Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Inebriated, housing challenged man of indeterminate age walks up with a reference question. " I want a book on concept."
Me: "Concept of what?"
He: "Concept--you know--concept."
Me: (not wanting to appear stupid): "I understand. Concepts are ideas. So what do you want the concept to be of."
He: (clearly getting frustrated and weaving) "You know, just concept."
Me: (trying to placate) "Okay, let me see what I can find"
I search the fantastic catalog for the keyword, "concept".
Me: "Sir, just as I thought when I search for concept, many books come up, but they are all about the concept of something--cars, airplanes, shapes, etc.--not just a book on concept. Tell me more about what you are looking for." (And for the love of God, step back at least 6 feet so I don't have to smell you.)
He: Okay, try delusion. The delusion of concept. The concept of delusion.
Me: Huh. Okay....... Yep. Not finding anything on that either. Keep talking.
He: You know --self concept and delusion.
Me: (thinking general psychology might fit the bill), well let's walk over to this section and you can look and see if these answer your questions.
Together we gaily walk through the stacks acknowledging our delusions--me that I can answer his questions. He is deluded to think there is a book on concept.
Me: Lookeee here--some books that might have the answers.
He: (Seeing the "self help" marker) Oh no. I don't want self help. I want concept. I want books on concept.
Me: Again, sir. I can't locate books just on concept or idea. If there is a subject you want, I'm happy to help you find it.
He: Oh I get it. These here books are arranged by subject.
Me: yes.
He: I want the subject of concept.
Me: (Oh hell no-no-no-no) I'll leave you to look through these and if they don't answer your questions, you can come find me (I'll be hiding on another dimension) and we'll keep looking.
I step back onto the pathway to the desk. He follows and yells behind me, "Concept. I just want a book on concept."

Yeah, good luck with that.

Monday, March 30, 2009


Please do not use today's edition of the local paper (Deskslave Tribune). That guy over at the comfy chairs just sneezed a very wet spray of nastiness thereupon. Thank you. That is all.

Well-dressed and quite possibly female

A (female)patron called asking about the book "The Well-Dressed Woman." Search, no dice. We had a lot of "dress for success" sorts of things, but nothing with exactly that title. After this impasse, she took a moment to think about it. Then she remembered the real title: "The Well-Dressed Ape."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A relatively quiet night at the desk

Wherein we are again reminded that, contrary to lore, vodka leaves a pronounced odor on the breath of the drinker.

Monday, March 23, 2009

And Lead Me Not Into Temptation

Longtime readers (all none of you) may remember a man who used to come in frequently who wanted us to pretty much do everything for him. But he wouldn't come out and ask us. He wanted us to come rescue him of our own accord. He would tap ineffectually at the catalog computer briefly and then say aloud things like, "Oh dear," and "Oh no," and "This is terrible." After the first 8,000 times or so, I deceided I was going to do anything unless he actually acknowledged me and asked a question. He hasn't been around a while, but an elderly woman who is extraordinarily nasty most of the time is chanelling him right now. There she is, tap tap tappin1 and occasionally saying things like, "Hmmm!" and "That's strange."

But if you want the deskslave, you have to summon him rudely, like a decent person.

All odors are particulate

That's what crossed my mind as an infamously whiffy patron came up to the desk. (At least I'm lucky I'm not female; he likes the ladies and will sometimes try to hug them.) But today he was particularly malodorous sending out an olfactory assault that radiated loathsomely from his unwashed body and clothes. I'm probably being really prissy here, but the thought of little particles of stank wafting off him, getting caught in the HVAC swirl and propelled directly onto the olfactory receptors on the dendrites of my olfactory sensory neurons makes me feel queasy and offended. I don't even want the image of this guy projected, however fleetingly, on my retina, so I sure don't want any bits of him in my sinus.

Bless me father, for I have sinned

I was about 2 minute EARLY walking out to my shift at the desk. As I strode purposefully across the floor, I noticed one of my less favorite patrons also striding purposefully toward the desk. I had to make a split-second decision: do I continue striding in my purposeful, and, if I may add, confidently masculine, manner and intercept the unloved patron, thereby sparing my colleague from the interaction, or do I slow down ever so slightly and wait for my poor colleague to become ensnared with the aforesaid unloved patron? I think you know me well enough by now, dear reader (all none of you). I suddenly became passionately interested in straigtening the New Books shelves. "My goodness, these are a fright!" I thought as I busily tidied just long enough to ensure that it wouldn't be my ref interaction. Bad, bad me.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Almost fooled me

I was just asked if we had any upstairs bathrooms. Since we only have one floor, did he mean do we have a secret upstairs annex with a sumptuously appointed biffy, or does he know about a secret basement with God knows what? I just let him know where he could find the restroom I knew about.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Remember: I'm the idiot here

It probably should have been a simple transaction. "Has your computer system changed?" the patron asked me. I'm sure she knew exactly what she meant, but I sure didn't. I gave it a stab.
"You mean the computers you look up books with?"
"No, your system."
"The public Internet computers?"
"Yes." Success, yet still stupid. I could actually hear the italics in her voice.
"Not recently."
"So it's the same?"
"As when?"
"As always!"
Where to go with this? "Uhhh...we replaced the CPUs last summer and there are periodic updates to software, but...."
"Click." I heard. I think it was the phone.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Loribl Wins!!

Well done, Loribl, you were correct! It was indeed Yogi Bear. Not sure how the word drama ended up there. Maybe it was the tension we see between Yogi and Boo Boo about whether to play by the rules or throw caution to the wind. So maybe it should have been something like

Relationships, ursine, drama

In any event, I'm not used to people posting comments, so I wasn't thinking that this was an actual contest, with maybe a prize, but what the heck. I have before me a powells.com gift card with at least 80 cents on it. Shoot me an email, Loribl, at the name of this blog at gmail.com and I'll send you back all the data you will need to maybe trim the shipping price a little on your next order.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Always helpful, those librarians

Don't get me wrong. Good cataloging is good public service. I respect the profession a lot. But sometimes they get it wrong. Case in point: here are the subject headings for an item I saw in WorldCat. See if you can guess what these subjects describe...