Librarian Ire

Monday, February 28, 2005

Reference Suicide?

I don't know why we don't have more hare-kari incidents here. There are at least 2 librarians who would drive me to desperate acts. These are the folks you do NOT want to get. I have never seen them answer a question in under an hour. They either do not possess the fine-art of reference assistance, or their lives have such little entertainment they insist upon co-opting others. I'm guessing the later.

What's even worse? On 2 occasions - thus far, I have gotten to "take over" these death interviews. Both times I'm wondering what in the hell was going on before I came because they were both pretty cut-and-dry. One was the simple "I need to write a paper on such-and-such and I wanted to know a few databases to go to for articles." Ok - that's a 30 second answer. Hey, I can even go so far as to take you into the database, demonstrate searching, looking at records, and saving the damn thing; Provide you with a list of further search terms and send you on your way in 10 minutes. I'll admit, the second time was a little trickier - they were looking for information on external air temperature thermometers in cars. However, the bottom line of that one was contacting a dealership or trying for manual specs b/c there weren't any articles. So, I went at the search raw - b/c I wasn't provided with anything from the deadwood - and gave it an indepth try in under 30 minutes.

But for all of this - what I really don't understand is why the heck these people stick around that long??!! I'd get up an leave. Just UP - OUT.

Thursday, February 24, 2005


Is it any wonder I hesitate in letting books leave the safe confines of the library when things like this happen?

A patron comes by with the container in which a library item was in. One assumes she checked out the whole thing. Book and envelope (fragile item)
She wants my student to check the barcode to tell her what was in the envelope. You are not supposed to lose the damn thing! IDIOT! We don't want just the envelope.
And of course the student tells her what it is and when she checked it out and is generally helpful. She insists that she doesn't know why she still has it and swears she returned it.
Yeah right.
Her parting comment. "We'll hope it turns up sometime." Yeah you better do more than hope, lady. Or you get to pay for replacing it.
I love it when they protest that!

Words of Wisdom?

I know they're not my own, but I got sent some sayings the other day and the following were darn good and I hadn't yet seen them - surprising in itself!
  • I can only please one person per day. Today is not your day. Tomorrow is not looking good either.
  • Tell me what you need, and I'll tell you how to get along without it.
  • I don't have an attitude problem, you have a perception problem.
  • I don't suffer from stress. I am a carrier.
  • Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, because you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.
  • Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience.
  • A pat on the back is only a few centimeters from a kick in the rear-end.
  • Eat one live toad the first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.
  • When confronted by a difficult problem, you can solve it more easily by reducing it to the question, "How would the Lone Ranger handle this?"

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

ooh, ooh, idiot alert

Haven't had one of those in a few days. Which is good, because too many idiots make me insane with rage. Insanity is a nice place to live, but I'm not that fond of drugs and group therapy to want to live there.

But just now we had one. Not a full fledged idiot. Probably because he wasn't here long enough. Call me cynical.
He wanted to pick up a book that his wife requested from another library. Basically we don't do that. No matter what the excuse, who you are, or what the book is.

I explained the policy. AGAIN. What is it with these people? Don't they listen? I swear when they come into the school there should be a mandatory library policy class. And a tour. I can't tell you how many people come into the library and have no clue at all. But I digress.

His excuse? His wife is pregnant with a small child. Direct quote. One would hope that the child isn't huge if she's pregnant. I mean you don't want Paul Bunyan when giving birth. But I know what he meant. He should have phrased it better.
Then of course he got all huffy, when he realized I wasn't letting him slide. The rules are there for a reason.
And you are not the exception!
Hey, if your wife isn't able to get here herself then maybe she shouldn't be requesting books that she isn't able to check out. DUH. It's not like this is a new thing. If you were driving with someone else's license and they pulled you over would the cops accept an excuse like that? I don't think so! They'd throw your butt in jail.
You see insane with rage.
Excuse me, I have drugs to take.

