Tuesday, March 23, 2010

You and everyone's mothers collect National Geographic

chat user: I have 4-5 years worth of old National Geographic.
Ask a Librarian: thinks: Yes?...And? Are you looking to donate them to the library? or are you just bragging?
chat user: yeah that.
chat user: I want to donate them to you.
Ask a Librarian: Unfortunately we do not accept magazine donations. I can provide you with a list of local places that will take your magazines.*
chat user: what about Haiti?
Ask a Librarian: ?
chat user: why aren't you collecting them to send to Haiti?

Oh, I don't know, maybe because Haiti has enough problems on its plate without worrying about your back issues of a magazine that's in English? We're also not collecting them to send to Haiti because it's a bad idea.

I get annoyed with a lot of the actual charity collections that we do because people are always donating garbage that they don't want to get rid of themselves under the guise of helping others. "Gently used" does not mean broken, stained, moldy, or ancient. We just finished a prom dress drive and I was horrified by the amount of navy blue business suits that Janet Reno wouldn't have accidently put on in the dark but somehow ended up in our donation box. You think a teenage girl today wants to wear this? To her prom? Remember how hard your eyes rolled when your cousin asked you to don that sea green monster pretending to be a bridesmaid dress? Well, throw it away then, don't keep it for 10 years and then think you're doing good by clogging up our donations box. The drive was called "Prom Dreams" not "Prom Nightmares"!

And don't even get me started on the encyclopedia donations. Chances are that since they don't publish Funk and Wagnalls anymore it isn't going to be something we want. This is a public library folks, not your personal archive.

*Side note: I actually collect some older National Geographic issues from the 1950's and 1960's, but I usually just tear out the retrotastic ads and recycle the rest.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sex Panther - 60% of the time it works every time.

Yep, it's made with bits of real panther, so you know it's good.

Detroit city employees are being asked not to wear perfume, cologne, aftershave, or use scented candles as a result of a settlement in a federal lawsuit. This decision comes from a 2008 lawsuit where a city employee complained that her coworker's strong perfume made it difficult for her to do her job, and was awarded $100,000. This news item made me think of my own workplace and what would happen if I went to my boss with a similar complaint. I imagine she would respond with three words: "Too effing bad."

This is because the public, in general, smells. In most cases the smell is usually tolerable (ex. you have stinky coffee breath, but you will stop talking and go away after 30 seconds), but there are some occasions when it is just pure evil. Last week as I was assisting an older gentleman with a computer tutorial I used the turtleneck part of my sweater as a filter to breathe through as I was quite sure the man had consumed poop for lunch. I had to do this for nearly an hour and felt so lightheaded with fresh air afterwards that I almost needed to go lay down under my desk.

This is a fairly regular occurrence. The teen volunteer with the murderous B.O., the quiet homeless guy who smells like pee, the lady who smokes so much I can smell her before I turn around. Oh, I'm sure I'm guilty too -- maybe I go a little overboard with that new perfume I like so much or perhaps I could use a stick of gum or two after having that tuna sub, but I certainly hope I've never gotten to the level of "soiled diaper coming through with a pinch of gasoline."

And what would happen if I were to complain about any of them in the library? Nothing, and I definitely wouldn't be on the receiving end of any court settlements. However, as county government employee I can imagine a memo coming down from admin alerting us to start going without deodorant.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?

RIP Capt. Clarence Oveur

Forget his work in "Mission: Impossible" or on A&E's "Biography," I'd like to think for my generation, Peter Graves will always be a friendly old guy wanting to know if you've ever seen a grown man naked.

Not really library related, but suddenly everyone wants to put Airplane! on hold. (No requests yet for the less loved Airplane II: The Sequel)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

National Reading Month

March is National Reading Month, but I only realized it because ModLife, another blog I follow, happened to mention it. How sad is that?

Actually, the branch I work at seems to be celebrating everything but National Reading Month: we have displays and programs for Women's History Month and National Craft Month. There are posters and shelf displays of Irish authors for Saint Patrick's Day and books getting ready for spring. We have the bloodmobile parked out front regularly to celebrate that it's American Red Cross month.

All of this is in addition to all the other non-national-whatever-month stuff we have going on like the home selling workshop, junior science club, toddler university, teen anime club, computer lab tutorial, and family movie nights. I guess we are just assuming everyone is reading too.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Libraries in the media - both pertinent and irrelevant

While channel surfing the other day I came across two different representations of libraries that I thought were interesting. The first was search engine Yahoo!'s 15 year anniversary where they conducted a U.S. survey from users asking them how the internet has changed their lives since 1995.

The results showed that several activities are down, including library visits being down by 59%, though the Yahoo! rep and interviewer seemed to feel a nostalgic loss more than anything else.

The other item was a new show on NBC, brought over from England called Who Do You Think You Are?, a reality tv show that researches the genealogy of a celebrity. I was bored and switching back and forth from other channels while waiting around for my night to begin, but the premier episode focused on Sarah Jessica Parker, following her cross country as she learned more about her family tree. As easily accessible as the internet makes everything, it was interesting to see the visits to different library's archival records for primary sources and information not yet digitized. We have a genealogy database at our library, but it doesn't get used very much from what I've seen and I've only played with it here and there without any major results, but I wonder if interest in this type of information can be renewed by the public thanks to shows like this? Maybe, though I noticed they did not make Sarah Jessica Parker wear gloves to handle her 10th great-grandmother's arrest record in Salem.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Found photos at the library

Many people use photos as bookmarks that aren't discovered until long after the book has been returned to the library and cannot be reunited with its owner. More often people donate books that have photos wedged inside, further complicating the reuniting possibility, so it's safe to say I have quite a lot of found photographs -- and I didn't even collect them the first two years on the job!

I used to post them on a found photo community on live journal that unfortunately disappeared, but at the same time I can't stop collecting them. I now have an entire photo album full of other people's memories that I can't throw away, so I thought I'd start posting some of them here.