Librarian Ire

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Nothing better to do

For those you keeping count another ILL idiot.

Apparently this student realized that I would have NOTHING better to do on the first day back from the long Easter weekend so she very kindly sent me many ILL requests. Why thank you so much. I wouldn't have known what to do with myself with only lost books to be found, paging books for the rest of the student body, or shelving. Oh, no. That's not enough to keep two people busy for 8 hours.(HA!)
There was nothing more important for me to do than look for one dozen ILL requests for the most obscure journals ever published.(I am serious about the 12 requests.)
I spent hours looking for these books. (Thank you RLIN21)There were 3 that weren't listed in any database that I could see.
I had to ask a library in Australia for another one, since they were the only place on the PLANET EARTH that had this journal! Which is always a good sign.
Tip, if you can't find it in this country, maybe you are doing the wrong topic.

And it really ticks me off when you ask for a 5 page article via ILL when the main library has the whole set in the reference room! I find great joy in cancelling those type of requests.
I know you didn't want to check out the book, because you asked for p.63-72. So you could have walked your little self down to the main library, and copied it instead of bothering ME! The whole point of Interlibrary Loan is if we don't have what you are looking for you can get it from someone who does. So to use it when your library does own the item baffles me.
Either it's laziness or stupidity. And I REALLY hope it's laziness.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Exhibit A, anti-ALA

summ: Run by idiots. Elected by... ?

So I snagged a copy of the Feb. 15th edition of the Library Journal from the staff room. I am quickly zipping through its mediocre contents, when an article catches my eye. There on pg. 44 is "Revenge of the Blog People"! Well, this may be interesting seeing as I am now of member of the blog people.

The article is written by a Michael Gorman, who until now I had never even heard of. Apparently he is the upcoming president of the ALA. In his little editorial he seems to be discussing digitalization, google, and bloggers. All of which, it seems, pretty much suck. Anyway, my eyes were opened by a lovely paragraph titled: "Who are Blog People". It seems we blog people - and that includes you readers! - 'judge on the basis of what we think rather than what is actually said/written' and that 'we are not in the habit of sustained reading of complex texts', 'our intellectual needs are met by an accumulation of random facts'. I'm puzzled about this whole 'complex text' thing. What texts is he referring to? Plato? Read all his works, half of them in the original Greek. Cicero? Ditto above. The Bible? Tolstoy? Dickens? How to be an ALA president for Dummies? Granted, I have only read 2 books this week, so perhaps this dumps me in the dunce pile.

You know though, upon consideration, Gorman says that 'he had not spent much time thinking about blogs' but that 'he had heard of the activities of bloggers'. His essay seems to be contrived from a number of blog comments about him forwarded to him by his friends. There's something here... wait for it... Ah! I see. Mr. Gorman apparently satisfies his intellectual needs by an accumulation of random facts. Bravo, idiot.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Excuse me miss-ter, you're going to have to put those away.

Just when you think the day is a wash...

Me, at the desk. The door, opening. I glance up and am startled by the 'headlights' on the woman approaching. 'Just b/c she's flat chested does not mean she should skip the bra!' I'm thinking, when a deep voice asks me:

"Is there somewhere I can post signs?"

A man! A man with quite a set of nipples (should I be saying that?), wearing a short - above the knee - tan fitted business skirt, black panty hose, and black knee-high high-heeled leather boots. It was something. Excluding the transvestite in the Colorado rest stop, I've only ever seen the guys wearing the long flowy skirts. He had pretty nice legs, I have to say.

But the REAL question is, what did he post on the bulletin board?

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Deal with the devil?

I don't remember making one. I hope not. I was looking forward to Heaven. At the very least a few years in Purgatory. Never saw myself as an Inferno resident.
On the Ides of March I was given the responsibility of looking for the lost and missing books. Lots of those here(or not here really).
So tonight I go to look for the reported missing from last fall. Out of the first 15 I can't find 2!!!!
All the others were right where they were supposed to be. Including the book that we were supposed to have on reserve and NO ONE could find. I go right to the shelf and there it is.
Be afraid, be very afraid.
On the bright side this makes me look good. I bet my efficiency rating goes up. Always a good thing when applying for promotions and such.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Forgotten books?

