Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Rules of Circ #14 (RoC)

"I Can Name That Patron in Two Adjectives"

My coworkers and I encounter a lot of people during our time on the desk and while covering the phones.  Unless you are a frequent patron, exceptional nice (or attractive), troublesome, or for a lack of a better word, down right "quirky," we do remember your name.  And if you are really special, we even may have a nickname for you.  Not that it means it's a bad thing.  Several of my female coworkers have dubbed one guy the "hot dad."

Also, if you have a unique name, we will most likely point it out to each other.  Seriously, what else are we supposed to talk about at work: cats? recipes? sewing/crocheting?  I'd fail on all three topics.

We don't make fun of patrons, okay, so *some* of my coworkers do, but when you deal with hundreds of people during the week it can be hard to recall certain patrons unless you describe them like "Porn Dude," you know, that creepy guy that always looks at porn on the public internet stations without regard for those around him.

I know it would be pointless of me to say not to take it personally but really, it is personal.

What's In a Name Part I.

My PICAW (Partner In Crime At Work) and myself found ourselves bored at work when we were covering the phones. 
I randomly searched for unique names in our patron database and was quite surprised what names (first and middle) popped up.  So what started out as a way to pass the time turned into a competitive game.

Our list became quite extensive and we have tried to keep it organized, somewhat...



We found out that our library system has its own "United Nations" of patrons names when it came to countries along with some other cities.

Countries and Cities:



Sunday, December 27, 2009

Rules of Circ #23 (RoC)

"Do Not Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth"

I had a gentleman approach me at the desk yesterday asking if there was a manager on duty.  I've learned from past experience that my lack of authority > manager's ineptitude.
So I told him that I could look in the back for one to which he replied, "Well, maybe you can help me."

He had overdue fees on his card in excess of $50.  All for the same 4 books, he apparently failed to comprehend the "Renewal" process.  He was playing his violin and was talking about how he needed it to study and before he knew it, his fees procreated into the amount it was today.

He asked if there "was anything that could be done about it."  Like he was expecting me to wave a magic wand and *poof* make it entirely disappear, which in all reason I could.  But I used my "Win/Win Tactic," I told him that if he paid half of it today, I could forgive the rest.  Apparently that wasn't good enough for him because didn't jump at this 'once in a lifetime opportunity' that I just presented him.  I even told him that any manager would not even offer to forgive this much, he still didn't accept it.

I know times are rough and I am more than willing to help out patrons but offer them an inch and some of them expect a mile.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Not in my Job Description...

I get to work this morning to see a plow truck clearing up the parking lot. The back entrance wasn't plowed so I walked around to the front of the building. I'm greeted at the door by a coworker who asks if I'm up for sanding the front entrance and bookdrop. Sure, why not, wouldn't want any of my older coworkers to slip and fall.

There were two people actually waiting at the door for it to open at 10. Started off the day with the bare minimum staff, 3 info and 3 circ. The first patron I helped on the desk remarked how surprised she was that we showed up. On her way out she turned around and said "thank you."
And they say libraries are "nonessential." Tell that to all of the patrons who came in today. I'll have to take a look at the circulation numbers tomorrow.

You can't say libraries aren't necessary, especially during times like this when more people flock to them.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Weather forecasters: 1, Me: 2

So everyone who I said BS to about the winter storm has let it known that YES it did actually snow and that I was WRONG, save your texts for something else please.

Thank you very much for pointing out the obvious.  I still do not trust weather forecasters any more than I previously did.

So yeah, mark one up to them, but then again, who didn't have to go into work today, not them.  Who also got paid to stay home today - ME.  Game, set, match.

The attached pic what I would call "false advertising."  Biology is nowhere near as fun as a snowball fight with a monkey, that's why I took Geology to fulfill my last science requirement.

On a final note, I really do not need 24 hour local news coverage on the winter storm.  I know its cold outside, I know there's a lot of snow, I know it's best if I stay home.  I'd rather be subjected to infomercials for Snuggies than live feeds of the the barren highways.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Milk, Bread, and Books

Seems like today's conversation is about the impending snow storm.

All of my coworkers keep going on and on about how much we're expecting and how bad it's going to be.

Then you have a rush of elderly patrons who are stocking up on books like we're giving them by the armfuls for free... okay, so they are "free" to a certain extent but still.  It's really not that big of a deal.  Weather forecasters have let me down numerous times when I was in grade school.  I spent so many nights going to bed expecting not to have to go to school the following day.  Only to have my hopes dashed away because the "jetstream" changed its course unexpectedly. 

Over a foot of snow you say?  --- I say "BS." 

Don't get me wrong, I have no objections to being snowed in for a few days with a big box of Popeyes chicken and the warm glow of my big screen, playing MW2 to keep me warm.  But I'll believe when I see it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Last Supper

So last week we had our annual office holiday party.  It was a potluck event, so I brought my usual drinks.  I actually like the majority of my coworkers and would not subject them to my cooking skills or lack thereof.

Unlike last year, we had the full 2 hours to enjoy eachothers company with out any worries of work.  Not this year.  The first hour we grubbed and the second hour was reserved to sadden and depress everyone.  The branch manager gave us a recap of the lastest manager's meetings and the budget talks.  Which pretty much amounted to nothing, since one cannot say for certainty what the budget cuts will bring until they take place.  But she pretty much said that A LOT of people will be cut.  Seeing as how they will be doing it on seniority and a lot of my coworkers have been with the library system since the Stone Age aka Card Stamp days, I really do not think I will have this position in a couple of months.

The managers tried to assuage everyone's fears, saying that there's always a chance the library will be spared a double digit cut, but we all know that won't happen.  Reminded me of a line in "Dumb and Dumber":

Me: What do you think the chances are of an employee like me and an employer like you... still working together next year?
Library: Well, Bibliotecher, that's difficult to say. I mean, we don't really...
Me: Hit me with it! Just give it to me straight! I've worked really hard, Library. The least you can do is level with me. What are my chances?
Library: Not good.
Me: You mean, not good like one out of a hundred?
Library: I'd say more like one out of a million.
Me: So you're telling me there's a chance... *YEAH!*

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I Live My Life One Due Date at a Time...

