Friday, December 20, 2013

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

You know it's Fall season

When you find yourself lost in a corn maze.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Monday, September 30, 2013

Our children's librarian gets me

She's retiring at the end of this year, so she's offloading all of the stuff she's accumulated over the past few decades.
I assume this won't be the last addition to my cubicle collection.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Shout out to Rick Yancey

Okay, so I deleted my Facebook account years ago and I never Google my user name but I just purchased the latest Humble Bundle and I am planning on changing my Origin user name.  I wanted to see how many different sites I use 'Bibliotecher' on.  I like to keep my interwebz circles separated, so I have a handful of various user names for different kinds of sites along with a couple of emails addresses as well.

On the first page of search results my username was mentioned on Facebook... Facebook???  I consider Facebook the devil, so of course I checked it out and it was linked to author Rick Yancey's page.

Ironically my quote is from my Twitter account, which I RARELY use, just look at my Twitter feed.  That was my last Tweet and that was from nearly two months ago!

I still am amazed at how technology brings us closer to people we would never have been able to directly contact before.  Oh, and I still haven't figured out what I should change my Origin user name to...

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Parenting at your local library.

I had a mom come up to me at the info desk asking if there's "someone in charge of the library."  Whenever patrons ask me that, I always try to think of what they want to complain about before they actually tell me and how far up the organization chart I have to refer them to.

She then went on to say that she wanted to complain about a librarian.  Did she want to complain about me in front of me!?  Maybe I said something wrong on the phone, I mean she literally (yes, I am using that word correctly) just walked into the library and headed straight to me.  I then thought about which of my info-coworkers and what they could have done to upset her.  The patron then pointed her head towards the circ desk towards the circ manager.  She then proceeded to air her grievance with me after I asked if she wanted to talk to the assistant branch manager.

"Everytime I come into the library with my daughters that librarian is always shushing them and telling them not to run.  My one daughter is 2 years old!  2 years old!!  What does she want me to do, make her wear a mask??  I want her to look forward to coming to the library and reading, how is that supposed to happen when she's constantly being told to be quiet and not to run??"

Really?  This is the first time I have noticed this mother and her 2 daughters in the library, and her daughter ran straight to the childrens section and was yelling until she hit the circ desk and the circ manager shushed her.  Not like the shushing did much, the little girl continued to run around and talk loudly.  I wanted to tell her that her daughter wouldn't be shushed and told not to run, IF SHE DIDN'T DO EITHER IN THE LIBRARY.  But I was not in the mood to be told that her daughter is just expressing herself and her feelings, and who are we to suppress them.

She definitely did not win me over and I just handed her the branch manager's business card.  I gave a head's up to the managers to expect an email from her.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

So, what did you do over the weekend?

Oh you know the usual, just tried to pour a whole bottle of vodka into a 24 lb watermelon.

First off, the internet lied.  The videos I watched before attempting this, made it seem like this watermelon would be my long lost drinking buddy and that it would down the vodka in no time.  WRONG.  Even after over 24 hours of "drinking," there was still about 1/4 of a bottle left.

I also had to help the process by moving the bottle up and down every other 30 minutes or so.  The act was seemed very dirty, but then again I am extremely immature.  But each time I would move the bottle in and out, it would release several big air bubbles.

When my library friends and I started eating it, there was no hint of vodka at all --- no taste nor smell.  It took several slices before we tasted it and boy, when you tasted it, it was overwhelming.  The thing is, is that you could not tell where the vodka was.  You would think that where the bottle dumped into the middle of the melon would be the strongest, NOPE.  It was like playing Russian Roulette with each bite.

The absorption was not as spread as evenly as I would have liked, it was either all watermelon or straight vodka.  Will I attempt this again?  Maybe...  I'll probably try with a Sugar Baby and a smaller bottle of alcohol.  I also cut the hole the same size as the bottle opening, but the bottle tapers so with it jammed all the way in, the hole becomes too big to put the cut plug back in to rotate the melon.  I think I'll also try using a fruit flavored vodka to give it some flair.  Summer isn't over yet, so I hopefully I will be able to perfect this for next year.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Enough is Enough

Usually when a patron calls asking what the library accepts for donations, I make a point to say that National Geographics are not accepted.  A lot of times, patrons will just bring them in by the boxes and by then the patron has taken the time to drive to the library and bring them in, so none of the staff turn them away.
Some really think that their "collection" has some real monetary value: "Some of these are really old!" or "This is a complete collection of the 70's."  I'm not one to burst that kind of bubble so it's all just smiles and nods and an occasional, "niiiice."

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The new branch mascot...

I shall call him Squishy and he shall be mine...

The circulation manager dropped this off at the info desk while she was cleaning up the war-zone, aka the children's section, after a busy day.  I instantly appointed him as the new (and first) branch mascot.  Since no one else who was working that night vetoed it, he won by a landslide.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Gone Til November

My biggest and heaviest flip ever.  When I picked this thing up from the store, I completely underestimated how big the box was.  I had to borrow my parents' minivan and take out all of the seats to fit this.  I was a little hesitant to try to flip this because it was so big and heavy, but it was clearanced for $49 and the deal was just too tempting.

