Monday, November 29, 2010

Hot New Audio Product Here at DeskSlave Central

I know that when people ask for “Books on Tape,” they typically mean “Books on CD” or, more generally, audiobooks. So I don’t get all bent out of shape when they say that. It did take me a second to work out one that I got today, though. The patron asked if we had “CDs on Tape.”

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Sound of Music. And Pee Cups.

Lots of mishearing at the Ref Desk. A colleague was asked if our computers sounded like music. That made no sense, of course, so she asked the patron to repeat. Several times. Did our computers sound like music? Not really. They sound like asthmatic hamsters. It took a few more ever-more enunciated repeats until she understood the patron as asking “do the computers download music?”

Not to be outdone, I was shocked to be asked a while later by a different patron where the pee cups were. “I’m sorry?” I asked the young man from, I’m guessing, the Indian subcontinent.

“Pee cups. Where can I find the pee cups?”

I almost told him that the place giving him the drug test would probably have them and that we would not collect or circulate such things when it occurred to me that maybe he wanted to pick up a hold.

Friday, November 26, 2010

In the Presence of a Reference Black Belt

I was pretty pleased with myself. The guy on the phone had asked for the film "Home on the Prairie" with Walt Garrison, and it only took me a few minutes to figure out that he actually wanted "Prairie Home Companion," starring the offensively dull Garrison Keillor. But a colleague left me in the dust with a tour de force reference interaction. The guy she was on the phone with wanted a book called "Preacher, Priest, Man." With very little additional information, she figured out that he really was looking for a book called"Bonhoeffer : pastor, martyr, prophet, spy : a righteous gentile vs. the Third Reich." Please note that the none of the words she was given appear in the actual title. If I wore hats, I'd take mine off.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I Try Not to Think of the Kid as Hyperactive and Crazy

I think of him as being on a High Fructose Corn Syrup-induced vision quest.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A New Place in the Library

We recently began collecting wii games. They are popular, as you might imagine. So popular, in fact, that the only shelf any of them have ever been on has been the holds shelf. As soon as they are checked in, they are off to the next patron.

Even so, people want to know where the games are. I dutifully walk them over to this theoretical place and show them where the games would be if any of them ever decline in popularity enough to not have any holds. It's a bummer of a task, since, even though I prepare people for the disappointment, they are invariably disappointed all out of proportion to what has just happened.

In any event, I thought of a name for this imaginary part of the library, the wii section: The Unicorn Stable.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Baltimore Libraries: What the Hell!

Man Faces Charges For Attacking Woman With Semen

I'm taking donations so we can airlift emergency supplies (Purell and Double-Strength Cootie Serum) to Baltimore.

Because God Likes a Nice Smirk

I can tell it's Monday morning, because the immaculately well-groomed young LDS missionary boys are in to check their email. They seem like nice enough guys. A lot nicer than I'd be if I was 18 and I had to sign up for a year of utter rejection (Actually, come to think of it, I did. It was called college, and went on for longer than a year, but that's a different story). They don't overtly prosteletize, so I like them and I'm glad they are here.

Not everyone feels that way. I have even had people complain that "there are Mormons on the computers!" Pointing out that there is no religious test for computer use or anything else in the library never does anything, either. This morning, I was looking up some "inspirational fiction"* for two women when three of the boys rolled in.
"Hi, Elders!" one of the women chirped, laughing.
The missionaries gave them noncommital helloes and continued on to the computers.
"Elders?" the other asked.
"That's what they call themselves," she whispered theatrically to her friend, "Isn't that ridiculous?"
"Why elders? They're just kids?"
"I know! Isn't it stupid?"
The last comment was directed toward me. I scrupulously ignored it and kept to the business at hand. As I placed holds on various volumes of Christian fiction, they traded nasty remarks about their fellow Christians, the Mormons. They detailed various suspect things about Mormon theology and practices, which, even if true, did not address the structural integrity of their own glass houses. (Don't get my wrong: the glass in my glass house isn't even double-paned.)

Before they left, one of them made the point of going over to one of the guys and bark-laughing, "Bye, ELDERS!" in a most non-library voice.

* That's the euphemism for Christian fiction these days. I guess Judaism as the foundation for fiction is just not inspiring, so go fuck yourself, Philip Roth. There is also Inspirational Romance fiction. Here's a pop quiz: which of the following two is a "regular" romance, full of premarital sex and occult goings on, and which one would leave you actually inspired: