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!