Within 3 days I had two potential buyers, and one seemed definitely eager to make the deal happen.  I tried telling her that this was a big and heavy box, and she said that her SUV could fit it.  WRONG.  I was planning to charge a delivery fee if this exact scenario happened.  But this lady was buying this as a surprise for her husband who is currently deployed until November.  Again, the pay it forward principle came in to affect so my dad and I told her we would deliver it to her house.  She is completely new to the area after coming back from overseas, and we ended up getting to her house before her.

She didn't even try to haggle the price I had listed because my price was already lower than every other store.  So I bought this 200lb, 6ft behemoth for ~$50 and flipped it for $200, easily one of my most profitable deals ever.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

My Smelly Precioussss...

So for the second year in a row, our children's librarian has ordered scratch and sniff bookmarks for summer reading.  But we all know that it is really for me since I talked her into ordering them last year.  I think it is another one of her attempts to get me to join youth services.  I decided last year to hand them out to the kids after they completed the summer reading program and they really seemed to enjoy them, I know I do.  Even the reluctant teens seem to dig them.  ("Dig" get it?? "Dig into summer reading".....)  What's really cool are the kids who tell me that they still have the ones from last year and that they're excited to add to their collection each summer.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Paying It Forward at the Library.

Today a woman in her late 60's came up to me at the info desk accompanied by two children, a girl in the 7th grade and a boy in the 3rd grade.  The first thing she says to me is, "I'm trying to get these two to get back into reading, what do you recommend?"  Most times those that bring in children with them usually can tell me that Little Johnny liked So and So Book Title or Little Suzy likes to read about dragon-unicorn-chimeras.  But this patron clearly had no clue what these children liked to read.

Thankfully, a few questions posed to the kids put me on the right track for providing proper reader's advisory.  While the kids were browsing the shelves, the older patron came back to the desk to talk to me.  In a hushed tone, she said, "Those two kids are actually my neighbors.  There are a total of 7 siblings and they come from a divorced home and their dad doesn't come around at all so I'm trying to keep them busy."  I commented on how nice it was of her, which it really, truly is.  When the young girl came back to the desk to place a hold on a book, I noticed that she had some overdue fees which were over a year old.  I didn't tell her about the fees, but followed the elderly neighbor's lead and forgave the young girl's fines.  I can't do much in my position that can really help people but damn it I'll pay it forward when I can.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Book Covers by Bibliotecher...

Didn't notice the "Real Deal" blurb til after.
My new at work hobby started with this find.  I couldn't find any worthy/inspiring books until a week later.  I had a hard time choosing which picture to use.  Not surprisingly, there's a boatload of pictures of people shoving/fighting/running to get that discount item from whatever Big-Box retailer.  I ended up printing 5 pictures and had my supervisor choose the best one.  Let's just say that I put in too much effort for this.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Librarian Employment Plan B.

My library friends and I are coming to the realization that we should broaden our job search outside of the library realm.  I'm sure that the majority of MLIS holders have and will do the same.  There are too many MLIS's and not enough jobs.

So playing to our strengths, we have determined that the best option for me would be Personal Shopper.  I know my way around online shopping: coupon codes, cash back options, price-matching, and ways to get free shipping.  I believe in never paying retail, I also feel comfortable shopping for most things: cars, clothes, electronics.  Now I can add "Baby Stuff" to my repertoire.

Here are two of my latest satisfied customers:

My niece with her favorite toy, and my supervisor's baby sporting her summer clothes.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The only kind of book "defacing" I'll allow... Shaq-Fu Edition

"How you doin'?"

My supervisor found this gem in the stacks last night while weeding.  He wanted to take it out from behind the book cover, but I told him it was too good and he decided to leave it.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Part-time Scheduling Win...

Being an underemployed part-time library worker has some benefits, especially for my co-workers.  Anytime one of my them needs to swap a shift, they know that if they ask me, 9 times out of 10, I will say "sure."  I don't mind the scheduling changes, there's rarely any conflicts with my tutoring.

So when my branch manager asked if I could switch Saturdays with her, I told her go for it.  Later on in the week, the Board of Supervisors decided to make Friday, July 5th, a paid holiday which means that I get an extra long weekend, can't argue with that!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Lock, Stock, and Two-handed Weapons at the Library

I took this picture last week, while doing my normal walk-around.  I'm going to have to pull a Dwight Schrute and start hiding random weapons in the library.  Maybe a nice foam shield in the reference section, a Nerf gun behind the info desk, or maybe keep a loaded Supersoaker in my cubicle.

On a related note, if you like documentaries, I would suggest watching 'Darkon' which is about LARP-ing.  I'm not into LARP, but this documentary was well-done and kept my interest.  I had to watch 'Role Models' afterwards because who can say "no" to the king, Ken Jeong.
Kiss the Ring

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Mid-Year's Resolution

Last Saturday after work, I went to my friend's house to use her garage and her brother's tools to install a hitch to my car.  The master plan is that with this hitch, I will attach a bike rack, attached to said bike rack will be the mountain bike that has been sitting in my basement for the past 3 years.  I won the bike for free and people thought that I would have sold it as per my usual hustle-mentality.  But I decided to keep it and paid to have it put together by a local bike shop.  I reasoned that it would be good to have a non-gas dependent mode of transportation just in case, you know, the world goes to sh*t.