Why do library patrons insist on regaling me with tales of their exploits(or not) when they come to pick up a long forgotten book?
Spring break for us has ended. Only a few days ago. So students are straggling back to pick up the items that they so desperately wanted before they headed off to the sunshiney areas of the country, like Utah. (At least according to the moron, oops I meant Mormon who hangs out here like a leech)
Anyway. Someone new to the small borrowing consortium we belong to came in and told me the whole tale of how she forgot she asked for this book before break and is just now checking her e-mail after returning from her vacation.
There was a pause. I was sort of hoping she'd fill in the blank of who she was. No, just taking a breath. Then she launched into part two saying it was a direct book and she really needed it and could I get it for her.
I was nonplussed(cause to be at a loss as to what to say, think or do) since I wasn't really sure what a direct book was.
And she still hadn't told me who she was. I suddenly realized she meant an ILL book and asked for her name. How she got direct book from ILL is beyond me. I was really hoping we had sent it back to the lending library. But no, it was on the shelf waiting for her. My one consolation is that she only has a week and a half left on the loan.
I didn't care why you hadn't picked it up before now. I don't spend hours wondering why you've left this book to languish. I rarely have that kind of time.
So tell me who you are and let me know you've got books and we can both be on our way.

Not As Loud As You'd Think

That is, when an eyeball explodes. March is supposed to be a decent month - entrance of spring, school breaks, looking forward to the end of the term, summer. Instead someone went and lit a match under the BOTBOAL and I have suffered cruelly! I have pretty much accepted that my objectivity in any of her goings on is nonexistent, however for this I KNOW I do not over-react. Thus, the eyeball exploding when I heard...

Reference Service. Library Open to the public, whose professed mission is to help any person - member or community - with their reference needs regarding this discipline. I get a call from someone in the community, a doosey of a question, but one that fell within our realm of expertise here. I am unsuccessful, so I ask some of the other, more seasoned, reference librarians for advice finding the answer. BOTBOAL comes up to me: "Is this person you're helping a student or faculty member?" "No, they work for some office in the government." "Then you've helped them enough. You shouldn't be wasting your time helping them."

WHAT?! I could not believe this! My entire job is to help them! I can't quite determine what exactly her problem was with this. I didn't spend too much time on it (about 10 mins before the query), no one responded to my query with any additional pointers for search - so no wasting there. My sole duty at that moment was to provide reference assistance and there was no one else waiting. Not to mention that just 2 days before at a big staff meeting she gave a little talk on how important it was for us to serve the community, that we shouldn't provide service any differently to different peoples/groups.

This is just a tinsy little annoyance on top of 2 hellish weeks. I expect my other eye to go by friday, and my head? Well, I can already feel the swollen brain putting pressure on the skull. I'm expecting a beautiful red explosion of blood and matter by memorial day.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Harassed Patron

Well on Saturday I got to be a harassed library patron. I trotted myself down to the public library to check out a hard-to-find book. I had placed a hold and gotten the message it was ready. I appeared with my id out - ready to be scanned. Of course, I got the high-school student helper. The computer beeps. She stares. She looks towards the librarian for assistance. The librarian comes over and informs me my account's blocked because my address is wrong.
"Oh really?" I ask.
"Yes" She says.
She then repeats the address.
"That's the right address."
"Are you sure?" She asks.
"Yeah, or some stranger must think I'm overly familiar, sleeping in their bed." creak creak go the crickets.
No sense of humor THIS one. So I'm then told that my phone number must be wrong. She repeats. I confirm.
"Well, there must be a mistake." Implication being 'mistake on my part'.
"I got a voice message yesterday about this book that I'm here to pick up now, so there definitely isn't a problem with the phone number."
Well, the 'block' talk was dropped right then and I was submitted to the beginnings of a lengthy explanation about choosing a PIN number because of some new security system, why you need one, how systems works. Being a librarian and pretty quick-witted, I had it. "I know what a PIN number is, I know what a barcode is, and I'll select a new one from my account online when I get home. I'm really in a hurry here for my book."
The librarian then began to tell me about how I could access my account online!! ARGH!

