Librarian Ire

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Losing my sanity or headed toward sainthood?

I have much to complain-uh-discuss about our current crop of student workers.
First up is Ms Stripes. She sent a note to the boss telling her that she was cutting her hours because she could no longer work the overwhelming schedule we set for her(7 hours a week)
But she sent it the day before her shift in a week when the library was decimated by illness, so the note went ignored and there were holes in our coverage. Oh how fun.
But we are not done. Oh not by a long shot. The very next week she tells us that she really can't work her Monday shift this week because of her classes.
If we need a favor she'll come in and close the place with me, but it's a burden.(Oh she didn't say it, but that was the gist of it)
I told her I'd find coverage for the entire night. One of the good students couldn't wait to augment his hours, so no problems there.
The boss was less than happy at this turn of events. I know she had a talk with Stripey. Not a fun time. >: }
Stripey either has no clue about many things or a real short-term memory problem.
I set her a project to do. It was very easy, almost no thinking involved. I foolishly believed it was moron-proof. Oh how wrong I was! She asked me the same question three times. "I am not sure I understand what you need me to do." and "I still don't know what to do" were common refrains all night. Even when I actually did some examples for her, she didn't get it. She said she did, but I have my doubts.
Then Dr. Nathan strikes! He 'borrowed' a set of keys from the library and didn't return them despite repeated e-mails to do so. It took three days to get our keys back.
And then when he showed for his shift I had to explain to him we don't actually pay him to stand around and talk to the patrons. We expect him to actually work.
He was pissed at me, I know. He didn't talk to me for the rest of the afternoon. I have to make him mad more often.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Cell Phone Usage

On one of the circulation listservs there is currently a discussion about cell phone useage policy in libraries. Of one policy I'd hope there'd be no need for discussion - talking on the cell phone in the bathroom.

Why are they doing this? Do they enjoy the background sounds? The lovely acoustics a small tiled room provides? Is it an ambiance thing? All I know is that if anyone calls me on a cell phone from a bathroom they better be in the throes of death or there's gonna be a fight.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Funny, Ridiculous, or Inept?

Found on one of those sites that searches blogs for particular words - under librarians there were a bunch of posts from people complaining b/c they had overdue items, fines, librarians wouldn't let them be loud, etc.

Umm... HELLO? Every single day I am amazed at the people who come into libraries and expect us to give them what ever they want. How do they not realize A)Everything in the world is not free, B)the Library serves the whole community not a single person, C) This is not Walmart, D)We are not servants, and E) They're idiots?

Amazed. Truly. Truly. Amazed.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Symphony of inefficiency

I have noticed that on several levels at my institution, inefficiency runs rampant. Oh, this isn't news to me. I have accepted that my employer by virtue of its size has these problems. But for some reason today it bothered me more than usual.
Inefficiency is everywhere here. Even in organizations and committees that are pledged to stamp it out.
I was in a meeting today that meets to help "reform the work culture" and halfway through the meeting I was wondering where the agenda was. If we had one, which I highly doubt, we wandered so far off its path even a Sherpa guide with GPS and bloodhounds wouldn't have found us.
We spent the better part of an hour talking about how the institution needs to reform and how we could help it do that by picking apart the organizational chart.
In case you were wondering we haven't solved any problems yet. It's been at least six months.
Then at work the MSB shows up. A patron asked ME a question which I answered correctly based on what I knew about him. Then the MSB runs(well trots) out of the office and answers the question AGAIN while the guy was thanking me for the information and actually leaving the desk. If someone answers a question correctly why do you feel the need to repeat the information again? It seems very inefficient to me yet it happens all the time.
Then she made her usual ILL error. She mistook a lending request for a borrowing request. She didn't understand why someone here was asking for it if we already had it. And told me to cancel the request.
I had to tell her it was a lending request. I mean it said so right on the piece of paper.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Breaking idiot news!!!

A woman attempted to use the library a while back. She started this journey by staring at our signs declaring "library hours" and then wandered away. She returned a few minutes later. She then stands in the entrance and asks, "Is this an entrance?" I answer yes, it's the only library entrance.
She either didn't understand or didn't hear me because I have to repeat myself. Finally she steps into the library and I have to tell her yes, this is the library entrance.
She announces she is looking for a book. She procedes to mumble the title and author and wants to know where we are keeping it. The Internet told her it was here(Apparently it talks to her). I ask for a call number sending her into a frenzy of paper searching and pocket emptying.
When she finds(finally) the call number, I give her directions(simplified) twice!!!to the area of the stacks it's in.
I know she wanted me to find it for her, but I was alone at the desk, so no dice.

