Friday, December 30, 2011

It's The End of the World.

Who's ready for New Year's?? --- I am!

Time to drink it up.

I never did get drunk since finishing this damn MLIS, so I really have to make up for that tomorrow night.

I'll have my 3 buddies with me so I don't think I'll have a problem.

Here's to another year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Public Libraries and the Homeless...

Last week, the children's librarian called me out to assist a patron.  There was a homeless guy standing by the info desk and the children's librarian told him that I would be able to help him "better."  From the look on her face I could tell that she didn't want to deal with him, which is okay because 1. I really like her 2. I can help anyone.  

The new library branch I work at has probably the richest local community in the county.  The 2000 household income for the area was $125,000.  There isn't any form of public transportation nearby which could lead one to infer another reason why there aren't any homeless patrons compared to other branches in the same system.

The patron's clothes or personal hygiene were not well kept, but he was very polite.  He came in to the library to find out more information about "an ancient jade statue" which he possessed.  Someone told him that it was extremely valuable and he was planning to donate it to a local museum.  He was fairly certain it was either Egyptian or Mayan.  While the library did not have any items on this particular subject matter, I did guide him to the section on ancient history.  Without stating it forthright, he hinted that he couldn't read so I tried to find books with the most pictures in it.

He sat down at one of the tables with an armful of books and spent the next two hours flipping through each one studying each picture of ancient artifacts.  If my coworker was unsure of how to handle a homeless patron in the branch, other patrons made it known as well.  Several of them would stare at disgust as they walked past and others moved several tables away from him.  I know it wasn't because he smelled, which he didn't, it was because they're not used to homeless in "their library."

I would rather help him any day than deal with patrons who feel that just because they already pay taxes they don't need to pay their late fees.  Those are the worst.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Public Library Hierarchy...

Circ was short-staffed last week and they had to ask Info for help.  Because I was the most recent one to work on circ, I was chosen to work 3 hours on the circ desk.  It reminded me of when I swore off circ work after joining the info side.  In fact, I did the same thing when I moved from Page to Circ.

It all relates to the hierarchy of the public library.  From my experience, I believe that there is a direct relationship between the amount of work done to one's position in the library pyramid.  The higher you are, the less work you do.

Pages do a lot of work, if they weren't around I'm pretty sure the library would grind to a halt.  The circ desk would be overrun with returns and info wouldn't be able to find anything.

The workload at circ can be pretty overwhelming when you consider that most libraries let patrons borrow 30+ items on each card.  It is no fun when you get a whole family with 5 different cards with 30 items on each card.  But even with that, it is a lot better than pushing a cart around and shelving books from the minute you walk in the library to the minute you leave.

The Info desk is easy compared to circ, I don't have to deal with patrons who complain their way out of the 60 cents in late fees on their account.  Yes, I know the info desk does have to deal with patrons who are too loud, parents who let their feral children run amok, "issues" with the public restroom, and help non-tech patrons with the internet, but I would take info over circ any day.

Branch management is above circ and info regardless of whether its info or circ management, they both do much less than their non-management counterparts.  How can someone who works a full 8 hour shift not work the desk once??  What are they so busy doing in their offices?

Library administration and the library director are so far removed from any of their "coworkers" who work in the branches.  Which makes it quite ironic in that the majority of decisions related to branches are made by admin: procedures, snow closures, even the temperature of the branches, etc.  During one hot summer day at work, I had a patron ask if the A/C was broken.  I replied that Admin has the control over the thermostat and that they raised it because of the budget cuts.  The patron made a quip about how comfy Admin must have it in "their ivory tower," and that is now how I describe library admin's offices.

Will my public library journey end up with me working in the ivory tower, who knows.  It is the equivalent of starting out in the mail room and working your way up to the top floor.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Luddite Librarians...

So I have a lot of extra time on my hands when I'm not hustling at the Info Desk.  My supervisor has taken notice to this and has let me create handouts on the various items patrons seem confused about, namely online resources.  One of these handouts was for the mobile apps related to the library.  I assumed that since it was for mobile apps, why not through in a QR code that takes the user directly to the app-store for their respected platform?

My supervisor okay-ed it and thought the QR codes were a nice tough.  The image above is the handout edit after my branch manager looked over it.  She said everything was good, but to take out the QR codes.

A handout on mobile apps is okay, but you don't want any QR codes!??!  That's like ordering a pizza but without any cheese.  What's the point in me making a handout for it if you won't let me include it?  Sure, QR codes seem complex and intimidating at first glance, but they really are awesome and pretty amazing for what they can do in such a small factor. 

I guess my branch manager is stuck in the old school librarian state of mind.  But it is not like the other side of the spectrum is any better: there's no need for libraries or librarians to jump on every single 2.0 application without any consideration or focus.  Listen up libraries: just because a lot of people are on the Facebook bandwagon, does not mean the library should be as well. 

These Luddite librarians are holding back the library, unfortunately, they are also the older librarians who are in managerial positions.  It is long overdue for the diligently progressive librarians to take the lead.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Covering Another Branch's Info Desk...

Last week I covered another branch's info desk while they held their Chris... Holiday party.

Despite it being a much larger library than my own, I helped a total of 4 people in the 3 hours I was there. 

If that wasn't bad enough, all of their screen resolutions were set to legally blind.  They must of had a default font size of 20 for their browsers --- I had to scroll down on Google to find the search bar. 
Their default search engine was also set to Bing... what the hell.  It's bad enough that we are forced to use Internet Explorer; I really need to have a talk with the librarian in charge of tech stuff there.

It all reminded me of a Parks and Rec episode: "Why does everyone in this town use AltaVista? Is it 1997?"

Monday, December 12, 2011

Tip for MLIS Presentations: Don't Be 'That Student'

This evening will be the last MLIS lecture I will ever have to attend. I will be presenting my final project with my Collection Development group. With it being grad-school you would come to expect some level of common-sense when it comes to presentations. Unfortunately, this was not the case for one of last week's groups.

Last week, one group decided to choose the font CURLZ MT for their PowerPoint.  I am pretty sure the person in charge of the PowerPoint was one of the older ladies in the group, you know the second-career students.  Bless her heart, I know she might not have had the privilege of having PowerPoint around for her undergrad classes so she's really gung-ho about it now.  If it wasn't bad enough she chose Comic Sans' black sheep cousin as the only font, she also used the retina-searing color combination of white on red.  I was literally crying from their presentation.  Don't be that student that tries to have a "creative" PowerPoint by using "fun" fonts and seizure inducing animations.

That group also had the pleasure of being asked ridiculous questions by a student peer.  It was quite obvious that the group created their collection development for a made up but for some reason this girl started asking serious questions: "Is it a town or a city?" "How big is the population?" etc..  Really?  You're going to ask these stupid questions about a made up place?  Don't be that student who drags lecture on longer than usual by asking stupid questions and don't put your peers on the spot by asking hardball questions that make them look bad because they can't answer it.  

On a side note, I actually did this to one group in one of my undergrad business classes.  During our peer review session, this girl completely trashed my group's business model.  First of all, I was the only one in my group who was born in the States and spoke English as my first language.  She wasn't very constructive in her criticism and it made my group-mates feel stupid.  So I personally felt like it was my responsibility to do the same to her when her group presented.  They were presenting on Nvidia and they erroneously said that Xbox 360 used Nvidia's chipset.  C'mon now, that one won't slip by this gamer.  Funny thing is, is that 2 years later in my last business class, that girl and I ended up teaming up together and became friends.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Patrons, Don't Take It Personally...

