted, so he's at the high-functioning end of the technology spectrum, too.

Today he wanted to add a location to his post but he had forgotten how to edit it. Then he wanted to change the title to something more exciting. Then he saw that other photographers have included example pictures in their could be long afternoon for all of us.

Anyway, if you need a freelance photographer in the central Michigan area, you can find at least one on Craigslist.

What I've learned so far

At the new library:

Don't ask people to take their cell phone calls in the stairwell; it has amazing acoustics.

Patrons are going to forget which computer they are on, because the rows and rows of them are identical. Be prepared to suggest this potential explanation as gently as possible.

No one looks at the staff picks shelf up in Nonfiction; otherwise how could the fantastic oversize book on Great White Sharks that I put up there last night not be checked out yet?

The lady who always calls and asks for phone numbers never write them down, just tries to memorize them, so leave that window in your web browser open for a minute or two after she calls.

Keep a couple dimes in the back of your ID badge for when a patron is having a tough time with one of the printer or copier coin boxes.

Just hope against hope that you will never be the one on desk when someone has a problem with the microfilm machine.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Pringle anger

A man in camo pants, always-in earbuds, a hat, and case? Recorder case? says "Did someone just get off computer 1? They left a can of Pringles." He brings it to me and I throw it away, but apparently it made him mad because he is now really frustrated with everything the computer does (or doesn't do). He keeps gesturing angrily at it and sighing dramatically, but whenever I make eye contact to try to offer help or sympathy he quickly looks away.

Update: Now he waves me over: "I've wasted fifteen minutes! I just want to watch the Flinstones!"

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Breaking Bad Season 6

First floor information desk, 5-9.

Patron is confused/sad that Breaking Bad , season 6 doesn't exist.

I don't want these DVDs anymore, I just needed them while I was on the computer. (She hands me five DVDs and she was only on the 15-minute express computer. What did she need them FOR?)

Loud kids on the children's computers. Aw, I missed these guys over the summer, says my boss. NOT.

Oops, wanted DVD of Tyler Perry's "Temptation," not Blu-Ray.

Can't find where a homeless lady can go to get a free coat--I'm sure I could if she would just wait a little longer while I looked! Crud!

Can you help me find "Grownups" and "Grownups 2"? Never mind, here they are.

Can I get on the hold list for the new "Godzilla"? OF COURSE.

Wants to place a Zane book on hold...on his middle-school-aged daughter's card.

Do you have, like, a list of all the DVDs you have?

Ooh, a *new* patron! Seems to be a rarity at this library.

Oh man, some of Security's incident reports have funny names!: "The Four Mustakeers [sic]," "Splinter from Downunder [also sic]"... Also, they also always say they "advised" a patron about such and such a policy. It sounds so decorous!

Can you unlock the bathroom for me? Times 10. Can I get a computer pass? Times 10.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Fairies 101

Today the college is competing with the public library because someone has interloaned "Fairies 101: Learning how to work and heal with fairies and other elementals," but of course a college can't really compete on equal footing with an urban public library.

Security staff reports the following activity: "Put away round tables (that Read to Succeed should’ve put away)in basement hallway due to attracting youths being too loud and horseplay"

I finally get my own computer but it has no software on it, not even Microsoft Office

Man with young daughter accosts couple with young daughter: "Have you ever thought about homeschooling?" Seems to be lurking just to ask this question.

Make a mistake placing a hold and have to call the patron back--his phone is busy for like an hour!

I want to buy earbuds or headphones. Which one has a longer cord?

Do you have the movie "Big Valley?"
Is it a TV show?
It's a Western.
(i.e., yes.)

Same guy: Where are your, uh, National Geographic movies?
Coworker: What kind?
Man: Do you remember when a lion was, like, hunting its prey?
Coworker: Yeah, yeah

Man with guitar case: Uno numero mystico, to mix my metaphors! (i.e. a guest pass for the computers)

Do you have any books about horses? (How sad would it be if the answer to this were 'no'?)

Coworker weeds "Sex, Love and Tractors" from the catalog.