Librarian Ire

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


I know someone who apparently was absent on the day they taught listening to others in kindergarten.
It's a common enough problem in this busy modern world of ours, but this particular person happens to be in charge of a department in the library. One that deals with patrons(a lot). As you may have guessed it is the return of the Mood Swing Boss(MSB)

So perhaps this is a problem. Let me illustrate. MSB had forgotten her password to a staff only area of our ILL software. I told her that I knew everyone has the same type of password for it. Maybe she should try inputting 'xyz' with her information.
She totally ignored me and my suggestion and called up the head of ILL (Mrs. ILL) for the password.
I asked her a week later, in innocent conversation, if she got her password and she told me what it was and I said, "Oh, that's what I thought it might be," and she had a mini-tirade about me not telling her these things and not communicating.
I waited until she had wound down(in front of another co-worker no less!) and said, I did tell you before you called Mrs. ILL and you never even acknowledged my suggestion. She didn't like hearing that, but since I was right she couldn't do anything about it.

Another illustration of the not listening problem happened a while ago. With Mrs. ILL. I know she gets tired of hearing about problems from us. Well, MSB actually. I rarely call her with problems. I call the staffers. :)
Anyway Mrs ILL was here to fix a non-existent problem that the MSB insisted was urgent. She actually had explained the problem and what MSB should have done twice. Finally she was fed up and said to MSB, "Will you ever start listening to me?"
I found that comment quite funny. I had to leave the room so no one could see me grinning like a nut.

What drives me up a wall, is when she makes me go help a patron who has a question and then when the person has their answer she comes in and starts the process all over again.
Then the student has to repeat all the information and even has told MSB that they have what they need, but she totally ignores them and does the searches all over again. So instead of a 2 minute transaction it takes 10 minutes.
I used to try to explain what I did and what they needed, but she ignores me, so I just find something else to do and let her handle the patrons.
Good customer service is not repeating someone else's efforts.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Security gaffes

Why me!?
I was looking forward to a nice quiet day back at the library. No such luck. The security people screwed up and didn't unlock the doors today. So my student called me at home saying I can't get in. When I got here early(I want points for that!) there were at least a dozen people waiting to get in. My keys and codes wouldn't work. On any door. So I had to find someone who had security's number to call them and let them know they missed one library. We finally opened an hour later.
Oh and they didn't adjust the alarm. So it rearms itself every hour.
Nice. That's fun.
And to top this all off with a cherry, stupid hair guy appeared. He wanted to know why we weren't open and when he could get in. He didn't bother to look at the other 12 people waiting to get in. I finally told him he was going to have to wait just like everyone else.
Yes, this was part of an evil plot to keep you from graduating. Sheesh.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Excessively Diverted

When you put "micromanage" in your blog post, the spell checker wants to change it to "necromancer".

Coincidence? I think not.

I take it BACK!

I'm a big fat liar. It seems in my dotage I got my current job confused with the beloved position I held in a great institution for many years. This place is a hell hole to work in around the holidays. The staff here seem to think that since it is you and Them, they should take the opportunity to piss you off and annoy the hell out of you.

Here the day after Thanksgiving means: "Let's micromanage the person who knows and does everything around here, follow them around making useless comments and suggestions, and giving little lectures about how they should know even more stuff that is in no way relevant to their work or life."

Wish I would have OD'd on turkey, or even hotdogs like that guy on CSI. Hmph.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Copyright dunce

Okay, I know that the copyright laws aren't that exciting. It's not glamorous like the tax code or sexy like traffic laws. But they are important.
The Fair use clause is there for a reason, people! It's not a suggestion. It's an actual law, and if you break it they will come after you and make you pay.
They give out rewards to people reporting copyright violations. Hey I can always use the cash.
So stop sending more than 6 requests of the same damn thing and go buy it. That's the rule. Really.
If you don't believe me, and my 3.85 grade point average from Library school, check out the Copyright office.
Those people can be mean. And you could get the pants sued off you by the author of the books you want. Now that's fun.

Its the holidays, have some fun

Here are some quizes and fun sites I've been sent recently to help you pass the slow holi-days.

Are you a Yankee or a Dixie?

Evil Test

Is it Art, Of just plain crap?

Are you a caffeine addict?

An oldy, but still good!
Presidential Pong

Turkey stuff!
Turkey Slide Puzzle

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I LOVE the holidays!

There is no better time at work then the holidays. Both staff and patrons flit off to do their holiday activities and leave me Alone! Sure, there's a little turmoil preceding the event - all those people wanting to get things done before setting out, but if you plan ahead and schedule meetings all day Tuesday and Wed morning, why you're home free. By Wednesday afternoon it will be quiet, everyone will have slipped into "relaxed" mode. Those still around working will be dressed in jeans and warm & comfy wear, we'll start chatting about what we'll be doing, what we'll be eating. On friday, it will be just me & a lone student eager for cash & the annoying girl. But her office is on another floor, so it will be Party Time!