I'm just really bad with remembering names especially if I only see you every few weeks for a brief moment. A regular patron came up to me tonight during our closing procedure, which usually involves me staring down the last few patrons on public PC's who always wait til the last minute to send their print jobs to the print station and hold up all of the staff. He asked if i could help him jumpstart his car. Whenever he passes by the info desk to the quiet study room he always waves and says "hi" or "bye." I walked out a few minutes early to help him and he told me his name and we made small talk for a few minutes. The instant he told me his name its like my mind hit the Mute button. Now he'll probably greet me by name and I'll be left replying, "hey!..... You.." I should just be upfront and tell him I suck at names and ask for his, or I could just make patrons wear name tags. In other library related news, we had a local author do a booktalk and it had a pretty good turnout. One of the English teachers at a nearby high school had an assignment for students to attend a booktalk. A handful showed up and the author was really entertaining and interesting enough that they all enthusiastically bought a book for him to autograph. I know some branches that don't allow local authors to talk because they've not gone so well or the author's book was sketchy to say the least.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Long Distance Patron...

I was on the desk this afternoon when I received a call from a gentleman over 800 miles away. He was looking for an obituary for someone who lived in the same area as the library branch. He doesn't have access to the internet so he ended making the long-distance call which I ended up picking up. The person passed away in 2003 so I assumed that it would be pretty easy to find. It always begins that way, you get a question at the desk and you would think the answer is easy to find but the more you dig the more frustrated you get. After a couple of minutes I asked the caller for their contact information and told them that I would continue my research when I was off of the desk. I spent some time going through every single available resource and used all of the information I had but came up short. I could only find a small online article about the car accident where the person lost their life. I was at my wits' end when my supervisor reaffirmed that I looked every where and tried every search, and maybe the person didn't have anyone write an obituary for them. That just made the cold, rainy day, even more morose.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Circle of Life at the Library...

Within the past year or so, I attended the first wedding for a library co-worker, declined the invite to another, been to a few retirement parties, and this week a funeral. Last week while on the info desk, I got a call from my friend, Red, at another branch. As I saw her name pop-up on the caller ID, I thought that she was pretty bad at prank calling. But as soon as I heard her reply, "Hey," I could tell it wasn't good news. She called to let me know that my former page manager, Miss C., passed away after over a year of being hospitalized. When I first started at the library, I met a really cool elderly volunteer, Mr. B. He was always smiling and had stories to share with me about how the area has changed over time and his experiences traveling the world in the Navy. He loved the library and even a stroke couldn't keep him away. When he came back after his stroke, I made sure to keep an eye out for him as he was pulling books for the Holds List. Soon after I was told that he passed away. This all happened within my first few months of working. Miss C was/is my first "Library Mom." If you lacked any maternal guidance/influence while growing up, working at the library is great place to find it. She was always on top of my schooling, making sure I was doing well and she would always accommodate my work schedule with my school schedule. She was always patient with everyone and willing to work with you. The patrons would ask for her by name whenever they had trouble paying back their fees or just to chat. It's a small world that at the last branch I worked at, I found my second "Library Mom," Miss J. It's ironic because Miss C and Miss J have been very close friends for 20 years. Miss J is very much like Miss C, she would help a stranger without hesitation. I'm kind of worried because I feel like Miss J's kindness is also her weakness; I'm worried that she would fall for an email scam where someone is pleading for her help. Red and I are planning to visit Miss J today. She said she's looking forward to the visit since she hasn't been feeling so well. That's what "Library Kids" are for, to reciprocate all of the support and love to their "Library Moms."

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Damn You Black Friday...

6 - Free After Rebate Software programs to flip. 2 - HTC Flyers. 1 - Samsung Tab. 1 - Nook Color. 1 - Pair of high-tops. That was my haul during the first few days of the Holiday shopping season that kicked off last week. The real kicker is I didn't have to deal with annoying crowds... annoying crowds armed with pepper-spray. Reminiscing about working Black Fridays makes me hate people even more. If you want to see how low people will stoop all in the name of claiming a "killer deal," then just join the masses who camp out on Black Friday and trample others just to save a few bucks. How much further can they push it? Christmas creep sets in way before Thanksgiving now. Stores now open Thursday night. Cyber-Monday deals are available the weekend before. Before you know it, the mall and all of the stores will keep the holiday decorations up all year long like those perpetual Christmas stores that somehow stay in business. They must be fronts for money laundering or something shady, no one in their right mind loves Christmas that much to support those stores.

Monday, November 28, 2011

ALA: What Us Worry?

So ALA likes to dispatch public statements whenever they feel that libraries or information is threatened.  It is all for good PR and what-not.  They made a big deal out of the OWS incident.  Okay, call it a library but it was far from a formal library which ALA is meant to represent.  I know that there is deeper symbolism behind it, but does it warrant this much attention: 'ALA alarmed at seizure of Occupy Wall Street library, loss of irreplaceable material'.  If that isn't sensationalistic writing, then I don't know what is.

Apparently, ALA is so damn nonchalant about the real issues looming on the horizon: Amazon's book lending and SOPA. 'Amazon Starts Lending Ebooks, but Head of ALA Says Libraries Still Offer Best Value' so libraries shouldn't be worried about the conglomerate-retailer behemoth that is Amazon?  Okay, so it technically isn't a conglomerate, but I think they are considering you can buy pretty much anything and everything from them.  One must be completely oblivious to think nothing of Amazon's foray into book lending, yeah, so it is restricted to only one title... FOR NOW.  New sales estimates say that the Fire will reach 5 million by the end of the year.  If last Friday is any indication, it sure seems like that will happen: Amazon Kindle Fire wins big on Black Friday.   ALA should know better, numbers don't lie.  You cannot just shrug it off like it's nothing big, it's FREAKING AMAZON.

Then we have a huge threat to the freedom of information with the idiots in government trying to pass SOPA.  Library Copyright Alliance Voices Concern about SOPA to US House.
The passiveness is killing me.  Here is a Bill that threatens the very nature of information freedom on the internet and ALA doesn't even bother to reach for its pitchforks and torches.  What good is the ALA for if it doesn't rally and stand up for its own Code of Ethics (II. We uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and resist all efforts to censor library resources.)  Oh, I guess letting ISP's and search engines censor results and certain webpages isn't that big of a deal either huh?

ALA's shortsightedness is one of its biggest attributes.  I hate to bring it up each time I mention my frustration with ALA, but I cannot for the life of my fathom what librarians saw in Second Life: ALA Island in Second Life.   ALA also likes to push the agenda about the 'Graying of the Profession.'  I wonder how many people they've suckered into library schools with that line.  They really need to reevaluate what they're doing before they continue to screw libraries and librarians over.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Harvard of MLIS Schools...

I punch a unicorn every time I read an online post or hear someone say that they graduated from a "top-tiered" / "top-ten" / "nationally ranked" MLIS school.  Adding a superlative before 'MLIS school' creates an oxymoron.  Don't even get me started on the "U.S. News and World Report College Rankings."  It's like the Hallmark-Holidays for magazines, people only think it's a big deal because they're told to.

