Sunday, January 30, 2011

Library Mismanagment --- Starts at the Top!

Library management sucks, from the Page Manager all the way to the Director.  It is mismanaged to hell.  There is no better proof than the events of last Wednesday. 

Schools were closed, libraries were open.... shocker.  We had a circ meeting so EVERYONE was scheduled to work, only one person called out.  Some coworkers called her out during the meeting, saying that, "certain people call out, because they can."  Karma came back to them when it took them 6.5 hours to travel less than 10 miles home that evening, oh and the power was out too.

Library management decided to close early at 6 but then realized they effed up and changed it to 5.  They made their oh-so-benevolent decision at 4:53.  The following day, you would think that they would cut the library some slack, nope, not even a 2 hour delayed opening and of course schools were closed again.  If that wasn't a kick in the balls already, NONE of the parking lots or walkways were cleared.  So my county wide coworkers got stuck in the parking lot, ON THEIR WAY IN.

So what lesson did I learn from this ordeal, besides the fact that "Thunder Snow" is real --- that a Library Media Specialist position looks like a viable option.  I wrote this on a coworkers windshield on my way out, but I'm fairly certain that by the time they left it was already snowed over.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Lost and Found: Vampire Slayer Kit.

To whomever left your vampire slayer kit in the branch, you can pick it up from the Lost and Found at the circ desk.

First off, this bag wasn't all too big in size, but it seemed extraordinarily heavy.

Curious as to why, I (and my coworkers) had to take a peek, it was not hard to miss the unique wooden cross which happened extremely sharp ends.

It was never claimed by the time the library closed, here's hoping that the owner didn't get pwned by Count Chocula.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The IRS Hates Trees...

Good grief, it seems like every other phone call is about a patron asking if we have the tax forms in.
I pass their call onto the information desk. 
Yeah, I know the answer but the patron obvisously and impatiently did NOT listen to the automated phone system and punched the first option ("Questions about your Library Account") which routed their call to me.  So they are punished for their ineptitude and are subjected to listening to classical music while on hold until someone at info tells them, "No, and no, we do not know when they will come in."
Yeah, so you want your tax forms?  I've got your stinkin' tax forms, you can find them in the dumpster in the back of the library because apparently the IRS did not proofread their printed instructions. 
They now have to destroy more forests so you can try to have all of your taxes written off this year because of  your "generous" and over-inflated donation to the library, which consists of old, moldy National Geographics and People magazine.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

How To Pass Time on the Desk...

Tuesday nights are "fun." Fun because only the part timers, info and circ, close the branch. When all of the full time managers walk out the door, there is a collective sigh of relief. It's the whole, "when the cat's away, the mice will play." Having fun while at work-- gasp! It's a concept that managers seem to forget, plus it seems very fitting since it involves cats and libraries.

I find myself doing the oddest things to pass the time. I believe the uber-strict internet filters play a big role in this. I found this measuring tool hidden in the supply closet. I really don't see the justification to have one in every branch, it's not like we have to recreate parking lot accidents on a daily basis. I have no other idea what it could be used for. Just another waste of government money if you ask me.

Anyways, this little thing kept me occupied for the last hour or so. I would make wagers with my coworkers on anything I could measure: the width and length of the library, the distance between the info and circ desk. This picture is the measurement of the circ desk from end to end.

If there's any "branch-pride" to be had, it would have to be about having the longest circulation desk. It's infamous within the library system, other branch staff refer to it as, "The Queen Mary of Circ Desks." Yeah, I get bored pretty easily if there aren't any patrons to people-watch...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Children's Librarian's Word of Warning about [Public] Librarianship.

I can honestly say that at my branch, I only have one friend on the Info side.  The rest I would define as "friendly coworkers."  That's 1 out of 13.  When they found out I was going for my MLIS, they would talk about the profession with all too rosy glasses, without one negative thing to say about librarianship, particularly public librarianship.  That kind of alacrity about working the info desk at a public library makes me question their honesty.  It was like hearing someone reading the ALA website out-loud, all the so-called good and none of bad aka reality.

Luckily, there's my one info friend.  Ironically, she sits on the polar opposite on the opinion scale from her colleagues.  She has flat out told me she regrets getting her MLIS and she always ends every sentence with, "Can't say I didn't warn you," even if we weren't talking about anything library related, I guess it's just her knee-jerk reaction to constantly remind me that I am heading to library hell.  Even when I try to suggest that academic or special libraries ought to be different, she shakes her head disappointingly "no."  I guess, I'm too hard headed, but I really see myself any where BUT a public library.  *SPOILER ALERT* 10 years from now I will be chained to the Info Desk which I stared at during my time working the Circ Desk.

Like any real friend, we have decided that I should take swift action if she ever joins the Management Darkside.  She gave me these warning signs to watch out for:

1). Barking at innocent subordinates.
2). Wearing SOCKS with SANDALS -- all year round.
3). Wearing loose, baggy, ill-fitting clothing, all year round.
4). Drinking the cool aid which [library management darkside] provides on a regular basis, so to speak.
5). Being overweight, yet always being on Weight Watchers.
6). Wearing Christmas sweaters -- not Christmas-inspired sweaters, but sweaters with, say, Santa on them.
7). Having a lot of stuff with cats on it.
8). Defining a Good Day as one in which your colleagues brought in doughnuts.
9). Believing that wearing Chapstick counts as wearing makeup.
10). Working at [our branch] full time.

This was posted strictly verbatim and I think that they do serve as the perfect check list to make sure one isn't becoming a library zombie.

"You've Been Warned...."

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Best and Worst Jobs in 2011... Librarians in the Top 50!??!

Congrats to all you librarians out there.  Not only is 2011 the Year of the Rabbit, but the year Librarianship ranks #29 on The Wall Street Journal's Best and Worst Jobs of 2011.  No lie, AND shockingly enough, it is not on the "Worst" side, it's on the "Best" spectrum.

Wedged right in between Optometrist/Computer Programmer and Medical Technologist.

Apparently they ranked the jobs based on "income, working environment, stress, physical demands and job outlook.  Oh, and the all important expertise of their "researchers."  I'm pretty sure a librarian was not a part of the researchers.

Anyone who works at a public library knows that a LOT of workers are on the older end of the age spectrum and you would think that they would be close to retiring but of course they love their jobs so much that they are hanging on to them, even if the economy is in the crapper.

I guess the only aspect librarianship has going for it based on the WSJ ranking would be the physical demands.  The library system recently upped its physical demands from having to be able to life 20 pounds to 30 pounds.  Yeah, if you want to trim the ranks, the minimum weight lifting requirement would be the first think I would suggest testing.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Starbucks New Logo and Strange Mermaid Sex.

I was a marketing major, so I pay attention to random stuff most usual don't care for, like this evolution of Pepsi and Coke logos.  

Starbucks recently unveiled its new logo and suffice it to say it really isn't "new" so to speak, just updated (de-worded).  It really isn't a dramatic change at all.  Guess after the updated Gap logo fiasco, Starbucks didn't want to push the envelope.

I was on the circ desk when the book to the left caught my eye.  I really don't know why it did (naked lady?), but I ended flipping through it to see what it was about (pictures of more naked ladies?).

I found the disturbing picture below:
The caption was as equally disturbing, "Siren With Fish in Her Vagina."  I understand the purpose of captions and yes, I do see that the picture is of a bass trying to get some mermaid ass.  But could you please explain WHY it is in her va-jay-jay to being with!??  Seriously, what is the symbolism?  I should go back to the stacks and look back at the book to see if there is an explanation for this aquatic freakiness.

It seems as though Starbucks is slowly changing its logo to focus on just the siren's face and not the fact that she is spreading her tail for just any flounder, herring, or salmon.  The secret is now out, this underwater horizontal tangoing duo has been fornicating on everyone's chai latte cup.

Maybe the most disturbing fact about this horny fish is that it is sculpted on a bench.... a church bench.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

How Many Library Workers...

How many library workers does it take to "ooh and aww" over a picture of kittens in party hats?
5, not including myself who stepped out of my cubicle to document this typical library distraction.
I swear, kittens are the krytonite to any librarian.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Library Backroom Duties: Lost and Never to Be Found...

Everyone that works circ or info has backroom duties, these are what you would call "off the desk busywork."  For info it usually involves weeding irrelevant books on cosmetology published in the 60's or reapplying Dewey spine labels that some brats have pulled off.  For circ it is usually related to charging patrons account for damaged books they claimed were like that when they borrowed them.

With budget cuts the saying is, "Doing More With Less," well, eff that.  It seems like it is, management does less by making the everyone else do more.  My backroom duty was running the lists for books that have gone MIA, whether they were lost due to patrons or the library's fault.  There are several lists each week and I am the only one who works on them so it keeps me busy when I'm not people watching at the circ desk.

Recently, I was given two more tasks: Lost and Found and ILL's.  Both of which were duties that managers held.  Of course, these managers did not get any new duties added to their plate.  Why a circ person would be placed in charge of ILL's I have no idea, I guess no one on info wanted that one.  I mean, who wants to be bothered by patrons wondering why their ILL: Fiddlercrabs of the World, has not yet come in after only one week of requesting it.  Never mind the fact that this book is available at a reciprocal library system and that the patron is too lazy to drive the extra 5 miles to register for a library card with that system and borrow it directly.

Items placed in the Lost and Found can be utterly disgusting sometimes.  You would think my coworkers would have better discretion on what to place in the box and what to throw away.  Then again, these are people who have more than a decade of experience, but turn to me the instant they run into the slightest issue with a patron.  That's a whole other rant on its own.

Some things are just never meant to be picked up.  A patron never picked up the bill from her OB GYN, it sat in the Lost and Found bin for 5 months before I ended up shredding it.  Yeah, that was fun trying to tactfully write an email to her, letting her know it was found.  Another patron never came by to pick up their bill for a lawyer to review their shoplifting case which involved viewing footage from a security camera from a department store.

After a month, items are up for grabs to staff.  There really has not been anything of interest or value.  My collection of flash drives is growing weekly.  I format each drive and clean them from whatever viruses/malware patrons end up collecting from the public PCs and I bring them back to work for my coworkers to use.

There is also a lot of clothes that are never picked up either.  I don't know how patrons forget their winter jackets when they walk out in near freezing weather.  Thankfully there is a clothing donation box at the end of the parking lot so I don't have to go too far to make my monthly drop off.