Now I know she probably deals with a great deal more ignorance than I do from the academic sector and that I am slightly more impatient than the norm, but I am highly insulted I was dumped into the ignoramus pile without any evaluation process. I do everything I can in advance, online, and even then I hit a half dozen bookstores trying to get my own copy before I resort to the library. Where's my slack - my professional courtesies??!

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Waging war aganist my sanity

Not that I have a lot to boast of. Which makes it even worse.
A nameless university in Pennsylvania has declared war aganist me. I don't think it's personal. At least I hope not.
But in the last month, they have lost a book, sent a book back, without paperwork, with a post it note saying they didn't ask for it, returned a book telling us it was the wrong book and then turned around and asked for it again for the same patron, and asked for film we don't have.
It's scary.
I am hoping that they hired someone new. Any other theory is too disturbing to contemplate.
Maybe it's just new person mistakes, but there is a high percentage of them heading to me. One mistake once a week has been the norm. And it's not an oversight. It's a glaringly obvious mistake. Do you know how to read?
As one comic says, "Here's your sign." Meaning a stupid sign.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Not a phrase tally but...

Another thing that bugs the hell out of me. Something I have to tell people at least once a day is that we don't allow you to use cell phones in the library.
I told a patron, who was on his cell phone, that we ask you not to use them in the library. (Direct quote by the way)I was pleasant, straightforward and polite. In case he missed the freaking signs that are posted everywhere!
He turned to me with a glare and held up a finger and continued on talking. His wife was giving him a shopping list.
First, of all you are the rude one, not me. I have work to do and have no desire to listen to your half of a banal conversation.
Second, if you insist on coming into the library with your cell phone either turn the *^%**@ thing off or leave when you get a call. That's what most people do anyway.
Third, this is not the first time we have told you the policy or the first time we have had problems with you about other things. We do remember them and will get you eventually.
I explained to him why we ask you to not talk on the phone in the library. Because every other student who needs to study and write papers and the people who actually get paid to be here are disturbed when you use your phone. And they complain to us. Loudly, incessently.
He said he wasn't expecting any calls. Note that this guy is less than 5 feet from the front door. So then your phone should have been off. We should have a cell phone check somewhere. Leave your phone before you enter in certain public places like libraries and museums.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

A Project, Beginning Today.

Another day... another hour wasted... another dozen brain cells killed, imploded with idiocy that sometimes occurs in my occupation. I've decided that instead of focusing on the Mother Load of bullshit hurled at me (because it really is hard keeping up with recording that), I'd focus my attention on those little nuggets that really let you know what the speaker ate to create such stench. (Enough of that analogy! I really tried to carry it through, but, well, ick.)

To that end, I have been noticing a pattern of speaking and therefore (lack) of thought processes. There are a few phrases that particular unnamed individuals use excessively in work related conversations. I am going to make it my pet project to record the number of times these phrases are used erroneously (because they are ALWAYS used so), revealing their great ignorance of not only their profession but of simple communications happening all around them.

Phrases and tallies will be shown on the lefthand toolbar.

Should I worry?

Maybe it's just me. But I have noticed lately that some of the students in my library are requesting odd books.
There were three books for one person on the bubonic plague. And one patron asked for a book on epidemics. Like the plague. And cholera and smallpox. And then there was the book about suicide and the ethics of death.
Now there isn't a really good reason for people in my library to be asking about major diseases. We don't do things like that. Languages, history and philosophy are more our speed.
Now if was a science library, I'd be less worried.
But considering some of the wackos who frequent the place...

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Ides of March Tracker

Beware the Ides of March - Hooray! (I don't know... sounded like a jingle in need of an ending.)

L.I. has decided to closely track the happenings of this day, March 15th, to determine whether this ancient day of doom has cursed us all with bad luck in perpetuity.

To that end, check back to see what events unfold...

To begin, Loki foolishly purchased a Pepsi for breakfast instead of Coke. blak. What could have possibly driven her to do such a thing??

Collegue is "sick" (yeah right!) and I'm stuck with her load. Slacker!

Some #@$$ student dumped the "necessities" bin all over the women's bathroom. SO ick. Ick.

Had to speak with the arch-nemesis 2x! The horror. Oh. The horror.

Fellow Librarian reports she will bake me a cake for my assistance in locating a book. Very suspicious.

Spent hours dealing with a crazy circulation worker at another university who's book we seem to have lost. Definitly should invite him to L.I. He's on the edge.

Nike reports:

I was made to search for missing and lost books in the stacks. My least favorite project. Which is now mine for the foreseeable future. Loki wishes she could hide in the stacks.

I haven't gotten one ILL request at all today. That's just freaky. Loki wants to know where that Gutenberg Bible she ordered is??!

And this morning someone nearly ran me off the road. Sorry, did see you.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Here's a Commie...

(oops. Not like the "bastards" but like the pretentious shortening of a word. Like saying "bennies" instead of benefits. My mind is obviously on the actions of my arch-nemesis.)

AnyWAY. A common ILL patron "Doh!" They return their ILL book. You ask, "Are you returning this?" "Yes." They assert. They stand there while you check it in. Watch carefully as you direct the book back to its appropriate library and THEN go:

"I didn't finish reading that book. Can I renew it?"

Alllrightey, let's read this big white sleeve that is wrapped around the front of the book. Hmm. Title. Author. Owning Library. Borrower Name. Borrowing Library. Barcode. Address. Hmm - here in this 24 pt, all caps, bolded font is says "For renewals or any borrowing questions call 555-5555."

"Did you call the department?"
"I didn't know I was supposed to."
"When is the book due?"
"It was due a couple weeks ago."

Oh god. I counted like 6 idiot infractions there. THEN, when I made them call the ILL department and ask, this is what they say:

"You have reserved a book for me that I just checked out and I would like to renew it."

Friday, March 11, 2005

Alright already!

If you're that bored I have something you can do.

Plug in your headphones and go to:

And now let me ingest my caffeine in peace.


Thursday, March 10, 2005

More ILL idiotcy

I love stories like this one.

It says very clearly in our catalog that this item is restricted for use ONLY in the library. Our library. Not anyone else's.
Yet someone out in ILL-land thinks that we are going to take leave of our senses and let them have this item
Yeah dream on.

I don't care if you wanted a copy. If it says for library use only do you think it is able to BE copied?
We did that for a reason! Annoying you is just a side benefit.

reserve musings

I never noticed how many people come in with problems relating to reserves until this week.
And as a side note I noticed that the amount of traffic there is on the road increases my stress levels proportionally.
Anyway reserves. Mostly it's whiny people. I returned this on time and still got a fine. Ok, let's suspend reality for a moment. Yes, the computer system hates you and does this just to you for malicious reasons. We are sorry and will forgive all your fines and promise that it will never happen again. Fantasy break is over. Back to reality and logic. If you returned it on time and actually handed it to someone like you the sign says you wouldn't have a fine.
And the weather is not a valid excuse for turning in reserve books two days late. It is winter. It does rain and snow and is cold here. You knew that. So telling me that you couldn't leave your house for 2 days because of the snow isn't something I am going to believe. We didn't get that much snow. And there are plows. I will concede the evening fines weren't your fault since we were closed and the computer didn't compensate. But that was one day.
It's sort of amazing how many people think just because there aren't any classes that they can keep a reserve book past the due date and not be penalized for it. Uh we meant for the whole semester. Weekends, holidays and any other day.
Really the only excuse I accept is death. Oh you died? Well, then no fines. But I better not see you around!
And someone from your estate better return those books!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Licensing Required

I'm thinking that the operation of any technical equipment should require a license. I mean, sure we have all sorts of software and computers and stuff, but that doesn't mean its my job to teach you how to operate them. If you don't know how to use a mouse - go away. If you don't know what 'wireless' means, you can't use it. If you don't know how to use Photoshop you're shit out of luck because neither do I and I'm not learning! (Well, I wouldn't mind learning, but I will still assert I don't know how b/c I'm not providing training on it!)

Today I got a guy come ask me for help with his scanning. I dutifully follow him over to the machine.

"Is there any way we can adjust the image quality?"
"Well no," I tell him as we trek over "we just have the base model scanner and we've got it set up for middle of the road b/c we don't want people messing it all up." hint hint

When I get over to the machine, I examine the document.
"What exactly do you want to correct?" I ask, already having deduced what this guy's problem is.
"Well, look - its all blurry you can't read a thing."
"You know this is just the preview, right? When you close this little operation screen the full size image appears." He was complaining about the quality of the 4"x 6" screen miniature of the scanned document.

"Oh! Cool."

Thank god he didn't have a thumb drive - who knows where in the heck he would have tried sticking that!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


Had a double dufus day yesterday. I can't decide if 2 interactions with the same dufus is better or worse than 2 separate dufusae. In a way I can almost trick myself that this could mean there is actually 1 less dufus in the world... if I'm drinking that is. Its harder to do that now that I got sent all that "Drugs in the Workplace" literature. You mention something once, in fun, and the dopey office manager thinks your an alkie. Geez.

ANYWAY, The first dufus attack came while I was in my office. I was not on duty. It was not my responsibility to handle the miscreants during that time. But they just HAVE to seek me out:

knock knock - I look up and frown - "Is there something you can do about the noise?"
I listen and think. What noise? "What kind of noise?"
"The doors. People keep going in and out, its hard to concentrate on my work."
"I'm sorry, there's really nothing that can be done about the doors and people going through them. This floor has the circulation desk and the computer lab, its always..."
Interrupts me! "Are there any other computers?!"
"Not the same as on this floor, but there are..."
And the S.O.B just walks away in the middle of my explanation. I don't know who in the heck that guy was. A dufus, obviously, but he was like 40 with really stupid hair.

So THEN, 7 hours later I am sitting at the Reference desk. I see this guy storm up to the desk out of the corner of my eye (he was stomping and beelined to me) and he demands "Where are those other computers?!"
It took me a minute to remember him after going through my initial: What the heck is HE talking about?
"One floor up are some computers that have..."
And he walked away AGAIN! Hey! Dumbass! Wait until someone finishes the sentence. It's not like I talk slow or I've been going on forever its been 2 seconds.

When he turned and stormed off I received a lovely whiff of his stale smoke b.o. This dufus will make some bimbo a happy woman.

Friday, March 04, 2005


Its an epidemic!! I got an email from another person higher up on the pole volunteering me for an activity. What the blooming-heck is going on here?!

I have a good mind to go out and get pregnant! Make them give me maternity leave. That'd show 'em! Then I could develop an addiction to drugs and they'd have to send me away to detox, then throw myself down the stairs and get workwoman's comp and rehabilitation. Why if they don't watch it they'll be sorry!

The Peeps

Easter's approaching and every librarian I know is sending me the "Peep Research" link.

"Yes, yes, I saw that when it came out years ago." But then it occurred to me, perhaps there is an Ire reader who is ignorant of that little piece of brilliance. So here it is:

I wish I could do cool projects like this for work.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Why me?

