Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Medieval Horror, Reference Edition

The young man asked if we had a Medieval Horror. I asked if it was a book or a movie, doing my usual thing, trying to narrow it down since I had no idea what he was talking about. It's a movie evidently, and I went to work on the catalog, but nothing came up. I asked if he knew anybody who was in it. He didn't. I asked him if he knew anything about the plot. He didn't; somebody recommended it.

I asked him if he was sure of the title. He was. I fed him back the stuff he had told me to make sure I had it right. Among the things I said in my summary was, "So it's a horror movie that takes place in Medieval times." He stopped me. It was modern times, from about 20 years ago. He spelled the name of the movie: Amityville Horror. I felt like a jerk.

For the record: We own 2 copies of the movie and 2 of the book, but both of the movies were checked out.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It's Not the Vampires as Much as It's the Homicidal Mechanical Ladybugs

From the jacket copy of Blameless by Jill Carriger

To top it all off, Alexia is attacked by homicidal mechanical ladybugs, indicating, as only ladybugs can, the fact that all of London’s vampires are now very much interested in seeing Alexia quite thoroughly dead.

Gonna give this one a miss. It would be the fourth book in a row with mechanical ladybugs in it for me. And remember: the vampires don't just want Alexia dead, quite dead or thoroughly dead. It's got to be quite thoroughly dead. Got it? Otherwise they wouldn't have sent the mechanical ladybugs. They probably would have just used the mechanical silverfish or mechanical eyelash mites.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Patrons Say the Darndest Things

I was at the Desk with a coworker whom I like working with. She's funny and clever which makes the time go by swiftly. She's smart and knows her job, so there's no extra burden on me. And she's very attractive, so men will trample me to ask her a question which reduces my workload further.

Sadly for her, many guys seem to turn off the editing function of their brains before addressing her. A guy--late thirties, early forties maybe, not too sketchy-looking--came up and said:

"I'm not saying I do...I'm not saying I do, but if I had some kind of weird librarian fantasy, it would take place here because this is such a nice library.

The library seemed less nice after he said that.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Contraceptive Behavior

A long time ago, a friend (Beth, in fact) used that phrase to describe what she saw in the kid's room of the library on a particularly awful day. I thought of that as I saw this:

(Sorry I suck at embedding video)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Man and His Brand

I was weeding in our dusty dusty adult fiction section and came across some Westerns that hadn't been checked out in years. It made me a little sad to get rid of them, but we're running a library, not a trophy shelf. Westerns just aren't the high-demand item they used to be, even out here in the West. One library wag explained to me that Vampire books are today's Western.

One thing I like about the Westerns in every public library I've worked in is the brands of the readers. It was explained to me years ago by the person who taught me weeding that many older men--the presumed audience for Westerns--might not remember if they'd read something, so they'd make a mark in the book someplace. You can find it in Large Prints of all kinds, but it's usually a polite little dot here or there. The boys who read Westerns put a real manly, bold mark. Here are some from the fly leaves, title page and even first page of Lassiter by Zane Grey's son, Loren. (They always downplay his first name and add a "Zane" in there, even though that wasn't part of his birth name. Anything for a book sale, though, I always say.)

(fly to embiggen)

(back fly leaf...what would that be...recto fly leaf?)

(title page...including the old school cataloging marks)

(page one)

They are as interesting as cattle brands. I find it interesting, too, to see how consistent the marks are across the books. The guy who used the T with the stitch mark below it was a prolific reader. Almost any Western that entered our collection more than about 8 years ago will bear his brand. (Few of his marks in books published this Millenium. I hope he moved and didn't die.)

You can also see which writers individual readers liked. The man who used the brand that looks like "8B" or maybe "SB" on the same page as T Stitch really liked Zane Grey and Ernest Haycox, marking up nearly every copy of ours. He branded about half of our Max Brand, but almost no Louis L'Amour.

One library I worked at had a patron named BILL TANNER. I know that because he wrote BILL TANNER in letters an inch high on the title page.

So crack open some Westerns, pard, and let me know if they bear the brands.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


The man who stood at the Ref Desk said that. It was somewhere between a statement and a question.

"Twelve," I replied, maintaining eye contact. I really had no idea what he was talking about. Right before I opened my mouth to ask him he waived a bunch of pages in front of himself.


Still not entirely on my game, it took a second before I realized that he was referring to his computer print outs and I could I please take his money. When our transaction was done, it amused me to think that he had only flung an integer at me a few times and said nothing else.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Our Defective Computers Strike Again

A patron came to the desk to tell me that her computer was not connecting to the Internet. I followed her back to her computer and watched her go through the who process of typing in her barcode and agreeing to our terms of service. The Interweb is the default state for these things, so Interweb Exploder automatically launches (Why do IT departments still put IE on computers? I don't get it.) The home page for the browsers is the library's home page. Why this would be so is a mystery. Perhaps it is based on the insane notion that the people using the Interwhat are there to use library resources. No--that's just too far-fetched. I think we should make Facebook the home page.

The patron pointed to the screen. "See?"

I didn't see and told her so.

"There," she said, pointing again. "No Internet."

I quizzed her a bit and found out that on the computer she typically uses, Google is the home page. To her, Google=Internet; no goog, no Internet.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Hey, I'm a Parent, Too, But Seriously

I realize that when you hang around with toddlers all day and talk to them and not other adults you tend to talk a certain way, but when you burst into the library hauling your two-year-old behind you, please do not shout, "Where's the potty?!" at the deskslave. Thank you.

And this, friends, marks the 500th post at deskslave. Looking back, it seems like just yesterday that I was a embittered, middle-aged man whining about my job.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Consider the Grocery Store

Most of the time there is no line at the ref desk and I can spend a decent amount of time with each person who walks up. Occasionally, things back up a bit and I start to feel an overwhelming pressure. I get anxious because PEOPLE ARE WAITING. In a way, I understand. Maybe they just want to ask where the copier is or want to know what they need to do to get on the Intrawebs. Sometimes, the frustration of having to wait for something small causes people to interrupt whatever transaction I'm doing.