Nearing the end of my illustrious MLIS student career, I have come to believe that every MLIS program out there is perfectly equal with the next.  Honestly, what resources does your school offer that mine doesn't?  What do you think, you have better books than other schools?  We all use the same databases, so we're using the same crappy journal articles for our school busy work.  Okay, one might argue that their school has the 'Dream Team' of MLIS professors, but unless they teach some MARC secrets that no one else knows about that does not count for much. 

Still not convinced?  If two statistically and demographically equal MLIS grads applied for the same position, do you really think that library HR would be more inclined to hire the one who graduated from 'the Harvard of MLIS schools?' 
LHR: "OMG, this person went to the #1 ranked library school in the Western Hemisphere!  We have to hire them before the neighboring library system offers them more money!  They would definitely be better schooled to answer patron questions on where the bathrooms are and how to deal with paper jams."

When it comes to ranking MLIS schools, don't believe the hype...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Library Research S-U-C-K-S...

If there is one big thing I have taken away from my almost complete MLIS degree, it is that library research is absolutely THE WORST.

It is completely ironic and sad.  Librarians claim to be "information professionals" but yet as an MLIS student I have come across lackluster, half-assed, and erroneous articles.  Librarians are always talking about how important it is to check your citations and sources.   So when it comes to disappointing library research, I am fairly certain that I am not the only one to realize this.  Just this week, several students held presentations on various library related topics and they all mentioned how bad the so-called "Peer-Reviewed" articles they read were. 

I have heard that some academic librarians are required to conduct research and publish like other professors.  A lot of their articles seem rushed and as though they were just published just for the sake of saying the author bragging that they are published.  It is not just articles from fully-fledged librarians either.  My school's list-serve is constantly bombarded with requests from professors for students to submit articles for so and so organization.  Let me keep it real, I have done group work with these individuals and I cannot for the life of me understand how some of them have come this far in life with such horrible writing skills.  It's bad enough I have to wade through these crap-tastic articles from librarians, I'd rather not risk information BS overload with MLIS students' work. 

The research is so bad, but it's worse when every other article cites the next crap one.  Oh, and heaven help them if there are any numbers/statistics involved.  If you are going to publish an article based on a survey, you have to have an adequate amount of respondents to make sure the population is properly represented --- Survey Errors 101.  I bet that if I wrote an article about how bad library related articles were, it would get published and circulate just as well as the others. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

eReader Have You Missing the New Book Smell? Problem Solved!

Now you can choose between that "New Book Smell" or "Eau, You Have Cats."  Hell, you can enjoy your e-reader and the smell of bacon at the same time!  Okay so this isn't a new product and it hasn't been for sale since 2009 since some funny person in China decided to recycle some old "New Car Smell" cans.

I just recently got my first tablet thanks to HP's crazy fire sale.  Initially I was going to flip it, but the gadget lover in me couldn't resist keeping it.  Once I installed p-Reader, my reading has increased exponentially.  I'm not kidding, my coworkers/friends used to always make jabs at me that I don't read but yet I'm going for my MLIS... In the past month, I have read more than I have had in the past 5 years.  Well who's laughing now???

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Patrons trying to be Artsy...

Some library got these awesome book sculptures. It inspires the wannabe creative side in me; I am definitely going to try to Dremel the crap out of some discarded books.

The only artsy thing a patron left my old branch was this:
"What is love?  Never shout Never"... 
Baby don't hurt me, don't hurt me no more --yea yea.... Oh man, I'm definitely adding this to my MP3 player.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy 7 Billion People Day...

I hate people.  I know working directly with the public will jade you after time and I know this isn't exclusive to public service work, have you ever worked retail --- on Black Friday? 

Guess it isn't much consolation that the population is projected to level out around 10 billion.... ::sigh::

Monday, October 24, 2011

Keep it Classy Harlequin...

I found these old pictures on an old memory card.  The books on the left were donations from a patron.  All of the titles are circa 1970.  For some reason, I just don't think these sold at the last book sale...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Please Don't Touch Your Librarian...

Yesterday when I was personally kicking patrons out aka trying to close on time, a patron wrapped herself in her sweater and mentioned that it was, "absolutely freezing" in the library.  As she walked by, I agreed and told her I have learned my lesson and that I have back-up sweaters in my car. 

Apparently, she thought I was not fully comprehending the situation so she quickly reached out and touched me.  "MY BUBBLE!  YOU'RE VIOLATING MY BUBBLE! --- I NEED AN ADULT!!" 
I still get the chills when I think about her cold, thin fingers wrapped around my hand.  Lady, c'mon now, give me a head's up at least.  I vote that we follow Mensa's Guidelines for Physical contact... tl;dr Mensa people use color coded stickers to show their level of hate openness to random physical contact.  
They're a smart bunch right?  I really think they're onto something here, now I just need to find the biggest yellow stickers available.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Don't Make Me Be a Librarian...

The move from Circ to Info has introduced a lot of new and different responsibilities.

When I worked at the circ desk:
Patron - "Someone is talking on their cell phone in the quiet study"
Me - "You can tell the librarians at the Info desk." 
Patron - "Someone is looking at inapproriate websites on one of the public internet stations" 
Me - "You should tell one of the librarians at the Info desk."

Do you see the pattern?  Well now karma is paying me back because now I am the one who gets pointed to from the Circ desk when it comes to those patron interactions.  I cringe at the thought of having to tell children not to run, but I would hate the thought of them running around carelessly and knocking over one of the many elderly patrons. 

It is a straight shot from the entrance to the children's section, maybe if I can set up some obstacles to discourage any form of accelerated movement, maybe an errantly placed book-cart here or there ought to do it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Winter is Coming Librarians - Get those Cardigans Ready...

After working just a mere three weeks at the Info desk, I get the whole librarian and sweater deal. I don't know why I didn't see it before.  I guess it's different working on the Circ side, although I did have to wear my winter jacket once when I worked for the City but that's because the automatic doors weren't closing all the way.

It seems that almost every library I have worked at is set up the same way.  When you walk through the front doors, the Info desk is right in front of you.  I can understand why, it is the first thing people should be greeted by.  I mean how else are they going to find out where the bathrooms are despite the fact that they walked right past them and didn't read any of the signs.

Unfortunately this means that the Info desk also bears the brunt of all of the cold fronts that blow through every time a patron walks in or out.  If it is this chilly now at the Info desk, I cannot imagine what it will be like mid-winter.  But I have already winterized my closet:
I also have a back up cardigan along with a hoodie in my car.  I don't have a holiday themed sweater in my arsenal, but I will be graduating from my MLIS program in the next few months *hint-hint*... I like blue.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Best Flickr Account Ever...

In the spirit of Halloween here's a link to the best Flickr account in the world:

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

R.I.P. Steve Jobs...

I am not the biggest Apple fan around, hell I don't even own any Apple products.  But game recognizes game and he is undeniably one of the greatest innovators of our generation.  "To Infinity and Beyond..."

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Librarian Generation Gap... Hating on Google.

This is my second week working the Info desk and there is a lot of "stuff" being thrown at me.... "but I don't want to have any PIC-like responsibilities!!"  I went to a Reference Interview training last week with my coworker/friend "Red."

It was basically filled with fairly new Info people, a few Info volunteers, and Circ people who want Info positions.  Out of the 16 attendees, there were only 3 of us who were under the age of 30.  The average age was about early to mid 50's and I was the only male in attendance, shocker.

