Friday, April 30, 2010

Dear Sir

If you are going to go through all the trouble to wear a frilly, semi-exposed bra and 4" high heels, please shave. Thank you.

The Dog Ate My Homework

That will have to do for my excuse for no posts in so long.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Introducing Another Nonexistent Service We Don't Offer, Apparently an Ongoing Series

He tossed his library card onto the desk before me as though it was an AmEx Black Card. He was not looking at me, but rather off to the side. Perhaps into the future, sizing up his conquests, considering mergers and acquisitions peons such I can only dream of. “I need the fax,” I was informed.
“Uh…we don’t have one.”
Finally, he graced me with his gaze. But it was a withering gaze. He squinted like Clint Eastwood did in the Westerns all those years ago. “You don’t have one,” he repeated. His voice affectless. I think it was meant to convey sarcasm. Or maybe he is on the autistic spectrum. Who knows.
I’m not sure where people got the idea that we're Office Depot. I get asked for the fax every week or so. More often than people asking to buy stamps or the very books on the shelves. It makes sense, I guess, to have a fax available. I think the IT department would object for some reason since they seem to object to installing any new equipment that consumes electricity. But being a good information professional, I cheerfully handed my new friend the "Where to Send a Fax" handout. It details locations, phone numbers and even prices charged by nearby businesses that would love to fax your document. I updated it recently myself. In any event, to me it was a tick mark on the tally sheet of reference interactions. To him, it was something else entirely

Friday, April 16, 2010

Santa Hats

In the week or so leading up to Xmas, you generally see a few people coming in wearing a Santa hat. If the person is under the age of eleven or so, it's meant to be fun and funny. If it's on a teen, it's an ironic statement designed to point out the utter vapidity of the whole charade of Christmas but can I still please have a new iPod. Leading up to the blessed day last year, I saw several on men more or less my age, which is to say super old. And that, I think, says, "Hey, aren't I kooky and fun?" It says, "Watch out, world, the party is headed your way!" It also says, "I'm going to say something really inappropriate and icky and quite possibly sexual to the nice young woman behind the counter at the Circ desk." But that's before Christmas. In the weeks following Christmas, I've seen three different men who are past the age of ironic sartorial statements and well into need-to-trim-the-hair-blossoming-out-of-the-ears age wearing them. I'm pretty sure that's just a diagnosable, cry-for-help sort of thing. One guy was just in, his sad Santy hat on even though it was pretty warm out. The had WAS FILTHY. Like he'd let his dog sleep on it. Since Clinton was president. It made me sad, and that usually only happens when parents are being mean to their kids.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

You Have to at Least TRY a Little

I know I'm no genius and I know that teenagers think I'm a complete tool who can be outfoxed with little effort. And they are probably right. But I do require the minimal effort. A young man who was holding, among other things, his library card came to the desk from the computer area. He had probably used up his time on the computer for the day.
“Uh, I forgot my library card. Can I get a guest pass?”
“Isn’t that your card in your hand?”
“Ummm…” walks away.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Introducing Another Imaginary Service We Don't Provide

If people walk up and speak with authority, I am inclined to believe that what they say has some weight, and that maybe I’m wrong. Just stride up to the desk and announce something crazy, like “yeah, I’m here to have my aura read,” and I will wonder if that’s something we’ve started doing and I must didn’t get the email.

So that’s what happened when the guy his finger out at me. A DVD rested ring-like near the tip of the finger. He told me that he needed it polished. I know as well as the next reference librarian that we don’t do that just as we don’t rebind books for people’s private collections, but his certainty made me less sure and I faltered.
“Ummm…I don’t think we do that…” I said in a voice that carried 50 jillion percent less authority than I would have liked.
“I was told,” he declaimed, his certainty undiminished, “that you could bring your DVDs in and they’d polish them for you if there were skips on it.”
“Were you told which library?”
“The library!” he said. Like we’re a giant, monolithic entity that spans worlds, like the Borg or the liberal media. He couldn’t believe that we didn’t do this, though eventually he did leave.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

National Library Workers Day

Apparently it's a real thing--you can see it here:

They have a nifty logo too:

I think the exploding keyboard represents how much we hate public Internet computers. The sillhouettes are symbolic of the fact that we are merely faceless drones, humbly serving our masters. I hope they revamp the logo next year to have the exploding keyboard destroying the book. Not that I think that books will be replaced by computers any time soon, I just think it would be neat. And have the library workers look more like ninjas.