I thought about this as I waited patiently in line at the grocery store. I love self check; it gives me the opportunity to work for free and avoid interpersonal interaction. Sadly on this occasion, all the beep stations were occupied by people who did not seem to know how to move objects across a flat glass plane and then put the objects into bags that were being held open for them by a clever bag holder. These same people then had trouble swiping cards and/or inserting currency into slots. People got in line behind me and together we watched the pageant of incompetence. It wasn't very interesting. No matter how ridiculous it got, though, none of the people behind me jumped the line to say that they only had one thing and that they should be allowed to play through. They restrained themselves even when it was my turn and I walked toward the vacant machine with my large basket of important items including several varieties of unhealthy snacks.

So: why is it that people feel OK about getting huffy about waiting when they are at the Ref Desk and not when they are at the grocery store?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Some People Get All the Fun

While I was in the back doing something very important (probably whining about something stupid while making yet another pot of my famous coffee*), a coworker on the floor got to put out a fire some nice person set in a trash can.

He was, however, disappointed that it was so small and his foot did the trick. He told me that he considered waiting a minute in order to justify busting out the fire extinguisher.

* Famous, but not in a nice way.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Have a Heart, Willya?

A patron in his late teens and his mom came to the desk. They needed, I was informed in grave tones, directions to the Heart Institute. There's all kinds of hospitals around here. I asked if they knew which hospital it was associated with. They gave each other a "What's-up-with-the-moron" kind of look.

"It's not associated with a hospital," the mom said flatly.

I did my best to find it, but came up blank. Cancer Institute? No problem. Thoracic Surgery Institute? mais bien sûr. But no Heart Institute. I told them. They looked somewhere between surprised and peeved. Luckily, an astute coworker was also at the desk and told me that maybe what they wanted was the Art Institute.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Your Library, A Dog Parking Lot

I'm know it's very hot. I'm certain he's a very good boy. But unless you go through the charade of pretending he's a service dog, he's not coming in.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Lean on Me When You're Not Strong...I Mean Turn on Me

A patron wanted help doing a post office change of address thing, which I guess you need to do online now. I was really in the weeds at the desk, so I gave her a guest pass to our computers and told her to go to and come back if she had trouble. Then I got back to the others I needed to serve. I forgot all about her as I looked up movies for people, showed a young student how to use the catalog and fulfilled my professional duty by telling people where the bathroom was and how to use the photocopier.

The address change woman crashed the line to tell me that she couldn't find the right page. I was not firm with her, since she'd already waited in line. Instead, I looked up the page for an address change. I was going to write it down, but it was one of those 87,000 character URLs with lots of numbers and question marks. I figured it might be beyond her.

"Why don't I email you a link that you can click on," I suggested.

"I don't have an email," she replied.

Looking at the undiminished line, I decided to use a URL shortener to make a reasonable URL for her. I pasted the bloated URL into and then wrote down the shortened URL. Handing it to her, I told her what I had done and that all she needed to do was type in these ten characters exactly, and she'd get to the right URL. I told her to give it a shot and let me know if it didn't work and as soon as I was free I'd help her.

Going back to my line, I forgot about her completely. That is until a few minutes later when she walked by the desk. Pausing briefly, she said/kinda shouted: "That didn't work either. Thanks for nothing, asshole!"

Friday, August 5, 2011

Let's Make a Deal, Shall We?

How about this: I'll pretend that you are not dressed in flowy, white, semi-first-century-Galilee-chic garb and sandals with socks and head wear that looks like something a Berber warrior might wear if he was also into golf if you stop calling me "brother" while I look up your books for you, OK? Only one person gets to call me brother, and I only talk to her when a parent has a health crisis.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I Can't Decide

Was tonight's shift purgatorial, or was the pace just glacial?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Something of an Achievement, Really

The guy was very nearly bald, just a fringy tonsure of wispy hair around the back and sides. Yet he had prodigious amounts of dandruff on his shoulders. A real loaves and fishes moment in the scalp flake department.

Monday, July 25, 2011

deskslave's Head Explodes, Cognitive Dissonance Edition

Nice dad, two nice kids of about 6 and 8. Very nice transaction, help the boy find books about dinosaurs. Sign the kids up for summer reading, get them all jazzed up about their prize book. Everything would have been fine, I think, except for one thing. The dad (nice guy, as I think I mentioned) has on a black T-shirt with "I Support Single Mothers" in metalic silver writing on it. So far so good. Below that is a drawing in the same ink of a stripper humping the pole. Thanks, Dad!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Saturday Night Fights

It was a regular donnybrook here at the library as mint gum took on the reigning champion alcohol to see who would win the Battle of the Breath. With such heavy hitters as scotch and vodka, it was nearly a foregone conclusion that plucky peppermint would fall. Final score: Alcohol-2, Gum-0.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

For You Noobs, The Correct Way to Answer a Reference Question

The Slightly Goofy Guy Who Will Talk To You All Day If You Let Him: Wouldn't it be great if they remade the 60's TV show Adam-12 as a movie and if Kent McCord and Martin Milner* made cameo appearances?

deskslave: Yes.

*For you Young People, the actors who played the main characters.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Meaning is Lost in Just 15 Feet

We have only one phone at the Ref desk, and it's pretty busy. We say "no" when people ask to use it. We refer them to the pay phone (Yep--they still exist!) which typically gets the kind of facial reaction you'd expect if we suggested they lick the floor beneath the men's urinal. I always add that if they have absolutely no money whatsoever, they could ask politely at the Circulation desk. The nice people in circ have a nice little cordless phone that they might loan out under certain circumstances. And that's the rigmarole I went through with the woman at the desk. Our interaction didn't start well. She walked up and I gave her my boilerplate "Hi! Can I help you find something?"

"Yeah, I need the phone."

So blah blah blah pay phone blah blah MAYBE circ desk blah blah, etc.

She turned and walked over to the circ desk which is maybe 15 feet away. The nice circ clerk greeted the patron.

The patron jerked her thumb back at me. "He said I could use your phone."

Friday, July 15, 2011

The deskslave is Left Wondering, Stewing

The spry older woman wanted a somewhat obscure local history. As I searched, I began making excuses for why we probably wouldn't have it. But it was there! At our very library! I always give people the option of finding it for themselves with the call number or being lead to it by a skilled professional. Or at least me. You never know if the patron is going to be like me (my motto: turn on the lights and get out of my way) or if they need some assistance. She wanted to be shown.