We had mini break out sessions and role played actual questions the presenters faced at the Info desk.  My friend Red played the person working the Info desk handling the question and suggested using Google to find the answer to a fact-based question which caused one of our older group members to get all upset like we told her that her kitten wasn't all that cute or something.  "You would use Google?" she asked us incredulously.  I told her that I agreed with Red and that it's a great way to find facts as long as you check the sources and citations of whatever resource you choose.  She still didn't agree with us and thus continued the debate for another 5 minutes. 

I really do not understand why any librarian out there would have so much beef with Google.  It is not the enemy to librarianship and if you think that Google has put librarians out of jobs well then those people shouldn't have been librarians in the first place if you ask me.  Adaptability is a must for any librarian.  I believe that Google is one of the greatest tools a librarian should use.  You would be hard-pressed to find any younger MLIS student who also objects to using Google on the job.  I just don't get it, I best she probably uses AltaVista...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Volunteers: the Answer to Library Budget Woes...

There is this one elderly patron who is a weekly regular to my old branch. As she walks down the VERY long circ desk to the large prints, she always makes a point to greet whoever is working the circ desk and ask if they are a volunteer or paid staff. She does it every visit, she has asked me several times and when I tell her that I am a paid employee she just nods and smiles in reply. When she comes up to check out she avoids the self checkout machines like the plague. She thinks that by using them we will all lose our jobs, bless her sweet heart!

When it comes to library volunteers I love all of them (except the one that stole from my cubicle). If it wasn't for their hard work we would have drowned in a sea of book returns several SRP's ago. Unfortunately you encounter the rare regular patron who avoids library staff and only wants to interact with a computer. They despise budget cuts when they are made to the collections and would prefer they were cuts to staffing. I have been told several times by patrons that they think an all-volunteer library is the answer to the budget woes. Really? Well, why don't I see you donating some of your time for the solution you fully believe in???

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Info Side --- First Impressions...

For my first day I shadowed an Info vet whenever I was scheduled on the desk.  I just found it very intimidating to be on "the other desk."  I can handle anything at circ, but at info the sky's the limit when it comes to patron questions. 

I didn't encounter any major problems just a slight one with requesting an ILL.  The coworker who I was training with was pretty flustered herself when it came to finding the exact item the patron wanted and she's been on info for over a decade!  I find that very common in every branch, a staff member who has been working in the library for ages but still does not know how to handle the simple day to day stuff that is explicitly stated in the job description.  Of course being the passive aggressive library, managers don't say anything or do anything so they just stay inept at the job they're supposed to be doing.

Overall, I'm feeling the new digs.  Every staff member seems nice and gets along well, now I just have to remember all the new faces and names...

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Money Bookmark...

Apparently kids these days are ballin' enough that they can use cash-money as bookmarks.

This is the second time I have found cash in the past two weeks.  The first one was $129 which still hasn't been claimed.  My supervisor says that he called the patron who checked out the book the wallet was found in, but they said that they didn't return anything...  I'm calling dibs on it if it isn't claimed in a month.

This time it was $80.  One of my coworker/friends was working the desk and tracked down the teenager who thought the money was stolen.  Have you ever folded 4 - $20 bills and placed them in the middle of a graphic novel, you can obviously feel it.  Kids these days...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What Kind of Library Do You Want to Work at?

The first day of class in my MLIS program involves the usual student introductions.  The typical questions are:
"How far are you into the program?" --- My last semester. 
"What's your favorite ice cream?" --- Edys Applie Pie Ice Cream (it's 'Limited Edition' for a reason!)
"What kind of library are you planning to work at?" --- Anywhere but public ones.  That usually results in some snickering, but I'm being completely honest.

Last week I 'celebrated' my 5 year anniversary working for the public library system.  5 damn years, half a decade, time flies by when you're stuck in the stacks.  Tomorrow is my last day working the Circ desk and I'll be starting the Info desk next week at a different library.  I'm the Crown Prince of Circ, I can handle anything you throw at me while I'm at the Circ desk: lost items, extended renewals, damaged materials, crying babies, missing holds, drunk patrons.  It's time for a change.  My weekend will include a crash course in Reader's Advisory.

Don't get me wrong, I love the public library institution and what it stands for but I believe I have had my fill of it.  I would like to work at an academic library, best of both worlds for me.  I love the feeling of a college campus, good vibes man, good vibes.

My coworker/friend and I had a running joke that we would both end up stuck at the public library.  She will be starting at a special library next week... FML.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Rules of Circ #06 (The RoC)

"First Name Basis"

There is nothing worse than when a patron whom you don't know calls you by your first name because they read your required government ID badge.  Okay, so that was an exaggeration, there are plenty of worse things you can encounter in a public library, but nevertheless it still is awkward.
"Hey Bibliotecher, how are you?"  "Thanks for your help Bibliotecher!"
The first thing I think is, "Do I know you?"  It is a knee-jerk reaction but I tend to scrunch up my face for a second thinking, "How do they know my name??" and then I realize it's the ID.  

Granted there are several faces I recognize and some names I can recall but that's only because of two possible reasons: I nominated them for a P.A.T.R.O.N. award or they are regulars, or it could be a combination of both.  If everyone on Circ knows your name it usually is because you're a problem patron.

In other instances, certain patrons make a beeline straight to you at the desk because, "Hey, remember when you helped me that one time?"  No, no I don't remember you at all.  Over the years working the circ desk, I have helped hundreds, dare I say thousands, of people.  One day, I kept myself entertained by keeping track of how many patrons I help during that shift.  The four hours on the desk that day averaged about 27 patrons an hour.  So please don't take offense if we don't instantly become Facebook BFF's after I helped clear up your library fees.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Creepy Colonial Kids...

"Hey little colonial girl, what are you up to?"
"Just chilling with my squirrel on a chain"....

The dead stare on both of their faces pierces through your soul and will terrorize your sleep for days.

Make fun of them and their pet squirrel if you dare, but do you know what happened to the last person to laugh at them?  The little girl in the gold hoop skirt cut them.  She's still holding the knife and it still has blood on it. 

Colonial kids were hardcore for real...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The $129 Bookmark...

I finally found that $100 bookmark today, actually, it was exactly $129.  There wasn't any form of identification in the wallet, just the cash.  Luckily I was able to pull up the patron ID from the book the wallet was wedged in.  Pretty ironic that a patron used a wallet stuffed with $129 in cash as a bookmark for a book titled Money, Money Money.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Peace out Circ, Hello Info...

Next week will be my last time working as a library aide/assistant.  I have been beckoned to join the almighty ranks of the Information professionals.  It has been a long time coming.  I have learned everything there is about the circ side, which isn't much really.

I'm excited but also sad because I'll be leaving my current branch and coworkers.  The new branch I will be joining is a much smaller one, a "baby branch" as my coworker called it compared to our current one.  There are only 7 designated staff parking spaces compared to 26 now.

I really need to brush up on reader's advisory.  One of my info friends told me to just pretend like I know whatever the patron is talking about and then Google it. 

Oh, for all of those out there who are potentially thinking about joining the public library ranks here are some current facts for you.  There were 3 info assistant positions open and advertised.  Library HR received OVER 500 applications.  I have not been able to find out exactly how many people were interviewed but my supervisor puts the figure at around 25.  2 of those 3 positions were filled with CURRENT library employees, myself and my coworker-friend.  I am not exactly trying to dissuade anyone out there, I just want you to be fully informed because knowing is half the battle, the other half is making sure you bribe the correct person in library HR, I'm thinking cat toys, knitting supplies, and some secret family baking recipes....

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Cleveland the Secret's Out (ILL Find)

When I came across this ILL I had to do a double take that it was actually a NON-fiction item, I thought it was another snarky and satirical title.  After my initial bewilderment, I did another double take at the Dewey number on the spine and was surprised it didn't fall in the 817 realm.

This book belongs with this video, and well, now the secret's out Cleveland --- "At Least We're Not Detroit!"

Monday, September 5, 2011

ALA: It's So Hard to Say Goodbye...

ALA, I'm not going to lie to you and say that, "It isn't you, it's me," but it really is you.

At first I thought we could have a good, mutually beneficial relationship but then I realized that our beliefs and personality just do not match up.

First, you fell for that book burning troll, NEVER FEED THE TROLLS.  I cannot believe you wasted time on him.

You don't seem to have a sense of humor at all.  If you can't take a joke from Jay Leno, I really doubt you can appreciate/handle the librarian jokes on 'Parks and Rec,' and your last April Fool's Joke was utterly miserable.

Also, I think you purposely don't tell the whole truth.  You tell people to pursue an MLIS because of the "graying of the profession" but I personally find that to be pretty deceiving.  The economy has been in the tank for awhile now and library budgets are still being cut left and right, yet you still pretend that there will be jobs for every librarian out there as well as for future prospects.  Yes, there are a lot of librarians who are reaching retirement age, but 1.) they are staying longer in those positions because of the economy and 2.) if/when they retire a lot of those positions are not being refilled.  I believe in being hopefully realistic, not deceivingly delusional.

I also feel like you don't reciprocate much.  You know that MLIS's can be pretty expensive and that the vast majority of librarians do not bank 6 figures.  So why are your fees for everything so damn high??  You would think you'd look out for those that you claim to speak up for.

Lastly, you've given me another example of libraries hating trees.  You've sent me 4 of these thick renewal letters in the past few months.  If I didn't respond to the first two, you should have taken that as a hint.  Sure, we may see each other in the future at a conference but other than that just let it go.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Happy (early) MLIS Graduation to Me!

So I finally bit the bullet and invested in a REAL camera.  Shout out to Miss Misfit for the advice.  I figured I might as well get myself a graduation gift, albeit a few months early but there was a deal to be had.  It was the trifecta of deals: instant discounts, rebates, and cash back, oh and reselling an item, so I guess that would make it the 4 Horsemen of the Purchase.

There is a lot to learn with DSLR's and I'm slowly wading through all of the settings and accessories.
Now I can join the battle:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year: Back to School...

I could never understand the pure joy that the dad actor portrays in this commercial until SRP came around.

Despite the recent budget cuts, our youth librarians were able to book talk this year.  I really believe that this resulted in the huge surge in library card registrations, patrons visits, and circ numbers this summer.  It has been a rough summer on the branch.  It was nice seeing the twice a year patrons visit as well, they come in during the beginning of summer, stock up on as many books on all of the library cards their household has, and you see them for the last time when they come back to return everything.

This week was not any better, work on the roof resulted in the whole branch smelling like aisle 9 of Home Depot and the nonstop hammering didn't make it any better.  Then the earthquake happened and it made for an interesting day.  I was in the backroom working with a volunteer, she looked at me and I told her it was an earthquake, she thought it was a roof collapse from the workers.  I headed out to the desk and a manager made an announcement that we were evacuating.  Several patrons recognized the severity of the situation, the building is far from quake-proof, and they quickly hustled out the door.  I walked to the back of the stacks and started herding the lazies.  Several people wanted to check their items out and some had to be forcibly removed from the public internet stations --- don't worry you can update your Twitfacespace later.

Now they are talking about a hurricane for the weekend, fun.  Honestly, I would take whatever Mother Nature has to offer just as long as SRP comes to an end sooner.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My first Reference Interview...

Sorry for the bad play on words, this afternoon I had my first (and soon to be many) interviews for an info position.

I am undecided on how it went.  Everyone at the branch wished me good luck and told me I would do great, I really think they jinxed me.  One of my coworker-friends has her interview tomorrow, so there is a bit of personal competition involved.  I don't know if I would feel worse if I didn't get a position and she did or vice versa.  I should hear back sometime next week.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Rules of Circ #3 (RoC)

"Can You Hear Me Now?"

It's a cultural norm that libraries are relatively quiet zones, at least here in the States.  So I can forgive those who are new to public libraries, I have had to explain how the library works to several people who registered for their first library cards --- "No, it is for free (I know, I know, nothing is for free, but I don't have the time to give them the whole economics spiel)... You have to bring back the books..."  Most individuals know that it isn't "proper" to yell/talk loudly/carry a 20 minute conversation on your cell about what you had for breakfast.  Now libraries have adapted with the times; I'm sure back in the day there were signs that asked patrons to set their beepers to vibrate and now the signs ask to silence cell phones.  But who the hell am I kidding, who reads signs in the library anyways, not like any of them are into reading!??!

You still get the inconsiderate patrons who DON'T silence their ringers and who still hold loud conversations.  I will also give a temporary library pass to those not who are technologically challenged.  There are some patrons who do not know how to lower their ringer and you see them struggling with their phones pushing every single button BUT the right one.  Then when the call goes to voice mail, they look at you apologetically and mouth, "I'm sorry."  You also get those patrons who think they hit the button to lower their volume but they end up having a conversation through speakerphone for all the library to hear.

Taking your conversations to the stacks does not make the matter any better.  You cannot use the shelves as a form of sound deadening, they are not acoustically tuned to block out your incessant chattering.  It's even worse when they're blabbing on their phone while attempting to checking out.  They realize they have a fee and you're trying to explain to them what's overdue, how much is owed, when materials are due back, but they still insist on multitasking.  HANG UP THE DAMN PHONE.  A one minute transaction ends up taking 5 minutes.  Stop wasting everyone's time, I'm sure the other person on the line can live for a minute or two without the digital umbilical cord.

Ringtone context also does not matter.  I don't care if you have one of the latest "Top 50" crap they play back to back on the radio as your ringtone, no one wants to hear it in the library.  That goes the same for the "sophisticated" types with your classical ringtone in MIDI format.  No offense to Beethoven or his 5th Symphony, but your highly refined taste in music does not make it acceptable to have it blaring from the Blackberry on your hip.  Yeah, even nature ringtones are annoying, nobody enjoys the sounds of crickets... nobody.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Library Shop is Now Open.


So I finally got around to creating a CafePress store for The Library image I created for one of my first MLIS courses

Pardon the complete plain and boring look of the store, I am still trying to figure my way around the site.

The site has been up for awhile but I wanted to wait until I saw the final product first.

This is most likely another one of my new hobbies and I have a few more designs in the work, who knows how long I'll keep up with it. 

Might as well rock it while I'm into it!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

It's Summer Christmas...

I am a self-admitted: a. dork b. nerd. c. geek d. dweeb (do kids still use that term nowadays?) ?

What is all of the above Alec?

See, I just referenced Jeopardy, need I say more. 
Until I have the funds to experience Comic Con, the real one in San Diego, I have to live vicariously via the internet.  I guess one plus is that I didn't have to wait in ridiculously long lines for these exclusives... ahh the internet, I just had to deal with Hasbro's crappy servers.  I felt bad for the Fedex guy, that Sentinel is a BEAST.  I completely underestimated its size,  he was lucky that I was limited to ordering only one of them.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Million Dollar Bookmark... Heee-Heeee...

