Thursday, January 27, 2011

Patrons attempt to set redundant question record

So yesterday we got saddled with a little bit of snow. Actually, it was about 6"-10" of snow which is considered blizzard worthy by most locals, but the problem was that for whatever reason no one was prepared for it even though all the weathermen were saying "heavy snowfall expected to start around 3pm." Our library remained open even when the staff to patron ratio doubled and the federal government announced it's early closing. Yup, that's right, my little library is considered more essential than the federal government. We were then scheduled to close at 5:30, which meant nothing to me because that's when I got off and I didn't want to use my vacation hours to go home early. That was until one of my coworkers who had left at 3pm called to say in the hour she had been on the road she had just approached a major highway that was maybe five minutes away. I left immediately.
Through the power of my Magic Phone I am able to document my surroundings while navigating through the mighty thunder snow storm.

My new place is roughly about five minutes away but it took me 45 minutes to get home yesterday. I feel very fortunate though because my mom who works maybe 25 minutes away from her home the next town over was on the road for six hours and my brother's girlfriend who lives in the same apartment building as me and works for the federal government didn't get home until after midnight. These are reasons why I was very annoyed this morning to wake up and discover I was expected to be at work...on time. However, once I got out of my neighborhood that was still not plowed, I could see that most of the roads were fairly clear for driving and I made it into work about half an hour before opening.

Last week when we experienced a dusting, we kept a tally sheet by the phone at the reference desk to mark off how many times patrons called to see if we were open. This is a ridiculous time wasting question because when a patron calls the library, one of the first things they are greeted with on the recording is a message that informs them if we are opened or closed. When we are closed we record a new greeting for that day that says, "Thank you for calling suburban library. Today is (insert date), due to (inclimate weather, a power outage, bear attack, etc.) the library is closed." The rest of the year the message says, "Thank you for calling suburban library. THE LIBRARY IS NOW OPEN." So anyone who is calling to see if we are open has just sat through the recording that told them that exact information.

"Hi, I was wondering if you were open today?"

Yes we are open. Do I sound like a robot or a recording? Do you think I live here and answer the phone when the library is closed for kicks? Doesn't the fact that another human being is picking up clue you in to the fact that the library is open?!

"I'm checking to see if you're open? And is the internet working?"

We are open and the snow has not effected the interweb so you can drive your SUV or slosh over in your boots in order to troll on Facebook or play that mafia game.

"Are you open? Do you think you will be closing anytime in the next hour or so?"

We're open and would if I could close the library at noon for no good reason other than it snowed yesterday, but I can't so I shant.

So far our tally is up to 27. We were taking bets this morning and I now wish I would have wagered higher.

Monday, January 17, 2011

We'll show you! Library takes its toys and goes home

(Read this entire entry with a fake British accent as I wrote it thinking with one. Or if you are British, proceed as normal.)

In merry England when Parliament made some major budget cuts to its libraries, (including closing some of them) the Stony Stratford council found out about the possible closure in December and sent letters to 6,000 townspeople, telling them that while the threat of closure was only a threat, it was time to prove how crucial the library was to the community. Then they took their battle to Facebook!

The library in Stony Stratford successful convinced its patrons to empty their library’s shelves, checking out approximately “16,000 volumes,” to show what a void the closure would leave in the community. The maximum amount of books one person could take out was 15. And ahead of their deadline of closing time today, all the books were gone.
According to the Guardian, the last few books lent out were self-help books and practical mechanics books. But they were checked out, and now the library staff are dusting the shelves.

Self help books would probably be the last of ours to go too. An interesting idea, but oy, I would not want to be there on the day all those books come back.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Kids of the future: high tech virtuosos, or just know-it-all @ssholes who won’t write handwritten thank you notes to grandma?