The book had not been checked out in years, which always worries me. Who knows, the fact that it isn't actually there might account for it not getting checked out. But there it was and I presented it to her and began walking back to the desk.

After a few seconds, I heard her say, "Now what do I do?"

I walked with her to the circ desk area. I gave her the self-check vs. circ clerk spiel. Turns out she didn't have a card. So I launched into my getting-a-card spiel which emphasizes the simplicity and speed of the transaction.

"I don't want one."

"Oh. It's really easy..."

"I said I. Don't. Want. One."

I shrugged, a little put out. I told her that her that she had to read it inside the building. After a bit of back and forth about the nature of checking out books, she told me that her husband probably had a card and could probably come in and check out the book. She said this as though her husband was currently lost in Siberia and would have to walk. She told me to "hold it under..." and began to give me his name. I interrupted her.

I hate this one. I used to work at a library where we'd hold books for people without cards and they would invariably not come in. At the end of the day there'd be a stack of books, often highly desirable items needed for school assignments, sitting there unclaimed. And also invariably someone would come in days after we had reshelved theri book all upset that we didn't hold their item like we said we would. AND the fact that it's on pseudo-hold won't be reflected in the catalog also irks me and offends my orderly library librarian sensibilities. If somebody else came in looking for the item, they'd be told that it was on the shelf and it wouldn't be. So there. I outlined some of this to her, taking pains to use words like "fairness."

"So you won't reserve it for me?"

"Well, I'm really not supposed to," I waffled, getting ready to cave. I'm such a marshmallow.

"But it says right there," pointing to a nearby book cart, "that if I want to reserve a book, all I have to do is put it on that shelf!" She was getting mad.

I read the sign on the cart. "Ummm... that says 'reshelve,' not 'reserve.' You can put a book there to be reshelved."

As a postscript to this, I did cave and told her that I would hold it at the desk but only until close. I instructed her to tell her husband to come to the desk since it would not go to the holds shelf.

Hours later, I was annoyed by an older man scanning the holds shelf. He had evidently lost most of his hearing. I could tell this because his ring tone was unbelievably loud. I stood up to confront him about this, but the ringing stopped and I sat down.

The "You Have Voicemail" sound was not as loud, but still set my teeth on edge. It happened again. I pondered why it was that people with loud or otherwise annoying ring tones also have their phones ring 8 or 9 times before going over to message.

The guy evidently couldn't find his hold and enlisted a circ clerk to help him. I did not put it together that he was the husband of the card refusenik. I only went over when he started to yell at the clerk. I got it sorted out, though the old guy was VERY angry about it since his wife was assured that we would hold the book for him. So we were punished for trying to be nice. The last word was from the circ clerk who condescendingly informed me, after the guy left that we only place holds for people with cards.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Oh, the Humanity! Part Six Thousand or so

I was summoned to the self-serve Introwebs computers by a grumpy woman who was approximately as old as me. I'm at a curious divide. I did not grow up using computers and they didn't even enter the workplace until I was well into my twenties. There are people my age who never really learned to type, let alone use a computer. So when I see somebody my age at a computer, I give it about a fifty percent chance they will not know something from this:

There was an annoying popup on her screen. Hammering the various buttons on the popup did not make it go away. I know this because she demonstrated this fact by hammering on the buttons for my benefit. I noticed that the popup was in front of Farmville, but appeared to have nothing to do with it. I suggested that she try another computer.

"I already tried that!"

I offered to restart the computer.

"I already did that!" she said, admitting to a violation of the terms of service that she agreed to when she signed in.

"Well, that's about all I can do." I imagined that there was some Flash or other upgrade that needed to take place, but the IT department would have my head on a stick if I messed with a computer like that.

"Then HOW am I supposed to get my work done?" she demanded to know, gesturing toward the monitor, which, I think I may have mentioned, Farmville was on. I'm quite certain that she was only going to be on Farmville for a minute and then get right into her investments and writing her novel.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

All In A Day's Work

The phone rang, as it all-to-often does.

"What is Desperate Housewives Dana?" the patron said. (I always want to say "fine thanks, and you?" when somebody dispenses with all social niceties like that)

I honestly didn't know what he was talking about. So I asked him if it had something to do with the Desperate Housewives television program.

"It says, 'Desperate Housewives Dana.'"

It took a further second of silence before the little 30-watt Reference light bulb went off. "Is this for a crossword puzzle?"

"Uh--yeah." A little singsongy so his "yeah" had something of an implied "you dumbass" to it.

So a little wholesome and satisfying Google magic got him his answer. For the record: Delany, an actress who has the dubious distinction of having been in several movies with Rosie O'Donnell.

It occurred to me afterward that doing the crossword puzzle for other people used to be pretty high on the list of duties at the reference desk and now no longer is. Did people get smarter? Did crosswords get easier? Did people stop doing crosswords? Does everybody use the Goog now? Probably that last one.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

dan de quill

A patron in his middle years asked for Dan De Quill. Nothing. Try a variety of spellings (DeQuill, De Quill, De Quille), but the result was always the same. I tell him this, and start my ILL spiel.

"I find that hard to believe, he's the foremost Western writer in America." He left, his muted disgust evident.

For the record: Dan DeQuille lived in the 19th century, dying in 1898. He published one book in his lifetime and appeared to have been famous for his journalism. WorldCat tells me that the libraries in these parts that shelve him are all academic in nature.

So I guess I find it hard to believe that he found it hard to believe that we didn't have any De Quille. I also find it hard to believe how often our collection inspires disbelief in the public.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Google Plus -- Easily the Greatest Thing Since Google Wave

Hello, deskslave fans. Do you want to be the last kid on your block to get an invite to the next big thing we're all supposed to want to do with all that free time we have? I thought so, and I'm here to help. Send an email to the part of the blog name that appears before the ".blogspot" at gmail dot com and I'll send them out as long as it lets me. I promise not to spam you or try to convert you to my strange cult or sell you anything.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Better Booklist, I expect. Definitely Better than USA Today

I put a hold on a few interesting books today for you a woman in her twenties. One was The Rest is Noise by Alex Ross of the New Yorker. It's an interesting and in-depth look at 20th Century music (of the Schoenberg variety, not the Bieber variety). Or so I'm told. Like modern classical music, I gave up on this book after short but brave attempt.