Not too long ago I was really into the import scene. For those unfamiliar, it was "those bunch of kids" with lowered Honda's with loud exhausts, and big rims. Then Hollywood caught wind of it, chewed it up, and spit out its mainstream loogey in the form of "The Fast and the Furious." There's one infamous line where Vin Diesel says he "lives one quarter mile at a time."

For those unfamiliar a quarter mile AKA 1320 (feet) is the length of a drag strip. That horrid line has been embedded in my mind and I have my own library equivalent, "I live my life one check out at a time." Sure its typically three weeks in the future but even the patrons relate to it. A lot of patrons will make comments about how their return date falls on their birthday or some other significant event, or they make a comment about how time flies.

So here's to a Happy New Year to all!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Spring It On!

Finally received my acceptance letter for grad school.  This upcoming spring will be my first step to being able to call myself a certified librarian. This past semester off actually flew by and I can't wait to get back to the books, desks, group projects, presentations, and exams.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

This Week's Winner Is...

Patron ........151, the collections agency will be contacting you shortly.

I <3 my Coworkers...

Because they feed me.

They Start So Young Nowadays...

Just had a mom call in to see when she had to pay her daughter's overdue fees. I told her she could pay it whenever, but the earlier the better since the account has gone to the collections agency, which may or may not ding her credit score. Her daughter's only 7 but could quite potentially be on her way to a horrible credit score.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Bless the Swedes

for all they have given us: Saabs, meatballs, assembly required furniture, and square beef patties.  This is a cover from a children's series.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Saturdays off are Great.

Saturdays off during the first snowfall of the year are even better.
Reminding your coworkers that its your day off while they're at work... Priceless.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Patron Complaints

The branch manager forwarded an email complaint that a patron sent through the library website about staff conversations disrupting her experience at the library.  It was sent while I was working at the other branch, so I definitely know she wasn't complaining about me.  I admit several of my coworkers do not possess the "inside voice" but does that mean we are not allowed to talk to each other while working the circ desk?

I have several issues with this particular patron even though I've never met her.  Her email is full of attitude, I'm know she has a right to be upset but she could have been more tactful.  First lesson to learn, is that any emails with sentences in ALL CAPS LOSE ALL RELEVANCE.  This last line really irked me: "
Treat the patrons like WE matter and like we DO have something to do with a small portion of your paychecks."  Second lesson to learn, just like librarians ask patrons to keep their voices down, patrons can do the same.  If she had such a problem, why did she not ask to speak to a manager.  Instead she had to email the higher ups which means the issue will be blown out of proportion we will have to take a vow of silence while we are on the circ desk.

Second lesson to learn from all of this, the branch manager should have redacted the patron's email address instead of forwarding it to the whole branch.  The first Google result brings up a website for an escort advertisement page.  She apparently charges $150 for a half hour and $250 for a full hour.  I'm not a tax expert but I don't think my wages are paid with taxes from any prostitutes' paychecks.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Librarians Gone Wild

With my job in budget jeopardy, I decided to use my AL while I can and I took a trip to Las Vegas.
Needless to say I had a great time.
I wonder if/when there will ever be an annual ALA conference held there. I would be there in a heartbeat.

This Week's Winner...

Nothing too much. Maybe I've just gotten used to seeing overdue fees around $100 to $300.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Round 2

Compared to last year, it seems like the library system is going to fight the upcoming budget cuts with all it has.  The library makes up the smallest portion of the County budget, yet they're making the biggest cuts from it.  That doesn't sound right any way you spin it.

The library system as a whole sucked it up last year when they cut numerous positions and laid off half of the pages.  Now they want to cut more.  I will be the first to admit that it was long overdue to fire some of the pages.  We are now more efficient, the books are still getting shelved and the lazies are no longer around.  But the system is already running lean with the amount of people on staff.  I will also say that I know a couple of people that should "retire."  Whether its due to their age, health, or laziness, they should NOT be on the library payroll. 

My days at the library seem to be numbered.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I Love My Coworkers...

They're all unique and fun to work with.
One of them is new to the area from Iraq. She worked in the Green Zone in Baghdad for 2 years before coming to the States. I found this out while we were both avoiding working the circ desk the first hour of opening. All the problem patrons seem to pop up then.
It was our first time actually getting to know each other. When I asked her what she wanted to do here, she just laughed and said it was "silly." After a little bit more of playful prodding, she said she wanted to be an actress, but her family told her it was stupid. I told her she should go for it, she just blushed and said, "you don't think its stupid?" I told her this is the States, you can do whatever you want, be whoever you want to be. Hate to resound on that cliche, but it is true. Hope she just doesn't become "Hollywood" and forget who I am when she becomes famous.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Lunch Break Libations

Its my last Saturday at this branch and I have a 12 pack in the trunk.
I found out last night that I play Modern Warfare 2 better when I'm drunk. I wonder if I'm better at the Circ desk tipsy.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Firedrill Fail

I have worked at a total of 7 different branches and have been fortunate enough to NOT be scheduled during any of their routine firedrills.

Well, my luck ran out last week as I experienced my first one and it was pretty uneventful.

It was supposed to be a surprise as to catch everyone off guard and see how prepared they all really are. But that element was thrown out the window when the assistant branch manager had the check list clipboard in her hand and waited for 5 minutes at the circ desk for a lull in people checking out before she pulled the alarm.

It sure scared one patron, he happened to be on his cell phone when it went off and he literally ran out the exit, if there were any children or elderly in front of him, I have no doubt he would have knocked them out of the way during this practice emergency.

While most patrons were leaving reluctantly, one lady decided to check out her materials before the imaginary fire consumed her. Talk about fail, I told her to exit and she gave me the nastiest look. At least it was a nice day outside...

Punk Ass Book Jockeys

I LOVE NBC's Thursday night line up.  How can you not, with "Parks and Recreation," "The Community," "The Office," and "30 Rock," all in one night.