I finally found the big money bookmark I've been looking for!
It states "In the King of Pop We Trust."  Now I can finally punch that patron (or two) in the face and walk out of work without any worries.  Unfortunately, it is only tenderable at Neverland Ranch.

Monday, August 8, 2011

MLIS Progress: 5/6 Complete...

DAMN these past two years flew by. Summer session has come to a close and I only have Fall before I can consider myself a full-fledged librarian.

Out of the 12 classes I have/will take, I will have a total of 11 different professors, I choose to only have 1 professor for two different classes. I had some bad professors and I had some really good ones. I had some interesting classes while others not so much but it's kind of hard for certain subjects/lessons/lecture overlap.

For example, I honestly cannot understand why Ranganathan's Five Laws of the Library Science was so important/emphasized. For one class we were supposed to do a paper and presentation on a famous library figure. Since this was one of the required courses, this was one of the first classes for a lot of students. The professor handed out a sheet with some pre-approved figures. I could only recognize the names of a few: Dewey, Cutter, Pearl, and Ranganathan.

I only recognized the last one because my friend mentioned him before.  During a break in lecture, I did a quick Google search and decided on Benjamin Franklin . When I told the professor who I chose, she gave me an incredulous look and said, "oookkkaaayyy," like I just chose to swim with Jaws instead of Flipper.  Maybe it's my going against the hype/traditional-route attitude but I felt Ben deserved to be acknowledged for his contributions to the institution *gasp* IN A LIBRARY SCHOOL PROGRAM.  Of course I titled my presentation, "It's All About the Benjamin's," and I used the following image.  This certain professor felt that Ranganathan was so important that he deserved two presentations by two different students.  Really??

I personally feel like the library school looks at other grad curriculum's with envy because of all the "cool" rules and what I can only call "lessons in an acronym."  There's the 5 P's in Marketing, in general there's the 80/20 rule, even boring Accounting has A.L.O.E., F.I.F.O. and L.I.F.O.  What does the Library have --- classification tables.  What I'm trying to say is that it really isn't needed and it comes off as trying too hard.

If there is one major lesson I learned from these past two years in library school, it would be the librarian's / library's never-ending struggle for proving one's worth and relevance, and longing for a sense of belonging and struggle for self-actualization --- Hello Maslow.  I feel like it's a reverse self-fulfilling prophecy with nonstop ALA-approved press releases about libraries being more important than ever.  It makes me wonder how much the debate and doubt of the library as a necessity vs. budget-cutting luxury is really self-inflicted. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

'Knitting with Balls'... The Only Knitting Book Approved by this Non-Hipster.

A slow clap for the play on words.  There are so many play on word titles out there I could probably start a blog just for them.  Anyways, I thought of this book when I saw this video, they go so well together:

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

'Bod 4 God' gets those Jesus Abs You've Always Prayed for....

Came across this book last night, it made me do a double take.
Did they really title it "Bod 4 God"!?!
The fact that it also has a blurb from Fox News on the cover also reinforces the ridiculousness of this title.  I didn't bother flipping through the book, but I wouldn't be surprised if there's a chapter called 'Praying the Pounds Away.'

It also reminded me of this joke:

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Creepy Clowns, Forever Creepy...

"Make me a bicycle clown!"

My aversion to clowns was not grown from a horrible memory of a children's birthday party gone awry.  It's just that I have never found them funny.

Big shoes -- "so what?"
Squeaky red nose and gaudy outfits --- "meh."

Even as a grown-kid, my stance on clowns is still the same.  During the pre-show of every Cirque du Soleil I have been to, I have always sat in my seat hoping and praying that they wouldn't come near me and try to make me a part of their act, I don't care if you're French-Canadian, you're still not funny!

Anyway, I must have come across this book awhile ago hence the horrible resolution from my old Blackberry.  How this book survived numerous rounds of weeding we will never know...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Finally! Someone outlames those Corny Library Videos....

EPA... you make me LOL.

Behold, the answer to anyone outside of the librarian field who calls you out because they came across a lame public/academic/whatever librarian-produced video on YouTube, there ARE SO MANY out there.  There's only a few that are original and well-done, the rest are raw with embarrassment but I won't link to those. Unfortunately, people will attribute one bad library video(librarian/library) to the whole profession.

You can now proudly retort that the EPA is now the lamest governmental department.  So relish in the moment and go make fun of your EPA friends! 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Cutter Classification Makes Me Want to Cut Someone...

Last night's lecture was brutal.  3 and a half hours of Cutter.  I'm not quite sure what the professor was thinking when they expected to go through Cutter AND Dewey in one lecture.  This wasn't just a brief glossing over either, it was an introduction, then full explanation and lecture on how to classify and encode any item.  I hate to admit it, but I think taking Cataloging and Classification in an intense, compressed summer session was a mistake.

This is the first time myself and most of my classmates have ever delved into the reason or rhyme to the Cutter System and it's never ending-schedules and tables.  The few that work at the campus library had a leg up, I on the other hand have no experience whatsoever, I'm more of a Dewey kind of guy.  Of course all you academic people are down with Cutter, while most public libraries are hardcore Dewey.  I can kind of see why people swear by one or the other.  I liken the situation to people who are vehemently against dating people who are steadfast in their beliefs; democrat vs republic, cat vs dog-person, etc.  If I ever were to date another librarian, first I would have to find out if they were down with Dewey or LCC, or dare I even say BOTH, and second, I don't think it is possible because the sheer awesomeness of two librarians together would be too much to handle.  To make matters worse, I was sitting there thinking that I could be at Comic-Con instead...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

How to make Library Staff Meetings even more dreadful...

"How can staff meetings get any worse?" you ask, well I'll tell you how!   
TL;DR You spend the majority of meeting time on a complaint from an irrational patron who disrespects staff.

When our branch manager handed out the meeting's itinerary (exhibit 14.a example of Librarians hate trees), there was a collective sigh/grunt of disappointment by the circ staff.  The info side showed no response.  What was circ having a fit over, well it was over the printed email complaint from the devil spawn patron.  This guy is the epitome of an a-hole patron.

The gist of his email complains about how the circ staff comes over to help when he's FAILING at the self-checkout.  He finds it "discourteous and disrespectful," I've witnessed first-hand his blowing up when someone points out that he has miscanned an item and he didn't notice, patrons never notice, they just continue scanning and wonder why only 1 out of their 8 items checked out.  He goes on to mention having "a couple of very pointed exchanges with staff about it."  Pointed - yes.  Exchanges - not really when it's all one-way with him talking down to staff.  He suggests a "refresher in courtesy" for staff and he's upset that "some taxpayers (and their small children) are treated more courteously than others." One Rules of Circulation which I have not delved into --- When a patron refers to themselves or other patrons as "taxpayers" it is accompanied with a complaint.  He goes on to say that if staff was trained this way "I will just shut up and stop re-training them." 

He has blown up on 5 different circ staff, two of which are managers so it's not like he's always being "helped/disrespected" by a disgruntled staff member which do not exist at my branch.  There is nearly a total of 25 years of library experience among his victims so it is not as if they are still tyros of the circ desk.

The branch manager broke us up into 3 groups, I was with two of my info friends and unfortunately the assistant branch manager was also in our group which is like having a group project with the teacher's pet --- no fun to be had.  Although she has also witnessed one of his "retraining sessions" and acknowledges he is an ass.  We spent over a freaking hour on this douche patron.  We were asked to answer three questions: "What does this customer dislike?" --- LIFE  "What is he asking for?" --- A position as circ manager to train us  "Can we accommodate him?" --- Does restraining from punching him in the face whenever he disrespects my coworkers count?

It was a complete waste of time.  Of course management kept saying, "We're not saying that you aren't doing your jobs properly."  Really?  Well their assuming this is a rational patron who has a rational complaint is implying that we don't know how to do our jobs, a monkey could do circ work and monkeys are also known to throw feces... hold on, I think I'm on to something here.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Avengers Trailer...

via SciFiMania.com

Oh man, I just caught this and I watched this 3 times in a row and I get more excited each time.  Hopefully the hype will be worth it, unlike 'Sucker Punch.'

The trailer will be out this Friday with the release of 'Captain America.'

Friday, July 15, 2011

Library Banhammer

For the past few months our branch has been frequented by a mid-20's homeless guy.  He's been dubbed "the young porn dude," as to not confuse him with the "old porn dude."  This new guy likes to bring in a pint of ice cream for his porn perusing.  We've had several patrons complain about his hygiene or lack thereof, but that there isn't much we can do about that minus a few discrete drive-by's with the Febreeze bottle.

He has recently been using other patrons' library cards to use the public internet stations past the allotted time.  He probably thinks of himself as a hacker, when in reality it doesn't take much to "hack" when you can enter in random library card numbers that still use the default password of '1111.'  I am not sure why he hasn't been talked to about this already.

I did a quick search and brought up several charges which includes unlawful entry, destruction of private property, and two counts of assault on a police officer.  He confronted by Info BFF after showering in the men's restroom.  He walked out dripping wet and when he saw her giving him the evil eye from the info desk he walked up to her and started talking trash.  Unfortunately, I was not working (damn Cataloging and Classification class!) but another info worker stepped in.

Last week we found out he was arrested for public urination outside of a different library.  On a side note, my coworker-friend came across a "pee spreadsheet" that denotes the time and location of said urination zones on library grounds.  He was promptly banned from that library, unfortunately it wasn't a system-wide ban... yet.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rex Libris: Bibliotecher Remix Part 3

I love LED's.  I have swapped every possible light on my car to an LED format.  What's not to love about them; they're bright, last a long time, take less power, and are relatively cheap.

I only managed to burn myself once using my beginner's soldering kit.  I am finishing up my second Rex statue and I am still trying to get this soldering technique down, thanks YouTube!
Since I have not used a paintbrush since grade school, I choose the easiest option when it came time to paint --- acrylic markers.  These things are amazing.

I'm pretty satisfied with my first edition.  For the second one, I painted the barcode scanner and wire in silver for better contrast against the black suit.  My next revision will be to sculpt the head to make it look like Sterling Archer (LLLAAAAANNNNNAAA!)  and maybe to re-position the barcode arm pointing upwards.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Library Thief.

Last week I got a text from a coworker-friend that another coworker caught one of our teen volunteers stealing a Yu-Gi-Oh card from my cubicle.  I was sitting in the middle of my Classification & Cataloging class so I received all the real time updates VIA G-chat.

Apparently it was this kid's second day to volunteer.  My cubicle is on Main Street too, it is right off the main walkway from the library to the backroom so it's in the open, it's not one of the off in the corner cubes.  The coworker that saw him asked him what he was doing and he just replied, "Just admiring."  She asked him if he took anything and he just poker-faced it and lied to her.  She went to the youth manager who is in charge of teen volunteers and told her.  Of course being passive aggressive librarians, neither youth staff asked him directly.  My C.F. told me that they both acted like they didn't want to deal with it at all.  The youth manager asked her, "Does he (referring to me) even care about the card?"  Really???  Is that how we are going to handle thefts now?  We only do anything if the item was of any value to the owner.  We had one witness and if you looked in my cube, you would see a whole section hanging loose because it was the cornerstone to which I started taping my collection up with, he was also caught a second time in my cube.

My C.F. said that I probably don't care about the card which is true since everything I have posted in my cube is stuff people have left unclaimed from their returns.  But still, she tried to reason with the manager that if he's willing to brazenly/stupidly take a gaming card what isn't there he wouldn't take?  We all know that stealing Yu-Gi-Oh cards is a gateway theft, next thing you know he will be "stealing" moldy book donations from the Friends, and then he'll be boosting cars from the staff parking lot!

The Circ P.I.C. got wind of this after the second time he was caught in my cube, and he went to the Info P.I.C. and she asked my coworkers for the details and then promptly fired the guy.  The two youth info people got upset that they weren't consulted at all, not sure what other outcomes could have come from it.  "Okay, so you got caught stealing once, don't let us catch you again---now go shelve these books."

When the kid's mom came in to pick him up she didn't act at all surprised when she found out he was fired for stealing.  If you know your kid is becoming a kleptomaniac, wouldn't you let the volunteer host know????  We could have made arrangements and he still could be volunteering.  Hell, if he really wanted the card he could have asked me for it and I would have given it to him.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Dear Library People...

I found this little gem taped to a book in the drop last week.  When I first saw a piece of paper attached to a book, I instantly thought it was a note that a patron lost a book and this was its replacement, which is NOT the way we handle replacements.  Patrons should also not drop cash in the bookdrop thinking that it will magically apply to their account's late fees.  It doesn't work that way and until the library accepts online payments, stop trying avoid the walk of shame and please come inside the branch.

Anyways, back to the note, after reading the note I thought that this is an example of great parenting.  Unfortunately the jaded library work side to me thought, hmmm, maybe this is a new scheme to avoid paying fees.  I wasn't the only one who thought this after I emailed this to my coworker-friends.  The reactions I got were: "How cute," "Go mom!," and "That's pretty funny, but I'm so cynical so I instantly wondered if it was a trick to get the fines removed."

So Miss Danielle, I was able to remove any associated fees, unfortunately, I was not able to let Ted know how sorry you are.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Rex Libris: Bibliotecher Remix Part 2

Don't let the fact that I like watching improvement shows on HGTV fool you, I am not a real handy-man.  I never took woodshop in HS and the only power tool that I personally own is a Dremel, and that's because I modded my computer case, screams sexy AND geeky at the same time huh?  I know your curious about my modded PC case, I won't leave you hanging, I used the Dremel to make a stealth drive.  Now, ladies, ladies, please, BOTH of you can hold my laser pointer anytime. 
So I was pretty damn proud of myself when I was still in full possession of all my fingers.

For the sculpting medium I used Super Sulpey Firm, mostly based on reviews and the fact that I am a complete procrastinator and this stuff does not air dry.  So I could leave it for a few days and come back to it and it would still be pliable, which happened quite often.  I also bought a Michaels' branded clay kit, thank GOD for Michaels' weekly 50% off coupons.  I was in there more times in two weeks than the combined total visits of the previous decade.

I'm also new to this whole "being artistic" thing too, the last time I touched any form of clay it was Play-Doh and I was still wetting the bed.  It took awhile to get used to this medium and every time I would find myself getting frustrated I would just remind myself that this was my first one.  I bought about 5 of these statues in the hopes that I could sell them for at least $500 a pop.... So yeah.....  I just trudged through it until the clay formed a somewhat recognizable shape and called it a day lest I destroy it with my fumbling fingers.

See the fine detail in the pages of the book????  I can hear the collective oooohhhh's and aaaaaahhhh's of the whole interwebz right now, it's quite deafening, almost silencing... Okay, mostly silence.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Rex Libris: Kick-Ass Librarian the Bibliotecher Remix part 1

I first came across Rex Libris a few months ago at the circ desk.  The cover caught my eye and when I flipped through it, I interrogated my coworkers if they knew about the series and if they said 'yes' I would berate them for not telling me about it.  C'mon now, a comic book collector and an MLIS student, you didn't think I would be interested in it, some friend you are!

I broke out my internet stalking skills and looked for more information about Rex Libris.  I came across the SLG Publishing website and I hit the store up for all the Rex Libris comics they had, I also bought a Rex statue, what comic book character isn't complete without a figure.

Later I found myself talking to the only other under 30 male coworker about it and I showed him a picture of the statue.  He had the same geek reaction as I did and he asked if I was going to put it in my cubicle, I said that branch management would probably have a hissy fit because he's holding a gun.  He concurred and we looked at the hand-held scanners in front of us and we both had the same thought, "How bad-ass would it be if it was a barcode scanner instead?!" 

Thus the seed was planted and I started researching what I would need to make this happen.  I have been known to doodle during staff meetings but I do not consider myself artistic at all.  Creative-yes, artistic-hells no.  I figured if I was going to reshape the gun into a barcode scanner, I might as well do other things.

The first thing I did was cut the top of the gun off, while I was at it I figured that I might as well cut the alien hand off.  What kind of barcode scanner could cut an alien hand off anyways right???  hmmmmm ::Googles "Barcode Scanner AND Industrial Strength Laser AND A-hole Patron Control":: ....

I decided I was going to shape that area into another book instead, yay--more work.  If I'm putting all this effort into one simple mod, why can't I do more?  That's one of my problems, when I get into something, I get into it.  There's no half-assing, it's all or nothing.  One most recent example would be getting back into comics after I came across my old collection.  It amounted to one short box with room to spare, weak I know but I spent a lot of money at the arcade when I was younger okay.  Now they've procreated in the past few months and are now taking up 12 FULL short boxes...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

From the 'Forever Alone' Book Series...

 What's that you say, you just have a plan ol' piece of igneous rock? 

Pimp your Peridote!

This takes the whole pet rock thing to a whole new literal level --- wait a minute, a pet on a pet... it's P-E-T-C-E-P-T-I-O-N...

Monday, June 20, 2011

I Don't Always Want to Punch Patrons in the Face...

I don't always want to punch patrons in the face, but when I do, they deserve it.

Last Saturday an older gentleman (complete misnomer) came up to me and put a completed library application and his wife's military ID on the circ desk and said he wanted to get her a library card.  I asked if she was with him and he looked across both of his shoulders sarcastically and back at me with a "do you see her here with me?" look on his face.  It was at this moment I had a P.A.T.R.O.N. on my hands.  I told him that I would not be able to register her for a card since she isn't present.  He goes from 1 to a full 10 on the douche scale and loudly replies, "Why the hell not?  I have her application and her ID here, I want it NOW."  Okay, first of all, his "wife" was not present, second, her ID did not have a home address listed, nor did he have anything with that, so it was wrong on all counts.

I told him that the most I could do was give her a limited card which would not be allowed to check anything out until she comes in and proves who she is and where she lives, this was already against policy but I was trying to look out for the guy.  He flips his sh*t and says, "What the eff?? It's just a g-damn library card, do you need her fingerprints????"  This was a Saturday afternoon, there were a lot of families and young children present.  I obviously do not possess enough hands to have ear-muffed all of them, and he was practically yelling so I instantly got pissed off at rudeness and inconsideration and told him I would get the circ manager.  He continues to curse while I walk back and give my circ manager a head's up on the sh*t-fest he's about to encounter.  My manager tries to tell him that we cannot do that but that they can apply for a card online and the card would be mailed to them, apparently this was not enough, and he kept saying, "B-S, B-S, B-S," without listening to a word we were telling him.  Before he stomped off to the stacks he ends his tirade with, "Well, good for you, I'm glad you follow the policy, it's g-damn discriminating against the disabled (his first and only mention that his wife is disabled), thanks a lot A-HOLE!"  My supervisor hit his limit right there and told him that that was not necessary and to have a good day.

I ended up walking back to my supervisors office and tried to run down what the hell just happened and if it could have been handled differently.  When I walked back out to the desk, this guy was talking to my other coworker who was working the desk with me and he was all nice and sweet to her and he freaking apologized to HER for his curse filled tirade.  He never cursed at her or had any interaction with her, this mfer!  I just gave him the stank eye as he walked out the door.  Yup, this guy made my patron sh*t list.

I should pair him up with #2 on my list: the previous P.A.T.R.O.N. award winner, and produce a remake of 'Grumpy Old Men.'   Better yet, I should throw these two in a balcony, but instead of witty retorts and comments, they only swear and display their complete idiocy.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Childhood Child Stars are Better than Yours...

Just another picture I came across from my old phone's memory card.

Helllllllooooooo Winnie!  I'll admit that I was too young to fully appreciate the humor of "The Wonder Years" (thank goodness for reruns) but I still watched it because my older sister did.  I also used to think "The New Kids on the Block" were the ish (thanks sis!)...

Okay, so Danica here did do a spread for 'Stuff Magazine' but current child stars do not compare; I'd like to see any of them attempt to explain the quadratic equation now or in the future after their 15 minutes of fame passes.  The mainstream media seems to thrive on these current attention whores.  Oh you want your own TV show huh?  Well then, you should have some nude pics or a sex tape released.

Still wasn't able to sway your position?  Enter Doogie Howser FTW

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Office --- 80's Sitcom style...

Looking for Love in the Library...

I am the library man-whore.

Librarians love to find and share information, it's their job.  So it should come as no surprise that they love to gossip.  A former coworker who transferred to Tech Ops stopped by the branch last week and told me that she heard that me and coworker/friend #2 were dating.  She doesn't remember who told her, but she said it wasn't anyone from my branch.  WTH, other branches are talking about me and my love life!??  This isn't the first time, I've been associated with a coworker/friend.  My former coworker/friend #1 was also romantically linked to me and everyone secretly thought "it was cute."  This went on unknown to me for a few months before I burst their bubble.

This hasn't happened at just this particular library system either, when I was working Sundays for the City my coworkers and supervisor thought I was dating another coworker/friend because we would take breaks together and hang out outside of work.  Okay, I can kind of understand her because she was/is kind of flirty, but irregardless!  And every time I visit my first branch, the first thing the ladies ask is, "are you still dating the same girl?"  They've never met any of my past girlfriends, but yet it's always the first thing they say to me.  Guess they've heard through the library grapevine that I get around.  Thankfully, I've dodged any and all of their matchmaking attempts.  It's actually pretty easy to do, I just change the subject to either 3 topics: grandchildren, cats, or sewing, or if I'm up for a challenge I ask about them sewing for their grandchildren.

I'm worried about what they say when they see me talking to my info BFF who's married.  Actually, I'm worried about any female coworker who is seen talking to me, it's the whole guilty by association thing.  My friends at work are taking bets on who my latest library conquest will be.  I guess I shouldn't really complain, when I first started at this branch, a few coworkers later told me they thought I was gay because the way I dressed.  Thanks for the compliment, I guess???