Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Librarians and Book Displays...

This library creepster stared at me my whole shift.
Librarians love, love, LOVE their book displays.  It's one of the few ways they can show off their creativity at work.  It reminds me of grade school and how teachers would decorate their classrooms and bulletin boards, I find it strangely comforting.  Unfortunately, there is only one small space dedicated to displays at my branch and it's tucked away in a corner in non-fiction. 

A lot of library backrooms are bound to be filled with holiday themed decorations.  I believe librarians tend to become hardcore hoarders the longer they've been in the profession, especially now with dwindling budgets.  So I really shouldn't have been surprised when I encountered this display when I covered another branch during their staff meeting.  Of course a librarian would own a life-size cardboard cut-out of Fabio.

Monday, February 27, 2012

TIL: Author Pseudonyms...

During the weekend I had a patron who wanted to know what we had by Donald Westlake.  Just one quick search in the ILS, easy enough.  But wait, the patron tells me that he also wrote under "a pseudonym."  Okay, let's Wikipedia that.... WTH he used 10+ names!?!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Public Libraries Vs Nordstroms

I had a patron come up to the desk and ask where the fax machine was, I told her that the library doesn't provide fax services.  She turned her nose up and said, "Well, they used to."  No, they never have. 

It's not the first time the lack of fax services got patrons all pissy.  Back when I was working the circ desk a patron asked the same thing, I told her that we don't have any public faxes and told her there was a Kinko's down the road that did.  She looks past me into the backroom and points at the 1980's behemoth of a fax machine and asks me, "What's that?"  I love playing I-Spy!  I-Spy a patron who's going to start an argument over a fax.  I told her it was "the staff-only fax machine."  Then she looked at my government ID for my title, she then asks if my supervisor was available.  Of course he was, he's always hiding in his office so I was more than happy to get him.  He came out and it took a total of 5 minutes of repeating what I already told her before she left.

So back to the current patron, I told her that the closest fax service was 2 streets down, literally 5 minutes away.  She gets all huffy and says she would "never get caught walking in there."  She said that she would go to Nordstrom's instead, "they'll do whatever I tell them to."  That's fine, drive 15 minutes further and waste more time.  I'm fairly certain that when Nordstrom's or public libraries conduct SWOT analyses, neither pops up on each others' radar.  I heard their name brought up so many times in lectures when it came to exemplary customer service.  I'm pretty sure that this is the same patron who asked me to borrow a pair of scissors and never brought them back...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Supply and Demand of Librarians/MLIS Degrees...

During my last semester of my MLIS coursework, I came across this report from SLA/IMLS on "The Future of Librarians in the Future."  Okay, so I know that this presentation is dated 2009, but if my running 3 year memory serves me correctly it was not a good time for libraries.

An archived search for "libraries" on Google News during 2009 brings up these results:
Libraries Fighting Proposed Budget Cuts
Strickland puts libraries on the chopping block
City budget plan: 30 layoffs, 1-week closure for libraries
Bad year for Pittsburgh's libraries with cuts and closings
Do I really have to add more links?

The Greying of the Profession is a conspiracy which I will always rant about no matter what.  I find it completely reckless that ALA and Library Schools continue to put out propaganda that "everything is just fine in the library world."  People will argue for both sides, but let's keep it real, those that believe that library schools should continue to pump out MLIS degrees at an alarming rate are delusional.  Now on to the lovely figures and graphs!

Wait a minute, I thought librarians were retiring??
Demand y u no go up?!
The purpose of this particular report was to study the demand and supply of the career, the future prospect of the career.

Supposedly, this slide shows the demand for librarians each year across all libraries.  I really find it hard to believe that these numbers could be this high: public libraries needed/hired 2,759 librarians last year???

Imagine how much greater the demand would be if they
took into account all the MLIS holders who also bag groceries!

Four slides from the previous one, we are met with this one graphing the demand for librarians, but not just any demand --- Effective Demand, sounds sexy, no?  I was forced to take economics class in undergrad and no where do I remember learning about effective demand, do you know why?  Because it is not Econ 101 material, which is exactly why librarians should not try using it to rationalize this "great need for more librarians."
Here is Wikipedia's page on Effective Demand.  Put simply, it's the total demand for goods and services at a given time and price.  Apparently, MLIS holders must be so cheap to explain that enormous demand; they can be placed in any job: baristas, waiters/waitresses, fast-food joints, receipt checkers at Wal-Mart.

Demand goes down = demand goes up WTF

Here are the two demand slides overlaid.  Sorry for my poor photo-manipulating skills, the image is not to scale perfectly, but it seems good enough to me so it will have to be for you.  I had to re-size the canvas area numerous times during my attempts to scale each slide to one another.

This would leave one to believe that librarians are more in demand than the [insert current hot book title]The Hunger Games trilogy.  I do not think using 'Effective Demand' is helpful or really truthful in this particular situation, I believe it was purposefully used to inflate and exaggerate these numbers and further push the conspiracy.
To get these figures, they must have started with a ZERO as the initial supply of librarians.
"4,500 Graduates Going Into Library Jobs," yeah right, they left out the slide titled: "Graduates Going Into Non-Library Jobs Because There ARE NO LIBRARY JOBS."

Librarians and stats do not mix,
unless they involve door counts or circs.

How the bloody hell does one see a 200-300% increase needed in the immediate future?  I have no clue how these people came up with these crazy numbers (drugs, alcohol, used an abacus).  If everyone was to follow this guidance you would end up with a glut of MLIS holders, worse than what we currently have. Really IMLS, really???  200+% more librarians needed???
Do you know the last time anyone projected a 200% demand/need in anything was right before the dot com bubble burst.  How are your Pets.com stocks doing now?
Luckily, we have more reliable sources for forecasting librarian demand.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics' page for Librarians.  They project an addition of 12,500 jobs between 2008 and 2018, just 8%.

I'm sure the people who completed this yet another horrendous example of librarian research just wanted to be on the safe side:
Librarian 1:"BLS says an 8% increase in positions between 08 and 18..."
Librarian 2:"Hmmmm, a 350% increase in MLIS holders ought to fix that!"
Librarian 3: "Genius!"

Here's what their slides were missing:

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Politics as Usual...

Last Saturday, a group was registered to set up a table outside of the library to register voters.  The PIC (Person In Charge) was the children's manager.  I like her a lot, even though she tries to Jedi-mind-trick me into joining the "Dark Side of Youth Services;" she's very laid-back which is why I can relate to her so well.  It was a pretty crappy day so she let them come inside the lobby, mistake #1.

During their first hour inside the lobby, a patron on their way out stopped by the table and asked who they represent.  They only had a sign that read, "Register to Vote," that is all, no political aligned propaganda anywhere.  They weren't pushing any agenda, just asking folks if they were registered, and if not, would they like to take a moment to register.  Apparently, this one patron was very insistent and kept pestering them until they mentioned that they were from a certain organization formed/vouched for by Obama --- mistake #2.  If you want to keep your friends, you don't discuss religion or politics.  Well, this set the patron off and they went ballistic.  "I don't want you in my library, blah blah blah."  The PIC went out there and tried to diffuse it, but the patron was full on ape-ish.  The children's manager was completely frazzled by this altercation and when she came back to my desk to tell me what happened I could hear it in her voice.  This is the woman who called me out to the desk because she didn't know how to handle a homeless patron, I can't be mad at her, she's been completely coddled at this cushy branch.

The patron stated that she was "going to come back to the branch to make sure they were gone."  Okay, we aren't in the middle of nowhere, so that couldn't mean she would have come back with a bunch of her shotgun-wielding uncles and cousins --- it most likely meant her team of lawyers.  The voter registration group ended up calling it quits right after and the patron never came back. 

The whole mess just reinforces my feelings about hating politics in every single form.

Monday, February 13, 2012

First Attempt at Book Crafting: What Have I Gotten Myself into?

So I was inspired by several pictures I found online of book crafts and decided to spare this discard from the trash heap.

I have no idea what I am going to do with it, but this is my second day trying to hollow it out.  Maybe I should have started with a thinner book.  It is incredibly messy and time consuming.  If only I could use my Dremel, the heat from the friction only creates singed edges and the smell of burning.

I have quite low expectation for this project seeing as it's my first ever, but there is an endless supply of mediums to work with, yay for weeding/discarding!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

I think someone shivved me at work...

What better way to spend an evening than by sewing a mysterious slash in a sweater.  The thing is, I have only worn it once,at work, and the cut is clean line.

On another sweater related note, I also got my first holiday themed sweater.  Unfortunately, it only fits my bottle of Patron.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Push your MLIS Degree Mill somewhere else.

Reddit Thread
I came across the above offending Reddit ad last week.  At first glance I thought it was a joke, but then I clicked the link and realized it was for real and for Syracuse's iSchool.  Does the library field really need more MLIS degree holders?  Also, advertising on Reddit, really? 

I usually am a lurker on Reddit, but I actually replied to the post to let it be known that this is not a good time to pursue an MLIS.  The "Greying of the Profession" is one of the worst conspiracies around and I will call it out every chance I get.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Deal Alert: Kindle Fire $200 - $50 Giftcard at Wal-Mart starting 2/5 to 2/14

Props to MAHESHK @ Slickdeals.net Thread
If selling 1 million Kindles each week last December wasn't enough, the Kindle is already going on sale.  Not sure if Amazon will match this deal, but Wal-mart is the Amazon of the brick and mortars.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

TIL: The Most Stolen Library Books Ever...

While doing some work off the info desk, I came across an 2010 Kaplan ASVAB discard.  Looking at the catalog I found out that the most stolen/lost/never returned library book type: ASVAB Prep Books.

I only had time to quickly write down stats for the Kaplan series:
2009: 3/9 copies are LOST.
2010: 8/18 copies are LOST.
2011: 10/21 copies are LOST.

I would not be surprised if the rest of the other books in the ASVAB prep series had similar LOST figures.  A simple way to fix this problem would be to get rid of all the physical books and only have digital copies.  That or require all ASVAB test takers to bring in a written note from their local librarian that their account is in the clear.