I missed watching last Thursday because I was watching a German opera (not as exciting as it sounds.)

But I Hulu'd all of the shows and I laughed so hard during "Parks and Recreation" s02e08.

They bash the library, what's not to like about that!?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Trick-ed and mis-Treated

I knew it was a bad sign 2 weeks ago when one of the circ managers pulled up a chair next to me while I was working the phones.  The first thing she said was, "Have you heard already?"  To be honest, I didn't really hear directly that my stay was being extended another pay period, but I already heard that they told the other circ aide about her extended stay.

Just as I was counting down the days to my return to my regular branch, they screw up my calender.  I can only suck it up, at least it's not as bad as what they did to a third circ aide they "borrowed."  Her two pay period stay turned into a THREE month stay.  Whenever I was working the circ desk with her, she would regularly vent to me about how they really did need to borrow staff from other branches.  I did agree with her to some extent, the managers could have better scheduled the staff they have, until the new hires come in.

Now, I have a new variation to the phrase "Same ish, different day,"

"Same ish, different branch"

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Why Is It...

That I feel guilty about calling in sick today when I actually AM sick, but not when I called in and when I wasn't sick?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

This is Why You're a Librarian...

And not a marketer. This is such a horrible rip off. It looks and sounds even more ridiculous when you read it out loud. The "Got Milk?" campaign worked so well because of its simplicity, its ONE syllable, not four. For shame library, for shame. Thank goodness I have a Marketing degree, I plan to walk around the branch with a Sharpee and add "^your" to all the signage.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

What's the Deal...

In my best Jerry Seinfeld impression: "What's the deal with librarians and their holiday themed sweaters?" I swear, it seems that at every branch I have been to, it seems like it's a requirement to have a closet full of festive sweaters for the whole year.
Are they the "in gifts" to give to that newly graduated MLS student?? If that's the case so be it, I wear a size S or M, and don't forget the gift receipt!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

You Belong To The City

You belong to the night... Okay, enough Glenn Frey. 

I now have my old position out at the City library, so now I will have more stories about the library to blog about HUZZAH!

I went in today to fill out all of the paperwork and today was also the first day they switched their program over to an older version of what I work with at the County.  Boy, was there a LOT of problems with that upgrade.  It's like going from Win 95 to Vista.  With me being the only one with "extensive" working knowledge of the program, I was put to work, as one of my newly regained coworkers put it --- "before the ink even dried."

Don't Leave Home Without It

I charged a patron a $2 internet guest pass despite her having a library card, which she left at home, per the new fee changes which were put in place during the summer.

After she used the internet she came back to the desk to check out some books.  The lady working with me on the desk told her it was a $1 charge for her to check out books because she didn't bring her library card.  The patron showed my coworker the receipt that she already paid for an internet pass, but my coworker said that it was the rule.  The patron nearly broke down into tears and said, "I lost my job, I'm unemployed, I just filed for bankruptcy and $3 means a lot right now."  My coworker said she would go talk to the manager and she got up and walked to the backroom.

My coworker came back and told the patron that the manager said that was the rule but she was personally going to not charge her and said that she could get in trouble for it.  In all honesty, my coworker was playing good cop, bad cop.  Nearly anyone would have checked the lady's materials out free of charge without her having to open up about her financial straits. 

After the patron left, my coworker said to me that she only did it because she was unemployed.  She then commented about the books she checked out; asking why they weren't about job hunting or resume building.  She stared out the front windows and commented that she hoped the patron wasn't just lying to avoid the fee, she has been in the library system a lot longer than I have which might have be the reason for her degree of jadedness.  Hope that doesn't happen to me.

Libraries CAN be Exciting...

During my last hour on the desk today, I noticed a police car with its lights on pull into the parking lot. I figured he probably caught someone speeding. Next thing I see is him pulling up to the front entrance and going up to a lady that was sitting on a bench near the doors. He handcuffs her and another squad car pulls up and they start searching her.

A patron walked in with her young son and made a comment about how libraries used to be a safe place. The lady I was working with on the desk whispered to me to not make any comments. She's also on loan from a different branch as well.

I don't know what's wrong with this particular branch, its not in an unsafe location. This lady also told me about the time she asked this couple if they needed help. The woman said in Spanish that she needed to hide the guy. This caught her by surprise and she didn't have time to respond before the couple ran out of the door. Shortly after a police car pulled up and a cop searched the library for them.

All I have to say is that I really miss my "problem patrons" at my branch.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Riddle Me This...

There are 4 Circ side managers scheduled today, but only 4 hours of circ desk scheduled between them all -- wth...

Waste of Shelf space...

Yeah, so knowing President Garfield's dog was named Veto might, *MIGHT*, be helpful during Double Jeopardy; this book needs to be weeded, ASAP.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I'm the Lifeguard Who Doesn't Like to Swim...

It's well known at my branch that I don't read much, if at all, unless its for school. So when I was asked at my temporary branch if I read a lot (I assume that it's widely assumed that all people working in a library like to read), I simply told her, "Not at all, I'm the lifeguard who doesn't like to swim."

But I am trying to change all of that with my semester off. I recently finished, "Gang Leader for a Day," yes, I know you're supposed to underline titles, but I can't on my Crackberry. I stopped by my home branch to pick up some holds. I have yet to finish "The World is Flat" before one of my other holds comes in, "Hot, Flat and Crowded." My coworkers confronted me about the second book I had come to pick up, McKenzie Phillips' "High on Arrival." First, they were shocked I was reading (haha-funny one guys), then they were startled I was reading this title (it's for my mom!), finally they were dismayed when I didn't recognize any of The Mamas and the Papas' tunes they were, uhm, how should I describe it..."singing"?

Week in Review

So I've been at my temporary branch for a week now and have a pretty good feel for the place.

Overall, it's an "okay" branch.  I wouldn't be willing to stay here permanently. 

The patrons are more patient, I guess they've been trained to be that way with 3 self check out machines and only 1 full service computer.  Lines can get pretty long in a short amount of time, but I have never seen or heard any complaints about the wait.  That is completely different than my home branch.  If a person has to wait for 30 seconds for assistance, they go into full ballistic mode. 