Yes, holiday time in the library = Good Times.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Ooooh porno alert

Okay all you deviants calm down. There is no actual porn here. This is a warning.
And a call for help.
Recently a mug shot was circulated at the library where I gather infor... sorry where I WORK. And not just my branch. All of the branches.
It appears that the indivdual who was a guest of the local police liked to enter our libraries and load porn on our computers. And view it. Which was offensive and scary to some people.
And before you ask No we don't have filters on our network. Academic freedom I guess.
Although I bet they are rethinking that stance. So, other than filters what can we do?
I want to be prepared when the dude gets out of jail.
If any of you have ideas let me know.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Clueless 2

I had an encounter of the clueless kind with a student recently.
She was interested in getting a copy of an article in a journal that we don't have. I did my usual pre-ILL questions.
Does the library have it? How about on-line? Yes, and yes, but not the year she needed.
She knew that the University of California had the article. So she wanted to do an ILL.
I told her it would possibly take 10 days for it to come on ILL. She didn't really like that. Can't wait that long. Then she asked me what ILL was.
I told her that it was short for Interlibrary Loan. Ya learn something new all the time?
She wanted to know how else she could get this article. So I asked her if she had checked other libraries in the area. We are not the only university in the state, and she does have a car.
Didn't know how to do that either. Geez, she's not exactly stupid and she has been here more than a year. I had to baby step her through World Cat and then give directions to the nearest library that had the item.
Of course it ticked her off that I wasn't going to ILL it. But I couldn't promise to have the item here by Friday. Where if you followed my directions(which she wasn't) you'd have it in less than one hour. Next time do a little thinking ahead.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Come into my parlor...

Annoying-Idiot guy came BACK! How he dares... He sat down at the reference desk and pulled out another sheet of citations. Wouldn't let me start one search before trying to get me to do another. Two citations were grossly incorrect... One I found for him - finally - in a journal, look to see if we have it... Oh, its checked out... to HIM! "Oh, wait, is that the volume I got yesterday?"

Then, THEN he makes me fill out his stupid ILL requests AGAIN!
ME: "Let me show you again how to do the first one, then you can do the others from home."
Reply: "No, you do them all. I can't use computers."
Me: after some pausing to beging the survey, "So, which department are you a PhD in?"
Him: "Engineering."
Me: "And you don't use computers? Isn't that hard to do in your field?"

This guy - GRARGH! - he's in the engineering school, looking for articles found in journals at the business library and HEY! MY library is NEITHER of those!! Go away!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Snarky to succeed?

Today packages came for one of our librarians. LOTS of packages. The delivery guy was not a happy camper when he had to deliver them.
It took him two trips with a hand truck. Personally I think he needed a forklift.
Since no one can ever find this particular librarian when she is actually needed, I didn't bother to attempt to contact her.(note to self, bother next time) I just told him to place the items in the mail room and we'd sort them out later. Since that's what we usually do anyway.
It's not like I had time to hunt down the librarian, show the guy where she was and then actually finish helping the student/patron/trainee. All of whom were here asking questions and being needy.
Another thing I have noticed is that people around here are very needy and yet when you want to help them help themselves they get snarky. But that's another story. Maybe more than one.
Anyway, after she magically appeared(It must be that universe vibe thing.) she ordered the delivery guy to follow her to the 'right' place. Oh yeah he was jumping for joy.
Then she came back up here and told me with snarkiness galore to call her next time there was a delivery for her since she would have to move all the boxes in the mail room to the storage area. (Yeah, right)
Since I have learned my lesson with this person, I mumbled "no one can ever find you in your office anyway"
In case you were wondering this is the Karma person. I have LOTS of stories about her. Why doesn't karma work faster?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


How can someone possibly think that being an ass will help them get what they want?

When you complain about fines, starting off by saying "you are wrong remove this fine" is NOT going to get you immediate obedience. I work in a library, not Walmart - the customer is not always right.

Now, when I reply to your complaint with detailed evidence of how the fine is NOT incorrect and if you want to further protest you must follow -blank- procedures, responding with "you are wrong, I'm not going to follow that procedure" is getting you squat.

Oh yes, and if you decide to start lying halfway through the process be less obvious. When I ask you when you 'supposedly returned the item" and you say "at the due time" and I then tell you we know for a fact you didn't return it them - you can't go back and change the time. "Oh, I mean 2 hours before that"

Liar Liar Pants on Fire! Pay the fine or your ID will expire!

(...Oh, and giving yourself a fancy title after your name in emails to make it seem like you are a professor isn't going to work either. I have access to your account. I know that you are and undergraduate student.)

