Friday, February 26, 2010

There are no stupid questions, but...

Sometimes the questions that come in from our virtual reference service are amusing, but on days when the phone is ringing off the hook, people need help with using the computer or looking items up I just want a feature on the inbox that deletes certain questions or maybe a virtual hand to smack the senders into their senses.

Message: My history teacher brought up a person that was the only first guy that they cannot prove isn't a socerer. She said his name is Rass Putin. Do you happen to have any books referring to or about this person?

Message: It says there are 5 books lost. What are the 5 books?
Note: This user did not leave their name or library card number and the return email address bounced.

Message: Hi, I'm looking for any books that would help me with my topic for my science fair project. Also, is there any information on other studies that have been done by other scientists that would make good science fair projects? ~ Thanks! Reagan

Answer: To all of the above: Ahhhh!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The library goat

Because of the snowstorm (which I will not refer to as snowpocalypse, snowmageddon, or the snotorious B.I.G.) patron activity has been picking back up, but on Tuesday when our county made the poorly advised decision to stay open, very few members of the public were willing to step outside much less risk driving in the new storm that had already begun, leaving just us library staff chickens to look at each other and stare, knowing that we were only there because we lived within walking distance or didn't have enough leave to call in.
All day long I answered the phone ("You're open? Really? No Really?! Well, I'm just calling to say I won't be coming in today, but will you hold my copy of New Moon until Saturday?") and answered the chat and backlog of email from the weekend of when we were closed ("Why is the library closed today? I spent two hours digging my car out to drive over and return my late DVDs and you aren't even open!"). While I was talking and typing away I kept hearing this noise:
Be-uhhh! Bee-ah-ahh!
I would twist in the desk chair and try to look around for what sounded exactly like a goat in the library. While few people were actually in the library, we did have some of our regulars like Homeless-Poetry-Guy or Pretending-To-Job-Search-But-Really-On-Facebook-Guy, but none of them seemed like the culprit. But after it happened a few more times I began to wonder if Pen-Stealing-Grandma had smuggled a baby goat in her purse.
Bee-ahhh! Be-ah-ah-ahhh!
The sound was coming from right behind me and I realized it was coming from one of our regulars: Lady-Who-Hacks-The-Card-Catalog-So-She-Doesn't-Have-To-Wait-To-Use-The-Internet-Even-When-There-Are-Computers-Available! The sound was hacking lady hacking up phlegm and clearing her throat constantly in a way that sounded just like a goat bleating. This went on for three more hours. Not as much fun when the mystery is solved though.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

"You're pretty cocky for someone whose job is obsolete thanks to the internet."

As much as I love my Parks and Recreation with its smart "dealing with the public" humor, I couldn't help but notice in this week's episode when they go to the library, the circ clerk swipes a supposed library card with a magnetic strip through one of the DVD unlocking/locking mechanisms -- which is not a card reader.

Librarian doing it wrong

In fact, most library cards that I've encountered all use barcodes and not magnetic strips, and would need a barcode scanner (though my very first card, which I still have somewhere, was printed on cardstock and had a metal plate in it). In the closing credits, the show thanks LA County Public Library, since I assume they taped the library scene there instead of building a set, but none of the library staffers showed them how the desk equipment actually worked? Look at me being all nit-picky!

The library scene fun starts around 7:58: