Thursday, July 20, 2017

Emailing the dark side

I was helping a man email photos he had taken on his phone to a friend of his. We got to the point where the photos were attached to an email and he had to enter an address in the "to" field. He said, "It probably wouldn't be good to put 'Darth Vader,' would it?" 

I agreed that it would not.

Monday, July 17, 2017

So cute

The objectively most adorable little kid in the universe took a long time at the book return because she insisted on kissing every single book before putting it in the slot.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Language

Today a man who I was helping was struggling to get into his email account and in frustration he said "God--" and I was sure that was going to end in "damn it!" but instead he said "bless America!"


(Later he said "Cool beans" in response to something else, so obviously he has a variety of uncommon expressions. Also, I know you can be kicked out of the library for swearing, so I'm glad I didn't have to consider the status of "damn it" as a swear word.)

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Valedictory

Big news, readers! The title of this blog will soon make sense again! Later this month I am moving back to the not-so-great state of Texas. This means I'll be looking for a new job, so there may be a lull in posts. I've scheduled some ahead of time, so there won't be nothing, but the post frequency will decrease for a bit until I get established somewhere else.

This also means, obviously, that I will have to give up my positions at Small Town Library and Downtown Library. I'm getting a little preemptively nostalgic for them both. As a valedictory, I'd like to present some of the greatest things about these two libraries:

At Small Town Library:

There is a teen boy who wanted to volunteer at the library, but didn't want to do 'girly' stuff like make art or cut up things for craft projects, so he follows the building manager around and helps him out with 'manly' things like taking out the trash and fixing stuff.

I got to create a collection while I worked here. We pulled Adult Graphic Novels out of non-fiction (they are in with the art books) and put them into their own area. It made me absolutely dizzy with power, and also increased their circulation.

Our circulation staff is so great. They are friends with all the patrons and they dispense book recommendations cunningly hidden in between inquiries about how Your Son Bobby is doing at college and if anyone has bought Your Old Neighbor's House yet.

They let me order books! If I end up with a job in a system that has centralized ordering, I'm going to miss this so much. One of the things that makes me happiest at Small Town Library is seeing someone check out something that I ordered.

I 3D print stuff all the time and no one needlessly monitors it or feels the need to make rules. Kids just give me stuff and I print it. No forms to sign, no charge for materials, all excitement.

At Downtown Library:

The collection includes books about everything. I go through our new items because one of my jobs is posting about them on Twitter, and I am always amazed by what we get.  You can make some pretty excellent displays from our collection.

We have someone whose whole job it is to work out problems with Overdrive, hoopla, and our other digital content vendors. I don't know how much she gets paid, but I'm sure it isn't what she deserves.

We have a library card that kids can sign themselves up for! It only lets you check out one book at a time, but it's excellent for school trips and for kids whose parents or legal guardians aren't usually with them in the library, plus what kid doesn't want to be able to be in charge of their own card?

My coworkers are master reader's advisors. We have social-media-based RA, staff picks scrolling atop the library homepage, and tons of displays within the library, including one where patrons can pick out their own favorite books to recommend to their neighbors.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Just Google it!

This Wednesday morning desk shift gave me a small headache:


My Circulation counterpart is still shelving holds when we open; I check out a few patrons' items on her behalf.


Phone call: I left a flash drive there. Can you connect me to the people by the computers to check if they have it?


ESL teacher: Do you have a key to open the room in the basement? Seamus from Security usually opens it for us.


Another phone call re: lost and found.


A huge mob of kids in matching shirts comes in and lines up at the front desk. I am massively relieved to find out they are here for a program with our children's librarian, and they don't need me to award them all summer reading prizes.


Do you have a phone book?
For Our City?
Yeah.
No, sorry, you'll have to go up to the second floor. All we have hear is one for northern Michigan, for some reason.
Can I just look at that one, then?
(Wtf!)


Phone call: I have some movies that are due back today. Can you renew them? Also, can you put Ghostrider on hold for me? Oh, not that one. The second one.


I just returned Law & Order seasons 2 and 3 and I would like 4 and 5, please.


The self-check says there's a problem with my account.
Don't worry, it's just expired. We just need to check your contact info and you're good to go.


Do I bring my returns to you or put them in this slot here?


Can I sign her up for summer reading? Do you have the paper thing? We don't want to do anything on the computer.


Man from the daycare/mob of kids/whatever is here for the children's librarian's program: I just need to take these friends to the bathroom. Is it right here?


Can I sign up for some kind of temporary card to use the computer?
No, but you can sign up for a permanent one for free.


Another man, as I'm signing that man up for a card: I just need to know where the bathroom is.


Can you let me into the bathroom?


There used to be a citizenship class here where they helped you fill out forms. Do you still have that?


He needs to wash his hands. Could you let us into the bathroom again?


Another library card sign-up. If I'm making systematic mistakes, Circulation is going to be sorry about how hard I worked today.


Phone: My father needs to come in and use a computer and a scanner, but he doesn't have a library card. Is that okay?


My mom says can you please add more time to her computer?


Do you have an outlet back there behind your desk where I can plug in my phone?


This computer refuses to pull up a book that I know exists!


Is there someone I can talk to? I'd like to make the comment that there are some titles in the new nonfiction area that children shouldn't be running past.


Phone: I returned a book to you a couple of weeks ago, but it's still showing up on my account.


I'm here to see if I can get a Consumer Reports. Can you check those out?


Can I return this? I thought it was Descendants 2, but it's the first one.


Phone: I need the number for two hair salons on Martin Luther King Drive.
Me: Do you know their names?
Phone: Just Google it! We're a small city, we don't have that many.





Monday, July 3, 2017

YS fever

I'm a woman in my late 20s, so people have started to talk to me about baby fever. I don't have that, but last week I did have a flare up of totally misguided desire to become a youth services librarian, which I'm going to call YS Fever.
 
One of the pleasures of working at Small Town Library, as I think I've mentioned before, is that we got a 3D printer this winter. It's just a toy so far, but it's a pretty great toy. I've jointly taken the lead on doing stuff with it along with another librarian because again, I have techno-joy rather than techno-fear.

I really wanted to use the 3D printer as a way to draw patrons in to a maker space program, about 1/2 because I was genuinely interested in maker spaces and 1/2 because then I could have maker space experience on my resume. Maker spaces are one of the latest bandwagon trends in public libraries: they're meant to make libraries a two-way street by making patrons into producers as well as consumers, to be the birthplace of world-improving ideas or at least low-budget small business incubators, and to foster/teach collaboration, creativity, problem-solving, and probably also some kind of employable technical skills. Low expectations, right?

Anyway, we had our first 'pop up maker space' program last week. It mainly drew kids ages 8-15 or so, about ten of them. I'm an adult services librarian mainly because I have no clue how to interact with kids in a group setting or to how to make them do what I want, so this was intimidating to me. So imagine my relief and excitement as I watched all the participants help each other selflessly and in a non-bossy fashion, basically exactly how a makerspace program is supposed to make people behave. One kid would speak up to get my help with something and in the 20 seconds it would take me to get there, another kid would already be there looking over the problem and providing guidance.

They chatted with each other and with me quite a bit, and it was a success. I wowed them by telling them it was the 20th anniversary of the first Harry Potter book being published and telling them about the early days of fandom. We compared some of our favorite maker-relevant YouTube channels. I like that you can say things to kids that it's socially unacceptable to say to adults even when they are true--somehow we got to talking about dogs, and I told them that I wanted to get a greyhound because they're lazy and I'm lazy, so I thought it would be a good fit. Not something you say to strange adults, but the kids didn't bat an eye.

Then I was on the desk next day, checking out books to a family of a mom and two young kids, the older of whom was playing Pokemon Go on his mom's phone. They had a big pile of picture books, so to chat while they waited I asked him if he was playing Pokemon. Two minutes later, I was assuring this boy that I would keep an eye on the Arbok his family had put in the gym outside the library--Go Team Mystic!

I may have to sit in on a storytime this week to cure myself. The high-pitched, constant voices and total lack of regard for personal space at Preschool Storytime should do it.