Someone returned a book today. But since it wasn't one of ours there was consternation in the ranks.
Is it ILL? No. I checked. And since we own 5 copies of that book there was no way it would have ever been ILL'd.
So I hunt down the phone number of the university library it belongs too. Took me three tries to find a phone number for someone in the library. I foresee a big long distance bill next month. Time to update the website more often people!
It took 10 minutes to explain to the woman I finally reached out in the wilds of Utah what the problem was. I don't know maybe it was too hard to understand, but I didn't think so. I told her we got the book back, it belonged to them and we needed to know if it was lost or missing or if it was checked out to someone.
She wanted to know if I needed the mailing address. Uh-no, but thanks. I just wanted them to know we had it and if it was lost it wasn't anymore and we were sending it back. In fact it was already addressed and ready to be mailed.
She finally got it and told me who had the book. (Note to self, check library privacy policies when applying for jobs.)
I thanked her and continued on my competent way.

Again with the stupidity?

BOTBOAL is at it again. Started out the day in a meeting by asking questions that were just answered 30 seconds before. Then she's followed it up by volunteering agenda topics to people for an upcoming meeting. I am seriously considering going to the meeting and giving out a blank look when my assigned topic comes up.

"What?" I will say. "I didn't say I would discuss that."

Then I can play all "Oh, you sent an email saying I would do that? Huh. I never got that email. Perhaps you should either ask or tell me these things beforehand to guarantee I'll be prepared."

Hopefully important people will then be there and she'll look like the FOOL she is!! ha ha!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

ILL insanity

Yes dear readers, it is time for another update on the insanity and incompetence that is ILL Lending. Well in some places. Not MY unit.
This episode started several weeks ago.

We got a book back from a library with a little yellow post-it note stuck in it's pages (and as any librarian knows that's a bad thing to do to a book) saying that this book was sent to the wrong library. I say we got it back, but it was sent to the wrong lending unit and they had to send it to us. So add another day to the shipping times.

These things happen. I am not saying that I do them, but the paperwork could get confused or the shipping department was really busy that day. So I find out where the book was supposed to go. I look it up and am a little confused at the information there. They got the book, and gave it to the patron(I assume as they had it a month) and then sent it back to us. With the wrong library note in it. And nothing else. No paperwork, no thank you note, no address labels.

And this is not the first time this has happened at this library. The last time there was a problem they sent the book back saying our patron didn't ask for it, when of course we had all the information down on the request copy. Then they realized that the patron still needed it and had to ask us for it again! I laughed.
What are these people smoking?

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Head Wound Harry

Did I remember to relate how one of the admin. schmucks was bleeding from a cut on his bald head for 2 days??! It was a tiny trickle of blood (drying at 8:30 am, then dried for the next 2 days) coming from what looked to be a shaving nick or a paper cut. Either of which is seems impossible to get that high up on the head... underneath his 3 strands of hair. It was very obvious - did he not look in the mirror? Not to mention is was there all the next day too! He is married - was the wife enjoying a chuckle?

Too funny. I made sure to point it out to everyone so they could see and laugh.

Take Her Out Back

BOTBOAL strikes again.

She's out at the circ desk when I come out. She happens to be standing in front of a drawer I need something from. I say "Excuse me.", open the drawer, and take out the stapler remover. Her bugged eyes are watching my every move (unblinking, natch).

So I go to my office (within full view of the circ desk) and proceed to remove the hundreds of staples from documents I need to shred. I then go downstairs to shred and pop up 5 minutes later to empty the paper into the big paper recycler. This takes all of 20 seconds, and I'm just about at the door to the stairs when the BOTBOAL goes: "Do you still have the stapler remover, because I need it." I've had it less than 10 minutes, I'm clearly in the middle of something, she never even knew there was a stapler remover out in that drawer, not to mention there is one on the supply counter not 15 feet from where her stands.

I don't know what in the hell is wrong with this woman. I really, really don't. But someone needs take her out back and put me out of my misery.