Librarian Ire

Thursday, June 30, 2005

2nd Go at the Exhibitions

Well, I didn't get to see the drill competition after all. Decided to do something non-ALA. However, I have hopes I can swing a look at a video someone made. I heard there was quite a performance by the Las Vegas team. They were spanking their carts? It must be a Sin City thing.

My second day's hall was quite exceptional. I got still more books, these though were quite a nice collection of shelf-ready books. ARC's just don't have the resale value as regulars. I may even read a few of them, though they aren't my usual style. My kinda cool freebi of the day was a signed guidebook from Frommer. That guy was very jolly and very old. Unfortunately, the guidebook was for Texas. Not gonna be going there, so it'll go to a used bookstore. Still.

Not much freakiness about. I did have more cake - I wonder how many cakes that booth went through? That I'd be interested in knowing. There was still an freakishly long line for the Demco spin-the-wheel game. Geez, no way would I stand in line to get tape and post-it notes. Crazy.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

I'm a Survivor.

Of ALA day 1. No small feat with the near riot this morning. Luck was with me and I barely missed the brou-ha-ha. Foolishly, I decided to get my exhibition pass this morning first thing (Its the greatest value of this conference, in my opinion). Well. Chaos. The registration area was about 1/4 of the size it needed to be, lines to different things blended together, no one was moving - no one knew where to go. I later heard that at about 10:30 they closed down the elevators up to registration and wouldn't allow people up. This made for a lot of angry librarians who were bottled up.

An hour and 20 minutes I trudged along, just about at the breaking point, I'll tell you. Finally I arrived to the 'invitation' registration and quickly typed in my info for the badge to print out. As an aside, you would not believe how slow most librarians type! Anyway, I get to the print out and I get screwed - of course. The lady rips the long print out between me and the person who went after me and begins updating with the person after me. My bunch of badges she threw on the counter. 15 minutes later, after I had yelled a bit (me and others!) she got me my badge and I was off. Of course, I had missed the first hour plus of exhibition time which means I didn't get first dibs on all the free books those most excellent publishers put out for us greedy gusses. Still, I was able to make quite a hall for day 1.

Highlighs of the day: Free cake, free ice cream dots, free candy, silly exhibitors wearing mules.

Lowlights: $8 chicken sandwich, $3 coke, and an Elvis Impersonator (gave me the creeps!)

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Another day another $20,000?

Here's an update from the lost and missing book front.
A faculty member, who is no longer with us, has nearly two hundred books checked out. Since all privileges were suspended a few years ago, due to a nasty law suit(we don't like to talk about it), he now owes the library about $20,000 in overdue fines and replacement costs. Yes, Twenty Thousand Dollars. U.S. currency.

This is a bad library patron. Signs to watch for. Refusing to return recalled books. A harassed and overworked student assistant, bad fashion sense, and my personal favorite a tendency to blame everyone BUT himself for a screwed up reserve list. A late reserve list, no less.
Now you may be asking yourself why am I telling all you this now. (Aside from the obvious entertainment value.) This is a warning to others. Watch for the signs in your own libraries.
And because half of the books that are on my missing list are checked out to him. So I see it all the damn time.
There are other reasons why this still galls me. First, he doesn't just have books. He has microfilm and microfiche. Which I just don't get. Unless you have a microfilm reader in your home it doesn't do you much good to hang on to film.
Second, the books he does have other people have needed in the past 3 years. And since they are about a fairly obscure topic they are valuable in their own right. And hard, if not impossible, to replace. Which means that I have to hunt down ILL copies for them. Not as easy as you might think.
Third it ticks me off that no one in the past 3 years bothered to do anything about getting these items back. It would have been easier when he was still in the state! Only now they start to worry. Duh.
And the man owes $20,000!!!! I mean do you really expect him to pay it? C'mon. And since he is in no hurry to either pay the fines (not that it'd do us any good getting replacements) or return the books to us that's what really pisses me off. That this nutbag gets away with stealing our materials. And even though I knew that we'd end up the loser when people filed charges against him nobody wanted to do anything about getting our stuff back. As Han Solo said, "I got a bad feeling about this." Yep. As soon as it hit the papers, we should have recalled everything on his account. But noooo. That's bad customer service. Screw customer service at this point. I suggested hiring a few guys to rough him up a little. Maybe break a kneecap or two. Just like the code of Hammarabi. You only have to do it once or twice. Okay, maybe three times. Then the word gets out. We'd get our stuff back tout de suite.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Can't breathe... cough... gasp