I remarked on the book, asking her if she liked modern music. She wasn't sure what I was talking about. I mentioned Schoenberg, Webern, Berg and the like. Nothing.

She told me that she cleaned hotel rooms for a living and built her reading list around what she found in the rooms that she tidied. She didn't always like what she discovered that way, but in general it was a good way to find new authors.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Must Calibrate Face, Emotions

I should have known better. I was placing holds for a woman about my age (viz. old). In the middle of the transaction about gardening books, she asked, "did you hear what happened in New York?"

My first thought was: OMG! Terrorism? What?

My look of dismay spoke to her. She nodded her head, and gravely said, "Gay marriage."

I immediately brightened. "Oh yeah, that. Great!"

Her look was the sort of look that she might have given me if I had not only just married my male fiancee before her, but consummated the act right there on the Ref desk.

I mean, I try not to wear my political or moral opinions on my sleeve. I think that everybody should be able to use the library without feeling singled out because of their opinions or appearance (up to a point, I must add). But the public should be careful about assuming things about us, too. Just because I am a geezer with a square haircut and conservative clothes, she probably shouldn't have automatically thought that I'd agree on that or any score.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Holiday Schedule Changes

Because of the Independence Day holiday, Entitlement Tuesday will be cancelled next week. The library will be closed on Monday. When we reopen on Tuesday, we will have a special Anger Over Closure Celebration where patrons who are unhappy about not being able to get DVDs and use the Internet for a whole day on Monday will be able to enjoy a ten full hours of berating and lashing out at staff members.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Me and My Allergies, She and Her Manners

Summer is here and with it comes showers of pollen that make me want to claw my eyes out. Even with drugs like Claritin, I look like, according to one coworker, "a long-term cokehead who really needs more product." She even did an impression: vacuous look, vacant eyes being rubbed, sniffing. How she knew what a long-term cokehead looked like I didn't think to ask because I was busy sniffling and rubbing my reddened, puffy eyes. But she was probably right.

But I soldier on at the desk. One patron had been looking for some non-fiction title and could not find it. I went down the mental checklist of things to do when somebody says they can't find something that's supposed to be in. First, I check the catalog. Fairly often, the book is checked in, just not at deskslave central, but at some other, lesser library. Then I make sure that the catalog thinks it's actually in. People can, in their excitement, see that we own the book and not look at the circulation status. Then I find out the check-in time. I can't tell you how often people want something that was checked in 31 minutes ago (usually it's a movie) and would still be on a shelving cart in back. For this one, everything looked good for it actually being on the shelf. I don't want people to feel bad if I want to look on the shelf where it's supposed to be, so I tell them that I want to look near where it's supposed to be in case it was just shelved wrong. But this one wasn't where it was supposed to be. I scanned the nearby shelves after all. The poor pages can make mistakes after shelving nonfiction for a few hours. 973 can look an awful lot like 937 if you're 19 and operating on 3 hours of sleep after partying all night. But I couldn't find it. I was feeling stumped and, with the allergies, stupid to boot. The title was something like Dictionary of Some Damn Thing, so it occurred to me that maybe the page just assumed that it was a reference item. I mentioned this to the patron and took her over to the Reference shelves.

And lo, it was there. I felt all jubilant and leaned down to pull it off the shelf.

"Don't touch that!" the patron--literally--shrieked.

I straightened up.

She moved in and snatched it off the shelf. Walking away with it, she snapped over her shoulder, "I don't want to get what YOU have."

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Now Here's a Thought (Whose Time Probably Hasn't Come)

Every day, I get to hear the default ringtones of a variety of mobile phone providers go off loudly at the library. I'm thinking that we should make up words to a song about the library to each of them, then the staff can sing them out with the tones. It could be informative, too (Don't forget to SIGN up for summer READing to-DAY-AY-AY!) The goofy esprit de corps might even help us from getting upset/depressed/annoyed by the constant ringing.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

This Story Ends Predictably

The lissome woman, easily 15 years my junior, strode up to the desk, fixed me with a winning smile and said, "can I grab you for a minute?"

She needed help with her Microsoft Word document. Line spacing or some such nonsense.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Kids These Days, a Transcript

While waiting at the desk for a colleague to check in back for something, I got to listen to a pair of 10-year-olds chat. My advanced age renders me invisible to them, it turns out, so I got to hear all sorts of stuff. I tuned most of it out but did hear one of them explain the troubles she has communicating effectively with a younger sibling. I heard her say

Every time I jinx my sister, she's like, "Huh? Wha?" and I'nm like "It means you can't talks," and she's like "Isn't that, like, confusing?" and I'm like "Ummm...nooooo."

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Inadvertent Dork Checking

Some years back, I used to work with a guy who liked to do something he called Dork Checking. He would purposely get something wrong that only a true dork would care about so that the dork would correct him. And then he'd laugh at the dork. He got me once by saying, in the middle of a conversation about some work topic, "It's just like that guy on Star Trek who's half Klingon and half human. I think his name is Wolf or something."

"That's Worf," I corrected, and then got laughed at for not only knowing, but caring enough to say something.

Today, a patron asked my desk colleague if we had the book The Fall of Rome. Being the insufferable know-it-all that I am, I just had to jump in, asking him if he meant the History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon.
"If that's the one written a long time ago," he said, not unreasonably.
"Yep," I replied, my insufferability growing by the moment. "The first volume was published in 1776." Then, to add wiseassery to insufferability, I just had to add, "Nothing else of note happened that year."

The patron gave me a squinty, pinched, oh-you-moron sort of look and said, "America was BORN that year." He might as well have added "jerk" or "dumbass" to it for the level of contempt his statement held.

But I didn't laugh or call him a dork. I just felt a little bad.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Attention: Holiday Week Change

Because of the holiday, Entitlement Tuesday was held today at deskslave Central. Halitosis Wednesday ran concurrently. The normal schedule will resume next week. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

That is all.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Minute Miseries...I Mean Mysteries

Here's a little mystery for you to solve. I was walking away from the Ref Desk toward the tastefully and sumptuously appointed employee break room to enjoy a simple repast of the plain but nutritious peasant fare of my people.* A youngster of maybe 12 intercepted me. I was crestfallen: I could already smell the heady aroma of coffee that had been on the burner for 3 or 4 hours.** But I was stuck.