The branch is set up like a big square with the stacks on opposites sides, so there really isn't any where to hide.  I'm not saying I hide all the time, but it is a good distraction to disappear into the stacks for a few.

The backroom set up is wide open, it's not the cubicle farm I've come to like.  Info and Circ staff are interspersed among each other but there isn't much interaction between the two camps.  At least we joke around and talk to each other at my branch.

Even though I already have a maternal coworker at this branch, I'm counting down the days to go back to my original ones...

Monday, October 5, 2009


Just got my scores in the mail: Analytical 4.5 Verbal 510 Quantitative 640.
Needless to say I am much relieved and happy with my scores(don't have to pay another buck-fifty to retake it!).

Friday, October 2, 2009

I Should Be Transferred More Often...

So I can get more going away presents. Can't wait to see what I get when I come back.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

You Don't Trade Your Best Player

Yesterday before I started my shift, I stood in the doorway of my Circ manager to let him know that I needed to talk to him sometime about him messing up my schedule.... Again.
And then he stood up and told me that HE needed to talk to ME about MY scheduling.  He told me to take a seat and I was completely taken aback by this because "fixing my schedule" just involved me standing next to him while he moved my hours around on the spreadsheet. 
I seriously thought he was going to fire me by the way he was speaking.  He then told me that a decision was made and that I would be transferred to another branch to help cover under-staffing.
I was relieved I still had a job, and it's only 6 weeks.  The County is going to hire a handful of the 2000+ applicants who applied for the 14 positions open.  This branch I am transferring to isn't all too far from where I live and I haven't worked there before so I'm open to the experience.
Some things I don't understand about this decision, is that my current branch is much more busier and we are already understaffed.  So my departure will be rough on my coworkers.  I also found out that someone from my first branch is also going to be transferred with me, so why me as well?
I think my P.I.C.A.W. (Partner In Crime At Work) is more affected by this decision than I am.  She looked at the daily schedules to see if we were working the desk together and if we weren't, who either one of us could switch with.  For some reason, management hasn't rarely been scheduling us to work the desk together.  I don't know why, nothing bad has happened, we do our work, we don't mess around---ageism I tell ya.
One of my coworkers compared this situation to when she was in school and a student was being sent to a different class.  The teacher would pick the brightest, smartest, best dressed student on their way, telling them to, "make a good impression."  Well, hell yea I'm the brightest and smartest.  But I think it's mostly because I am not taking any classes this semester and my availability is wide open, whatever, I'm still the best dressed.  I know I will be sorely missed not just because of my greatness but because I actually work hard and pull my own weight.
Apparently the Assistant Circ Manager felt the need to email the WHOLE branch about it, so several Info staff have talked to me about it.  Miss L first found out about it when Miss S told me that she'd miss me and Miss L turned to me and said, "You're leaving??"  Miss S pointed out that there was an email from the Assistant Circ Manager, to which Miss L replied, "Oh, I saw it was from him SO I didn't read it."  Her first question for me was if they asked me, no, they didn't ask they just did.  This instantly sent her on a rant about the mismanagement of our branch.  Too bad they didn't ask because one of my coworkers has been itching to transfer to that branch PERMANENTLY.  And I am sure she would have jumped at the chance to work there even if its for 6 weeks.  The branch manager came up to me TWICE during my shift to talk about it.  She kept going on and on about how much I will enjoy it there and they are a bunch of great people, and that the branch manager there is her friend, and that I am a great worker and I am going to make a great impression on them.  I felt like she was being facetious and in reality I am going to hate it and she knows it.  She also kept thanking me and in my head I was thinking that I didn't really have a choice in the matter.
I will be missing Halloween and the bi-annual booksale which is always fun to work, but it'll be a good distraction.  More importantly, I'll be back, they can't get rid of me that easily

Monday, September 28, 2009

Today's Weather Outlook is...

It's a nice, cool 74 degrees outside.
Then WTH is it a stuffy, warm 80 in the backroom?!?
I feel like filling my cubicle with sand and wearing my beach gear.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I See Dead Pixels

I read a few GRE prep books and a few websites about tips for the exam.  They all recommended simulating the sterile testing room by taking a timed practice exam on a computer with no distractions. 

Yeah, I did all that but that didn't prepare me for the "Alien Invasion" font I was distracted with. Everything I read on the screen felt too pixelated to me and I was straining to read, the only thing missing was the single button mouse and the 8.5 inch floppy disk.

I don't know, maybe I was the only one whose LCD monitor was hooked up to a Commodore 64 but my tip for anyone preparing for the GRE is to switch out your Ariel or Times New Roman for a highly pixelated font

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Its on like Donkey Kong!

Late Spring cleaning reaps its rewards...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Damn you GRE!!

So I took the GRE yesterday, let me say that when it comes to any test, I am almost always the first person to finish. That wasn't the case yesterday. It was an omen when the testing center left a voice message asking if I had the address. Well, I had an address, apparently the old address from my confirmation email. I called the center and spoke with someone and they said that several people never received the correct address and missed their tests, sucks for them. My test started with the writing portion first, I wanted to save that for the end but oh well. Then came the math section, I don't know what happened but I struggled through the whole section. This was the only section where I had to rush at the end because I was running out of time, so the last few questions I guessed. By the time I finished the verbal, I was so frustrated and wanted to leave that I clicked over the portion where it showed my score - doh! I asked a proctor if I would get a print out and he said its online. Well I checked online and I need to receive my scores in the SNAIL mail before I can access it online. WTH, this isn't my week at all...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Volunteers - You Get What You Pay For...

I love these teen volunteers who completely slack off during the whole summer when it comes to completing their community service hours. They walk into the library with their form completely empty and ask if there's any work to be done --- right then and there.
The other day we also had a young teen who thought they were being helpful by removing all of the inter-filed adult graphic fiction novels and placing them on carts next to the young adult graphic novels. Thank goodness there's only a handful of '300' and 'Sin City' like books. Well, at least our pages had something to do.