News from the frontline reports that Librarian Loki was felled by rancid B.O. shortly before the lunch hour. While paramedics valiantly tried to revive her the Fire department was called to hose down international students and dirty-old men to make the air breathable for hygenic young librarians everywhere.

Gone to My Happy Place

Considerably less Ire recently from me. I got caught in my happy place for awhile and I was in no hurry to leave. Still, I should have known when I poked my head out something would scare me back in. Who would have thought though it would be another librarian flashing me? How could this lady not know she was treating everyone to a lovely view of her chest and its accompanying support garment? The things I see... uh-huhhh

This weekend is ALA. I'm heading in for a couple of days, hopefully to make a killing with the giveaways at the exhibitions. I am looking forward to the drill cart competition on Sunday. Hopefully there will be a passle of bunned ladies in flowery skirts.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

If this happened to me...

I'd get in trouble.
I was re-teaching the boss how to use the ILL software. Yes, I do this every time I am planning a vacation.
She gets on this ILL kick because I won't be here for three days or whatever and she doesn't remember how to do the requests. "Nike, we have to do some ILL together. Nike, save a few borrows for me."
She'll say this on a Monday and I'll remind her until say Thursday and then she begs off. I don't have time she says. She would if she didn't worry about her dog, her husband, her neighbors, their boats, and various other non-work related people and errands.
So I have to do a rush request on this poor bastard's item that should have been done 4 days ago.
And when she does get around to actually doing a request she doesn't finish them. She does the first part. Searching and printing. She makes me go get the requests and mail them out. When you said you wanted to re-learn it I thought you meant the whole thing.
And because she doesn't like the fact that I hand print the one overseas label(gotta have a label if it's overseas) she goes on a mini-rampage on how it needs to be typed and how in 25 years of working here she never hand printed anything and that's how it has to be done.
You would think that she's a stickler for the rules after the label thing. But no, she likes to enforce them, but doesn't follow them. I can't even think of sending a Borrowing request without 5 potential lenders in the request. But no not her. Oh, two lenders are enough. No not really.
I don't need to use 5 lenders she said. If I did that, invariably the thing comes back unfilled and the patron asks why since so and so library has it and will lend it.
Hopefully the pattern will hold.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Student worker shenanigans

Now that the semester winds down I have a moment to reflect back upon some of the delightful antics of my student workers:

Talking on the cell phone.
Excusing themselves from helping someone to talk on their cell phone.
Telling a patron "In a minute" as they finish their level on a computer game.
Wearing headphones.
Sitting on the floor so as not to be bothered while they study.
Not doing work b/c Joe didn't do any work.
Closing the library early b/c they had 'somewhere to be'.
Asking for pay raises at the close of each semester.
Responding with "Sure!" to the question "Can you tell me who has this book checked out?"
Eating Chinese food at the desk. With chopsticks.
Sewing a dress at the desk.
And the ever popular... sleeping at the desk.

What do you DO with these people?

I sent a student off to shelve and when she returned I questioned her about how the stacks were looking. (I already knew they were pretty bad)
"Fine." she says.
"Did you notice a lot of miss-shelved books? When I've been in the stacks recently there are all sorts of books a few spaces left and right of their correct position, one shelf up or down."
"Oh. Well, I only move them if they're way out of place. If a book's in the general call number area I thought it was ok."