Monday, November 14, 2005

Adventures of Loki & Nike

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Protecting my territory

No, I am not spraying boundaries or posting signs although maybe I should.
My boss, who tends to micromanage on occasion, is at it again. This past week she has invaded my territory three times. Thereby screwing up my organization and causing mass confusion in ILL-land. Like some of those people need any more problems.
Wednesday was the worst. She damn near ripped the request out of my hands as I was working on it.
A professor wanted to look at some serials and asked for them to be ILL'ed. I sent out the request and a university in New Jersey responded. They sent the serial(wrong year). Naturally, the prof didn't find it at all helpful.
So I get on the phone with them to figure it out. MSB(Mood swing Boss) makes her appearance. She comes right over and leans on me trying to figure out what I had done wrong. She even started to use my computer mouse.
Okay, first of all, you MADE me do ILL. And you didn't even train me to do it. I figured most of it out myself, thank you very much. And I do a damn good job most of the time.
Second NO TOUCHING!!!!!!
Third I didn't do anything wrong. The lender sent the wrong thing. Which she already knew. With a little help from someone in the know in New Jersey the mistake was corrected and a new request for the item was sent. But with her 'help' it took 30 minutes longer to do than normal.
And the honchos are looking for ways to cut wasted man hours. Here's a suggestion. Let me do my freakin' job!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Why Do I Bother?

Ever have those meetings where some one suggests something, another adds to it, and everyone kind of half-heartedly agrees to it then you realize later that no one actually said that they were going to do? Mostly this goes down with signs or editing something or moving something within the library. Well, a month later you remember it, see that no one has tackled it, and do so.

9 times out of 10 when I do this the very next day someone will come along and re-do it. Do they make a better sign than I did? No. Do they arrange the furniture in a more creative way? No. Did they even remember to do the thing for themselves? No. Was it their responsibility? No.
Then, Why?

I could give the answer "Because they're a dumbass" but really, is there another reason? I'd like to know.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Adventures of Loki & Nike

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Reserve list classes

I want to have mandatory reserve list training for all professors everywhere.
Now before you all think that's a crazy idea hear me out.
First of all we would have a due date for the lists. When you get the e-mail, you have two weeks in which to submit a list. Any list. Even a partial one would pacify me.
After the two weeks were up and you hadn't submitted the list you would get fined. $50 a day seems reasonable to me.
Then they would have instruction on how to write a list. Author, title in capital letters, publisher and year. Call number is optional but appreciated. The list would have to be double spaced as well.
And most importantly they are not allowed to tell the class that the books are on reserve until they actually are!!!!!!!!!
The reason for all of these guidelines? Well so far we have six reserve list submitted. We will have less than a week to do all the lists for spring semester. And those that do submit early lists(with a few notable exceptions) have hard to read crammed lists with typos in the call numbers(oh yeah that's fun), the class numbers are missing or mixed up. Or they have a popular title with an equally generic author name. So you get to guess what book they want.
And then professors will list all the reserve books on the syllabus and not submit the list to us until after the first class. What happens is a mad rush to claim all the books off the shelves. It then takes WEEKS to get them back.
So a few hours once a semester would save my sanity and make life for all so much easier.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The sound you are hearing is a warning.

Growling, teeth grinding, heavy and increasingly ragged breathing on the part of a librarian is a sign of danger to all mortals within their presence. When you hear this sound, please back away from the desk slowly and whatever you do, do NOT make eye contact!

The other day, at the reference desk, I had an older guy (40s) come in to get some help looking up articles. He informed me what he was - PhD student - and his technology level - can't use computers well. Ookaaayyy... I'll play along, even though he is a PhD student in a technology field. So, he needed help finding a book or article (he didn't know which) by a particular pair of guys. I ask what he has done so far ("Did you look in the catalog?", "Do you know the first names of the authors?", "Do you know what field of study they fall within?") Nothing. So I begin. As I am opening up the online catalog to look up these authors he asks if I can look for a book by X title.

"Yes sir, I can, but I can only do 1 search at a time."

I look up the authors - common american names, too many hits. I plug in a few keywords which the patron "believes" are in the title. None of the results match. I flip to WorldCat and give that a try. Again, a zillion results, but we scroll through a few pages. Finally, he says "That one looks right. Where is it?" I can tell from the screen that we don't have it here. Also, there's a 1 for "Libraries worldwide that own".

"There's only 1 copy held in a library in the world. Your chances of getting this book are zero." Knowing its probably the Library of Congress or something. Close - British Library. Now, this is a 1996 book, so clearly it was of little to no importance scholastically. "Ok," the guy says, "I'll place an ILL request for it." Uhhh... (let it go Loki). Then he wanted to know if there were book reviews on this book written. Ok. To the journal databases.