"Hey, where's the computer thingie?" he inquired.

I had no idea what he was talking about. Do you have any guesses? I'll post an answer to this in a future post, provided somebody actually makes a guess. Maybe there will be a prize.

*OK, I was staggering toward the skanky break room to get more horrid coffee and microwave some leftover pizza. Sheesh.

** Every now and again, I try to popularize a word that I make up or reassign. Some years ago I thought up a good one that totally did not catch on. What is the cognitive equivalent of a typo? A thinko. Yeah. Didn't fly. But here's another one that I have been championing for about 5 years and may yet achieve escape velocity in the culture at large: what do you call coffee that has been sitting on the coffee machine burner for hours and hours and is now thickening through evaporation and smells like it's had machine oil dumped in it? Smelted coffee. I like the industrial sound of smelting, which I imagine smells bad. C'mon--start using it.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Let's Play "Name that Book"

The patron told me that she was looking for a book. The title, she thought, was something like future shock and the author was something like Alvin. I'm pretty old, as I never tire of telling you, so I remember when the book Future Shock by Alvin Toffler was a big deal back in the 70's. I even vaguely remembered the futuristic cover, which looks pretty quaint now:

So I piped up cheerfully about the Toffler book and quickly figured out that we even had a copy, since people at my library are notorious for never weeding any book, no matter how outdated it may be.

She gave me funny look and informed me that it wasn't Future Shock, and the author wasn't Alvin Toffler, but the title was similar, as was the author. But it wasn't about that at all.

I pressed on, asking questions about when she thought the book came out (last year? when she was in high school?), where she heard about it, and the like.

She said that it had been a bestseller maybe a year ago. Maybe less, maybe last fall. She seemed pretty sure it was nonfiction. I asked her if she could remember where she heard about it, hoping that it was an Oprah sort of thing that would be fairly easy to track down, but she remembered nothing.

More questions revealed that it was an exposé of some sort.

So, to recap:
maybe last year
probably non fiction

Definitely not Michael Pollan
definitely not Malcolm Gladwell
No way it was Jonathan “Safran” Foer

It did not, in fact have food or eat in the title.

What do you think? Any ideas. The woman is long gone, having grown tired of my fruitless searching and endless questions, so no time pressure.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Question for You About WiFi

Before I get started, just let me say that I’m glad we have wifi in the library. I wouldn’t get rid of it even if I could. However, every once in a while a patron will come up to the desk looking for the thing they just printed from their laptop. I don’t think I astonish very easily, at least not about how people use computers, but I cannot wrap my head around the thought that there are people out there who think that all they need to do is push a button on their laptops and some printer out there at an unknown location, whose properties can only be guessed at, will automatically perk up at their summons, determine that it is the correct and only printer for the job, and print the document. Like Lassie finding Timmy at the bottom of the well and digging him out. Wait, not even that clear—at least Lassie knew Timmy.

So I had a Timmy-down-the-well printing experience today. A woman wanted to know where the print jobs came out. I took her over to the pay-to-print station and began walking her through the process like I do a dozen times each day. But there were no jobs on the print server. I asked her what number computer she was on. She told me that her computer did not have a number. She really hit the word “number” kind of hard. I could actually hear italics in her voice. It was as though she had said, "My computer doesn't smell," or "My computer doesn't have cancer." I started to explain that all of our computers had numbers. You can see where this one went, so I'll skip the dialog about determining that she hadn't been using one of our powerhouse computers.

She steadfastly refused to believe that our printer wouldn't print from her laptop. He printer at home, which she did not set up, prints just fine, therefore.... She wanted to talk to somebody about getting her document printed. I tried to be gentle, explaining that the wait for IT help was breathtakingly long. I tried to get her to email her document to herself and then pick it up on one of our computers and print it from there. She looked at me like I'd just told her to get up on the Reference Desk and do a little dance for me. She stalked off. Another satisfied customer.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What With All That's Going On These Days

We were talking about the death of What's-His-Face before we opened today. Somebody mentioned, with eyes rolling, that because of his demise and the fear of retaliation, various government agencies are encouraging people to report suspicious activity.
"If we called the FBI every time we saw something suspicious here," one circ clerk pointed out, "they'd block our number because we'd be calling so much."

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Somewhat Sad Passage

I'm a little bit sad that the brief fashionability of the undersized fedora in the under 40 male set appears to be over. I see fewer and fewer of them and predict confidently that by summer, they will have gone the way of chain wallets, Doc Martens and Flashdance-inspired casual clothing. I'm not sad because I liked the darn things. Indeed, I found it more than a little ridiculous that young men would just add this decontextualized bit of headwear to the flip-flops and board shorts they had on. And I really hated the fact that none of the hats properly fit anyone over the age of eight.

(For Example:

Your honor, I rest my case.)

No, I'm sad because I had gotten used to seeing it on certain young men as they walked up to the desk and it acted like a little flag. "Tread carefully," it said to me, "you are about to interact with a preening, self-absorbed douchebag." Farewell, fedora, farewell.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Put Through The Paces, Part 845

"Do you have any books by Rene Girard?" the man asked.

"Hmmm...let me see," I began, starting the search.

First I searched on the way I'd spell it, and found nothing. I tried a variety of other ways that seemed likely to me, a non francophone. Then I asked him how to spell it, since I had found nothing. He spelled it more or less the same way I would have. I started my usual speech about trying to get M. Girard's work from a different library system.

"I can't believe you don't have anything by him. He's very famous and influential. Are you sure you're looking right?

Assuring him that I was reasonably confident in my search strategy, I went to WorldCat and discovered that he was pretty common and one of his works had a dazzling 2000+ libraries. But it was a book about Proust and only academic libraries and nothing had been published by him since the early 80's. For a public library, something published in the 80's, unless it was maybe by Jackie Collins, was less likely to be found in the stacks than a dinosaur. A living one. I let him know this, but his scorn was not yet spent. I was told that someone like Girard should be in all libraries and several other things that I only pretended to listen to. He walked off, declining my offer to do an Interlibrary Loan request. Perhaps he feared that his intellectual standing would decline if an academic institution found him in any way connected to a low-brow dive like deskslave Central. It did not occur to me until later to think it odd that such a juggernaut of sophistication should probably know how to use a catalog.

