Sunday, September 27, 2009

Easiest reference transaction ever?

Yesterday a woman approaches the desk.
The woman seriously asks, "Where are the books?"
The question catches me off guard and, taking the bait, I ask her, "Which books are you looking for?"
The woman replies, "All of them."
At this point I get to do a little Vanna White-esque razzle dazzle of the hands to demonstrate that the books are all around us.

Later, this was appropriately followed up by an annoying reference transaction where a girl (who should have known better), comes to the desk and thrusts a stapled copy of her class reading list in my face. She's a freshman at the local university and she needs to read one of the books on the list but her university library is out of all the titles. I glance down and see Things Fall Apart, The Sound and the Fury, Catch-22, The Bell Jar, and so on of classic literature titles for two pages. I notice that along the side of the list she has make various check marks and crossed a couple titles out.
With my fingers ready over the keyboard, I say, "Out of all these, which titles were the ones you were most interested in reading?"
She answers, "I need whatever one has the least amount of pages. My paper is due Monday."
To this response I lead her to the OPACs where she can look up each title and its page number herself. Afterall, there is a line waiting for my services and I am not her personal secretary.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Blaming teh interweb

Interestingly enough, earlier I had responded to a topic on current civility (or the lack thereof) over on @ the library , and came across a somewhat similar story on msn here just now. I tend to agree that at least all the blogging, twitting, and talking about these incidents at least demonstrates that we are trying to police ourselves on bad behavior, but I wouldn’t place the blame on the internet. True, the internet provides a "new" outlet for bad behavior, but it's not the culprit. As I responded in librarianwoes’s post, I think this is more a problem with society/cultural norms shifting than anything else. The 70’s were known as the “Me Decade” and I’m beginning to wonder if looking back the Ought’s will be seen the same way. But the free wheelin’ 70’s were followed up by the more conservative 80’s so I’m actually more worried about what type of backlash/lock down we might be seeing in the future.
So before anyone gets their panties in a wad over the internet ruining our society’s previously Victorian values, remember things could always be worse. You could be set on fire during surgery or enjoying a lovely day at the fair with an escaped insane killer.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Nodding and smiling politely

Special patrons find their way to the library every day of the week, but sometimes it seems like Sundays have the lock on being the day one is most likely to encounter strange happenings and interesting requests.
I was helping a lady when a short man came up and asked to borrow a pencil. I don't like other patrons interrupting while I'm conducting a reference transaction with someone else, but quick things like writing utensils or pointing to the bathrooms I don't mind (as much). I handed the gentleman the pencil and continued to help the lady who was looking for a DVD movie version of a book that doesn't actually exist (I get this question a lot, usually from students though who are looking to skip reading a book in favor of just watching the film version, but just because you may want there to be a movie of this book doesn't mean that someone has actually made the movie yet!). After the lady got huffy about our library not owning the non-existent film adaptation of the book and walked away, I turned my attention back to the man with the pencil, who was standing at the end of the desk writing something on a slip of scrap paper. At first I thought perhaps he was taking some information down about the book like the author or title so he could return for it later, but once I viewed him slipping the paper inside the book and placing it on a nearby shelf I decided to stop him. What was he doing? He wrote his name on the slip of paper and was putting it inside the book so he could find it later and remember to check it out(?!?). When I offered to put it on hold for him so that he could pick it up later he refused, but did reluctantly remove his "reminder" from the book.
Later, right before closing, a boy of about 11 or 12 approached the reference desk holding his hands up as if he were a doctor preparing to scrub up for surgery. Then I noticed his hands were dripping wet and he informed me that the boy's restroom was out of paper towels. I thanked him for letting me know so that I could put a request in with the janitor and apologized for not having anything else present like tissues or napkins. The boy just stood there staring though and finally said, "Well what am I supposed to do?" still holding his hands stiff.
I shrugged. "I don't know, maybe dry your hands on your jeans?"
The boy wrinkled his nose up, obviously not liking my uncouth response.
I apologized again, "I'm really sorry, I just don't have anything else here for you to wipe your hands on."
What happened next took me by surprise and grossed me out: the boy started licking his hands! It was like he was attempting to drink the excess water off of his hands. So very weird, especially considering that he found wiping his hands on his pants to be repulsive when compared to treating his fingers like his own personal water fountain.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Well this is a terrible idea

First you tell me there's no more Reading Rainbow and now there's a library without books? What's going on?!?

Actually, I understand the library without books, but what happens when that technology becomes outdated? Will this school's library go the way of laserdisk or what are their plans for replacing and updating their electronic materials? At least print resources are compatible no matter what computer you're using.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Proof that librarians rock *and* roll

A few years ago I thought about joining our local roller derby league, but then after visiting their team site and seeing the gallery photos of ugly bruises, a broken arm, a broken wrist, and one girl with a partial bridge, I said to myself hmmm, maybe this isn't for me. I just like to skate and look kickass, I don't really want to shove anybody and I'm petite enough that I'd be roadkill for some of those ladies (I come from the Marge Simpson school of "Can't we just bet that everyone will have a good time going around in circles?"). So even though I'm chicken, at least this librarian isn't afraid to throw some elbows in the rink.