Did the roof cave? Was there a flood?

No, just a lot of nonsense.

So, I've been out 'sick' the last two days and I return to work to find an email account loaded with many exciting new happenings in the library world. 80 new happenings. Apparently, Joe wasn't feeling well on Monday - so he went home early, Sue had a doctor's appointment, there was an update to the library's homepage, oops there was another one to correct the first, there is an exciting article on George Washington in the paper - we should all read it, hey did you all read the exciting post on some listserv or other?, Student Joe needs a sub, Student Sue will do it, Student Jane needs a sub, Student Beth will do it, No- wait she can't, Student Bob can!, complaint to Loki, belligerent complaint that Loki didn't address the first complaint, snotty email that if Loki won't do it she will! And on and on and on.

It never really hits home all the useless tasks that fill your day until you've been gone and are confronted with it.

I'm bummed.

Well, it seems that as I've been gone the last 2 days that I missed something HUGE! Apparantly the BOTBOAL got put in her place by HER boss. In a meeting. In front of others. Someplace I would normally have been. Doesn't that just take the cake? I'm all pleased with myself that I've gotten out of work for a couple days and I miss the moment I've been waiting for. Is vengeance still mine if I was sleeping?

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Something is in the Air

...and it appears to be disease! Its such a joy, working with students, the way they sneeze into their hands then go right ahead and touch things. (Not to mention going to the bathroom and just drying their hands, not washing them!)

The computer: "Loki, there's a funny screen on the computer, can you come look?"
The phone: "There's someone on the phone and asking for someone who buys stuff, but I can't understand what they're saying - Here."
The pens: "Loki, can you take down this person's information while I help the others?"
The bowl of half-off candy hearts: "Loki, did you know there's candy in the student lounge?"

Somehow, it would seem less offensive if they would just come up and lick you. There'd be no surprise when you woke up the next morning with a sore throat and ringing ears.

Well, let's look at the bright side, because we love the bright side at L.I., at least I don't have big plans this weekend... no... wait... I DO! Damn it!

Hmmm... think, think, where's the bright side here?

Passing it on. If I have to have it, everyone else does too!

Monday, February 14, 2005

Blockbuster sympathy

Attention Blockbuster employees, you have my sincere sympathies for the hassles of your occupation. Namely, what you must go through to actually get your DVD's and videos returned. I'm not talking about the BOXES, because if it is like the library you get those returned all the time - it is the actual, physical discs and cassettes that seem to be forgotten.

Is it so hard to remember to put them into the case before returning it to the library? Do patrons realize it doesn't actually count as being returned when the contents are missing? Its like returning a book jacket. Gee, thanks for the thought, but I think the next person will want the book!

...and WHY do they think that its ok for it to be days, weeks, or MONTHS before they bring the inside bits back? I've got 4 missing content items sitting on my desk right this minute. 4! 2 of them have been here over a week. I can't wait until the end of the semester rolls around and these people try to register and come up against the hold on their record:

"I tried to register and they told me I can't because the library has put a hold on my account!"
"Yes mam/sir/dufus, you have this overdue item..."
"I returned that in February!"
"...that has remained on your account because you did not return the video/DVD/CDRom."
pause. "Well, if I didn't return it there must not have been one inside!"

I love that. Oh, so you kept a DVD box for 3 weeks, then just returned it and didn't tell us it was empty?

Sunday, February 13, 2005

User error

Ever get that on your computer? I have had two user errors today.
Not on my computer. Patrons who have what seems like a geniune complaint and when you delve(to make a careful or detailed search for information) deeper in order to help them you realize that it's their utter and complete lack of common sense that has brought them to you.

