Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Tattos, typewriters, and leases, oh my!

I have somewhat poor directional hearing, so it's often hard for me to tell which patron's headphones the loud music playing at the computers is coming from. Fortunately, making an interrogatory ramble around the perimeter of the computer area solves the problem 50% of the time just by reminding people that someone is paying attention.

I didn't work this time but later Ben from Security did the same thing and was able to actually tell who the culprit was. He politely tapped the man on the shoulder and asked him to turn down his music, and the man politely agreed.

Other noteworthy things from the library this week:

A woman asked to use the typewriter. It was a big relief to send her to the first floor desk--I'm sometimes scheduled there but I have no clue how to use the typewriter, so I feel like I dodged a bullet.

I help a guy find a model residential lease and he asks me to tell him what they want in the blank of "For a term to commence ________, and to end any time with a 30 day notice..." I say I can't give legal advice, blah blah blah, but my (ahem) illegal advice is they just want the date the contract is signed. Later in the day I read the slides from a presentation called "Public Libraries and Access to Justice: What Public Librarians Can Do." Still nervous, though.

A woman who I placed some books on hold returns to the desk: "This is a weird question, but can I take a picture of the font on your water bottle? I'm getting a tattoo and I haven't found a font that I like yet, but I like that one." This is the only question I've ever had that begins with "This is a weird question" and is actually kind of weird by public library standards.

Friday, March 20, 2015

A complaint

This is turning out to be such a productive day at the desk for the blog! Normally I don't like to post more than once on the same day, but I have to tell you that a man came to the desk and said "I would like to lodge a complaint."

His complaint was that The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was not a sufficiently thick book. It's a short story, but he thought it would be long because there is a feature-length film based on it.

I told him I would pass that on to the proper authorities and he said "Good. If you find a solution, let me know."

He was joking and he made me laugh, but I bet he doesn't know that some patrons would make this kind of complaint and be dead serious.

Just Let Me Pay part two

One of the sad things about my current library is that all of our non-English collections are labeled in English but not in the actual language of the collection. That is, our Spanish collection is labeled "Spanish" rather than "EspaƱol." One of my pet projects is adding native language labels for those collections, so I went to see if we could order some little label holders to clip onto the shelves like this:

They are almost twenty dollars a label! For a piece of acrylic that is an inch by three quarters of an inch.

That golf book isn't looking like such a bad deal now.


I'm feeling popular for two reasons today. First, an Arabic-speaking man and his English-speaking friend were so pleased that I could help them print something out from the man's email. He said "Thank you so much for your help and your pleasantness."

Second, this blog is now linked to on Love the Liberry, the ultimate blog of the public library experience. Amy and her co-bloggers are kind of my heroes, so it's pretty amazing to me to think that they like this humble competition!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Very mad, very happy

Today people were upset..

...that I didn't know about a tornado that happened in this city years before I moved here.

...that another guy's phone rang while he was on the computer.

...that I wouldn't pick his password for a WalMart job application for him.

On the other hand, the guy who just loves the internet came by the desk to tell me how happy he was that he could find any song online. He was so happy he almost cried. He is the best.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Security part III

I thought that after the posts of the last few weeks you thoughtful readers might like a little more insight into the life of a public library security guard. Dana Bialek has written a great profile of Marko Petrovich, security guard at the Portland Public Library, which is available here:

Friday, March 6, 2015

More security

The security guards took a break from dealing with a trespasser and a guy shooting up in the bathroom to ask me for an urban fiction book, where is the nearest Domino's, and "have you had Jimmy Johns!? Is it good!?" and also to tell me that the Fifty Shades of Grey movie was "actually okay."

I love the downtown library.