Librarian Ire

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

AND They're off!

Some doosey first day questions, and surprisingly, none were asked by freshman:

Do you guys have books here?

Where do I go to get library books?

Can I study in here?

Do you guys have computers? Can I check my email on them?

Do you guys have THE calculus book?

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Why have you applied for this position? It's close to my house.

Why have you applied for this (librarian) position (at a law library)? I like math.

Do you have any prior experience that has prepared you for this position? No. Next question, What do you believe will be the most challenging aspect of this positions? I don't know. Next question, Do you have any experience training peers? No. Next question, do you have any experience managing a project? No. Follow up, any kind of project? At work, in school, in a group? No. Next question, do you have and skills or experience that you feel uniquely qualify you for this position? No. Follow up, Anything? No.

Tell us about your experience training students. I train about 25 students a year in circulation, reserves, and reference. Follow up, Wow, you hire 25 new students a year in circulation? No, I don't, the circulation managers do, but I participate in their training. Follow up, what part of the training do you do? I train them on reserves. Follow up, circulation students do reserves at your library? No. They're not supposed to do any reserves.

Do you have any library experience? No. Follow up, not even studying in one? Oh. I suppose.

A Joker, Smoker, or Midnight Toker?

The purpose of listservs is to provide communication between those employed in like positions or who need access to a shared font of information. Is there juicy information bandied about on these listservs others in the library world might like to get their eyes on? Sure. Is it top secret? No. Does everyone then, need to be in on the listserv? Uh, no. Discussions are happening, thoughts are being formulated, insider info lingo is being used. You put an outsider on the listserv because "they need to know what's going on in circulation" and what do you get? You get emails from them telling you how all the circulation people should be doing their jobs, because Hey! You sit in an office somewhere and don't deal with a single book or patron all day - you damn well know how things should be run in other people's departments! You know, here's a great idea, why don't - in addition to these lovely missives telling all of us who head up circulation how to run our departments - you also send us junk mail! That'd be great! We'd love to hear about interesting talks at the public library, or some cataloging conference in Chicago, and damn if we don't appreciate a forwarded article link from the New York Times just as much as the next guy. I mean, its not like this listserv is for specific discussions. Its there for you to annoy people en masse. Go ahead, make our day. That'd be super.

Friday, August 26, 2005

It's Ditzy the Wonder Geek!

No, that is not my new super hero title. Still working on that one. I am leaning toward something simple. Nike the Amazing is my current favorite.
Ditzy comes in with a rolling suitcase. Packed to the brim with books. Now this isn't a little carry on overnight bag. This is a week in Paris with your girlfriends shopping the boutiques bag.
First red flag goes up when I see that. It makes me nervous. How many of our books are you planning on putting in that?
Second she set off the security gate with the suitcase when she hunkered down in front of the door returning all these books. The beeping scared her. You would have thought she was a terrorists at an airport or something. Reminded me of a gopher or something. Popping up from the burrow to check out where the threats are.
So now we had to go through the explanation of why it went off and I had to explain it twice. The third flag.
Then she interrupts me talking to a co-worker. That's just plain rude. And her interruption was stupid. She got all het up about the fact that she returned 1 more book than we say she can check out. She wanted me to take down her name in case we had one of her personal books that she returned by accident.
To me that is a clear sign of a disorganized mind. Not to mention a poor housekeeper. But later events showed that this was a good thing for us. She had me paw through the books to see if there were any of hers. Nope. But wait for it!
She returned three books that belonged to another institution altogether.
So I called 'em up and told them I had their books and was mailing them out to them and they'd get them in a week or so. The librarian on the other end of the phone was strangely grateful for the consideration. Especially after I told her it was Ditzy who had the books. Obviously the wonder geek gets around.
So now I am emptying the book drop and checking in books. All of her books have pages turned down. And you all know how I hate that. I believe you should be given the Hammarabi treatment for that. And if you haven't read that post check the archives. And not only are the pages dog-eared they are written in!!!
See why I said it was good to have her name? And I'm not finished. She comes back while I am helping a professor. She barges right into the conversation. Talking over me so I can't hear what I'm saying never mind the professor. Now she has moved from annoying to bitch. Leaping the chasm. Not that her interruption had anything to do with what either of us were discussing.
Oh, no. It was all about her. How she found another book and why did she have so many out and what is she going to do? Do I look like I care?
All I can say is that thank God that Professor H. is kind, patient and has a sense of humor.
I finished checking out his books and then turned on Ditzy. I told her that we don't want anyone dogearing pages and that we don't appreciate people writing in books. I said, "If you need to take notes it's called a notebook." She was silent for a heartbeat and then said(and I still can't believe this!) I thought I erased all the writing. I told her to buy a notebook after she said that.
HOW STUPID ARE YOU? I told her that eraser dust is bad for books. I doubt that she believed me, but there wasn't anything she could think to say.
Then the boss comes in as I was writing a note to the other library. She wants to know why I am mailing books away. I only have to mention Ditzy's name and she rolls her eyes.
We gotta stick a note in her record. Bad library patron, paper abuser, rude human being and all around wackadoo.
Maybe fine her just because.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

