Thursday, January 28, 2016


Ah, the joys of the urban library! Today's examples:
1. A book on the band Cream, pages sliced out when no one is looking
2. A partially-smoked cigarette on the floor under one of the computers
3. Trying to work with a man who is thinks that a frozen gambling website has deliberately frozen as part of a scheme to scam players (yes, this site is a scam, but not the way you think it is)--he says, "On one of my other emails I told them my name was Crazy Ben; let's see how they react to that!"

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Not a squirrel!

Today's funniest thing on the library-related internet:

Where yo books on mythology at?

One long reference interview later, I learn that he wants information about the Mesopotamian gods Tiamat and Apsu, because they were mentioned on the internet but 'I don't trust computers for various reasons.' We find references to them in the indices of a couple of books on Mesopotamian history, but honestly I think he's more disappointed than pleased.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


In case I haven't said it before, the best thing about being a librarian is the variety!

9-9:30 Work on a grant application to translate info about our library into other languages
9:30-10:30 Weed unpopular books and audiobooks
10:30-10:45 Break: read The Most of P.G. Wodehouse and eat a donut.
10:45-11:45 Organize a set of 1960s realtor's index cards describing local homes
11:45-12:00 Review the album "Out of Time" by R.E.M. for the library's blog
12:00-1:00 Lunch/Wodehouse
1:00-5:00 On the reference desk: looking up what "rotating credit" is, emailing the library card application to an English-as-a-Second-Language teacher, helping unload the tax forms that just arrived, and listening to Security interrupt a drug deal in progress in the bathroom.

Thursday, January 7, 2016


It's been an alarmingly exciting week here at My Home Library. Coworker: "Earlier today I had to ask a woman who was speaking French loudly in the children's section to keep her voice down. I just saw her at a computer with her jacket over her head. Turns on she was putting curses on people."

Fortunately, it turns out that we can fit voodoo under our Patron Code of Conduct Policy ('conduct likely to disturb other patrons or interfere with their use of the library').

Not to mention my own patrons this evening:

Where are the psychology books?
Is there a specific topic you're looking for?
Uh, you know, brains?

Phone call: Can you go to this website and try putting in my email address and password?

Receive permission from my boss to relocate a plant by the elevator. I've now seen not one, but two people in wheelchairs have to sort of crash through the foliage in order to hit the elevator button. I hope it does okay in its new home.

The library in a nearby city that is wealthier and more educated than ours is closed for remodeling. We've started seeing a lot of their patrons trying to use us as a substitute. One has a meltdown over our printing system (she's trying to print $30 worth of documents, and we're just not set up for that). A central theme of her rant is how things work at the Other City Library and how much better it is. She reminded me of Phoebe from The TV show The Magic School Bus: "At my old school..."

Today's best thing on the library-related internet

A fictional, yet highly appealing, program from the Los Angeles Public Library:

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


One of our crabby regulars asked me to look up the phone number of a man in North Carolina. As I was looking for it she told me that she had had it before, but she lost it so she needed it again, and she asked last night but "the lady at the desk didn't want to help me, she was so rude." Doubting that this was the case, I ventured, "I'm so sorry about that. I don't know why that would have happened. I guess you never know what else is going with people" to which the patron replied, "Nope. It doesn't matter. My therapist told me not to make excuses for other people."

After I told her that the phone number was not in our consumer database nor in the online white pages, she got mad and said she would go to the South branch, where they are actually competent!

This year a lot of the staff put in some money to get a gift card to WalMart for one of our patrons who is homeless. I vote that next year's collection goes to getting this patron an appointment with a new therapist.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Hurry up

Today I was on my way back to the desk from helping two women find season 7 of True Blood in the DVDs. As I approached the desk I could hear that the phone was ringing. At the same time, one of our kid regulars walked in, heard the phone, and whisper-shouted "Run!" at me.