A while later he was back with another author, this one named Susan Summer. No dice on her either. He also found this one hard to believe, but by now I was used to his incredulity so it didn't bother me. I quizzed him a bit more about what sort of thing she wrote about but did not get a lot of help, though he did think that one of her books might have been titled "Breakout."

"Try Suzanne Somers," my desk colleague offered, and up popped Breakthrough : 8 steps to wellness : life-altering secrets from today's cutting-edge doctors. It was exactly what he wanted.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Library Grammar, Lesson 36

The possessive form of "You Guys" is "Your Guises."

Todays example: "Where's your guises movies?"

Sunday, April 24, 2011

What Does That Mean? A New, Occasional Series

I know, you go into the library and see all sorts of fascinating and confusing things that the staff members do. You're befuddled, maybe even nonplussed, and want to know just what's going on. I'm here to help. Now when you see the librarian or clerk make this signal to another staffer, you'll know exactly what she/he means.
Cake/Cookies in the Break Room

All libraries have a little, windowless break room with castoff chairs, crap coffee and a fridge that's less a fridge than a food museum.* It's like a police interrogation room in a 1940's cop movie--minus the charm and bright lighting, but with those silly ALA "READ" posters featuring long-forgotten minor celebrities. People always bring snacks to share, though. You make this signal when something good has shown up.

* We take turns curating at the food museum. The current exhibit is titled "That Better Not Be From Thanksgiving."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I Hope I Wasn't This Clueless at That Age

Lots of people forget their passwords and can't log into our computers. Usually, we just reset the password for them and send them on their merry Interweb way. Works most of the time. Sometimes, people come back up to the desk after a reset. We go back to their computer with them and often find that it's a matter of them typing things into the wrong boxes on the screen. Pretty straightforward, boring, workaday stuff. Today, though, a teen boy went above and beyond. He told me that he'd forgotten his password. I reset it and he walked off. He came back about 45 seconds later because he'd forgotten what he'd told me to reset it to between the time he told me what he wanted for his new password and the time he got to the computer. It annoyed me, but I reset it again. He asked me to write it down for him. I handed him one of our cheapo golf pencils and a piece of scratch paper and encouraged him to do the writing, thinking that it might reinforce the memory.

He seemed a little put out, but did it and sauntered off to the computer room. He came back a moment later, annoyed.

"It doesn't work," I was informed. I probably should have gone down to his computer and typed the damn thing in for him to make sure there wasn't a bigger problem, like maybe the entire InterWeb was broken or maybe he couldn't operate a ten key, but I didn't. I am, as I have mentioned many times, quite old and crotchety. I was annoyed by what looked like abject cluelessness, and, the more I looked at him, the more my annoyance turned into contempt. It was clear he had spent a great deal of time in front of a mirror that day (he'd gelled the shit out of his hair and was nauseatingly redolent of Axe or some other malodorous boyfume). He wore shiny, tight, skinny, red pants and a mass-produced t-shirt that was supposed to look all thrift store ironic (dude, I totally believe you found that North Carolina bait shop t-shirt at the Goodwill--total thrift score, bro). To top off his up-to-the-minute ensemble, he wore a yellow, puffy, ill-considered vest with a skull motif on it. I couldn't see his shoes, but I bet they were from Ed Harvy. Who could blame me for not wanting to lift a finger on his behalf?

So I handed him a guest pass. Guest passes are supposed to be for people from outside the area who don't qualify for one of our cards. We're supposed to encourage/request/beg people to get cards, but lazy deskslaves hand out guest passes like Halloween candy. They have the word USERNAME on them, followed by the word GUEST. Below that, they have the word PASSWORD followed by six random characters.

"What do I do?" he asked, taking the slip of paper.

Knowing who I was dealing with, I said, very slowly, "Well, on the screen, where it says 'Username," type 'Guest.'"

At this point, I tapped the word "Guest" with my red pen. "And where is says 'Password,' you type these six characters." As I said "these six characters," I circled the six characters with the red pen.

He took the pass. He looked at it. He stood there for a longish moment. He looked at me. Fleetingly, I had a small but sincere hope that my simple instructions had somehow sunk in. That they had, against expectation and logic, taken root in the rocky soil of his mind. That maybe I had connected with him in some way and that this would be the beginning of something greater. That, thus armed with the guest pass, he would stride forward into a brighter future of learning and accomplishment. That someday, far in the future, he would look back on that moment as a turning point in his life. That he would tell his his grandchildren of the time that he was handed a small, simple slip of paper by a scowling geezer and that it lead to all the greatness that he had achieved. Or that at least he'd get away from the desk before I passed out from his cloying scent.

But instead, he looked at me funny. "Wait," he said, "Can you write that down?"

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Spring is Definitely Here

Hello friends. Because of the time of year and because I'm lazy, I present to you a rebroadcast of 2009's Tax Time FAQ.

Tax Time FAQ

Where are the tax forms?
Right behind you.

Right over there.


Should I use this form?
I don't know.

Maybe this one?
Really, I don't know.

Why can't you tell me?
I'm not allowed to give tax advice. I'm not a tax professional. I'm a lowly deskslave.

I'm not asking for tax advice, it's just information.
Look, even if I was allowed to give tax advice, you wouldn't want my advice. I don't even do my own taxes. I'm lucky to find my way to work.

Why don't you have tax forms any more?
We do.

Then where are they?
Right behind you.

Is there somebody who will do my taxes for me?
We have some volunteers who offer help. It's by appointment only. All the slots were filled months ago. I can put you on this very long waiting list, though.

So nobody will do my taxes for me?
Well, actually, you can have the IRS calculate your taxes for you.

Really? How do I do that?
Here, it's this form here, the Schedul D'OH! Just fill in your name and check off the box where it says: "I'm a chicken, please pluck me."

Where's the tax forms at?
Right there.

Which one am I supposed to do?
I don't know.