I want to donate a book to your library.

Why sure, just hand it over. Oh, no. Its not that simple. This joker wants to be guaranteed that we will add this book to our collection and that it will be available for everyone to check out. Red flag in my mind. What exactly is this book? Turns out, it is a $7 book of non-scholarly merit. It has games and some pop psychology type stuff, but nothing that an academic library of our discipline would ever purchase.

Well, I inform the guy that I can't guarantee we'd add it to our collection, but we may pass it to a library on campus it would be appropriate for - maybe the education library. This is where the guy gets a little belligerent. He wants to speak with the person in charge of deciding collection development. I put them on hold. Call that person. They're gone. Inform the guy that, but say I'll try that person's superior. Hold again. They're not around either. Neither is the Director. Ok, by now the guy is super pissed. I'm not real happy either because he is vehemently insisting that he wants to speak with a person and will not leave a piecemeal and complaining bitterly about how he's trying to do us this BIG favor and we're giving him the run around. I had it, so I passed him to the woman who does book processing. She happened to be walking by the desk. I was ready to offer the guy $20 to NEVER call here again. He can keep his favors and his stupid book.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Moveable stacks and neophytes

One of the bad things about working in an academic setting is that just as you get all the students trained they graduate and then a whole new batch of neophytes (a new convert, novice or beginner.) invade and you have to go through the whole thing all over again. The same mindless spiel about food, e-mail, internet porn, copy cards, printing, closing times and holidays. Sheesh, can't you read? We do have this posted ya dummies!
Forget mail carriers. Watch out for the academic librarians. Although going library doesn't have quite the same ring as going postal. Hmm, any ideas?
But I digress. The problem with the new students, other than the whole total cluelessness is that they screw up the simplest things. There is no idiot proof. Trust me.
Proof of this happened recently. We have moveable stacks in our library, as most libraries do now. They have nifty red metallic colored buttons that you pull and press to either lock or move the range you want. Easy right? I guess not. I was in the stacks doing ILL (no complaints today)and some newbie was looking for a book. I watched for a few minutes as she would press a button then move one range. And repeat it. At first I thought she was looking for more than one book in different areas. Not out of the realm of possibilities. Then I realized after witnessing this twice she wasn't going into the newly opened stacks just moving them.
Okay if that's how you want to get your exercise. But I was getting a little impatient at waiting for her to find her book and move along. Since she was blocking the one stack area that I needed.
So I offered the helpful hint on how to move many shelves at once. You would have thought that I revealed the secrets of the universe. Not that she believed me. So a little demonstration was in order. I popped the button and rolled the stacks. Pulled out my book and left. Sneaky, huh?
Just another heroic feat for Nike the Librarian.
Hmm, I think I need a better superhero title.