When she comes back she complains to me how hard it was for her to find this book and how inconsiderate everyone else is to keep the other copies out for so long.
She mistakes my blank look of disbelief for concern and launches into a saga dating back four years ago about how she needed a specific book and didn't get it. It was missing then and according to her it's still missing since she never got it.
I should have asked her if she actually told anyone at the time the book is missing. Kinda hard to replace it if no one knows it's gone. Or if she re-requested it at any time in the past four years. But sometimes you just don't want to know.
She insisted she was familiar with the library system (she told me at first she worked here and then changed her story telling me it was her kid who was a reference librarian here) and its quirks and extras, but it was obvious to anyone who spends serious time in any library that she was way out of her depth.
She must be the bane of her public librarian.

Library News of Note

Have you heard about the book dispensers they're installing in the underground in Sweden? (Probably you have, I am WAY behind on the news) Awesome idea!

Here are a couple article links about it:

They're poking at me.

Don't they read the signs?!

Student still out sick and I am chained to the desk. Someone gave the patrons courage juice because they're all coming in to harass me. The girl who starts yelling "Hello?! Hello!" as soon as the door gets open far enough was just in. [I guess I forgot to previous write about her, I meant to...] This time I let her have it - "You need to approach the desk for someone to help you. There is always someone here and we always have the desk in sight but no one can see the door around the corner and 20 feet away - ok? Just come up to the desk and there will be someone to help you." She kept saying "Thank you" through my little explanation. Gosh! Shut up! I hate her. Luckily I saw that she has a bunch of fines on her account. Some day she will face me at her reckoning and I will remember her.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Gettin' old.

So 2 of my students were out today so I was sole desk coverage for approximately 4 hours. I am pooped! There were lost books returned, missing books to search for, reserve book hell, weird phone calls, etc. I tell ya, I need a drink.

Funny: Guy walking along carrying his crutches.
Puzzle: Is that person a man or a woman? Sure, he/she is tall and muscular, but that pink blouse really makes the frosted hair snap!
Fool: Some guy returned a batch of public library books here. I have sent them off to our central mailroom where they will eventually be mailed back but I sure hope the person gets overdue fines b/c he's an idiot!
Victim: Some bimbo wants a reserve but she doesn't know the title. So, she picks one, I pull it and bring it out front then she says "Not that one". She does this 3 times before the right book. I've looked up her address and am going to go run her over later.

Where's Big Brother?

Check out this classified/union coworker's workday thus far (all visible from the circ desk):

9:02 AM - arrive at the building, proceed to office.
9:03 AM - coworker who was waiting for her takes her out on break.
9:37 AM - woman & coworker arrive back from break, talk in the hall a few moments.
9:42 AM - Go into office unpack bag, brush hair, turn on computer, stare out window.
10:27 AM - leave for Yoga class.

I'm on the edge of my seat for the rest of the day.

10:33 AM - Holy Crap! I look across the way and notice the reference librarian is asleep at the desk! Do I wake him or pretend I'm busy and don't notice?

11:17 AM - Return from yoga, enter office.
11:27 AM - Ask formerly napping reference librarian some questions
12:26 AM - Go to lunch with same coworker as had break
1:17 PM - return from lunch, go into office.

Ballsy Telemarketer

Every now and again we get a telemarketer calling up the library. More often than not they're hawking a "deal" on a particular magazine or trying to sell us their copy machines. Until today they have always identified who they are and asked to be transferred to acquisitions or the person "who purchases office supplies". Today though, a got the ballsiest telemarketer ever.

Here's what happened. I answer the circ phone, give my name & the institution. The woman asks to be transferred to the reference counter. (suspicion #1)
I reply that there is no one on reference duty at 8am can I help her?
She says, "Yeah, can you just tell me the model number of the printer there." (suspicion #2)
I ask, "You want the model number for the printer? Why?"
Her: "There was a mix up here with the paperwork and I just need to verify the model number of the printer. It should be on the front."
Me: "We don't have a printer at the reference DESK. Do you mean the printer nearest the reference desk?"
Her: "Yes, whatever the printer around there is." (suspicion #3 & #4)
Me: "I'm in view of all the printers on this floor, do you mean the one nearest the reference desk?"
Her: "Yes, the one nearest the reference desk. You can find the model right on front of the printer" (Hinky meter 99.9)
Me: "Yes maam. I know how to find the model number of the printer. If you'll wait I'll walk over to see what it is. Who did you say you were with?"
Her: "Blah-blah (really fast) from Microtech something or other." (Meter 100, suspicion #5-#7, b/c I heard a baby crying in the background)
I tell her what the model is, b/c frankly I can't see how this could adversely affect me or the institution and there's a possibility she works for our service contractor, of which I don't know the name, and I don't want to be a complete bitch.
The woman then ask me to transfer her to the director of my department. (director of a department?! Suspicion #8 - this woman has clearly no knowledge of how universities are structured.)
Me: "Do you mean the director of the library?"
As I'm going to look up the director's number she asks me to tell her the extension number - "Yes maam, I plan to give you the extension number before transferring you, but I need to look it up first." (suspicion #9) Then she asks my name, which I give her again (suspicion #10) and she says "oh yeah, you told me that before."