X-Posted to Closed Stacks
Recently The Huffington Postcame out with a list of items that will become historic by 2020 titled, You’re Out: 20 Things That Became Obsolete This Decade, which prompted a similar story on Money Talks News titled 30 Things Babies Born in 2011 Will Never KnowWhile the Huffington Post entry limited it’s literary genocide to bookstores, while the second story did one better by lumping in there books in general as well as magazines and newspapers. Of course this is what got my attention for me to read the article, though we all know that this is old news and I won’t bore you with another article dedicated to print vs. electronic media, but I did think some of the other items that made the list were interesting and threw in a couple of my own. If you do archival work you may soon find yourself preserving some of these in the near future:

  1. Watches – Even now unless you’re pimping a rolex you can easily check out the time by glancing at your iphone and a survey by Beloit College of its class of 2014 found, “Few incoming freshmen know how to write in cursive or have ever worn a wristwatch.”
  2. The Heartfelt Mixtape – Future teen generations will never understand the importance of finding the perfect Sonic Youth song to follow something classic by Morrissey plus a bunch of obscure junk no one else has ever heard of, then decorating the cassette or cd case and shoving it through the vents of their crush’s locker.
  3. Handwritten Letters – When was the last time you went to the mailbox and found an actual letter? Thank you notes, party invitations, letters written on fun stationary with little arrows in the corner in case you didn’t know to flip the page over – all gone! How about letters in general? Now I feel like some rambling jerk if I send a friend an actual friendly email instead of simply Tweeting, “Your new baby rocks!” or updating my Facebook with pictures of my trip to France instead of telling people about it, or texting, “Howru? Im gr8! Tmb xoxo!”
  4. Staplers – If paper is getting used less and less, work places are choosing computer file folders over giant file cabinets, and students can just email their teachers their homework, the stapler will disappear.
  5. Checks – I still have a checkbook, but I rarely use it and feel like the biggest nerd when I do as it seems like this is a form of currency now reserved for little old ladies with change purses (and the fact that mine are Care Bear checks only adds to the embarrassment). A credit card will be all you need by 2020.
  6. Plagiarizing – Students of the next decade will never know the pure joy of copying a huge block of text word for word out of their parent’s outdated encyclopedia for their history project because learning institutions have access to programs that do all sorts of crazy full text searching or detecting unnatural sentence structures.
  7. Naughty Adult Stores – Thanks to the internet, one no longer has to turn to nudie magazine or x-rated videos and blow-up sex dolls and other toys can be ordered with a double click and discretely sent to your doorstep.
  8. Pub Quiz – Did the Nazis really invent Fanta? Was there a Betsy Ross Pez dispenser? Kids born today will never have to buy a round due to losing out on some trivia bet because they will be able to look up the information immediately on whatever iPad or magic phone equivalent they have (they will also have no clue what Fanta or Pez is and probably won’t care).

Monday, January 10, 2011

A new year, a new look

The end of 2010 brought the close of a tumultuous year. In my old journal, I would always try to reflect back on highlights and then summarize my favorite reads of the year. This time it was difficult as a lot of things I thought about actually took place in 2009 and 2010 felt more like a blur. Perhaps this is because I felt my world was slipping away and I experienced the end of an eight year relationship with the person I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with. In general, I am usually a very private person, but the dissolution of my life as I knew it has made it difficult to focus on the activities I enjoy, like writing, or painting, or even updating the blog. Since moving out and getting my own place at the beginning of November, I have often felt like my waking life is a bizarre dream.

So, with the start of the new year I'm hoping to turn over a new leaf and return my attention to the things in life that make me happy. Part of this includes revamping the blog and bringing together my other interests that I think compliment my job -- such as library inspired fashion and design, kitschy stuff that I collect, the vintage and pin-up lifestyle, and more books, books, books! Obviously, there will still be industry chat as well as patron rants, but I don't want to feel like I'm in a rut or closed off as to what I can and can't talk about.

I hope that these changes do not put off any of my regular followers, but I think that this step will help make this blog more personal and more me.