An interesting little site from our friends and allies across the pond.
Have you ever wondered where your socks go? So have others. Want to match up that favorite sock whose mate got sucked into the vortex? Here's a catalog of missing and lonely socks. File it under realia in the AACR2 rules. 2001 edition of course.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Real life Dilbert example

I just got news that the promotion position I applied for was given to Velma, the student assistant here.
How the hell do you promote a student over a current library worker with more than half the qualifications you asked for? The only thing she has going for her is the fact that she's been here for 8 years. As a student. She's never actually held a real job. So of course they make her a manager. Dilbert in action.
That's ok. I have heard from good authority that all the people working at that place are nuts and wackadoos anyway. With bad fashion sense.
So not only will Velma fit right in she will (hopefully) get a rude awakening about the real world. And most likely fall flat on her face. I can't wait!


Dufus alert. I got some preppy schmuck halfwit at the reference desk talking about 1 word/10 seconds asking questions about things he really didn't want help with. I'm gearing up for a big meeting, so had about 10 minutes in which to do a crapload of work and get rid of this guy. The more I tried to clarify what he was oh-so-slowly saying the more bitchy he became. He's saying "If you'll be quiet I'll tell you what I did." while I am standing there - I exaggerate not, for 6 minutes while he's mumbling "Okay, I got this from here. No, wait, that's not it. I think it was this, or something like that, and I went here.. I can't find it. Do you know where that screen is, with the lists? It came from there..." and on and on. Meanwhile, he's interspersing his idiot mumblings with things like "What the hell is wrong with these things? It shouldn't be this difficult to find stuff." and "Web of Knowledge, what's that? How am I supposed to know to check my citations there?" and "What's an index? You should make this easier so people don't have to know all these things."

"Yes, sir. I believe you're right. How about I download every available electronic article so people can just ask me for them and I'll dole them out?"

Friday, August 12, 2005

Fleeting, fickle fame

Ah, alliteration.
So here we are less than a month before classes resume. And I have had to give out and then take away the reserve award this year.
Normally I give out 2 reserve awards. One for most items on a reserve list. There are always many contenders for this one.
A year ago we had a 20 page list. Which strangely enough got longer as the semester got shorter. I think by finals it was near 30 pages long. I swear that man was trying to kill me.
And the second one is the prestigious Nike (haha) award. It is given to the professor who turns in the most organized, concise, and timely list. Now there are several contenders for the Nike every semester. Some are new professors who, sadly, do not make a repeat appearance. Even if they win.
This year I foolishly awarded the Nike last week. This professor had turned in two reserve lists in June. They were perfect. She included the class number, class title, the call number of the books, the title and author(!) as well as publisher and year. And best of all, the 2 lists totaled 8 books. Since the 2 lists had all the requirements to award the Nike I felt justified in awarding it before the semester started.
Ah, how wrong I was. Today the former Nike reserve champion added(!!!!) 4 more books to her lists.
So we must search for another deserving faculty member who will treat this award as the honor it is. I hope we can find one. There hasn't not been a Nike winner in years. It's like cancelling the World Series.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

It's Samba time!

The samba is making a comeback. How do I know you ask? Well, judging from all the ILL requests I have been getting lately someone is interested.
And it's not just the samba. The pechanga, the mambo, and the tango are getting some interest too.
In the last week I have gotten 15 requests for articles and books about Latin dance. It's weird. There was one about the History of Latin dance, another about who invented them, and one just titled The Mambo. That's my favorite. I bet it even has the foot patterns.
I want to know why ole Swivelhips is bothering me for all this. Couldn't he have tried Arthur Murray instead?
We don't do a lot of dancing in the library. Well, that one time. But it was a party. And no one was doing the samba.
I hope this guy comes in so I can ask him about it.