Monday, March 31, 2014

Patrons that make you say, 'Awwww....'

A semi-regular elderly patron came up to me at the desk last week and asked if I could help him on the internet computers.  I told him that I would be glad to help him out again.  When we got to a computer he pulled out a letter mailed from his bank and he had written instructions on the outside of the envelope.  He wanted to print up his last year's credit card statement but he never set up an online account.

He told me that he would try it himself but he had eye surgery and could not see the screen.  So long story short, he had to call his credit card and verify who he was and they set up a temporary password for his first log in and account creation.  I helped him set up his account, including all of the security questions and man, does Bank of America require a lot of security measurements.  When it came to setting up a password, he looked at me for suggestions.  It's nice to see that people trust librarians, not that there shouldn't be any reason NOT to.  It's not like there's a secret black market ring run by public librarians who steal trusting patrons'... right??

After it was all said and done, he tried to sneak me a $5 bill at the info desk on his way out.  I had to decline it numerous times, telling him that it was no problem, that I was doing my job, that's what we're here for...etc.  He then asked if he could walk over to McDonald's and buy me lunch, it was one of the nice patron interactions that makes you shrug off the really bad ones.

It isn't all doom and gloom as I make it out to be, but I would still advise against people pursuing an MLIS.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

My Beef with the Bibliotech "Library"...

My problem with Bibliotech, "The nation's first bookless library," is quite simply two-fold.  The tagline is a complete misnomer.

It isn't completely "bookless," but it sounds "cooler" and "hipper" to say that it's the first [insert adjective] library in the nation.  It does have books, just not in paper format, or do we not count e-books as books anymore?  Instead of paper and pulp, the words are in 0's and 1's.  "Bookless" makes it sound edgy, like it's really a more pioneering endeavor.  A library with no books means we put the cool back in the library.  What can be more attention-grabbing than a headline with a contradiction.

While it may be funded from the library portion of the budget, let's keep it real, it is a tech-lab.  Other libraries already have tech-labs; some with video equipment and some with maker-bots.  I doubt that they make their staff wear polo uniforms.  They wanted to recreate an Apple store, so they did.  Do you know the last thing I think of when I walk by an Apple store, the library.  Why do so many libraries want to be an Apple store??  Again with the wanting to appear hip and relevant, how about you just focus on being a library.  I must admit, this rant might be influenced by my intense dislike of Apple in general.

If this is the future of public libraries than this is just sad because if I wanted to wear matching polo's to work, I would work for an electronic store and have a job title with "Geek" or the ego-inflating "Genius" in it.  To all you public libraries that what to one-up Bibliotech to get some media attention, here's the next future evolution of the public library.  Build a room with tables, chairs, electrical outlets (throw in some USB charging ports to let the public know that you're really with it), and wi-fi.  That's all you'll need and you can bill yourself as the first ever 'bookless, staff-free library.'

We could argue the semantics of the word "library" for days on end and we could argue the merits of it evolving with constantly changing technology and patron needs.  It reminds me of one MLIS class where the professor started the lecture by posing the question, "What is information?  Is [insert noun] information?"  This led to the majority of class going back and forth about what they thought information was while the professor just sat behind the desk without saying a word and watched us argue.  I could only assume that the professor thought that after an hour and a half  spent arguing would lead us to walk out of the room reaching the zenith of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs: Self-actualization.  But it only left me frustrated because I walked out realizing I just wasted my time and gas driving to campus to listen to my classmates argue for over an hour without any input or guidance from the professor.  Wow, I really went off on a tangent there.

TL;DR: Bibliotech is not bookless: the books are digital, Bibliotech is not a library: it's a tech-lab.  This is NOT the future of public libraries.  I don't want to wear polo uniforms to the library, although it would lead to less ironing...

::last minute edit::
I don't have anything against libraries creating and offering tech labs or maker spaces or creator crevices, whatever.  I do not like the misinformation that this is the future of the public library, that the next evolutionary step in public libraries is simply a room filled with just computers is depressing and this is coming from a self-proclaimed non-reader.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Creepy Book Covers: Hansel and Gretel

One look at their expressionless faces and dead eyes and they'll steal your soul as a sacrifice for their great overlord.

I don't remember the Little Golden Book series being so damn creepy when I was growing up.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

"I Sneezed into a Library Book"...

Well, this year's much hyped snowpacalypse was a letdown.  Only half a foot fell around this way, it was good enough for a Monday paid day off though.  It kind of surprised me when I came in to work on Tuesday to find out that only one circ person came in for the whole day.

With only myself and the branch manager closing, I was shunned to the circ desk.  It really isn't a big deal to me, but I know several librarians who absolutely detest working the circ desk.  In this day and age of "doing more with less" in the library, you just gotta roll up the sleeves on your cardigan and suck it up. 

Checking books in and out reminded me of how disgusting library books can get.  I found myself reaching for the Purell every time I wasn't touching books or money from fines.  I found this gem under the circ desk.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

(Potential) Snowpacalypse 2014...

Snow has yet to touch the ground, but tomorrow is already a paid snow day, wwwwwooooooootttt!

I decided to make a last minute grocery and gas station run tonight.  I felt guilty for the recent influx of pizza invading my diet (damn you Papa John's and Pizza Hut deals), so I bought some bagged salad, grapes (seems like the good boxes of clementines were already picked over, also damn you Halo commercials), stereotypical storm-prep milk (there was only 1 non-fat organic carton left), and some Cup-o-Noodles. 

I really enjoy shopping right before a storm, most of the shelves are barren as people frantically scramble to buy what they think they'll need.  I like to pretend that I'm in a pre-post-apocalyptic scenario, like right before the zombie virus hits the region.  During the last snowpacalypse, it lasted for a week or so and grocery store shelves were the emptiest I've ever seen before.  You really had to just buy what was available and make do.  After numerous failed visits to grocery stores in an ever-expanding radius, I was finally able to score some bread and juice from a convenience store.

I still have some leftover gas for the snow-blower from the last snowstorm so I should be good to go.  All I ask is that the electricity stay on so I can continue my binge Netflix re-watching of Top Gear (BBC version of course).