The first one was a complaint about the reserve policy. When the patron returned the book she had borrowed she proceded to explain to me that everyone in her class would want that volume and only that volume. And that the student working the desk didn't know what she wanted when she asked for it.
Well, first of all you gave her the wrong call number. Second even if you had the right call number you neglected to tell us which of the three volumes you wanted. Third, and most important, on the reserve page it told you very clearly that the call number you wanted was a reference book and unable to be checked out which is why we gave you the circulating copy in the first place.
When I checked into this and told her why we made the perceived mistake she dismissed it all as something that wouldn't affect her. She only wanted us to fix the mistake and make it easier for everyone else to use the book.
Well, it is easy to use the book. And it does affect you. You are the only one with the problem here, since there wasn't a mistake on our end. In fact there wasn't any way on the reserve page to make it any clearer.
It was all user error.

The second user error was about a copier. Someone comes by and says all three copiers in the library are broken and what do we do about it?
Since we knew only one was broken we make sure that he is right before calling in service again. They like that. No use fixing what isn't broken.
The copier in question was just in enery save mode. Not broken, not even off. But the student didn't even have the brains to lift the top.
Which we told him later on. (The energy save part not where are your brains part)
He, of course, insisted that it was the copier not him that had the problem.
It was all user error.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Explanation? Anyone?

So yesterday, on one of my many bathroom breaks (I drink a lot of tea) I enter a stall. The girl in the other stall is, uh, 'finishing her business'. While I'm in my stall, I hear her exit and begin excessive fussing with her clothes. I know because she was wearing a lot of nylon - all that shwooshing. Well, I'm finishing, she's still fussing. THEN she turns on the hand dryer. I exit the stall, she exits the bathroom.

Ok, she never turned on the water. Why did she need to use the hand dryer?

Thursday, February 10, 2005

BOTBOAL Meeting Etiquette

[Exciting news! L.I. Has received a top-secret copy of BOTBOAL - "Boil On The Butt Of All Librarians" - meeting etiquette. Extracts follow.]

When attending a meeting led by one's subordinate, always break into their opening remarks so that they lose their train of thought. This will make them appear unprepared and incompetent and thus make you appear less so. (This tactic may also be applied to instructional situations.)

At the same such meeting, periodically inform that subordinate that they should have done something, they shouldn't do something, or question why they did not prepare to discuss something completely random. Once again, the subordinate looks like an incompetent and maybe no one will notice that you do not blink and your pants are 3 inches too high.

When attending a meeting with one's colleagues and an issue comes up that falls under your governance, always pinpoint your subordinate in the group with your glassy eyes and expound on how you agree that something is wrong and you would like to know why it hasn't been corrected. By staring at your subordinate, the implication should be clear that it is their fault and not yours.

Never attend a meeting with copies of the agenda and related documents. Then, as the meeting begins, interrupt the meeting chair wanting to know where your 'copy' is. When one is not provided for you, make sure you inform the meeting leader that they should always bring copies of agendas and relevant documents for everyone at the meeting. Remain oblivious that you are the only one who didn't bring a copy.

Conversely, when you are chair of a meeting never make copies of items for others in the meeting. Additionally, make sure you do not elude to any particular documents you mean to discuss before the meeting. Then when all attendees are unprepared with the document copies lecture them that they should always arrive at meetings with the appropriate such copies.

When making database presentations at a meeting and you do not know the answer to a question a colleague asks you inform them that information is not available. If another librarian points out that it is and the location in that database they can find the information, inform the attendees that must be a new feature because it wasn't there when you checked yesterday.

When a voted upon decision is made that you disagree with make sure to refer back to the topic randomly throughout a meeting in such a way as either you or the other attendees misunderstood the original topic and consequent decision. If your tactics are identified by a colleague, present your defense so it is clear that you misunderstood because the original presentation of the topic was inappropriately done. Then firmly assert that your decision on the topic is that one that was agreed upon. If enough circular arguments are presented other attendees will become confused and will forget that you were the only one who disagreed with the made upon decision.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Have you ever...

been so bored that you could fall asleep right where you are?