With the hitch and rack, I no longer have an excuse to NOT take the bike out to the trails.  The installation took 45 minutes longer than usual, because I'm a dummy and rushed through it.  Fortunately, with my friend's help, no one needed medical attention and the only injuries sustained were mosquito bites.  Here's to a summer of being more active outdoors!

Also, how anticlimactic was the season 3 ending for Game of Thrones!??  As I was watching it, I kept looking at the clock and told myself, "They're surely going to show Joffrey's wedding!"  NOPE... They should have saved the Red Wedding for the season finale to really screw with non-readers.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Rains of Castamere...

Some people seem to be all pissy about last Sunday's Game of Thrones episode.  How do you think all the readers felt reading that chapter line by line??  I'm glad I read the whole series last summer, I know what to expect and it still doesn't ruin the show for me.

It is nice to see how they translate the book to the show.  There are inconsistencies but they are minor enough that they do not ruin the whole experience.  Well, except for the part where Catelyn seems to have actually cared for Jon Snow.  I have come to really hate her character in the book and when the episode showed her talking about trying to like Snow, I had to instant message my friend and double check to see if that ever happened in the books.  It didn't and Catelyn is still a b.

I cannot believe that the last episode of the season is upon us already.  It's going to be an AWESOME episode!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Terra (Terrestrials #1) Book Report.

Oh no, not another dystopian young adult novel you say.  Well, I think it's better than those other dark YA novels.  You know the ones with the monochromatic covers, if there is any color involved, it usually involves a rose or flower of sorts.

Although I am not the best source for YA novels, I have read the The Hunger Games and Divergent series.  And they all seem to be built upon the same premise.

Here's the ingredient list for non-vampire related YA novels:
1 - a post-apocalyptic world
1 - structured caste system
1 - a "typical" teenage female who belongs in the lower rung of society
1 - male character who becomes the love interest
1 - strange set of circumstances which leads said female to become the heroine

There are a lot of structural similarities between these three novels, fortunately, Terra is able to distance itself well enough to keep my interest.  

I did have some questions after finishing the book.  These are not technically spoilers since the Amazon book description includes these details, but whatever, you've been warned.

My first question is, how high in the atmosphere are the skydwellers living?  This leads me to my second question, if they are as high as I assume they are from reading, wouldn't all the scraps the scavengers look for burn up in the atmosphere?

Overall, Terra is a quick and entertaining read.  If you are a fan of The Hunger Games or Divergent, you would definitely appreciate the Gretchen Powell's take on a dystopian world.  Now I am on to my next book: The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Not your usual library staff meeting...

Have to make sure his baby is ready for the summer...
In lieu of our boring monthly staff meeting, my branch manager sent out an email saying that we are having a surprise baby shower for my supervisor.  His wife is due any day now, so my work schedule is up in the air since I may need to cover a shift or two.

On another note, my literacy council student passed his citizenship test and is officially an American!  I didn't realize how much I had forgotten about the government and civics until I was helping him prepare for the process.  "Name a power that belongs to the state" --- what now!??

Monday, May 20, 2013

Operation Creepy Carrots

The Abyss...

My supervisor made the wise decision to place a picture book on the ledge of his cubicle.  Needless to say the book fell into the abyss a few days later.  It was a slow night, as usual, so he and I spent the last hour looking for items in the branch to use to retrieve it.

The circ manager saw both of us on his desk with our heads against the wall and asked us "what the hell are you two up to now?"  She told us it was a lost cause because the gap between the wall and cubicle was too narrow and the only way to separate the cubicle wall would be to dismantle the whole row of cubicles, 6 in total.  The circ manager just rolled her eyes and told us that it was impossible to get it back and to just mark it missing --- oh yeah, challenge accepted.  We only had an hour before closing so we called it quits for the night.

After clopening (Clopening; noun: when you are scheduled to close the night and open the next morning), we returned to our mission to free Creepy Carrots from the cubicle crevasse.  We ended up using two yard sticks and "chop-sticking" the book free.  I sent this pic of the successful rescue and she just replied, "So how much cursing and band-aids did it take?"  No band-aids were needed --- thank you very much, a few curse words though...

There's a book in my boot!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Judging an Audio-book by its Cover.

We have a book display, one display in fact, which is in front of the info desk.  It is currently filled with titles that we have multiple copies of.  Last week, I saw the audio-book and physical book covers for The Help and I almost pulled them from the display thinking they were different titles altogether.

This is the regular US edition cover.  Not surprisingly, there is a different cover for the UK version.  As you can see, it is very simplistic, it has a calming affect.  The cover is completely passive and no one would be able to guess the plot based on it.

Now we here is the audio-book cover.  It is such a stark contrast to its tree-based counterpart.  This cover is very aggressive and does offer some hints at the overall plot.  It almost has an "American History X" feel to it.

If someone checks this out looking for a gritty, violent story based solely on the cover, well, they are going to be highly disappointed.  They say not to judge a book by its cover, but it's going to happen, just looking at these two covers, it seems like they are two completely different stories.

This is the first time that I have ever noticed such contrasting covers for the same book, but I will keep my eye out for more.  This kind of trivial stuff interests me, what can I say, I like to live my life one check out period at a time.

Speaking of book displays, patrons LOVE them just as much as librarians do.  Anything you put in a book display will get checked out, ANYTHING.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Library Lost and Found: First World Problems Edition

At other branches the lost and found collection tends to be filled with Razor scooters and skateboards.  At mine, it's lacrosse sticks and golf clubs.  Still waiting on that hundred dollar bookmark though...

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A Patron is a Patron, unless They're a Douche...

Not really what the Patron Note field was intended for but
some of my coworkers can't seem to suppress their rage.

When you work with the public, your chances of encountering those with the "holier than thou" mentality increase tenfold.  Self-centered would be the best way to group these people together.  They are the ones who feel like they are above everyone else and the same ground rules do not apply to them.  They are the ones who will argue every single time they incur a late fee under $1.  "It isn't my fault, something is wrong with your system," or "Well, I didn't get an email reminder about them so I didn't know they were due so I shouldn't have to pay the late fees."

Last week a patron came up to the desk to say that he had the conference room reserved.  Yes, yes he did, but he was also an hour late so I cancelled his reservation and placed another patron in the room.  The rules state that rooms are only held for 30 minutes before reservations are deemed null and void.  Luckily my supervisor happened to be at the desk with me because I do not think I would have been able to deal with him cordially.  The patron became very indignant, raising his voice because he felt that it would help his cause.

He told the patron, whom I shall refer to as D, that he is an hour late and that the room was given to someone else who asked for it.  D replied, "Look here, I told you last week when I called that I wasn't sure if I would be able to make it at that specified time."  D then said that he it was my supervisor he talked to last Friday to make the reservations.  Yeah, well, my supervisor and I both had that day off and we are the only males who work info.  D then said, "There's only a guy and two little girls in there, you need to make them leave the room so I can use it.  I need to conduct this interview NOW."  It was at this point I had to bite my tongue and restrain myself from telling him that I didn't give a damn about who he was or what he was doing.  My supervisor ended up sticking him in one of the larger meeting rooms which he technically didn't have to offer since they are only meant to be used for bigger groups.  I don't think I would have offered it to him, I would have told him about the park bench across the street.

I've encountered D before when I covered another branch for its staff meeting.  He was also using a meeting room but this time someone else was waiting on him because he didn't leave at the scheduled time.  I ended up telling him 3 times that someone else had the room reserved and they were waiting on him.  The first time he didn't even look up when I opened the room and said, "Excuse me," he just kept going on about his business.  The third time I was done, I opened the door and stood in the doorway until he got pissed off and packed up his things and finished his meeting outside of the library.

Thankfully, these people are far and few between.  If it wasn't this way, the term "going librarian" would be the common synonym for workplace violence.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Consumer Reports: Public Libraries Recommended!

'Consumer Reports' May 2013, Vol. 78, page 17
This afternoon I was browsing through the latest issue of Consumer Reports through our online database when I came across this public library shout-out in their "101 Secrets from our Experts" article:

"Need help with research?
The public library is a resource many people overlook. 
Libraries subscribe to databases you undoubtedly don't,
and librarians can find information not easily
available with a Google search
or to a person without a library-science training."

On behalf of all public libraries and librarians, THANK YOU CONSUMER REPORTS!  
Libraries suck at marketing themselves and their available resources.  So it is nice to see someone other than a library-targeted publication talk about our usefulness/relevance.  

9 out of 10 patrons are completely surprised when I tell them that they can access 'Consumer Reports' online, from home, 24 - 7, with their library card.  Pretty ironic/meta that I would come across this article using our online databases recommending our online databases.  

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

It's almost that time of year again...


Our childrens librarian already received our scratch and sniff bookmarks which we hand out to those who complete their reading logs.  Apparently she felt the need to limit me to just one bookmark at a time, I guess I've been branded a fiend or something.  I am pretty curious to find out what other smells she got, even though I should know because she asked me what we should get.  Oh the anticipation is killing me...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Marginalization of Librarianship.

Let me preface this post by saying that I'm not saying that this is happening at EVERY library.  I do not have a finger on the pulse of the nation-wide public library realm.  Granted, what is going down in my library is only known to those in the system, so who knows what is really happening in any neighboring library system.

Also, your library might be on the right track and has not given up on real librarianship and maybe your MLIS school isn't selling out to fill in the seats.  Good for them, honestly, no sarcasm in that statement.  It is just that those seem to be the minority in the library world and no one seems to care that the profession is being sabotaged from within: library management and library schools.

There has been some debate within my library system about the shift to hiring paraprofessionals.  This is just one of the many issues at my library.  The justification for not needing Librarians is that the job has changed and patron needs have changed.  B#llsh*t, the job only changed because the positions have been marginalized to glorified paper jam clearers.  There is so much more to librarianship, but admin can't see it because there aren't any numbers to justify it.  It is easy to say that degreed librarians aren't needed when you limit what a librarian can do on the job.  Just to be clear, I am in a paraprofessional position, I am not saying that my coworkers in the same position cannot do the job.  It has gotten to the point where these positions could be filled with anyone with enough training.

I believe that this affects what library schools teach or don't.  Let's be real, public libraries are the biggest employers of librarians and MLIS schools reflect this.  Unless you are taking a specialized course related to school media or archives, the public library is the "course du jour" for lectures.  Personally, I saw a strong disconnect between what professors taught and what actually happens at the public library.  In fact, in my reference services class, I honestly believe that that professor had never worked the information desk.

And then there is the ALA who absolutely DOES NOTHING while this all goes down.  Sure, maybe they'll jump on the latest bandwagon of whatever is in the media spotlight in an attempt to get some attention thrown their way.  But overall ALA sucks.  You would think that they would have a heavily vested interest in fighting for librarianship.

While I'm on a ranting rage, library marketing SUCKS.  The library only seems to be concerned about the patrons it currently has, what about the potential ones that make up the majority of tax payers?  Every year it's a survey about "What can the library do better?"  And every year the responses are always the same because the only people who take the time to do the surveys are current patrons.  Why not engage the people who say that libraries are pointless and are a waste of their money?  Why not prove them wrong, sure some can be convinced while others will remain staunch to their own biases.  I have tried bringing this up but it falls on deaf ears, sure my peers at the branch level agree with me but try talking to upper management and you'll find them in their ivory tower.

And another thing about upper management, they too have a strong disconnect about what actually goes down in the branch.  How are they to say what duties should be done at the branch level when they only base their decisions purely on numbers?  They also cannot grasp the fact that each and every branch is different.  "Same ish, different library" holds true, but each branch has their own way to deal with said ish.
The amount of cronyism and yes-people-ing that goes on in management and admin is disgusting and one of the reasons why so many people are looking for outside jobs.  The only way to get promoted is to drink the Kool-Aid.  A true Good 'Ole Boy system.  Voice an opinion that goes against the mainstream and you're met with fierce retaliation or being ignored for the rest of your career.

It is incredibly sad to see the system implode upon itself and not be able to do anything.  By the time fall rolls around, I will have worked for the library for 7 years.  I love the library and I have worked with some amazing people.  I cannot even imagine what the library will be like in the next 7 years.  Library management seems to be "leading us" in the wrong direction and it worries me that other libraries might follow this trend.

Monday, April 8, 2013

To all of my older female library coworkers...

I have a better understanding of why every fan in the library is set to Category 5 -- every single day of the year.

I don't think the A/C turned on at all today.  Yes, there were numerous complaints from patrons, but because upper management feels the need to micromanage every single thing, including every branches' thermostats, we were stuck with a warm, stuffy library.  This is when the temperature actually peaked, it was a steady 80 degrees all day though.

If I ever make bank, I will buy all of my library friends individual fans for their cubicles.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Library Cinemagraph

I have a new found fascination with making cinemagraphs.  A couple of weeks ago, there was a weather prediction for one day of snow.  The night before, I charged up my digital camera and placed it near my door to make sure I wouldn't forget it.  I got to work 30 minutes early, as usual, and set up my T3i on my Gorillapod and placed it on a book cart and started taking videos of everything.

The amount of snowfall was perfect, enough for it to stick but not enough to close the library.  Before I knew it, it was time to open the branch.  My first hour was on the desk and we only had our handful of morning regulars come in.  Within that first hour the snow really started to come down in big flakes.  My supervisor came out to the desk and said that he would cover the desk while I shot some more footage.  I felt creepy taking footage in the library with patrons around so I made my supervisor pose in one of my shots.

I was excited to get home and work on it.  This turned out to be my favorite one.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Library Lost and Found

Looks like someone won't be able to do their math homework...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Rage of Thrones: I Read the Effing Book, GET A LIBRARY CARD!

Oh yeah, NSFW head's up for language and a naked male-Daenerys, besides, what are you doing watching YouTube videos at work for anyways???

T-Minus 5 days.  It's pretty good timing too, what with 'The Walking Dead' season 3 ending this Sunday as well.  As far as 'The Walking Dead' goes, I cannot say for certain that the comic books are better than the TV show, I think I prefer the show much better.  All I have to say, is that the Governor better die some horrific death or I'm going to be pissed until the start of season 4.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Tax Season '13, So far so good

Almost there, almost there... I can almost add another notch to my info desk tax season veterancy status.  When I was working circ, I could always point disgruntled tax-paying patrons to the info desk, not anymore.  Thankfully, I don't have to listen to/get bitched at about "Why aren't the tax forms here yet!?!?" (Thanks Obama! I kid, I kid).

I would consider this the halfway point through the tax season.  There's always a steady stream of slackers who come in past the filing date looking for forms, heaven forbid we should ever run out of 1040's by May 1st.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Welcome to the Public Library

Where your job title means squat, and your duties involve everything imaginable.
I knew something was up when my supervisor emailed me,before my shift, asking how far Branch X was to me.  It isn't too far so I didn't mind swinging by to pick up this shelf.  Only to walk up to him at the info desk with this dusty piece of shelving and he instantly said, that's not what we need.  So I pretty much transported one library's junk to another, that's some 21st century library efficiency for you.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What Game of Thrones would have been like in the 90's...

Less than 3 weeks til season 3 debuts.  I read the whole book series over the summer and I am still excited for the show to come back even though I know what will happen.

Last year, my friend said that season 3 will be the best and she's absolutely right.

Monday, March 4, 2013

My coworkers get me...

Found this on my desk when I came in this afternoon.  Her grandson celebrated his 5th birthday over the weekend.  If only she saved me some cake !

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I Love Childrens Librarians...

Dunnnn Dun, Dunnn Dun...  More Books Need Augmentation Apps...

Yesterday, the quarterly, biannual, whenever they feel like it, Childrens Librarian Management meeting was held at my branch.  Needless to say, I was really looking forward to it.  One of my old branch coworkers emailed me a week before to say that she was coming in extra early to say hi and catch-up aka gossip.  She even brought me a little goody bag with a bacon flavored lollipop.

I ended up getting stuck on the desk for the whole duration, 3 straight hours because the assistant branch manager had to set up the web cam for their teleconference and had to be present during the whole thing.  The video came through just fine, but surprisingly a good majority of the librarians are near retirement age and they had a hard time hearing the presentation.  I could only imagine the whole room going, "We can't hear it," "What did she say?"  "Can't you turn the volume up?"  It stressed out my manager so much that he had to take a break outside.

When I came in to work today, my branch Children's librarian was so excited to show me one of the things she learned in the meeting: the 2013 Guinness World Records Book augmented reality app.  Granted it only works on a handful of pages and it is actually pretty wonky.  I tried it on the branch's iPad and then on my Android tablet and both had their own issues but overall it's pretty damn cool.  My favorite pages were the dunking parrot and of course the shark one --- "DEEP BLUE SEA... THEY ATE ME!  A EFFING SHARK ATE ME!!"

Me getting paid to play with stuff at the Info Desk.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I'd make a horrible "Library Yes-Man"...

I am on the verge of declaring an all out war on the administration in my library system.  They are taking the library I love and running it into the ground.  The sad thing is, is that it seems that I am the only one against their plans.  Well, until recently.  I made two open comments posted on our internal blog directly questioning our library director's motives and reasoning.

After the second comment, my coworkers wanted me to check my voice messages because they wanted to see if I got a call from the director.  I learned after leaving my first comment, that trying to talk to the director would only end in a never-ending game of phone tag.  It seems that my second comment is actually getting a reaction from the rest of my coworkers at other branches.  They seem to be in agreement with my statements and I hope that this will lead to some changes.  No matter what I post on this blog, no matter what some readers may infer from my posts, I love the library and I will fight for the it and librarianship.

I posted the comment using my log in so my name was posted with it.  The first two responses that followed were made anonymously from others working at two different branches.  I can understand why people would be hesitate to post their opinions under their own names, they have become "institutionalized."  They've been working in the library system for too long and/or they're worried about retaliation from admin.  Quite frankly, I've had enough of it.  Libraries have been screwed over enough by outside powers, I'm not going to sit around complacently while library upper management does the same to us.

I'm fairly certain that I have been blacklisted by upper management and HR so I honestly do not care about burning bridges.  In fact, when my library friends warned me to "not burn bridges," I could only reply with, "What does it matter if that bridge doesn't lead anywhere?"

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mardi Gras in the Library: Librarians Gone Wild...

When the childrens librarian walks up to you and hands you some beads to wear, you can't say no.

EDIT:  You don't know what I had to do to earn these beads... you'll probably see it in the next episode of "Librarians Gone Wild!"

Friday, February 8, 2013

Damn you Oreo Library Commercial!

✓ - visit from the fire department
✓ - patron fight/beef
✓ - calling the police from the info desk
✓- visit from the cops

So my favorite library commercial has become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

You can say it started last week when a brat pulled the fire alarm.  Yes, I am completely justified in using that word because if you are old enough to walk and talk, you should know not to pull fire alarms.  While we were waiting outside for the firetrucks, my coworker pointed out that it probably turned in to positive reinforcement for them: Pull a fire alarm, get to see a firetruck (or two in our case).  As one patron pointed out, "at least you can count this as your fire drill."

Then this week, a patron came up to the info desk where my supervisor and I were spending the last 30 minutes before close.  He told us that earlier a patron sitting next to him at one of the internet stations threatened him after he asked the guy to take his cell phone conversation else where.  It must not have been that threatening if he waited until he finished typing up his document and printing it to tell us to call the police.

My supervisor called the non-emergency line and passed the phone to the guy.  While he was talking to the dispatcher, the accused came up to the desk to tell us his side of the story, he pretty much said the other guy started cussing him out the instant he answered his phone.  I honestly do not remember hearing a loud phone conversation when I was on the desk and it was a typical slow and quiet night.  But whatever, the accused said that he would wait in the lobby for the police to come.

I was worried that we would have to stay after closing to deal with this patron beef but the police were pretty damn quick and they came in force.  It appears that it was also a slow night for them as well, since 4 decided to stop by the library.  The accuser told them that the guy flashed a knife at him, they searched the guy and looked for it in the lobby and bathroom but there was no knife to be found.  The next morning I also did a search of my own, there's only so many places you can hide a knife in our small library.  The police couldn't really do anything, so they just took everyone's contact information and told everyone to play nice and left.  As one of them walked by the information desk, he said, "Uh-oh drama in the [little rich town] library."  All I could reply with was, "I know right" and roll my eyes.  This was probably only the second time the police have been called to the library.  The only other time was during the last weekend for absentee voting, the lines were really long and voters' tempers were really short.