Why don't you have the incredibly obscure form that I think I need?
I don't know. But I'll print it out for you.

I'm still very upset about having to do my taxes at all. May I berate and abuse you since I am powerless to express my rage directly to the Internal Revenue Service?
By all means.

I almost forgot...could I also hector you?
Feel free.

Malign you?

Call into question your intelligence and integrity?
It would be my pleasure.

Why can't I get a reaction from you?
Because I'm not really listening.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Two Most Common Reference Questions Today

In order, they were:
1) What time is the NCAA Championship game?
2) Is it on network TV?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Note to Patrons for Next Year

"March Madness" was not a suggestion on how to behave in the library.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Come On, Get Happy

I was summoned to a catalog station by an unhappy patron. She was unable to place a hold on an item. Usually, it's a glitch typing in a card number or forgetting a password. But she had all that info right. The problem was with the item. There were three copies of it in the system, but all were in "Missing" status. I told her that.

"What does that mean?" she asked.

"Probably that somebody claims that they returned something and either they didn't or that the item was mis-shelved."

"So when do you find out which it is?"

"Not sure. If it doesn't turn up in a few months, they will probably get changed to 'Lost' status."

"Does that mean you're going to buy more?"

I told her that I didn't know, but offered to get her the card of the person who selects video. The patron got a little upset. Or maybe it was more annoyed. Somewhere between the two. Let's call it Upnoyed.

She explained that this was the first season of the show, and she couldn't just start from season two. What, then, she wanted to know, was she supposed to do? (The series, BTW? Drum Roll.......The Partridge Family.)

Among the things that I did not tell her:

You could get a life.
We have something like 45,000 books on the shelf right now.
Season One of the Brady Bunch, Hogan's Heroes and I Dream of Jeannie are all on the shelf.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Lives of Great Athletes

A guy asked for the phone book. He took it away. Bringing it back, he expressed his disappointment in the quality of the phone book. Nobody he wanted to call was in it. I offered to look people up on ReferenceUSA or some of my favorite E-stalking(TM) sites. Initially, he resisted this idea, preferring to complain about the phone book.

Finally her relented. As I looked up the first person in RefUSA, I started to get the life story, which, you can probably imagine, I really wanted to hear. He was here to meet somebody. (Whew! Thank God! For a minute there I thought he wanted to check out a book!) His friend was not here at the appointed time. The man had ran here from the nearby town of Nowheresville which is about 9 miles away. He paused for admiration. This was not forthcoming. I don’t mean to brag, but your friend the deskslave has been known to walk as far as three blocks if that’s what it takes to get more beer.

He did not want to lug his cell phone during this Pheidippidean journey and thus could not call the tardy friend. I even offered to let him use the library phone, which was met with a patronizing explanation that the phone number was on his phone, the implication being that nobody could possibly memorize a few digits. While I searched, he continued to flip through the phone book, muttering things like, “My my my not good at all,” and the ever-popular “this is ridiculous.”

The friend was not listed. Other friends who might have known the number were likewise not listed. Precious moments of this, my only life, passed doing this. I’ll never see those moments again.

At last he tired of the game and told me that he would use the phone. He snatched the cordless phone that we let patrons use and began punching numbers while I told him to punch nine first. After a few digits, he got the fail tone, so I got to tell him to punch nine first, which he found absurd (who doesn’t know to do this?). He must have gotten an actual answering machine, because after a fashion he said, “It’s me. Pick up.”

“It’s me,” kills me because literally everyone on earth can say it and it will be true, so in absolute terms, it’s pretty meaningless. The monologue continued with, “Pick up. Pick up. Pick up! I know you’re there!” Eventually, somebody (perhaps a long-suffering spouse who was out in back digging a shallow grave) picked up. Our friend, whom I’ll now call Waldemar Cierpinski in honor of the controversial winner of the 1976 Olympic marathon, then engaged in the hated “chat wander,” whereby a person on the phone strolls around the library while talking on the phone. I had to go over and actually shush him! I began helping somebody else, which took me away from the desk. When I got back, the phone was back in its place.
“Your friend asked me to thank you for all your help,” my colleague at the desk told me.
“No, just kidding. He didn’t say anything to me.”

Monday, February 7, 2011

I'd Like Defective Librarians for 200, please, Alex

This man is responsible for getting rid of the ratty quilting magazines that were more than five years old that we used to have but nobody checked out so they were recycled and really needs to hear about the stupidity and injustice of this at great length even though there are teens who want guest passes so they can look at porn?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Saddest Day as a Librarian, I Think

On the same order recently, I had both the bowdlerized version of Huck Finn and the book by Nicole Polizzi. I don't really get the first, and had to be told just what a horrible thing the second was. Evidently, Ms. Polizzi is known by the nom de guerre "Snooki," and has taken upon herself the task of sharing herself with people who don't get MTV. I admit that I'm a snob, but I don't force my snobbishness on the readers of my community. But this one hurt.

The Seven Library Dwarves, A Call For Entries

So far, I have as candidates:

Ring Tone

Let me know what you think!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Such A Reference Ninja, Part 217

I gave a computer guest pass to the nice man who spoke only a little English. He was super-polite and friendly and all was well in the world. A little while later, he came back up to the desk brandishing the pass.
"Oil well," he said.
"Oil well?"
"Oil well," he stated emphatically. He pointed to the pass to emphasize the oily nature of the well. "OIL" point point "WELL" point point wave pass in front of deskslave.
"I'm sorry..."
I was both flummoxed and nonplussed, which is a bad state I try to avoid at all costs. Flummoxed I can handle. Nonplussed leaves me unmoved. But together?
I asked him if he was having trouble using the code on the pass. Indeed he was. He took a deep breath and invited me to look closer. He placed a pudgy yet curiously flat finger over the password part of the pass. "I yell?" he questioned.
"Eye...?" he began, his voice rising as though he were starting a question. "O'Dell?"
I gave the pass a good squint. The code was something like


The toner was a bit speckly. The small, non-halogen, non-LED lightbulb over my head glowed weakly. Fifteen watts, max. He couldn't tell if the last character was an I or an L. "I or L" was probably what he had been saying.
"Ummm..." I began. "That last letter? I think it's an L."
He smiled and let the Black Belt Reference Ninja with a thumbs-up and a smile.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Such A Reference Ninja I Am

The woman on the phone said she wanted a book called History of Pie. It sounded like a great book. I love baking and am always searching for ways to make a better pie crust, but we didn't have History of Pie. We had all kinds of books about pie, but nothing with that title. Undaunted, I told her about one of my favorite cookbooks, and one I have learned so much from. It's called The Pie and Pastry Bible, by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Ms. Beranbaum is not just a baker. She's a chemist, too, so she adds that knowledge to baking part, so you really get a very well-rounded pie education.