It's happened to me. Once when I was in college. NOT in class. Although my economics class would have been good.
And once when I was in a major library training seminar.
And now. It is sooooo slow in the library. I could leave and no one would notice. Good thing I brought a book. And that I have 2 things to look forward to. I bought the Pride and Prejudice DVD, and I am going on vacation.
The only other thing kept me sane was the foreign language searching I had to do. Finished that. Watch out world!
Not even a nutcase or two to worry about.
I wonder if I snore?

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Reserve Transaction.

Patron: "I need to return this reserve book."
Me: "Alrightly! Thanks."
Her: "Can I check it out again?"
Me: "Did you already renew it once? (Nods) Then no. It has to stay here for a couple hours before you can have it again."
Her: "Can I use it in the library?"
Me: "No. You have to check out reserve books and this one has to STAY here so that it is available for someone else."


Now you see me...

Why is it, when patrons come to the desk, they always come up on the far side of counter where you are standing? There's nobody down there! Come over here!

To expound things, when they finally come over to where you are patiently waiting to help them, they stop at the checkout computer you are not standing in front of.

"Just a couple more steps... come on... that's it - you can do it."

Are they obtuse or are they poking at you with a stick?

Monday, February 07, 2005


L.I.'s Law: As soon as things are looking good, an email will come to send you right over the edge!

I just posted the previous 'happy' message, maximized the email client and BAM! I was sent over the edge to irrational rage. Got an email about a committee that had been formed for important library services. Of course the BOTBOAL (Boil on the butt of all librarians - the boss) was on it, as well as the library Kiss Ass, and the Hag from Hell. The hag is a woman who lacks any, I mean ANY, customer service ability. She's actually said to people "What do you want?" and "Why don't you look this up before you come over here and bother me?". She is a grade A bitch - not in the good way. I don't know how she's done it, but she's managed to make a couple of the top two admins think she is smart with 'great' ideas. If they had asked any of the 10 staff who work with her on a regular basis they would have heard something else entirely!

Why the hell is she on a services committee? She's not a part of the department, she's not a librarian*, she doesn't work well with people, she's an idiot, etc.

This trifecta of incompetence will plunge an already sinking library to the bottom of the sea!

*This is a sub-issue for me. For 7 years I was a non-librarian staff member and I recall thinking how much smarter I was than some librarians and that non-professional staff have valuable, if not more valuable contributions to make than those squirreled away in meetings. Well, now I'm a librarian. I'm doing all the boring meeting stuff, but I maintain my regular work with the running of things. Do I now get asked for the cool and important stuff? NO! Now they give those positions to the regular folk. The fatuous folk. I recognize that there are staff who can make great contributions, but many can't. The Hag is one. Why, oh WHY can't people of real value to a project be chosen to be on it regardless of employment position??!!

Leveled Out.

Well, it seems my extreme mood swings have leveled out... on the UP side. Apparently my coworkers have never seen me so hyper and wonder what I am taking. Not the pink pills. My mother tells me those are just placebos. (Uh-huh, I didn't want to touch that one!)

My ire has been minimal. I have had a lot of freak good things come available to me and I am very suspicious. Either I am receiving 2 years of good luck or I'm about to die. So, I'd better get my effects in order.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Living a very sheltered life.

A patron, older wrinkled lady who decided she couldn't live without using one specific computer, just told me that she had never seen anyone so rude as me.
I tell you she's lived an extremly sheltered life. Because I can point out strangers on the street who are 1,000 times more rude than I was.
And what promted this outburst? She wanted to use our telephone. It's not a public access phone. I tried to explain it to her.

I kept getting interrupted during this explanation. And in a brilliant use of logic, she told me that "I have already started!" She said that as she was dialing for the second time. Very smugly too. (The student not aware of the policy gave her the phone)
So being a good enforcer of the library policies I disconnected her second attempt to call someone.
That of course made her mad and she went on a rant about how no one in her life has ever been as rude as I was. She demanded my name and then before I could answer she told me she was a faculty member and no librarian should ever act like that.
Then she stormed out. As I said, she has lived a very sheltered life.