When all 4 officers were walking out, it was like the commercial was being reenacted in front of me, one of them brought up the commercial and he whispered to his colleagues:  "You guys have to stop fighting, we're the cops!"

Monday, February 4, 2013

Oreo Library Commercial... Best Super Bowl Commercial Ever??

So this was my first time watching the Super Bowl with my library people, this was also their first time watching a game this season...  Needless to say, there were a lot of side conversations like, "Why did that guy run into that group of people, why didn't he just run around them?" "Why didn't he catch the ball it was thrown in his direction?"  Thankfully, I wasn't extremely invested in the game, alcohol does that, so it turned out to be a good time.

But the instant this commercial came on, the whole room was quiet.  It was instantly agreed upon that this was the best commercial of the night.

My Super Bowl Supplies

Friday, February 1, 2013

Thank goodness I got my MLIS for this...

I kid, I kid.  I have three straight hours off the desk and our lobby was looking pretty dingy with all these rampant leaves.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Tax Season @ The Library = HELL

Tax season is the worst, I consider it right up there with election season.  But I know who at the library does love it, library management.  They are not the ones on the front lines fielding nonstop questions, which some can be considered to be borderline aggressive interrogations: "Do you have any tax forms?" "Why don't you have any?" "What's taking so long?" "Well, do you know when they're coming in?" "Why not??"

Management gets to avoid all the annoying once a year patrons while watching their PRECIOUS door count statistics go up.  I'm okay with dealing with these patrons, most of the time.  It's the self-righteous ones who pull the, "I'm a tax-paying citizen" card and get all up-in-arms when they don't get what they want.  The minute I see them turn, I do an internal eye-roll and tell myself, "here we go again."

I can manage to deflect their misguided anger by either agreeing with them: "Yeah, tell me about it, it's ridiculous!"  Or I give them the option to actually bitch to/at the right person: "Would you like me to find you the contact information for the IRS?"  And that shuts down their attack because they never call my bluff to actually take the time to contact the right department.  It is just too easy for them to take it out on the lowly library worker who tells them there aren't any forms and quite honestly, they don't pay me enough for that.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Public Libraries trying to be Everything to Everyone...

"You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you cannot please all of the people all of the time"...

Libraries are trying awfully hard to maintain an unnecessary facade of "relevance," and it shows.  Libraries are losing focus on what they truly are and have been ever since their existence.  The latest attempt at wanting to be "the cool library" Pole dancing lessons at the library.  The reasoning for offering such an absurd program: "The pole fitness session is a fun and interesting way of encouraging more people into our libraries, trying out all the services on offer and ultimately borrowing more books."  If there's anything that pole dancing enthusiasts don't realize they're missing, it's library card with access to bucket loads of library databases.  I'm not going to discount every single out of the box idea that comes out of the library world, it really all depends on the demographics of the library.  But enough is enough, put the time and effort into something that will get a real return on investment and not just a higher door count for a day.  If management would like to get some fresh and unique ideas, my suggestion would be to talk to your front line library workers.  They are an untapped and often overlooked resource of good ideas and opinions.

I came across the perfect visualization of how libraries come across when they try too hard.  This is Qualcomm's Keybote at the 2013 CES, yeah, they really know their customers...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Google can't replace Librarians because Patrons don't go beyond the front page.

Last week on the info desk, I got a call from a paralegal 1,000 miles away.  She was referred to the library and my branch specifically from someone she talked to at the "county clerk's office."  I could tell that she only phoned us out of sheer exasperation and she didn't expect me to really help her.  She lead in with, "I don't have much information, but I just wanted to see what you can find," --- Challenge accepted.

She was calling from some law firm and she only had a first and last name, with a partial address and phone number.  It was basically the same information you would get if you Google someone's first and last name and are shown a bunch of sites that promise to give you that person's complete information for a nominal fee.  You know what I'm talking about, don't act like you haven't Google-stalked someone before!  Well, this is obviously the farthest she tried herself before she called the county clerk's office.  Her phone call to the clerk's office was unfruitful and I honestly thought to myself, "If they couldn't find anything and they have all that info, I'm not sure what more I can do."   I don't know why she called my branch, there are three other branches that were closer in proximity to the partial address, I can only narrow it down to kismet because quite frankly, if she got any of my other coworkers, they probably would not have offered to go as far as I did.

She asked if I could check any of the phone directories we had.  It honestly took me a second to remember where they were located, they don't get much use --- shocker.  I wasn't able to find anything in them and again sounded like she expected that result.  I told her that I would be off the desk in 5 minutes and would be more than willing to search further for her and the response I got was equivalent to, "Sure, kid, if you want to give it a try, go ahead."  No lie, it took me about 5 minutes to find the person's full address and phone number using several sites on the internet and the county's public information on land taxes.  To break it down, 2 minutes to find the information and 3 to verify it.

Could a non-librarian have found the info, yes.   Anyone could have if they knew how to research properly.  With the glut of information on the internet and some search results equating to hundreds and hundreds of page results, patrons rarely make it past the front page.  In my email to her, I told her how I went about finding and verifying the information --- the whole teach a person to fish proverb.