Don't get me wrong, I really do love our volunteers. They're a great help when the County keeps making employees do more with less.

Monday, September 14, 2009

This Week's Winner is...

Patron #....3099.
Congratulations! The collection agency will be repoing your car shortly.

Worst Bookmark Ever

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Peterson GRE 2010 - FAIL

Thank you Peterson for giving me the wrong answer, ultimately causing me to question my ability to do basic multiplication and division. And for also distracting me for the past 20 minutes from studying so I could document and email you about this prime example of FAIL.

If You Can't Stand the Heat... Get Out of My Library

I'm a religious follower of the cartoon 'Unshelved' (www.unshelved.com), as I'm sure most library workers are. I remember a few weeks back they were making fun of the point that their library was being advertised as a relief shelter from the summer heat, despite their A/C not working.

Well I can relate, but our A/C actually works. It just isn't set low enough to feel any negligible difference between outside and inside. The county raised the temperature threshold of all the buildings, so it can get very warm inside. A lot of patrons have complained but that hasn't changed anything. This building isn't exactly new so the ventilation is not great. While its tropical humid at the circ desk, its cool 2 feet away in the backroom, and downright frigid in the stacks near sci-fi. Can't wait to see what it'll be like in here during winter. I'm all for an open bonfire in the middle of circ, I know some great romance novels that would burn nice and toasty - Harlequin Series, I'm looking right at you!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Spoke Too Soon...

Disregard my previous post.

Today's Winner is...

Patron 9011 with 23 lost items. The collections agency will be contacting you shortly...

Monday, September 7, 2009

FAIL - Dog Training

Joined the Darkside

Within a month of transferring to my current branch they hired a somewhat young person to join the ranks of management. I say "somewhat young" because after the 4 of us who are in our 20's, she's the median between "us" and the next closest staff member in age. She can relate to the younger crowd but she can also relate to the rest. It was cool to think that the younger ones had someone on the inside of management who could let's our woes be heard.
Well that plan didn't last long. She's fully developed what my coworker calls, "Management Syndrome." She was probably brainwashed during the monthly Circ manager meetings. While branch, circ, and info meetings have been cut to once every other month, circ management has deemed it necessary to continue to meet every month. No one has any idea what they actually do during them, but I believe they use those 2 hours to get away from annoying patrons and the stress they bring.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Based on the Best Selling Novel

I was working the phones when a young patron called. She wanted to find out where her hold for 'The Time Traveler's Wife' was... number 369 in the holds queue to be exact. When I told her, she sighed loudly, and I told her she was better off watching the movie first. But she "really, really, really" wanted to read the book first. This always happens when movies are soon to be released. I was surprised though when there wasn't a big surge in demand for 'Q&A.' 'Slumdog Millionaire' is a 100x better movie than 'Genetic Time/Space Continuum Disorder Guy's Spouse,' yeah, I said it!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Lost in Translation

I had a patron bring up a book to the Circ Desk and handed me their passport. So I used it to search for their account and when I showed them the screen query that their name was not coming up they said in broken English, that they have to be in there. I then asked if they even had a library card and lo and behold they never did. So I gave them application form and when I was done entering their info, they asked how much. I told them that most services are free and told them the few occasions were fines may occur. They asked me how much for the book, I tried my best to explain that it was free to borrow and we went back and forth for a few minutes. I'm not sure if there's a universal hand sign for "due back in 3 weeks," but I don't think the library will be seeing that book again...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Bookdrop Danger #76

Candy Jelly Fish and Precalculus don't play well.
I was the fortunate one who was working the bookdrop when this item came through. I got so mad because I touched this foul thing that I wanted to charge the patron for the damaged fee because the "fish" were literally fused with the book. But a circ manager said not to and to just discard it. That's management for you...

Go figure...

It's almost 3 AM and I'm wide awake. Why is it, that during midterms and finals I drank Red-Bull in the hopes of staying awake to "study" til the early morning hours, only to go to bed around my usual bedtime. But now I have 1 can of Diet Mountain Dew at 10 PM and it keeps me up this late... At least I have an afternoon shift tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"District 9" movie review.

You know when someone tries to tweak a tried and true recipe to make it "their own" and it just isn't the same and you end up disappointed. They ask you to try it and they eagerly watch you eat it and ask you, "How is it?" Before you can even swallow, all you can really truthfully describe it as is - "It's different."

That's exactly how I feel about Peter Jackson's "District 9." The previews made this seem like it would be a pretty good movie but don't judge a movie by its preview. There have been many successful movies involving aliens coming to Earth: "Independence Day," "Men in Black."

One aspect I didn't like was that it switched between too many camera perspectives. It started out as a 1st-person "documentary" style movie a la "Cloverfield," which made that movie "different" too but in a good way. It later alternates between surveillance/security camera angles to regular 3rd person perspective.

I didn't like the whole "humans are heartless and prejudice and aliens have feelings too" sentiment. Like I'm supposed to leave this movie feeling like I need to change the way I see things in this world. It really made the movie all too predictable. I felt like this movie tried to be a thought provoking movie about racial bias like "Crash."

I wasn't surprised when the couple sitting next to me walked out after an hour or so. I walked out asking myself what happened to this cool movie I expected to see.

It could be entertaining if you're looking for something mindless to zone out through. The graphics were good, even though they spent most of it blowing people into a million pieces.

I look to the ratings on RottenTomatoes to determine if a movie is worth paying for, but this was one of those few occasions I disagree. Everyone claiming its fresh are touting that this is a different kind of sci-fi flick, and yes it is but I don't like the sour aftertaste it leave behind.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Your Books are Due Back...

Last Friday was an 'odd' day for a lack of a better word. Regular, 3-week, material checked out that day is due back on September 11. Just hearing that date brings back memories. I just told patrons that they "are due back next month on the 11th." I didn't want to link the date with 'September' or '9.' I remember working at (uuggghhh) Best Buy during 2001, and an elderly shopper became completely distraught when she saw a display for "Die Hard" which depicts an explosion on top of two skyscrapers.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

You can't attract librarians with vinegar

I got into two separate arguments with a patron today. It would have just been one, but fortunately for me she's hard headed AND hard of hearing. She kept mentioning about how her "regular" branch said its ok to renew this particular book or use one of my favorite loopholes, check it in and check it right back out. But these particular materials are only on loan for 2 weeks without renewal because they are in high demand and patrons don't like being #258 in the holds queue for the latest James Patterson. The second time she came up to me and I told her we can't, she had the nerve to tell me, "we went through this before, I told you (blank) said its ok." This is where I leaned forward and I told her that I already told her that we do not do that. She snatched the book and said that she would take it to her "other branch" and get it done there. Unfortunately I didn't grab her name so I wasn't able to send an email to that branch. In all honesty, if she wasn't such a b!+*# and played the sweet, naïve, innocent patron approach I just *might* have looked out for her. Guess we'll never know...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Its the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

With August comes preseason football. With preseason football comes the end of a 7 month drought. Here's to a good season.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Gotta Suck It Up...

T-minus 40 days and counting til I take my GRE, or as I have come to call it the "G - R - Eazzzy." I have no qualms with the verbal part, it's the math that I'm stressing over. I have not taken a math course in over 2 years. Which I am sure is more recent than some other test takers, but I am not those other people. So here's to finally sitting down and studying. Wish me luck : \

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

That Time of the Month...

Today will be the first staff meeting in the past 2 months. Because of the budget crunch, the higher ups realized that monthly meetings: staff, info, circ, was too much. Instead of 3 meetings a month, each section meets every other month (which is still one too many from my perspective). They're trying to bribe and butter everyone up with pizza from the Friends of the Library. Nice try, have an Open Bar and I'll be there.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"Funny People" Movie Review

I have watched more movies than I have read books the past couple of years, so I don't think I could suggest any good books to read, does the "Where's Waldo?" Trilogy count?
First off, let me say how much I enjoy Judd Apatow's movies. I am a huge fan and I like the clique that his movies bring along: Leslie Mann, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogan, Aziz Ansari, etc. I really do, I would marry Leslie Mann in a heartbeat.
But just because Adam Sandler's career has been going downhill (remember "You Don't Mess With the Zohan," I wish I didn't) does not mean he needs to drag down these talented people with him. I used to like Adam Sandler's movies; even the immature Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison. I feel like his latest flicks have been last ditch efforts to get screen time and some extra paychecks before he calls it quits. Like the majority of people who have reviewed this movie, I agree that this movie is much too long. I don't know if this is a spoiler alert, but Adam Sandler's character has a deadly disease he is battling with, and to be honest I wish his character died. I really do, because with each passing minute of being put through this, I was dying. I have watched a lot of movies and have only witnessed people leaving during 3 of them: "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" an elderly couple walked right out after, I believe, the third scene of Jason Segel's privates, "Dave Chappelle's Block Party" I assume the people thought it would have been more of his stand up instead of a concert, and this horrible, horrible movie.
I just feel like Adam Sandler was a main contributing factor as to why this movie didn't flow as well as other Apatow works. He does not belong in this "group of friends."I can see what Apatow was aiming for: a serious, real life situation that is supposed to be naturally filled with comedy when you have comedians hanging out with each other. But this attempt fell flat on its face. The amount of penis and testicle jokes is ridiculous. I am not saying I have never laughed at those kind of jokes, but seriously, after the 10th comment about that certain region you quickly tire of it. How can you have a serious issue mixed in with simple and idiotic penis jokes?I am unsure why people thought it was so funny, maybe I just expected a comedic blockbuster like "40 Year Old Virgin" or "Knocked Up." Those movies contained real life situations where the comedy flowed naturally and didn't feel forced or faked.
The comedy was highly lacking and I think this movie labeling this movie as a Comedy is highly misleading and should be changed to Drama. While they are at it, the title should also be changed to "Funny People in an Unfunny Movie," or at least add a question mark to it: "Funny People?" For shame Judd...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Hard to Argue...

with a 3 mile, 8 minute commute. It makes it hard to consider other branches to work at. Sure as hell beats the last library I worked at. The fastest way there involved a tollroad and it took up to 45 minutes to get home on a Friday. I feel like my branch has gotten stale. The youngest one in management has officially turned to the darkside and gotten the management disease that seems to plague anyone with "manager" in their title.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

P.A.T.R.O.N. Act

Providing Access To Reserved Objects Neatly

Things rarely ever change at most libraries. This includes procedures and shelving locations. That's just the way it is; if something works, why bother forming a committee to look into the matter and develop a new system.
So when our branch manager mentioned switching to self pick up of holds 8 months ago, I can admit I had my reservations. At the time the holds were behind the Circ desk and patrons would have to wait for us to find or not find their reserved materials.
I remember when I was working at another library when I brought a hold for patron and she stated that at her hometown library their holds are self pick up. I said something to the effect of privacy issues and I was completely unbiased when I stated it. She instantly got all worked up and said that at her work, she's a nurse, that when you're dying it doesn't matter if you're rich or poor, black or white, female or male, you're dying the same way and that people are too uptight about it. Well, how am I supposed to reply to that???
I have also heard that the library was threatened with a lawsuit because apparently one woman's husband said he was picking up her holds for her and the books turned out to be about 'Divorce' and it turned into a big mess.

Self Pick Up took some getting used to and there are still some kinks to it. Sometimes you will see some patrons browsing the holds shelf and you have to walk around the Circ desk and tell them that these are being held for someone. And for some reason people assume the books are already checked out to their account, I can only guess because they see a slip of paper with their name on it and they think its their check out print out. We've had to chase after a few people who have walked in, grabbed their holds, and walk right out. And those are the few we've been attentive enough to catch.

We have only had one problem with patron's holds, apparently she's tried to pick up a hold a couple of times but each time her holds aren't there. Yeah, it could be an error on our side but we've had volunteers who work on the holds say that they remember placing this lady's holds on the shelf. Someone has a grudge against her apparently and that's bound to happen when you can't keep an eye on the holds the whole time.

Overall, it is a blessing since the number of people working the Circ desk at any given moment is reduced.
The Circ desk is quickly becoming more automated. With all the problems of patrons returns not being checked in properly, I'm just waiting for the day when patrons will be able to check in their own returns. Heck, why stop there, might as well let them reshelve it too

Monday, July 27, 2009

Daily Scheduling 101

How in the hell did my manager become a "manager" in the first place?!?
There are 7 people working in the Circ side when we opened up this Monday morning. It was just myself and one coworker on the circ desk the first hour. Why in the world did we also have the phones out there as well when there were 5, FIVE, people in the backroom??? Not only did my coworker and I have to deal with overnight bookdrop, and assisting people at the Circ desk, but to also handle the phone calls coming into the branch was too much.

Gotta Love Working the Phones

Since I had the phones last from yesterday, they were still transferring to my phone this morning. So at 9:59 as I was about to head to the Circ desk my phone rings:

Me: Good morning, so-and-so Library, how may I help you?

Lady: (chuckles) Well I was expecting to get a female like most other times.

Me: (laughs along with her, thinking to myself I really need to stop procrastinating and write about the Library being a "Woman's World.")

Lady: Now that I think about it, I'm glad I reached a guy.

Me: Sure, I'd be glad to help you.

Lady: (chuckles) Alright well, when you have a female cat and you "get it done" its called "spaying" right?

Me: Yes ma'am.

Lady: Well, what is it called when you do it to a male pet? You know, neuter a dog, when you chop off its nuts.

Me: You're correct, its called "neutering."

Lady: Are you sure?

Me: Yes ma'am I am sure.

Lady: (chuckles) Great! Thanks a lot.

hangs up...

I guess its better than the phone call I received from an elderly lady who requested a female coworker to speak with. I transferred it over to my friend, who later comes back to my cubicle to tell me the caller was looking for books about puberty for her granddaughter. Better my coworker to handle that particular call than me.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Why Is It

the one Sunday shift I cover has a door count of 75 after 3 minutes of being open. "A new record" is what the Sunday Circ manager tells me. Another reason why I didn't "volunteer" to take over a vacant Sunday shift is what I call it.

Friday, July 24, 2009

You Are What You Eat.

There's currently a County wide health competition going on between all the different agencies. Much like the episode of "The Office" where all of the Dundler Mifflin offices see which can lose the most weight. I was asked to join our branch's team. And I totally would have, honestly(!), even for the free t-shirt and pedometer, but I would not have enough time to devote to it. Plus I'm a self proclaimed fat ass and I would be the weakest link.
But I'm not sure how "our team" expects to win when you walk into the break room every day and find these goodies sitting there calling your name.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

How to Survive Meetings Tip #25

Using an amusing writing utensil preferably with moving parts or lights can keep you and your coworkers entertained. The feather waves really made the pen worth it while I was taking notes (aka doodling).

Monday, July 20, 2009

Lost and wtF...

You would not believe what people leave behind here. From high security ID badges to whole sets of keys. I'm not sure how so many people can forget their keys, I'm also not just talking about those that use their key chain card, walk out to their car, and then come back inside looking for them. There was a set of house/car keys sitting in the L&F for a good month. The funniest thing about it was the single condom holder attached to the keyring.
Today someone "left" a stroller and blanket in the parking lot. Some parent is really absent minded or some kid got in really big trouble and was forced to walk home. Either way, this thing has been in my way all day and is about to find itself on Craigslist...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Suck Times Infinity...

So the County is strapped for cash, where else to look for loose change but the pockets of the patrons? July 1st ushered a new era of sucking: new fees, new rules, and new hours. Yup seems like everything is new except the bacteria infested public keyboards are still the same, except now they're a little bit more grimier! We are now charging to look up accounts for those who do not have their library card with them. "Adding value to the library" card is what they're calling it. I call it another reason for patrons to argue with us. Of course my first two look up fees are for two elderly ladies. I seriously would have conveniently "forgotten" about the newly enacted fees, but a manager was working the desk near me and were watching. So my sincerest apologies to those two ladies, I really would have looked out for you.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Black Sunday

Last Sunday was a sad day across the County as all of the Sunday staff only got the boot. I think the number of library employees that have gotten the shaft is in excesss of 500+. The Circ side was cool, they are all in my generation. The library system needs some young blood. To all the library staff that have lost their positions, you will be sorely missed (pours out some liquor).

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

This is No Way to Live...

I wasn't planning to come home from my night class to only be stuck in the electric-less dark. Damn you unexpected summer thunderstorms! (shakes fist angrily upwards)

It's Perfectly Acceptable..

To call out of work to watch a premiere of a movie that brings back childhood memories. All the negative reviews about Transformers 2 did nothing to dissuade me from watching it opening day. I don't know what all the fuss was about, its an action movie. How can you complain then that there's "too much action?" Just sounds like a bunch of Michael Bay haters. The only thing that did bother me was the amount of cussing, another sign of my aging, I guess. I didn't think it was needed, but whatever, box office numbers completely contradicted whatever critics had to say.

Oh, and I know I should feel bad about leaving my coworkers "short staffed" last Wednesday night, but me calling out is really nothing in the long run. How is it possible that both of the Circ managers are taking their vacations during the same week? But yet when one of my coworkers requested to take off the first week of this upcoming December one manager gave her a hard time. With both of them gone it sounds like a perfect time to form a coup...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Damn you Summer Reading!

So I have worked 3 summers at 3 different branches. The past 2 were smaller community branches. This year I am stuck at a much bigger regional branch. Today was a typical horrible Friday. I alone registered at least 8 new patrons. The majority of them were applying so they could borrow books for their childrens reading requirements. I will be the first to admit that I work my ass off on the desk but slack a little when I'm off. I need the time off the desk to recover. So where else to head on a Friday night?

Friday, June 26, 2009

One of the Many Hazards of the Bookdrop...