In the end I was more than happy to transfer this Ballsy (possibly even fraudulent, she clearly implied a relationship with this place) con artist to the director. He has no tolerance for crap, she will be crushed. mwah-ha-ha-ha

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Ides of March vol. 2

I was hoping that the universe would forget this most horrific of days.
Despite Loki's declaration last year that the Ides of March is not karmicly blighted for all time I was still a little uneasy.
And I was proved right. Read on and see if you don't agree.
First of all there is no milk at work, which has severely hampered my caffeine intake. There was milk yesterday.

Second the boss was giggling to herself today. That's usually a bad sign. And I was right. She hung around the office all day making comments about ILL and how we (me) have to be more detail oriented.
Then the one time I was able to escape the office she came into the stacks to find me. So she could leave early. So I was chained to the desk for the afternoon.
Again a karmic plot. If there was a day I needed to hide in the stacks, today was it.
The third thing to happen was a Canadian university called up to complain about the ILL item we sent to them. It turns out they asked for the wrong thing. Which they told me right off the bat. But it somehow became my fault for not reading their minds. They insisted we send the right item, and not charge them for either transaction. What is wrong with these people?
I say we track these anomalies to find out if it's just today or if there's another explanation. Full moon? How about high tides? Maybe spring fever? ANYTHING is better than being forever cursed by the Ides of March.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

You know the day's gonna suck when...

You have 7 people (SEVEN!) standing ouside the library yanking on the doors before we open.

You get a crazy lady who calls you on your office phone line before 8am and demands "Who is this?!" after you've answered with the institutions name and your own.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Common sense, ah where have you gone?

Here's a question for the ages.
What do you do when someone comes up to the circ desk, plants a library book on the desk and ANNOUNCES that they are returning this book for Professor John Doe's assistant?
Would you a)discharge it and send it on to it's appointed rounds OR b) would you thank the patron and keep the book on the counter until the assistant appears some unknown time later and retrieves it? Foolishly I choose option A. It turns out I was wrong.
At least that's what the patron thought. Oh, she didn't say so. She went all passive-agressive on me. "It's not your fault, it's not mine, no one was wrong, BUT you should have done yada, yada. When there's a but in that sentence then you are telling me I am wrong. So just SAY so, and we will correct any illusions you still hold about my compentence and your horrific grammar.
What happened was this patron, (she said she was a professor) had borrowed a book another patron had on hold. This professor was giving some speech or writing a paper (not sure which and I don't really care.) and there was apparently a seminal article in this book that someone else had the gall to check out.
So this very nice assistant let her photocopy the article she needed. Now I come into the story. I discharge the book and thank her. Now she tells me that she really didn't want me to check in the book. Why she gave it to me then escapes me. If she didn't want me to check it in, she should have said, I am returning this book TO so and so. Could you hold it for him? Instead of saying FOR so and so. There's a huge difference grammatically. One's a question and the other a statement(actually a command the way she said it.)
I tried to explain that it actually didn't make a difference since the books was still on hold for the guy. But no, since I am only a librarian I am wrong in her deluded mind.
She goes into this long rambling monologue, which made little sense. Apparently the assistant he checked the book out(not really, but I wasn't going into that) to let her use so she could finish her paper/speech, since if she didn't use this article everyone would laugh at her.(too late) Now she had to give the book back to him, but he wasn't around and she was late, so she was giving it to us to hold on to until he came to get it. Which is what she told me to do in the first place. Uh-no you didn't.
She then launched into another monologue about the assistant and who he was and how nice he is and whose assistant he is(she had no idea). "But he is so nice and generous. He let me use the book, even though he doesn't even know me."
Sigh. I took an informal poll asking about the meaning of the sentence she used. My boss, 2 students(one a former English teacher) and Librarian Loki all agreed that the professor said she told me she wanted the book checked in. The only dissent was Dr. Nathan and we already know he doesn't count.
I wouldn't let her water my plants, never mind check out a book that I was responsible for. But that's me. And she was right about one thing. The assistant is very nice and generous. We shall have to have a talk with him about that.
Being nice is good, but common sense is better. There needs to be a name change for common sense. Not so common sense would be a good contender. I like the sense that everyone needs to have and use, but doesn't. How about what the hell were you thinking sense?
Any other ideas?