Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Robert Behn? Robber Baron?

I'm getting old, and the teen is inarticulate which makes communication difficult. After trying to find out if the author's name is perhaps Robert Ben or maybe the book is about the infamous Robber Barons of the 19th century, I finally figured out that he wanted a rubber band. This is good, because we have nothing by a Robert Ben, or Ben. And our biography of Jay Gould was probably above his reading level.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Just so you don't think I just pick on the young and the old, I will pick on somebody my own age.
"Lee Iacocca's latest book," she intoned in response to my hearty good morning.
That one really gets me: don't even acknowledge me, just hurl a title at me. There is a fairly entertaining book called The Customer is Always Wrong, a collection of semi-amusing rants about customer service jobs. In one, a former video clerk talked about how sick he was of people walking up to the desk there and calling out a title. He mused about how many jobs there are where that happens. His estimate? None. But he did have funny line or two about it: "This is the video business equivalent of Are You My Mother?...Do you go to the post office and yell out 'Stamps!' to no one in particular?"
"Title?" I barked. Two can play at this game.
That stopped her for a moment. But only a moment. She regained her nasty composure, narrowed her eyes. "I don't know," she overarticulated to me, the not-so-smart child, "whatever his latest book is."
A few keystrokes later, I determined that it was the interrogatively rhetorical Where Have All the Leaders Gone? which appears to be some sort of call to arms. Since she hadn't been all that nice to me, I guess I could have been a meanie and not let her place a hold when she revealed that she had no card or other ID on her. Especially since she told me this in a sort of of-course-I-don't-have-a-library-card-or-other-ID way. But really, who leaves the back yard without something like that? I overcame my dislike and tried to focus on the irony of wanting a book on leadership and a book heavy with "let's work together" platitudes, but leaving the house without your ID and being a dink to the guy trying to help you. So maybe the guy responsible for both the Mustang and the K-Car can help her. He certainly can mix a fine metaphor. This is from page 1:
"We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff."
I think driving a shop off a cliff is an accomplishment, myself.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A New Word to Hate

The subtitle, which may be pretty darn hard to read is

An Ecopreneur's Toolkit for Starting a Green Business from Business Plan to Profits

Ecopreneur? Sheesh.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Captain! The Irony Meter is Redlining!

I was asked by a scruffy guy today to help him find his hold. He had gotten the phone call, but his book was not on the holds shelf. After determining that he knew where is was supposed to be, I went to a cart filled with recently checked in holds. Not there. To be on the safe side, and before I asked somebody in Circulation for help, I decided to check the general area where it was supposed to be. It could have gotten shelved improperly, or somebody may have taken it off the shelf to look at it, and then jammed it back in the wrong spot. You never know. But there it was, exactly where it was supposed to be. We organize holds by patron's last name, so if you can spell your last name and alphabetize even a little bit, you should be able to find your hold. It was a big old thing, too, so I was kind of surprised he missed it. I handed it to him. He took it and without a word, walked away.

The subject of this book? Ironic drum roll, please.

Marijuana Cultivation

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Not that I'm one to make predictions, but

if somebody makes the statement, "I'm not a racist, but..." the chance that the next part of the statement will contain varying degrees of racism. Tonight it was quite a bit. A colleague had to tell me a bit about a group of teen boys who were on the verge of being kicked out as I approached the desk to start a marathon bout of deskslavery. She had been in the middle of helping a patron when I approached and took a minute out of that transaction to point the boys out. Apparently, they were quite obnoxious and had had a run in with an adult patron a few minutes before. In other words, they were being teenaged boys.* Feeling the need to involve herself in our interaction, the patron helpfully added, "I'm no racist, but..." and launched into a mini-tirade about Hispanics, of which these boys appeared to be guilty. It was interesting, since their behavior hadn't been any different that the non-Hispanic boys I frequently have dealings with. It definitely put a chill on the rest of the reference interaction. Not that we didn't give her awesome, race-neutral customer service.

* I can say this because, believe it or not, a long, long time ago when when the Holocene era was young, the plains were dotted with mastodons and people knew nothing of such modern fripperies as computers or leveraged buyouts or even personal hygeine, the DeskSlave himself was a teenage boy.

Monday, October 12, 2009

I'm Not Kidding, Sir

We don't have a copy of Dan Brown's latest opus on the shelf right now for you.
I realize it sold a million copies in the first 11 seconds it came out.
That's why we don't have a copy on the shelf right now. Yes, I know it's ridiculous. Yes we probably should have ordered more than the 80 zillion copies we did.* Ok, Thanks, You Too, Bye.

* In a year or so, somebody will be looking for a book by somebody with a name that puts them in the same time zone on the shelf as Dan Brown and they will complain that of course we don't have the book they want because we spend every dime on drek like Dan Brown, proving once again that we can't win.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Mystic Chords of Memory

Some years back, I worked in a library at a Community College. On the first day of school, several new students would show up to the library with their syllabi* and inquire about the locations of the textbooks on the list. We had to tell them that we didn't collect textbooks and that was something that they needed to buy. Most refused to believe that we didn't buy textbooks, often pointing out that we were a library and in the business of buying books. It was a pointless conversation, but I got quite good at it, standing there with a scrupulously blank look on my face until they finally figured out that no amount of talk was going to make their expensive textbooks that would be utterly without value approximately 11 seconds after the final exam appear on the shelf. Occasionally, an exasperated student would ask to talk to someone else, usually asking for the manager or my supervisor. I was only too glad to comply. (I'm always only too glad to comply with this one; getting the supervisor or manager means that the problem is no longer mine. I almost want to tell people that, but I don't want to spoil their dudgeon.)

Since moving over to the public library side, I haven't gotten that particular inquiry until today. It was oddly refreshing to know that the spiel was the same: inquiry, expressions of disbelief, deep feelings of betrayal.
"You don't have them?"
"No, we don't collect textbooks. We would only have it if it was a donation."
"Why don't you have them?"
"Because we just don't buy textbooks. I don't know of any libraries that do."
She looked at me as though I were a direct, lineal descendant of Judas Iscariot himself when I suggested she visit her school's bookstore.

* All those (2) years of studying Latin have really paid off. I can use the correct nominative plural of syllabus and thus avoid the horrible word syllabuses. Semper ubi sub ubi!

Something I learned today

If you are tooling around in an electric cart, you don't need to cover your cough.