As you might imagine, we're still cleaning up after the festivities here at deskslave central. It wasn't very hard, actually since the festivities consisted of handing out buttons with the above logo to employees before we opened. I hope the buttons didn't cost too much, because they were very cheap. I refuse to wear any kind of button aside from the official library ID that has my name and handsome picture on it so that people can see that it's actually me, and not somebody who just looks like me with a different name. I really hate being a button billboard. Many years before library school I worked at Kinkos and we were covered with buttons advertising this and that. I kind of hoped that with an actual professional career I would not be a walking advertisement any more. So I stand up to the Man.

An informal poll at the end of the day of my coworkers revealed that those who wore the buttons got absolutely no comments or reactions or questions from any patrons.

How about you? Did you celebrate this holy day in any particular way?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Some Copier Questions for You

If you walked up to a copier and wanted to make a copy, would you lift the cover?

If you lifted the cover, would you put the paper in the center of the glass? Lower right corner? Upper left corner where the red arrow is?

If there was a large green button that says START on it and you wanted the copier to START, would you push it?

There is a metal box next to the copier. It has a sign on it. The sign, in large letters, proclaims PAY HERE. Do you pay there?

These all happened today. I kept waiting for people to admit that it was a joke. Sadly, they were serious. And one person left their tax forms on the glass, which is only the first time this year.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Attention...Your Attention Please...Attention

Don’t use self-check machine number two until further notice. See that pudgy guy over there in the red jacket? He just sneezed a big fat juicy bluster of mouth spew all over it. I mean it. It was a real collosal, eyes closed, head-back-for-maximum-distance, swing-for-the-fences delivery. Very loud and articulated "choo!" noise, too. If sneezing were a sport, you can bet he'd be the Shaun White of mucosa distribution. He'd make America proud.

That is all. You may now return to looking through the exact same DVDs you looked through yesterday. And the day before.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

New Word

At least to me. That little, heavy, metal object you use to die cut a few holes in your paper? Punch holer. Just learned that.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

When Service Animals Attack

I have maintained many times that most of the mutts that people drag into deskslave central are not actual service animals, unless disobeying and making messes are considered services. Still, we are not allowed to question, just to tell people that pets are not permitted and then pretend we aren’t being lied to when we are told that Mutley is, in fact, trained to do something useful.

Today, two such creatures were in at the same time. One was at the circulation desk and the other 15 feet away waiting for its master to be done on facebook. Who knows who saw who first, but a regular donnybrook of barking started. Neither patron could possibly stop what they were doing to take their pooch outside, so we got to listen to the two dogs shout curses and threats until the patron at the circ counter was finished. I guess the part of the dogs’ training about stuff like obedience was skipped for some reason.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Mister Information Professional Fail

A mostly Spanish-speaking patron came up to ask if we had a particular film. It was “Mi Bella Genio” and we did not have it. I even gave WorldCat a workout and could not find it. I really tried. And I tried variations on it, Mi with Bella or Bella with Genio, etc. Nothing, or nada, as we non-Spanish speakers who give it a shot anyway like to say. She went away sadly, not really believing that we would not have it. It was a very good comedia, evidently.

She called me over to a computer a little while later and I instantly regretted not googling Mi Bella Genio. She showed me the box cover of the DVD. Mi Bella Genio would be “I Dream of Jeannie” for the gabachos among us. Fail fah fail fail fail.