Wednesday, September 28, 2016

This morning

Can you give me the application for a Belizean passport? How much would that cost?

How long should I cook a 3-pound beef roast, and at what temperature?

Can you access scholarly articles on these computers?

We want to know in how many states Republicans control the governor, the senate, and the house. We looked it up on our smart phone but we couldn't find it.

If you'd like to read more infrequently asked questions, Mo Willems (author of Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! and other excellent children's books) has an excellent list.

Monday, September 26, 2016


The reference desk has been quiet lately so I've started to get whiny about how little entertainment I have. I had to give myself a reality check by reading this article on the worst things librarians have been accused of by patrons:

My personal answer: Ms. Opp once called me a Nazi because I told her I could not answer her question because she had already used the allotted 3 phone calls per day.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

A note

I found a crumpled-up piece of paper hidden behind a shelf of books in the stacks today. It reads: "today at the librare I saw Calin hes so dreamy"

I didn't know "dreamy" was still something the kids said.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Salmon in the Classroom

Today I was doing some research because in the spring we are going to have some Great-Lakes-related programs. I am supposed to find an expert to come give a talk about the fish and other animals that live in the lakes. I'm going for something cheesy and dramatic like "Monsters of Lake Michigan," but I still thought I'd start with the university extension program and our state's department of natural resources to see if they kept a list of educators or program providers on the topic. On the DNR's website, I came across an irresistible link to "Salmon in the Classroom," which, surprisingly and awesomely, is exactly what it sounds like:

"This instrumental learning experience grants 3rd grade and older students the opportunity to raise, care for and maintain the salmon in their classroom from fall until spring."

Teachers, take note.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Things to worry about

Here are some of the things I worry about during long lonely evenings at the reference desk:

What if that patron I have been calling 'sir' actually identifies as a woman and she is just too polite or embarrassed to tell me?

What if every library gets as good about weeding as I wish ours were, and then my nutty patrons can't request old irrelevant books through interlibrary loan anymore?

Is having so many pseudoscience books on our shelves really the right thing to do?

What if the phone numbers and addresses I am giving out from our White Pages database are enabling our patrons to stalk people?

What if I am reinforcing the delusions of the mentally ill patrons when I treat their requests like they are reasonable?

Is it somehow wrong to say "same to you!" to patrons who tell me to have a blessed day if I don't believe in God or any other blessing entities?

Any answers welcome.


A patron who called in with her question made a weird pause in the middle of her sentence. She followed it up with, "Excuse me, I burped."

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Some good stuff

I feel like the blog has been full of bad craziness lately, so let me tell you about a few good patron interactions I've had in the last couple of weeks:

A coworker who volunteers for Libraries for Life asked me to request some books on organ donation for her. I found some really nice fiction books about the relationships between the families of donors and the recipient of the donor's organ(s).

Due to a phone reference question, I learned that a caterpillar can stay in a cocoon up to two years! The poor woman who was calling had to ask me to repeat the quote from the site I found a few times--I fear she was copying it down word for word to use in a homework assignment. Aren't you glad you're not dependent on calling your public library in that kind of situation?

One of the Downtown Regulars recommended a new TV series to me based on my having recommended a book by Peter F. Hamilton to him a few months ago. It looks promising!

I showed someone who had never used Google how to Google things. This will never, ever get old to me.

Some people from a local church came and gave all the staff on desk bags with treats in them to thank us for the work we do for the city!

This is the best job ever!

(Picture from the Everett, CO Public Library)

Friday, September 2, 2016

Baseline update

Apparently the police found something on the man who was stopped and searched for a knife yesterday, because my coworkers downstairs reported that he was subsequently handcuffed in the lobby and led out to a police car.

I didn't know because I was too busy finding out for Jumpsuit Man whether 'lynx and bobcats are the same species,' and whether Michigan has any bounties on feral pigs--"Wait, can you check the federal government too? What about Texas and Florida? What about Louisiana?"

Thursday, September 1, 2016


Today three police officers and the security guard got off the elevator, stopped a man, and frisked him for a knife (Officer #1: Do you have a knife? Just make it easier for everyone and tell us. Don't reach for it, just tell us where it is."). They then escorted him out while questioning him about a robbery at a nearby store.

The most alarming part of this incident? The public computers, which had good visual and auditory access to this scene, has about 15 people on them at the time. Not a single one was disturbed by the interaction, or even looked up to see what was happening.

Ten dollars

At the adult computers, a kid about ten years old is being rowdy while his mom is trying to print something.

Mom: Why don't you go upstairs and find something to read?
Son: Joe isn't reading.
Mom: That's okay. You still can even if he isn't.
Son: Nah, I'll just stay down here.
Mom: How about you find us a book about Nevada? That's your assignment.
Son: Nah.
Mom: I bet you don't want to because you don't think you can find it.
Son: No, I can find one. I just don't feel like it.
Mom: I bet you a dollar you can't.
Son: What about ten dollars?
Mom: [sighs]