Friday, November 18, 2016

New patron/new American

A new patron came to the library today and we had a little trouble communicating before I understood that he was here for the ESL class that meets in one of our meeting rooms. He seemed pretty nervous to be in the library and hadn't been here before. The meeting room can be a little confusing to get to so I just asked him to follow me and took him down there in the elevator. He was wearing a straw cowboy hat with a Tim Horton's band around the brim (raises a lot of questions, I know) and as we were riding in the elevator I told him that I liked his hat. He put his fist out and we did a fist-bump. I wanted to tell him that he would fit in great.

(Also, I've been so overwhelmed with negative things happening in the world lately that having a good interaction with a new American made me tear up when I was alone on the elevator on the way back to my desk, but no one needs to know that, right?)

Thursday, November 17, 2016

I am the Grinch

 File:Angry christmas.jpg

'Tis the season for my annual outrage about quote-unquote 'holiday' decorations in the library. (I will fight anyone who says that the 'Santa version' of Christmas is totally not a religious holiday.) This week the first of the Christmas decorations appeared at both my libraries. The Downtown Library seems to be adopting a creeping approach--putting things out one at a time and gradually so that people like me won't notice what is happening. Possibly coincidentally, possibly as a warning, they put out a giant stuffed animal Grinch first. Small Town Library has gone traditional Small Town, Small Mind with fake poinsettias, garlands, and a giant tree with a 'made by a kid'-style angel topping it. Fortunately, the theme they chose for this year is snowmen. If I have to be here for next year's theme (Reindeer? Angels? Jesus Christ Our Savior?) I think it is going to get ugly.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Warning: Sad and scary

Today someone came to the reference desk and wanted me to contact his partner for him. He had lost his cell phone and just replaced it and did not have the partner's phone number saved to the phone or memorized. I tried looking the person up in the white pages but he was unlisted. The man told me that this person is off his medication and he is really afraid for him, and insisted that I put him in touch with his partner by using the phone number in his partner's library card record--"I know he has a library card, even if you can't give me the number, can't you just call him and put him on the phone?"

I told him that I was very sorry, but I couldn't share any patron information for non-library purposes, no matter how urgent. I asked if I could check the white pages for a friend or family member who might have his husband's number, but he couldn't think of anyone (he was pretty distraught). I then offered that I could help him call his husband's doctor, who might be able to help, but he declined. I then suggested that he call the police or 911 and report that he felt his partner was a danger to himself, but he said his partner would never forgive him so he just couldn't. He asked me a few more times to disclose the man's number or call it and put him on the phone, but I reiterated that it was illegal and I just couldn't. Then he left.

I was not prepared for this. I think I did the right thing in refusing to give him the information, but that doesn't change the fact that the outcome was awful. How would you cope with something like this if it happened at your job?

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Something excellent

I was thinking of writing a post-election post about how awful the world is and how important public libraries are and how I'm proud to be part of a profession that values everyone, but I'm just too damn sad and disgusted. So here is something different.

This evening, I am doing my first ever program that isn't a book club and is all by myself! It's about replacing your cable service with streaming options. I get to demo some hardware--specifically, I somehow convinced the director that she should buy me a Chromecast. Yesterday I hooked that Chromecast up to our projector and synced it up with my phone so I could show the program participants what 'casting' something looks like. Anyway, I got paid to spend 10 minutes deciding what Youtube video to show them as an example. I know it's down to the wire and I should know by now, but I'm still deciding between two otters holding hands and a penguin with a backpack that looks like a penguin. Maybe I'll ask one of my children's librarian colleagues, as they are the in-house experts both on programs and on things that are adorable.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Can't Wait 'Til Wednesday

My coworker just took a call from someone who asked her who to vote for. Over the few years I've been doing this, I've had a lot of people tell me who I should vote for, but no one who wanted me to pick for them. She said to the patron, "I wouldn't touch that one with a ten-foot pole. I'm sorry, but that's not something we can discuss."

Then someone called asking "Is there going to be a Messiah in town this December?" but fortunately it turns out he meant the concert, not an actual messiah. This time.