I'm thinking I have discovered the source of all those miss-shelved books.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Deepest sympathies

To all my brothers and sisters in arms in the library world you have my deep sympathy.
I now know what you go through every frickin' day. Admittedly I had a small taste of it. But that was more than enough.
First of all the 8 year old that eats in the library, runs up and down, shouts, and generally annoys everyone. (Her favorite thing is our battery operated pencil sharpener.) I swear she breaks pencils on purpose to bring them in and sharpen them for 10 minutes straight.
Today she stood at the door and yanked on it (we were closing) until someone let her in. We have to have a little chat with Mom. No pre-teens in our library without parental supervision.
Second the idiot Mormon, who apparently believes that all rules don't apply to him. And I am NOT apologizing for offending any and all Mormons out there EVER. At this point I am never setting foot in the state of Utah. But I digress. That's another day.
Today the MORON was using our phones for his own personal use. I guess he decided that since we wouldn't let him use a cell phone in the library we could pay for his calls. Get your own computer, your own phone line, and your own tv, JERK. I pointed out to him(nicely) that we don't allow patrons to use our phones. Standard library policy. His answer. "It's not long distance." No shit. You need a code for that, genius. Doesn't change the fact that we are not the phone company!!!!!
I will find a number for you, I will allow you to use our phone books, but when you sit at the computer booking a vacation talking to the pug dog woman(check the archives) then you have crossed the line.
They keep telling me we aren't library police. No, we need something along the lines of library KGB.

Look what I can do!

On the road of life there are passengers, there are drivers, and there is me. I seem to have wandered down the sidewalk of sanity. Where is everybody?

Yes, but can you spell it?

Well, after consulting with a number of specialists I discovered that the crap can not be removed. Apparently, I will forever suffer from all that has been constantly slung at me the last few years.

I've been making a little list of late of words and phrases that really tick me off when used in the library world. Who do they think they're kidding??! If you're using these I know you're just being a pompous twit:

collaborative (-tor, -ting)
learning outcome
scholarly communication : grrrr Just say articles or email or repositories!
stewardship : Its a freakin' library!
innovative (-tor, -ting)

Woah! A colleague currently undergoing a serious colonoscopy, I mean training retreat sent these to me:


No way could I hold a straight face while those were being thrown around!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Just when you think they can't get worse

this happens. Makes me glad that my patrons are potty trained. Even if they dogear pages.

Friday, June 03, 2005


Why ask me for help if you don't intend to take my advice? This patron asked me 2 questions. One how to get to the stacks. A visitor, so I was nice in giving directions. Actually I was nice throughout the entire conversation. Hmm.
Second question she wanted to know if we had Philosophy journals. She asked for 'survey journals'. Whatever the hell that meant.
I told her we did, but to narrow it down she'd have to use the catalog. I told her that 4 times in the 10 minute conversation. She asked me then how they are organized(the journals) I told her they use LC classification. She said so I can just look through them in the stacks? If you want, but you'd be here forever. She knew enough about LC to say then the journal would be under P right? Maybe. Unless the title is The JOURNAL of Philosophy, or A Survey or Review. Then J or S or R something.
She didn't get it. Then she wanted the current one. I told her AGAIN to use the catalog to see if the edition she wanted was here on the shelves. That's why we have it. Oh and an exact title would have helped.
By the end of the 'help' session, I wanted to advise her not to reproduce. But I don't think she would have taken that advice either.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Faculty=The. Worst.

B/c of course, if you are a faculty member you are infallible. You never do anything wrong, strange, or completely incomprehensible.

Had a call from such this morning. He has 2 editions of the same book on his account that are overdue. Apparently there is NO way he'd check out 2 editions of the same book. "Why would I do that?" He asked repeatedly with increasing hostility. I don't know buddy, but you people do it ALL the time. Every time I ask myself "Why do they do that?"

"Its a mistake." He says again and again. Sigh. I look it up. Both books were checked out at the exact same minute 3 years ago. "Well, see, there! That's the mistake. I'd never check out 2 editions of the same book at the same time."

"I understand sir, but the only way this book would show up on your account is if in that 60 seconds someone else came up with the other book to check out and your patron info hadn't been cleared. Do you know the odds of something like that happening?" It is so infinitesimal as to be impossible.

He probably thinks a staff member looked up the other edition and just went ahead and manually typed in the barcode. I wish he would have called about the stupid books 2 years ago or even 1 year ago when I wasn't here. Why renew it 5x and call 3 years later? ARGH!