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.