Librarian Ire

Tuesday, November 30, 2004


Question: Does one need to be creepy to get the job or does the job make one creepy?

I have a creepy boss. Truly, the most creepy boss I can imagine. [Now, that's 'creepy' meaning:
Of or producing a sensation of uneasiness or fear, as of things crawling on one's skin; Annoyingly unpleasant; repulsive]

It took me about 4 months to figure out her 'management' trick. Knowing it is a (evil) trick, doesn't take away from its effectiveness or her creepiness. She has slightly bulging eyes and she does not blink (I've spent many a meeting watching her). What she does is every now and then she creeps in to your office and stands there staring at you until you notice her. She immediately start smiling - closed lips, half-smile. She'll offer some greeting such as: "how are things going?" "Busy?" "Anything happening?" I offer the usual response to such a question: "Fine." "Usual" or "No." I mean, I don't know what she wants, I don't need her micro-managing me, so I keep my workings to myself. Well, after my brief response she will continue to stand there. Smiling. Not blinking. Staring. Not saying a word. Now, when I first started, this made me very uncomfortable and I did what any normal person would - I'd fill the silence. I'd mention something about the library or work - anything. This, I found, is exactly what she was waiting for. No matter what I said, I would either be wrong, I would be given a long lecture on the history of something here or if it was task related I would have to redo the whole thing after showing it to her so she could criticize it up and down. Why would I mention such things you may ask? Well, it doesn't matter what I said ("It sure is cold in here." "This library was built blah blah blah , we used to have staff do blah blah blah , the shelves were constructed so that blah blah blah although I understand why you think its cold that's not really true.") these things would occur. Again, at first, I thought that I was not communicating myself clearly and that is why she was always completely misunderstanding what I was saying. I have since learned otherwise. She is a control freak and she has absolutely no understanding of what occurs in the department she manages. Since I do not come to her seeking advice constantly, she needs to find some way to impress upon me her authority. Thus, she needs me to open my mouth about something so that she can find a way to instruct and criticize me. Because I do not communicate anything requiring these tasks she must 'misunderstand' me in order to establish her control.

Now, as I've said, I have figured out this trick. So, when she slithers in and stares at me I say nothing. I return her stare and smile. Figuring that now that I know her game I can out do her. I'm convinced this is a viable solution, however I mentioned that she doesn't blink? I admit I can hardly ever last out. I timed her once. We stood there staring at each other, smiling, not speaking, for 2 minutes! That is a heck of a long time - time it. I admit, she defeats me on this. I cannot stand it. I am a normal person. However, I have no problem being rude. So, when she does this - smiling and staring - I turn back to my computer and work or I get up and leave the office.

This is clearly creepy behavior. I understand people are going to have control issues with bosses, its the nature of the game, but something like this? I would like to know if this is something she used to get where she is or if its something that she had developed to function in her position?

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

A Day for Giving Thanks.

In honor of the holiday and the obligation to be of good cheer, I will refrain from my angry rantings and give thanks for the good things. The best good thing? Tomorrow off! A day where I am not obligated to get up early, to appease the masses, and plaster an insincere smile on my face - I give thanks. I can't forget to give thanks for Friday - the day after thanksgiving. This is a day where all the annoying staff members will be taking off. In short, another free day for me! I can come in and rejoice in the freedom of being the only librarian on my floor: no bosses, no prying eyes, and a day spent playing computer games and surfing the web. Hoorah! Let's see, what else? Oh! I am thankful that the evil parking lady had today off so that I was met by a happy, cheerful woman at the parking garage entrance. I'm also thankful that with no one around today and Friday I can where jeans without guilt! I'm starting to reach...

Did I miss any work thanks?

Thursday, November 18, 2004


What is it with managers?
My boss, has been a manager for so long, I bet she doesn't even remember how to work.
I have noticed how inefficient and unorganized she is.
This past week, it has been more apparent to me, because my computer is broken. Everyday when I come in there are piles of books and papers to be sorted and cleared. This is a day's worth of mail and lost books and reserves and Interlibrary Loan. It only takes me half an hour to sort, shelve, fix, check in and otherwise take care of. In between I often have to help patrons. What I want to know is why she can't take time off from her busy schedule of phone calls, e-mails, shopping on the internet and lunches to actually work? If it takes me 30 minutes to do at the busy times, it might take her 5 minutes when it comes in.
The fact that she is very unorganized also makes it harder to do her job. Her desk is piled with journals, letters, invitations, lists and books. She lost something last week and couldn't find it. All I had to do was move the scrap paper and there it was. Right in front of her.
It amazes me how anyone can work in such a messy and chaotic atmosphere.
When we have to learn new software I tend to master it first, usually because I do more of the work. Then she says she wants to practise. When the occasion arises she passes the buck. She's too busy or she has a Doctor's appointment or the traffic is bad. Whatever the excuse du jour is.
Then, of course, people come to her with problems which she can't solve because she rarely does the work. When there is a problem she tends to blame her assistant. Me. When there isn't a problem she loves to take the credit even if she barely has a clue on what happened. I want to know how my predecessor survived without killing her. I have managed because we overlap only for a few hours. Her previous assistant was there the same hours.
She doesn't communicate well. Or listen. Is this normal among circulation people?
I think my time could be better spent in doing projects and learning how to use different software and taking classes, yet she loads me down with ILL, reserves, and circulation problems. The mundane details which can be done faster and sooner if she does them.
I guess what I will have to do is work on them on my own and budget my time and the student's. I learned how to do this over the summer.

Monday, November 15, 2004


Is the library department you end up working in predetermined by your sex and personality?

I've worked at 2 large academic library systems now and I've noticed a few things: Serials Librarians are always men, the majority of the Reference staff will have NO personality, Circulation Librarians usually dress the poorest, and the 2nd in command of a library is usually a weaselly, spineless bastard. Now, you can certainly argue these statements - for example that a circulation librarian isn't dressed badly, just more casually or with clothes that are more worn (probably because they make the least on staff); that the Assistant Director isn't weaselly at all, he really didn't mean to lay all the blame on you for his mistakes, it just came out wrong when he brought it up in front the entire staff; the serials librarian is legally classed as a male, but is more woman than that reference broad! I'd like to see some research done on these sorts of topics. Just think of all the time, expense, and worry that could be saved for incoming library students; no longer would they have to waffle about what courses they should take, which type of library they want to work at, which department. With the appropriate research and statistics, schools would be able to hand out career assignments with admissions letters!

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

And here we go!

Ahh, a place to rant. Thank the gods. I work at a large academic library.
We get a lot of non-students here. One recent incident stands out.
Something to know before I get into my rant is that we have moveable shelving in the place where I work. Sometimes people close them without checking to see if anyone is there. I myself am guilty of this. Nearly crushed a balding professor.
Anyway, this woman came in to look around and drive the staff crazy. After she left, we get a call from her to complain about the shelving. It happens that someone closed the range she was in and injured her foot. (I had visions of lawsuits dancing in my head)
I was sympathetic and suggested to her that she should have called out to stop them or lock the area you were in.
She thought that that wouldn't be enough and wanted signs on every area of moveable stacks.(Not gonna happen, babe) All our stacks are movable.