Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pay no attention to the woman behind the desk

Due to a system upgrade, our card catalog has been down for the last few days. This means we cannot look up books, cannot place items on hold, cannot renew items for patrons, cannot check items in, and cannot tell a patron where they are on the waitlist for Eat, Pray, Love. OH YEAH, DID I MENTION THAT WE CANNOT LOOK UP BOOKS? Because if I forgot to say it in the last thirty seconds let me tell you again that no, we cannot look up books to see if they’re checked in here or at another branch, or even if our library owns that title.
Patron, who looks like a mildly intelligent man: Could you check the computer?

So this is what it comes down to: an undergraduate degree in English, a master’s degree in Library and Information Science, but apparently I’m just some unemployed volunteer that shows up here because the real librarian is the computer. I’m a hairless ape, but it’s the computer that has all the knowledge! Please ignore me and what I’m telling you, let’s check the computer!

Old woman who probably has never used a computer: Could you print me out a list of your current book club kit books?
Me: I’m sorry, but as I already said we’re experiencing a countywide outage with our card catalog and do not have the ability to check on items in the collection. If you come back tomorrow or maybe even check online at home tomorrow evening everything should be back to normal.
Old woman, gesturing to my coworker next to me who is helping another patron: I can wait and ask her. Maybe her computer is working.

When did people stop using their brains and give over to the idea that computers have all the answers to every single thing in life?

Patron with a “Guns Don’t Kill People” trucker hat: My cousin Clayton’s in the hospital?
Me: ???
Gun lovin’ Patron: My cousin, he was in a car accident yesterday, what hospital is he in?
Me: Uhhh…Was his accident local? Do you have another family member you can ask?
Gun lovin’ Patron: No, I can’t reach anyone on the phone. Can you look it up in the computer?
Me: !


  1. The only good part of the catalog being down is when you get to show off your ninja/mensa Dewey skills.

  2. @Chris - Yes, I like to impress them when I can pull an author or title's name out of the air, or lead them directly to animal books or biographies without looking it up. I like for them to think I have dark magic.

  3. Well, look at it this way. At least you're not feeding bananas to an urang-utan.