I will admit that I shouldn't have disconnected her. Although I didn't see any other solution. And I did weight the pros and cons before I did it. I would have let the first time go by. Not the second. Especially since she had been told of our policy, AND it looked suspiciously like a long distance number.
If you are calling on campus sure. Not anywhere else.
And here's something. If you are a faculty member why are you using our computers and our telephones instead of the office they assigned you?
You'd probably be able to call any one from the office.
Oh, well. I guess I have to send the boss an e-mail telling her why I did it and what the reaction was. I probably will get the customer service lecture. I can live with that. And sometimes she does surprise me with her support against the evil patrons.

Friday, February 04, 2005

I have met the enemy

And have been trampled underfoot.
While I was experiencing life as a library doormat, I figured out our major problem. Well, not ours really. Everyone else's.
Librarians, for the most part, like books. We work where we do not just for the money, but because we like being around books and we like to read and learn.

The people who come in have specific goals. They want to use the computers, or check out videos and DVD's. Sometimes they need a meeting place. Or they didn't get the newspaper.
They do use the books, but only the ones they think are worth their time. The rest of the millions of items in the collection are so much flotsam. (An accumulation of miscellaneous or unimportant stuff) New word of the day.
Which is not how we see it. We see everything in the library as important and relevant. And it is. We don't understand how anyone else could see it otherwise. It's so obvious. But we all know how often the obvious gets overlooked in this world.
And because everything is important to someone somewhere we want to preserve and protect it for them. Not have it water damaged, dogeared, dropped at the beach, used as a coaster or beamed up by aliens and been tested.

So in short we have many enemies. And it's not paranoia if they are really after you. And we all know that they are out there. Coming in right before closing, talking on the cell phones, eating sandwiches, hiding books, and bringing them back late and shouting about late fees.
Stand fast my comrades! We will overcome.
And if we don't let's look into that electrified fence and cow prod. Anyone know where we could get a discount if we buy in bulk?

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Fight the power!

Why does The Man want to keep Loki from havin' some good times? Whenever I'm standing out at the desk chattin' with the students or another librarian who doesn't piss me off all I hear is "shh!" or "We can hear you on the other side of the library!" Well goody for you! If it bothers the students, don't you think they would come ask me to keep it down? I mean, I'm approachable, once you get past the big scar, combat boots, 6' height, and numbchucks strapped at the waist. Its not like I'll attack them. In public. With witnesses. They totally have time to ask me to keep it down and then run for their lives. And I hate it most when they tell me to watch my language. What the heck is wrong with 'bastard'? I mean it is an excellent word. It can be a noun or an adjective, sometimes even an adverb. It is universally known even with its many definitions. I dare you to use it in a sentence and NOT have someone know what it means.


[I may have exaggerated the description thing. I'm just under 6' and they told me I can't bring any 'weapons' to work (we are still working out what that covers; so far hammers, knives, baseball bats, wrenches, clubs, cast iron skillets, shovels, wooden clogs, oars, spark plugs, and curtain rods are OUT.) But the scar would be cool. I suppose I could draw one on. I just don't know if that would have the same effect.]

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Mental Snap.

Loki is currently experiencing technical difficulties. Please excuse the bizarre and random comments she is providing for all previous posts.

Name tags.

The other day at a university wide unit meeting the issue of name tags was brought up. It seems at one of the libraries they all wear nametags and campus Reference Librarians think this is a "great idea!" apparently it makes you very approachable to patrons (because all college kids want to know the names of those they are tormenting with their ignorance). I understand Public Librarians are often subjected to this depravity.

Loki is opposed to name tags. Two options exist for anyone who tries to make me wear one: They can eat it or They can have my foot up their ass. Their choice.