Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Parking Lot Pimpin': Library Edition...

MSRP $116,670
2012 Aston Martin Vantage V8 Coupe.  Not surprising that a patron at my branch would drive a six-figure car.  As a car enthusiast, I am always spotting nice rides on my commute to and from work.

I remember a comment my supervisor made to me when he started at my branch.  He just had his first baby and during storytime he came up to me and said, "Add up all those strollers in the lobby and you could buy a car"  I thought he was exaggerating until I went to the local baby store with my sister, who is due any minute now, but he wasn't joking...

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Rules of the Library #4: Fans, Fans Everywhere.

Rules of the Library #4: Fans, Fans Everywhere.

They don't call it the "Greying of the profession" for nothing.  With older coworkers in every branch, a lot of them experience hot flashes on the daily.  Usually being the lone male in the library, I have heard way too many jokes and references to menopause from my coworkers.  That usually isn't the worst of it, it's the jokes about Viagra and their husbands which I usually cringe at.

Right at your hoo-ha
It is not uncommon to hear the whirring of fans at the info desk, circ desk, and the backroom.  This is all year round too.  The circ manager stopped asking my opinion if "the branch is too hot" during the winter months --- "Wait, your opinion doesn't count!"  I'm sitting at the info desk, all layered up, and she's across the way at the circ desk with a fan blowing at hurricane speed.  I don't know if fan salespeople exist, but if you do, hit up your local library and you can send your children to college from all the sales.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Library doesn't need/want your crusty, used '50 Shades of Grey' donation...

While going through donations to see if they could be added to our collections, I came across this filthy mcnasty copy of 50 Shades.  The first half of the book is "water" damaged.  I say "water" because I have no idea what fluid touched this book nor do I want to know.  The thing is, patrons usually drop off books by the bag or box load. 

If a patron dropped this book by itself, I'm fairly certain my coworkers working the circ desk would have thrown this damaged book in the trash.  All of the other books in the lot were nice and dry... except for this one.  I really should not be surprised that a patron actually thought that the condition of this book was "good enough" for the library's shelves.  Silly patrons, damaged books are for the trash-can, not the library.

Needless to say I burned this book as well as my desk... and the cart this book was sitting on.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

To the patron who said they would give me half a million dollars...

To the patron who said that they would give me half a million dollars --- I won't forget.

I had a patron come up to the info desk with a color photograph of a painting that his old landlady gave him over 40 years ago.  This was an elder patron and he admitted that he wanted to "get his ducks in a row" while he could still "get around."

He had no idea who the painter was, but he was hoping that we, The Library, had the right resources.  The best I could do was find a couple of online resources that might have been the right artist or not, depending on how you interpreted the signature.  He seemed pleased with what I had found and said that he was going to visit one of his friends who works at an art museum.  Seems like the first place I would have gone, but it was nice he thought of the library.  He said, "Who knows?  Maybe it's worth a million dollars, I'll give you half of it!"

With a couple hundred grand on the line and a couple of hours after he left, I continued to do some more research into that particular artist and found a website that listed their recently ended auctions.  The highest auction ended at $15,000.  So Generous-Patron, your estimate of $500,000 was pretty far off, but I would more than gladly take a couple grand, you know where to drop off the check.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Google Nexus 7 Tablet: First Impression...

Bibliotecher Tablet Count: #6 & #7...
This morning I was able to find the Nexus 7, N7, available at a local store.  Needless to say, it took me all of 10 seconds before I had two in my cart for in-store pick up.  The hustler in me wanted to buy more but I restrained myself, funny thing, because when I went to the counter to pick mine up, I saw 6 tablets reserved for one person.  With such a high demand, I'm surprised the store didn't have a "1 per customer" limitation.

The packaging is clean and it comes with a quick start guide, a wall charger, and a ridiculously short USB cable.  From tip to top the USB cable measures ~38.5 inches.  That just good enough to plug into the surge protector on my floor and reach my bedside table, unfortunately, it won't extend to where I can use it in bed.  Also, I have a multiport USB charger that has worked with both of my phones, HTC Inspire 4G and Samsung S2, as well 3 different tablets: HTC Flyer, HTC View, HP Touchpad.  For some reason the Nexus will not charge at all.  The multiport charger is rated at 2.1A while the bundled Asus one at 2.0A. I'm going to have to do more research on other multiport USB chargers.

The N7 is a little over 4 grams lighter than my HTC Evo View 4G, it may not sound like much but when it comes to this tablet size, you can feel the difference.  I like the 7" tablet size for bedside reading.  It's thinner than my HTC Evo View, but then again, the HTC has a rear facing camera.  But then again, I only have used it once, same with the front facing camera.

I am a little disappointed that there is not MicroSD card support with the N7.  Seems that everyone is using "the cloud" for their files.  The screen resolution is worlds better than the HTC.  Everything is so much crisper.  Playing videos through the YouTube app is nice and clear, the speaker is decent, it's not going to rock the house but you have to keep your expectations grounded. 