As I told her about it ("the author talks about the chemistry of each recipe, so you can understand what you are doing and not just following the instructions...") I could tell I had gotten it wrong.

She talked about The History of Pie a little more and I finally figured it out.

Oh, yeah. Black Belt Reference Ninja.

Friday, January 14, 2011

No, I'm Actually an Exhaust Manifold. But Thanks for Asking.

Ereaders are the latest tool of Satan, sent to drive me to an early grave. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the devices themselves. If I had boodles of spare money and my retirement was secure through a bursting IRA and substantial investments and the house was paid off and the car was in perfect running condition and the kids’ college savings accounts were brimming with cash and the appliances were all EnergyStar-rated and my wardrobe was not shamefully out-of-date and threadbare, I’d probably be the first one to run out and buy one. Nope, it’s not the gizmos. It’s the people who buy them or get them as gifts and then plonk them down in front of me and expect me to show them how they work, often with quite a bit of heat and impatience in their voices.

“Lug them into the library?” I hear you exclaim, “Why should anybody expect a humble library deskslave to make an ereader from goodness-knows-where work?”

Excellent question. But you see, deskslave central is part of a consortium of libraries that purchased the digital rights to squoodles of ebooks that patrons can check out just like real analog books. Thus, the patron’s reasoning goes, if the library provides the ebooks, they must, ipso facto, show me how to use my device so’s I can get them on my fancy new ereader. Canny reader that you are, you have already figured out the flaw in the reasoning. Just because the library provides something doesn’t mean that we can or will show you how to use it. We provide books, but it is not a reasonable expectation to take one up to the desk and get all huffy because you cannot read. Likewise, if you do not know how to operate your DVD player, you would be looked at strangely if you placed it on the reference desk and demanded to know what the deal was with this darn box and these stupid DVDs we bought.

Still, most of us will give it a shot when the bewildered ereader owner comes in with their difficulties, even though none of us own an ereader. And I admit, it is a little hard. The manufacturers make it VERY EASY to buy things through their store, but damnably tricky to get the freebies from the library.

So it was today when the sprightly senior citizen lady came in. She couldn’t figure the durn thing out, so she thought she’d come in to the library where we’d show her how to use it on our computers. The biggest problem with that is that the library’s crack IT team has not gotten around to installing the ereader software on any of our machines and forbade us from doing it ourselves. I told her this, but she steadfastly refused to believe it.

“But they’re your books!”

I went through my little script as kindly as I could (large consortium, not really our books, consult the website, IT team not in a hurry, call me from home and I’ll try to talk you through, etc), but she wasn’t buying it. I think she thought I just didn’t understand what she wanted, so she went through her script again (your damn books, you get them on, look--there’s a damn computer, put the book on my spifftastic ereader with it right now). Finally, I think she figured out that she wasn’t going to be downloading anything on her nifty new device at the library. She was mad, and decided that what she needed to was put me in my place. She leaned in with the kind of smile that indicates anything but mirth and said, “You are a library, aren’t you?”

There were many things I could have said, but I opted for, “I think you know the answer to that question.”

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Frequently Heard at Deskslave Central

Neither the federal nor state solons have graced us with tax forms yet. So I get to have a variation of the following conversation several times a day now:

Caller. Do you have tax forms yet?
Me. No.
Caller. Why not?
Me. They haven't arrived yet.
Caller. When are they getting there?
Me. I don't know.
Caller. Why not?
Me. They don't tell us, they just show up.
Caller. How am I supposed to do my taxes?
Me. I don't know.

Actually I try to be a little nicer than that. I genuinely feel sorry for people who haven't discovered the miracle of licensed tax preparers. I think they are better than most healthcare professionals when it comes to improving the quality of people's lives. I used to do my own, but I think I probably save money having somebody who is not, you know, clueless doing my taxes.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Truth is Trumped. Again.

It started off as the sort of reference call I love. The caller wanted to know what the entry requirements were for Mexico. I first went to the State Dept. website and read what they had to say (unless you’re going to Ciudad Juarez or some other border city, you need a passport and you need a passport to get back into the US, so get a durn passport). Then I went over to the Mexican government website that was linked on that page and read a similar passage to him, this written by representatives of the very nation he wished to visit. I thought I was done, but the patron objected. He had something he had printed out at some point that said you only needed your driver’s license and one other piece of ID. I asked him when he’d printed it out, since the State Dept thing was effective beginning in March of 2010. He didn’t know, but thought it was a more than a year. I told him that he probably had the old stuff and that things had changed. He objected again, referring to a printout that I could hear rattling in the background. I asked him where he had gotten his printout. Again, he could not remember.

We started a circular conversation that went something like:
Me. Both the State Department and the Mexican Embassy say you need a passport.
Him. Says here I only need a driver’s license.
Me. Both the State Department and the Mexican Embassy say you need a passport.
Him. Says here I only need a driver’s license.
Me. Both the State Department and the Mexican Embassy say you need a passport.
Him. Says here I only need a driver’s license.

I finally offered him the number of the nearest Mexican Consulate. He started to write it down, but stopped and tried to begin our little dialog. “But it says here...” And who can blame him? It was easily the most profound exchange since Plato and Eryximachus threw down in the Symposium. I had to bring it to an end, though. “Here,” I said brightly, “I’ll transfer you to the Consul’s office and you can ask them yourself!”

It was a weird interaction--each time I read the relevant info, he just got more convinced that the outdated document of uncertain provenance was the truth. Here’s what a dork I am: it reminds me of a study conducted by a political scientist named Brendan Nyhan who found out about something he named “The Backfire Effect” where a correction to a misapprehension can actually increase the person’s belief in their misunderstanding.