After I got her response telling me how "great" I am, I was almost half tempted to ask if they were hiring...

Thursday, January 10, 2013

OverDrive: You can't polish a turd

My branch circ manager asked for my help when she was redoing her circ manual.  She couldn't get a screenshot of the OverDrive online support form on a single page.  I took it upon myself to improve upon the image.  I knew she noticed it when I heard a laugh come from her cubicle; this image is now in the official circ desk manual.

People are trying to build up the excitement over the "new and improved" Overdrive interface which is supposed to arrive at our library soon.  There really isn't much you can say or tell me about it to change my opinion about Overdrive (a complete suck-fest).

My supervisor is mostly worried about the Cloud aspect of it.  I personally think the Cloud has its advantages but also its fair share of disadvantages, like not having your stuff with you at all times.  Overdrive tries to make it seem like it's the greatest thing ever and that it will work perfectly and seamlessly when you're not connected to the internet.  Psshhh... I'll believe it when I see it.  I can't wait to explain to patrons that they cleared their browser cache which is why they can't access their e-books ("What's my cash have to do with my computer?") .

OverDrive is a textbook example of how crappy things can get when there's a monopoly.  Doll it up all you want, try to make it look pretty with more pictures and flashy UI, but underneath all of it, it is still the same old crappy OD we've come to expect.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Library Job Market is Sh#t

First off can I just say that in general I do not swear, it's good practice when you work with the public.  But seriously, F*CK LIBRARY MANAGEMENT and all its political BULLSH$T.

I know of 4 different people who have recently applied and interviewed for 4 different positions at 3 different library systems.  Just to make it to the interview process is a ray of hope.  I know that the job market in general is "tough" but more so in the library world.  The positions are scant and becoming rarer, and the pool of candidates is overflowing.  Libraries looking to hire can post a position and be inundated with applications within a few days.  Not all of the applicants will be qualified but the libraries are in a position to say, "Jump" leaving applicants asking, "How high?"  Libraries are using and abusing this leverage to get applicants to jump through inane hoops in the mindset that by making interviewees go through the whole dog and pony show ("cat and pony" more appropriate for a library setting?), that the best qualified ones will rise to the top. 

Now, out of these four individuals that I personally know, not a one of them received word that they didn't get the position. Naturally as time wore on, their hope died a little bit each day.  This shouldn't have been the case, maybe those in the hiring decision process never had to personally go through the dread of waiting to hear back themselves.  So let me break it down to you, it's like ripping off a band-aid, do it quickly and the pain doesn't last as long compared to the slow deliberate method.

 Cut the BS, learn how to ask the right questions, contact references and learn to ask them the right questions, learn how to conduct better interviews and for crying out loud: let people know if they don't get the position.

It's the least you could do instead of dragging these people and their hopes along.  How hard is it to send a freaking email nowadays???  If people announce critical life moments in their Facebook statuses, and break-up through texts, you can take the time to send an email.  Hell, even a canned, "copypasta" one would do.  Here, I'll do it for you:

Hello [Insert Applicant's Name],
We at [Insert Library System Name] would like to thank you for taking the time and effort to apply and interview for the [Enter Position Name] position.  I am sending this email to inform you that we have chosen to select a candidate whom we feel is a better match for the position.

Thank you again for your time, good luck in your future endeavors.

[Insert Name]

You're welcome.  

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Rusty Reference.

It happens every time I am away from the desk for an extended period of time.  My first time back on the desk I have a mini-anxiety attack doubting myself if I can handle the next patron inquiry thrown at me.  It takes a couple of patron interactions before I find my groove and get my info-swagger back.  I do feel a little guilty for those first few select patrons who end up asking me more involved questions other than, "Where are the restrooms?" and "What time do you close tonight?"

My first patron interaction after my long New Year's break left me laughing at myself.  An elementary school patron came up and asked if we had any books on manners.  Instantly, the little hamster in my mind starting running in its wheel, my first thought was Emily Post's book on teen etiquette.  I asked her a few questions to narrow down my search and she replied, "Medieval manners."  Okay, so I started focusing on chivalry and knighthood.  I couldn't find anything in the branch that seemed to fit her needs exactly so I walked her over to the 395 area, I told her I would check the Medieval section and be right back.  After I walk back empty handed I find her standing in between the stacks waiting for me when she sheepishly says, "I was actually looking for manors, m-a-n-O-r-s."

I laughed at myself, apologized, and went back to the computer.  I was only able to find a few books with a blurb or two about medieval MANORS, but she seemed content with this because she was just looking for one or two physical books to use for her paper, the rest would be online resources.

Every time a student comes in asking for a book for a school project, we rarely find enough resources on the shelves.  I always ask them if they are allowed to use online resources, but they say that their teachers want them to use books if possible.  Teachers are going to have to adjust their assignment requirements.  If elementary school is supposed to prepare you for junior high, and junior high is supposed to prepare you for high school, and high school is supposed to prepare you for college, well, I never used an physical book for any of my college assignments and I had a LOT of them.  With libraries shifting materials budgets to digital materials, it leaves me wondering, "But what about the children!?!?"