I spend a few moments staring at that book title trying to figure out what database might be relevant - can't decide (completely ambiguous title), so I try Academic Search. Lucky me! Found a book review. I'm telling him, here's a book review - "Can you print that off for me?" No sir, I can not, if you want to print things you have to do it yourself - its not free! I suggest I email it to him. Then he wants more reviews. I hit a few more databases - nada. "What exactly are book reviews?" He asks me. Oh cripes.

Then he wanted me to look for that other title. Then back to the original authors for articles they might have written, then for a different author. I got 2 more requests to print articles off for him, he made me do his ILL request because he "just doesn't know computers" and because its "easier" for me to input that data. (Right, why should he have to type in his name, id #, email address when I could ask him for it, type it in, ask him if that's correct) I had to write down call #'s for him and show him where to get them, bastard even asked me to go get the books for him "because it would be easier".

Monday, November 07, 2005

They Like Me, They Really Do!

Those patrons. They care so much for my well-being that they left me a little present outside of the library doors this morning.

A purple condom.

I hope they haven't been worrying themselves sick over my safe-sex practices.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Karma works

Really. I was not a believer until recently. Despite claims to the contrary by those who know. It's something you have to experience for yourself.
I get an e-mail (double forward I hate those) from a co-worker who will remain clueless, asking about certain materials which were overdue. It seems that these things were sent out on ILL, but they were not on the ILL account. Which confused many people here. So these confused people made me check. So I go through my files and see. Yep, returned way before they needed too. I love that. And I look on the last transaction for all of them. Checked out a week before I get the e-mail. Hmm, that's suspicious.
So I send the e-mail with my findings. And the very next day I get a note saying "Oops, my fault. I didn't realize that I checked them out for a patron on my account and he didn't return them on time."

This person has been warned many times not to do this. Yet it continues. Anyone with a sob story can get rare books, restricted materials, film, ILL books from anywhere and get this staff member to put them on her account and then walk out with them.
Drives my boss up a wall. Especially when the book or whatever is recalled and the staff member has no idea where it is.
This time she got caught. HA!
See Karma at work.
I believe!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Winged Victory

Return of the stupid hair guy

Stupid hair means you are stupid. There is no other reasonable explanation.
The stupid hair guy is back and testing my control. He did this by repeatedly ringing the bell. He rang the bell six times in less than a minute. Since I was standing there waiting to help him he wasn't trying to get my attention. He also knows my policy about dismemberment and the bell.
I seriously thought about killing him(hey it's been a bad week),but there were witnesses. And I would have had to clean off the brains and blood and stuff off the computer screens.
So I did what any parent would do confronted with an unruly and obnoxious child. I took his toy away from him.
He didn't even pretend to be sorry. I KNOW he thought it funny.
Besides putting your life at risk, you disturbed everyone else in earshot. Do you really want an angry horde of paper writing and exam studying students pissed off at you?
No frigging common sense whatsoever. Not to mention any manners.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The revenge of the organized

It took months, but it worked.
My boss finally realized how superior my system for missing books is and started to use it.
Today I came in and she handed me two lists that she had taken from my files and given them to the students instead of printing hers and thereby duplicating the work. Which she used to do.
The students would mutter about her lists, since they weren't quite so pretty as mine. Not to mention I give them one month at a time, not 2 years.
Like a good assistant I did not gloat(then). I am now!

The return of the stupid stick

BAM BAM BAM! Hear that? That's me beating the hell out of our last patron.
This person is doing some research and wants to know the most recent edition of a reference book that we hold.
Because according to her our catalog is wrong. We have obviously made a great and terrible error in not ordering the most recent volume. Which it turns out is essential to her paper.
So not only does this person want us to go and personally check each volume for the 'correct' edition and report back to her RIGHT NOW, she wants us to order the newest volumes of the newest edition(which aren't even published yet)
Okay, if you aren't in the state sure. We can look. Hey, I will even send you copies of the pages you need via ILL. But it turns out this tool could have just as easily walked into the library and looked it up herself and spared everyone this anguish. She's a student here. She was probably calling on her cell phone outside the library doors.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Amazing Loki

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

It's Our Party...

...and we'll drink if we want to!

Happy Anniversary month to us! Yes, that's right, LI turns 1 year old this month. Unbelievable. Who, besides our mothers, would have thought we had so much to complain about?! And we're just hitting library stuff! If I could talk about riding the bus, well, I'd quickly surpass my space limit. (damn nose-pickers)

ANY-way. To celebrate our anniversary, LI will be trying our damnedest to give you something new every-single day! ("oh, wow" "how exciting" "shh, there's more!") Yes, there is more. Not only something new everyday but different-typed things. What will it be? Well, you'll have to come see!