Everything about the N7 is quick and smooth, I cannot wait to use this daily.  I'm really digging it and I am getting ready to transfer all my games and files over from my HTC Evo View to sell it.  It took less than 12 hours to find a buyer and make a transaction for the other N7 I bought.  Maybe I should have bought more, now I just need to get my hands on an Asus Infinity TF700!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Patrons Have Spoken...

Finally, after months of patrons complaints about the front row of LEV, Low Emissions Vehicle, parking spots, the library board announced that the County will be removing them and scattering them around the lot.

Any time a patron complains, I have several scripts to reply with in my head:
"Yes, it is cold in here."
"It should be easier to download e-books, blame the publishers."
"Would you like me to get the branch manager?"

Whenever an LEV parking complaint came across the desk, I let the patron know that while it may temporarily feel good to bitch/vent to me, but there is nothing I could do about it.  And that the next time they came to the library, they would get riled up to see the LEV reserved spots in the same exact spot again.  I gave them the Supervisor's contact information, since HE was the one who wanted them in a prominent position for a PR blurb.  But I guess that has run it's course, so now that he's gotten his local newspaper article cut out for his album, the spots are now being dispersed like they should have been in the first damn place.

Politics as u-su-al

Monday, July 16, 2012

Public Libraries and Facebook Don't Mix...

"You Can't Make Me Like You."

Okay, let me get this out of the way, I hate Facebook, I detest it.  People get too comfortable on it and they gain a false sense of entitlement from it.

Someone on my SLIS school's listserv blasted everyone with a request: "Check out my library's Facebook page and make sure to 'Like It.'"  Why?  Begging for FB-likes is an endless circle jerk in the hopes of feeding an asinine need for online "popularity."  Libraries love their stats: door counts, circ's, program attendance; it's their number one asset in the yearly battle of budgets.  Keeping track of FB-likes means NOTHING.  Budget Committee: "Ooooh, the library has 239 likes, well here's more money!"

I know libraries are trying to be "hip and cool" and "where the patrons are at."  But libraries being on FB just because is much worse than not having a presence at all.  Now libraries are adding their catalogs to their FB pages.  What the hell.  That's what the library webpage is for.  Every single library has their own webpage, USE IT.  When FB goes the way of Myspace/Friendster/Hi5, libraries that have neglected their own webpages will be scrambling to sign up for the next ALA session on "Revitalizing Your Library's Webpage."  If you rely more on FB for interacting with your patrons than the library's own webpage YOU'RE DOING SOMETHING WRONG.

My biggest problem with FB should seem like any public library's as well, but in their vain attempt to remain relevant, whatever the hell that means, they seem to throw caution to the wind when it comes to privacy.  Just 10 years ago the ALA and libraries were circle jerking about how they were the last bastions of user privacy in a post 9/11 world.  Do you know what FB completely sucks at?  Yeah, so I guess libraries are hardcore when it comes to sticking it "To The Man" (government), but sell out when it comes to "The Other Man" (corporations), even though it is harder to distinguish one between the others nowadays.

Numerous patrons have asked me if the library kept records of their checkouts, much to their relief I answered, "No."  Did I suspect these patrons of wrong-doing, no, they just respect their privacy.  The library can't have it both ways, you cannot claim to be on the patron's side in the fight for privacy when you are on a website that continues to violate user privacy (FB now scanning "private chats").

If you use a "free" service that doesn't charge you anything, than YOU are the one being sold.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Project-X: Superbad's younger sibling that tries too hard to impress everyone

The premise seemed interesting enough for a comedy: crazy high school party all shown from a first person view.
They seemed like they wanted to produce a carbon-copy of 'Superbad' even down to the main characters.  Don't get me wrong, that is not a bad thing at all, I think that 'Superbad' is a great comedy, but unfortunately Project-Bad tries too hard to be it's own movie.
SRSLY... 3 friends: 1 extremely nerdy guy, 1 annoying guy who desperately wants to be down with the in-crowd, and 1 good guy who has a female admirer but is too awkward/shy to do anything.

With 'Superbad' you felt like you actually went to school with someone like them, they came off as real, affable in the sense that you could accept them for their quirkiness and immaturity.  In 'Project X' you just end up hating these guys, especially the guy who plays Costa aka wanna-be Jonah Hill.  

Both are vulgar, with 'Superbad' the humor comes off as natural for teenagers to talk and act that way, compared to 'Project-X' you could actually call it tastefully done.  Project-Bad uses vulgarity to get a rise and shock in the hope that the eye-rolling includes some laughs.  Honestly, I wouldn't recommend this to anyone, well maybe those who liked '50 Shades' because obviously those people love garbage.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

No one cared about '50 Shades of Grey' until the media told people to.

Damn Sheeple!  Think for yourselves... Don't fall for the hype.
First off, the marketing team behind the 50 Shades books are pure geniuses.  They turned a trio of books filled with utter nonsense, into one of the most talked about  and read books in recent history.  If I was a billionaire, I would hire those people to run a nationwide campaign on using "Please and Thank You."  When I refer to the media, I am not talking about any reliable news networks, I am talking about those morning talk shows with those gabby hosts.

The only thing worse than the attention saying how "great" these books were, was the attention received from stupid libraries that said they wouldn't carry the book.  For all my hatred for these books, I do believe that libraries should add them.  You'd think the ALA would have a firm stance on libraries that declined to stock these books, since they love them some Banned Book ish.  But no, they pretty much turned all soft and said, libraries can do whatever they want, stop asking for our opinion.

For those claiming that 50 Shades are out-right "erotica" are highly confused.  The sex scenes, if you choose to call them that, seemed to have been written by Steve Carrell's character in 'The 40 Year Old Virgin': (obligatory NSFW dislaimer)

"I dated this girl... for a while, and she was really a nasty freak.
She just loved to get down with sex all the time.
She was like, any time of day, she was like: "Yeah, let's go. I'm so nasty."
And I'd be nailing her. She'd be like: "Oh, you're nailing me. Cool."
She loved to dirty-talk. Totally into it.
She'd be like: "Yeah, let's screw, let's... I wanna f**k."
God, it was so dirty.  She'd be like, "Me so horny, me love you long time."
You know, when you, like, you grab a woman's breast
and it's... And you feel it and...
it feels like a bag of sand when you're touching it."

Oh yeah, that's so urro-teak...  This is a disservice to those who actually write erotica.

I don't want to cause public panic or outbreaks of people shouting in the streets, "But what about the children!?!???"  But what if I told you that right now, there are millions of these poorly written smut-books sitting on the shelves in every library right now??

Okay, these are probably better written than '50 Shades'
Libraries chose to fall back on their trusty "Collection Development Plans" when it came to denying shelf-space to this trio of trash.  It's probably been a long ass time since they actually looked at them.  Libraries seem to be too busy trying to reinvent themselves as the "cool and hip" place to be, instead of working on their core principles.  Of course the media picked it up and that just further pushed the hive-mind agenda, the same rules apply to trolls, don't feed them.  Just let them starve from all the attention they aren't getting and we can all move on.  The libraries ended up caving in and bought the books anyway... pathetic.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Rules of the Library #3

Rules of the Library #3: Just because the library "accepts donations" does not mean it is your personal dumpster.

This past weekend a coworker came up to my desk and said that the circ manager asked if I could pick up the books "some patron" dumped in front of the outside bookdrop.
Haven't held a floppy in a looooong ass time...
As I was pushing the cart full of crap past the circ desk, I told the circ manager that if I can get a name to look up in our patron database by going through these books, someone will be getting a phone call or email.

I was able to find a couple of certificates of course completion but the name did not bring back any results.  None of the items dumped were of any use or value for the Friends' booksale.  Seriously, who wants or needs to learn about old school DOS or Excel 7.0, not 2007, but the 1995 version.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

I'll have an El Derecho, yes, I know that Guacamole is extra...

So my past week has been fun.  I was watching 'Brave' with my friend on Friday night when the movie cut out 4 times during the last 10 minutes, kind of ruins the climactic ending.  Similar to the ending of a close March Madness game, the last minute on the clock ends up turning into 5+ minutes.  Some lone high school kid working at the movie theater came in after the third film outage to tell the packed house, which was full of little kids, that it was because of power surges and to expect more delays in the movie.

There were tons of debris on the road and I had to take numerous detours.  On Saturday, I assumed work was cancelled, but I couldn't call or check emails because the whole damn network was down.  The day was ridiculously hot, thankfully my sister never lost power so I spent a couple nights there.  Driving around without any stoplights at major intersections is hazardous to your health.
Seriously, douche, if you didn't learn what to do
from the cars that went before you, your license should be revoked.
Okay, I know it does not happen often, but for those out there who don't know: whenever you come across a downed stoplight, you're supposed to treat it like a four-way stop.  That applies to everyone, including that ass who thinks they're above the rest of society and blows right threw them.  If I were in charge of the DMV, I would put that question in the license renewal exam and anyone who fails that question, automatically has to take a special driving course.

Two winters ago I dealt with the power going out during a blizzard.  It sucked because I was stuck in the house because the roads weren't plowed.  But one redeeming thing about power outages in the winter is that you can add more layers, you can only take off so much in a summer power outage.  The heat just saps your energy, in the cold you just want to hibernate.

As of right now, I still don't know if my branch has power back yet.  If not, I'll have to call around to find a branch willing to take in this branch-less refugee.