Tuesday, July 31, 2007

OK, I give up

Just what is a Poptart Mommy? Do I even want to know?

(Found by an Public Internet Computer)


I'm no stranger to little kids having no patience for waiting and barging into someone else's High Quality Reference Interaction™. It's part of growing up, I guess, and with any luck the kid won't be scarred too much by the experience. Though I do hope the kid will actually learn the lesson, or else they might turn into the kind of patron I had today. I was in the middle of one of my HQRI™s trying to find a book for a very nice patron, and a man I had previously helped walked up to the desk. I probably should have ignored him, but I like to acknowledge everyone who wanders by. As soon as I looked at him he held up his Food Handler's Permit that I had helped him print a few minutes before. "You got scissors?" he demanded. So what do you do? Do you stop your little interview so that you can satisfy the line crasher? I told him that I'd be right with him and returned to the patron I had been helping and started in on her search again. "I need scissors," he said stridently, waving his permit sheet.
"Hang on," I said in a tone that I hoped was firm but not unkind. I really wanted to find the book the other patron was looking for. He said something like "I need scissors" every six or seven seconds until my concentration and willpower collapsed. In a sort of snippy compromise I fished around in the drawer without looking at the scissors or the lout, found them (the scissors, not the lout) and held them up in his general direction. He took them and I went back to the HQRI™, which was losing all of its H and probably some of its Q.
The kicker, of course, was having to go look for the scissors later and finding them and a piece of paper with two Oregon Food Handler's Permit-size holes in it at a table not far from the desk.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Heart Ya!

Found inside a book that was returned. Probably a former bookmark.

I'm So Glad I Got that MLS

Why is it that I am the person in charge when there are bathroom problems? I find facing the red-faced patron in high dudgeon much easier than opening the bathroom door after the report of a problem. Today, a coworker informed me that one of the women's room toilets wasn't working. My heart sinking, I found out that a patron had told her of the outage and that beyond slapping an Out of Order sign on the stall door didn't know anything else. If it hadn't been the ADA stall, I would have let it go until tomorrow (Monday) when the real grownups are here. I considered calling the guy in charge of buildings for the city, but didn't want to wreck his Sunday without knowing how bad the problem was first. So I bravely entered the women's room (after determining it was unoccupied, of course!). I'm glad I checked before phoning the buildings guy since the complainer just hadn't pressed the handle very far before giving up and reporting a problem. And there wasn't even a nasty surprise in there waiting for me!

The time I was most grateful for the degree, though, was when a homeless patron had washed his socks in our restroom and put about 6 gallons of very filthy water on the floor. I wouldn't dream of having anyone else clean that up...they weren't qualified. I was the only MLS holder.

Friday, July 27, 2007

I need this specific book, but I don't know the title, author, or what it's about

A boy came up to the desk several weeks ago and asked if we had the book they talked about on the Today Show. He said the title was Stormbird and the author was an asian girl. I searched all over our library catalog, The Today Show website, Amazon.com, and couldn't find any reference to this book. I took his library card #, hoping that continued searching would yield some result. After some days, though, I gave up hope and forgot about it. Fast forward a few weeks, and a different patron comes up to the desk and asks to place a hold on a recent book club book from Good Morning, America. The book, she said, is called Swordbird. Ding ding ding! That sounds all too familiar. I do a happy dance that the mystery is solved, then realize I no longer have the original boy's name or library card #. You see, that's what you do when you give up hope. You destroy the evidence that you ever tried, and you shred the patron's barcode number too. But don't worry, I wouldn't even be telling this story if not for the Happy Ending: I was just cleaning at my desk and found a post-it note that reads "storm bird" "[patron's barcode]" "by young asian girl fiction". YES! Hold placed, patron happy, me happy. All is well in library land.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ring tones

That's it. Just ring tones. The generics are bad enough, but the deeply personal ones really make me rethink my position on capital punishment.

Everything here is free

A girl began rifling through the cut up scratch paper and stubby golf pencils that are kept in boxes on the ref desk so that patrons have plenty of...ummm...paper and pencils. "How much do these things cost?" she asked.
"Nothing," I said, a bit taken aback, "It's free."
"It is?" She was psyched. I looked at her more closely. Was she putting me on? I mean, it's not like this is an ice cream shop, so our freebies shouldn't cause too much joy. But she was chuffed and announced loudly to her sister that "All this stuff is FREE!" She loaded up on golf pencils and cut-up, outdated flyers until her mother finished doing her thing in a different part of the library. Mom made a halfhearted attempt to get her to put everything back, pointing out that they had plenty of paper and much better pencils at home. Her tired tone suggested that they had had similar run ins before. Mom caved and they left with the girl carrying her booty, still remarking on the cost-free nature of today's take.

Found Art

Found near--you guessed it--a public Internet terminal

But I think the artist should be marked down for logo inaccuracy.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

He Did What?!

I'm sorry, I shouldn't tell a story like this so early in the days of this blog. But it happened, and it's all about capturing the special moments, right? So I'm working the late shift at the Reference Desk, and it's kind of quiet, and there's an elderly gentleman standing about 2 yards away from me at the New Books shelf. Apparently he doesn't have the control he once had, because he lets off this long, drawn out, well...you know...fart, and I swear it lasts a good ten seconds and ends on a different note than on which it began. It was all I could do to pretend like I hadn't heard it. Because I think librarians should be all about preserving a patron's dignity, right? At least, in person. Now, I will unflinchingly mock him with this blog! Bwoo ha ha!


The other day, I helped a little boy who had waited a good five minutes in line before getting to me to ask his question at the Reference Desk. After finishing the transaction with him, I said the usual "Thanks, have a nice day." Then I added, "And thanks for being so patient while you were waiting." As he walked away with his mother, he looked up at her with a big smile and said proudly with a whispering yell, "Mommy! I practiced my patience!"