Never mind the occasional book that flies down the shoot at the speed of light thumping you on the head. This little thing could probably do some damage if it bit you. Luckily my coworker saw it and called me over before she reached in there. I took care of it...

Monday, June 22, 2009

You Know its Summer when...

You register the first wave of Russian lifeguards. You would think I would have learned some Russian by now because no matter where I work there is always a group of them like clockwork when school ends.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

If Summer Reading was a Person...

I would have punched it in its face 12 times today alone. Today is so damn busy. Our fearless "leader" only has 2 people scheduled on the desk per hour. But of course whenever the desk is slow there's 3 people scheduled. It doesn't take much insight to realize that the first weekend of summer for kids out of school will be INCREDIBLY BUSY.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Manager Meetings...

are a great time to kick your feet up, relax, and enjoy the time you don't have to deal with them.

Got Jokes...

Question: What do you get when you have two managers working the circ desk?

Answer: Absolutely nothing done.

I don't know if the ineptitude is just centrally located at this branch alone or what. Granted that at the first library I worked at a certain manager would be talking to a friend on the phone while checking out patrons. I call that multitasking, you can call it what you what but she was still working at the desk!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Punch a Patron in the Face Day...

I will be the first to admit that working the circulation desk is easy breezy. But like in all jobs, there will be errors, whether human or mechanical. Fortunately for me, the biggest possible error I could make is overcharge someone's credit card(which my manager has done) but that is easily fixed, no damage done.

So it pissed me off yesterday when I heard a patron ask a volunteer who was working the circ desk to check in her books because she's had problems with them not being checked in properly. After all of her returns were checked in she told the volunteer, " this wouldn't be necessary if you did your jobs." I was in earshot and the patron was lucky she was not in arms length because I would have popped her(ok in my mind I would have). After she stomped off, the volunteer and I just looked at each other and rolled our eyes.

Yes, there have been plenty of times were people have been charged for an overdue book(s) that was not checked in properly and found on the shelf. I know how frustrating it can be. But you know what, it is easily fixed. It does not involve bringing 2 state issued ID's and a urine sample to clear your name. It could even be done over the phone. The comment about not doing our jobs is just plain low. I did go over to the computer and made note of the patron's name --- let's see what happens next time...

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Last hour

There are not many things as fine as working the phones during the last hour on a busy day such as a Saturday. While my coworkers have to deal with the always predictable last minute deluge of checkouts, I am back safely in my cubicle counting down the minutes. Why is there always a group of people who wait til we start turning off the lights to run to the check out desk with their arms full of books?

Friday, June 5, 2009

New nickname...

So within my first hour working the Circ desk on what started out as a slow Friday, I got my new workplace nickname. I was working with one of my older coworkers, Miss P, and during me helping an elder female patron, she mentioned that I was, "such a sweet thing." I blushed a little and told her to have a good weekend. Later on another coworker, Miss M, asked Miss P what names she chose for her new kittens, Miss P turned to me and asked, "what did that patron call you? Oh yeah! 'Sweet Thing.'" Miss M had a big laugh and I blushed hard because well, I'm not use to being called that, not at work. Fortunately for my the sake of my embarrassment one of my younger coworkers Miss V heard this exchange and ended up telling another coworker. And before the end of the day, I was christened, "Sweet Thing" or "ThAng" depending on who calls me it. My cubicle has even been pimped out by my coworkers with my name. Wonder what's in store at work tomorrow : \

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Correction, one last minute phone call for a renewal.
Spent my last hour working the phones and not one call... At least I got today's online crosswords done.

Don't believe the hype...

So everybody had to suffer through a whole pay period without any pages. If you asked me what I thought about it a month or two before, I would have probably used the words, "utter", "and", "complete", "hell," maybe even in that exact order.

During the few circulation and staff meetings I attended before the dreaded page layoff, some of my coworkers were also airing out their lament of having to drag carts out to the stacks and place them on the shelves---correctly at that. Page managers were scrambling to educate and prepare the 30+ staff members for this new arduous journey. They even printed <wasted paper> up guides on how to sort books on to the carts and how to shelve properly. One of my coworkers, bless her heart, even warned the others that paging is physically demanding, and pre-shelving stretches are a must---don't want to pull a hammy shelving Large Prints.

The time has come and gone, half of our pages have returned, and I'm wondering why I even stressed one ounce over it. I actually feel like we got the books out faster and more efficiently than when we had about 20 pages or so. Ok, a lot of the pages were bums anyways. Lazy high school kids, who spent more time talking to their friends who visited or bothering me at the circ desk or at my cubicle.

I am still being scheduled to "Page" an hour here and there, and I'm wondering if my job is the same as before, because shelving was not in the job description. I can't really complain all too much, it is a welcome break to the monotony of the circ desk. It also does give me more time to people watch from the stacks too.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Testing from the Crackberry.

Pages make the books go round

My desk is situated right in the middle of the backroom. As far as privacy goes when it comes to conversations, these cubicle walls suck. Over the past week I have heard several arguments between various pages and the 2 page managers. It all stems from the recent county wide page layoff and rehire event. The county wanted the library to cut its costs so they decided to fire all the pages at once, hold mass interviews, and only rehire half of them back at the starting wages. I'll be the first to admit that the starting page wage is very decent compared to the amount of work required, but some of these pages have worked for years and have accumulated yearly raises that rival my hourly wage. There is one page here who has been here for 17 years, 17 freaking years of sorting and shelving.

Anyways, so the rehired pages had to go through a whole interview process that tested their sorting prowess and tested their commitment to the straight shelves and spines out. They had to sign a clause saying that they will be entirely flexible to the scheduling needs of each branch that hires them. In short, they had to join the Dark Side and pledge their utter and complete allegience to the library system.

I have heard at least 2 different pages argue with the page managers over how they do not like the new scheduling procedures and another one cried because this branch was not her first choice to work at. I have overheard the page managers use the argument that, "this isn't the same job as before." The pages are still shelving and sorting the same old books like before so there's a discrepency there. Oh wait, this isn't the same job, it pays less and sucks even more now.