Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Readers advisory for the difficult

Today a guy in a gas station attendant's uniform wanted me to help him find a book he read and really enjoyed 15 years ago from another library. He could not remember the title or author, but that the book was about "a wealthy man who has a mistress and wants to get rid of his wife. She has this huge garden and puts a lion in it. When she finds out of his plans to murder her she decides not to feed the lion for a few days and the lion eats the husband while the wife has a tea party. How long do you think it will take you to find it? Should I wait here or come back in a few minutes?"

I took his information down and told him he could go home as I would contact him when I found it, but after an hour searching a couple databases and posting the plot description to some book websites I still have nothing.

Later, I watched as a shrunken elderly man took about 10 years to approach the reference desk. He pulled out the chair and eased down, never a sign that it will be a quick transaction.

Old Man River: I’m looking for a book on Hilary Clinton.
Me: Do you know the title?
OMR: Hilary Clinton, she wrote it.
Me: I believe she's written a few, do you know which one you're interested in?
OMR: It's the one Hilary Clinton wrote.
Me: (I imagine I have one of those cartoon scribble clouds appearing above my head) Let me take a look in the catalog.
OMR: It is copyright 2003, I think.
Me: Is it Living History?
OMR: Hilary Clinton. I want the one by Hilary Clinton.
Me: Yes, this is by Hilary Clinton. If this is the title you're looking for we have a copy, but it's at another library.
OMR: Only one copy?
Me: Only one checked in, but it’s at another library.
OMR: Not here?
Me: No, not here.
OMR: Hilary Clinton?
Me: If it's Living History you want it's not here, but I can request it for you to be sent here.
OMR: What about Bill Clinton?
Me: (does a search) We have two of his titles but neither is currently checked in.
OMR: No Bill Clinton?
Me: Not right now, but I can put it on hold, would you like me to put it on hold?
OMR: No Hilary Clinton?
Me: Not checked in at his library, no.
OMR: Do you have George Bush?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's okay to be quirky, self-obsessed and a loser, just as long as you're wearing great vintage clothing

I was sent this article on Counterpunch by a friend for shiz and giggles and as I was reading it in all it's snarky glory, I found myself both laughing and furrowing my eyebrows. Have I danced dangerously close to the edge of becoming a dreaded stereotype -- HIPSTER LIBRARIAN?!

"I liked _____ way before they were popular." Hipster, please!
(images from

Ok, I can at least swear that I'm not as bad as the above, but still "Bettie Page bangs and winsome skirts with felted bird appliqu├ęs" -- uh, yeah, that's me. The really tragic part is that I've been used to looking different from the general population for so long that I'm kinda shocked and disappointed that I've become a stereotype. And not just irritated that I've become a stereotype, but that I actually am a degree holdin' librarian, AND all those fake hipster librarians are doing it cooler than me. Where was this population when I was growing up? Why was I labeled weird for wearing handmade skirts with Salvation Army t-shirts and when exactly did big plastic framed glasses become hot?! I guess I should feel happy that at least today's nerdy teen girl can rock specs that could rival Larry King's and be worshiped for her sick gaming skills, but I'm also a wee bit jealous that this trend is 15 years too late to repair my own miserable teen experience.

While I would never label myself as a hipster librarian (especially since I find hipsters with their too tight jeans and complicated shoes annoying), I can certainly see some of my coworkers and probably some of the public I serve giving me that description and I don't know how I feel about that. I mean, I don't really care what most people think of me, and as long as I'm providing good information services it doesn't matter. However, I'd not like for a potential employer to judge me by my looks and think that I may not be "serious" about my career. Likewise, I would like patrons to respect me as a librarian and not some mall girl, just because I don't want to wear my hair in a bun and don a cat hair sweater -- you know, the other librarian stereotype. Because if we don't have facial piercings and wear vintage slips as dresses then we're the equivalent of a sexually repressed Cathy strip comic.

What bothers me the most is the fake hipster librarians wanting to be librarians...simply because they look like hipster librarians? Really, I cannot think of a worse way to choose a career and the stupid thing is so many of them think we just get to read all day. The Counterpunch article has some tips on how hipsters can fake a lifetime of getting food stuck in your braces and a worthless liberal arts degree in order to avoid becoming a real librarian. My advice is that your denim mini skirt and flowing scarf tend to get in the way when you've got to clean up some barf in the children's department.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The joys of the internet

After going without internet access at home for over a month in my new apartment, today the Comcast guy finally came out to hook me up. I don't know if I'm supposed to feel happy or sad.

I've seen this video clip posted a few places, but hadn't been able to watch it at work or on my magic phone. So yeah, I'm late to the snark party, but if you haven't seen it yet enjoy: