Help! I’m having a Collections Emergency!

Help! I’m having a Collections Emergency!

Today I called someone at work and her voicemail said:

“If you are having a collections emergency, please call my pager.”

Help! The collections have turned on us! They just devoured a bibliographer!

They’re moving toward the staff break room! Sweet God, it’s a collections emergency!

Troubled patrons?

Crazies 101

My employer is holding a workshop:

“Trouble or Troubled: Dealing with Difficult Patrons

This workshop will describe the various kinds of patrons who create problems in the libraries. It will provide information which will assist you in determining the difference between a “patron with a problem” or a “problem patron.” The workshop will then provide information on what to do as well as how and when to access resources such as the police.”

Judo class to follow. Seriously, there’s a pretty wild thread going right now in the forums on the subject of crazy patrons. Our workshop folks must have an entire Crazy Patron taxonomy going, since they will be specifying the “various kinds of patrons” along with, I assume, their Latin names and feeding habits. I’m looking forward to it.

I actally talked to a patron today. I was locking up the office this evening when a woman using the OPAC stopped me and asked if I had a pen. I did. No need to thank me, public service is my middle name.

Me-mail

I got this email from Erin this morning. I’m all ego-y now. Once in a while I get a letter like this, an occurrence which pretty much defies reality and constructs a nice illusion of me as some sort of e-persona, which I suppose I could be if I worked on the website once in awhile instead of staying up until 4am reading “Sewer, Gas & Electric” by Matt Ruff. Dangit. Curse you Matt Ruff and your seductive prose!

Erin writes:

at the YMCA tonight I saw…

an awesome girl in a “librarian avengers” t-shirt.

I was like, “Aw na, hell na– that’s awesome! Erica Olsen is like my best friend in the world.”

she was studying to become a librarian and generally thinks of you as an extraordinary genius.

I am beaming with pride!

Pirates of the Bibliotecha

Erica and Rabbit-the-dog

Winter cometh. Rabbit-the-dog gets up early, and lately when I let her out she tiptoes around the frozen yard with an accusing look on her snout. We had her spayed last week, and she had to wear one of those doggie satellite dishes around her neck. I soothed her the best I could, but when I left for work the first day she pressed her head up against the door and whimpered. With the plastic cone on, it looked like we had suction-cupped a dog to our wall.

It has been a week of recovery for everyone. I’m coming out of an awful cold, which has re-introduced me to the joys of Allegra abuse. I’ve been self-medicating with hot toddies and delivery pizza. After five days, my head has finally deflated to normal size and my overabundance of phlegm no longer frightens the co-workers. Coming in to work sick is great if you enjoy people asking you “do you have allergies, or is that…(suspicious pause)…a cold?”

Our University inaugurated a new president last week, and since I now find myself with faculty status, I was able to march in the academic procession. Hundreds of over-educated people in silly clothes wound their way across campus in the cold. In our fancy schmancy regalia, it was a great big academic drag show. A whole crowd from the library showed up, and there was talk of staging a raid on the nearby Law School. We figured we could use our mortarboards and rapier-like wit as weapons and take over their budget.

Arr.

Some library stories

We were walking around on our lunch break yesterday and found a really big feather. Next to the feather was a squirrel. By using Occam’s Razor, we determined that we had found a squirrel feather, and spent the rest of lunch trying to convince the reference department.

I got an email yesterday from a nice person who was curious about what exactly “library research” involves. Well, you know that little webcam on top of your computer? It only LOOKS like it’s turned off. Mwah-ha-ha-ha! Ha! Heh! Heh. ahem.

The sex life of the library

Apparently there have been at least two masturbation incidents in the stacks this week. This will come as no surprise to anyone who has worked in a library, but some people find the library to be quite arousing. Is it the books?

I’m told that Henry James can be rather risque. Or maybe the stacks create a feeling of public-privacy, an alone-in-my-room sort of feeling that works to the detriment of hapless female shelvers. And yes, there is often a hapless female shelver involved.

It happened to me. I think. He left fast, so it was difficult to tell.

I moved to a closed stacks collection soon afterward.

Bleah.

Field notes from the Rural Librarian

Note from my mother, the small town library director:

“Well I just had my picture taken with a green bean and a carrot. They are running around promoting the farmer’s market that the community center is having. Another thing they didn’t tell you about in library school. I have a horrible feeling that’s it’s going to be on the front page of the paper.”

That Reference Compulsion

So my friend Clay (of reference desk fame) and I have just gotten out of our dance class, and we are talking about books. A woman overhears us and starts talking about a book she is reading on the subject of Jack the Ripper.

“What was that book?” she asks, “The one they made a movie out of?”

At this point I should pause and remind you that neither of us were in any way identifiable as librarians, nor were we at work, where we might have had a contractual obligation to answer this woman’s question. Yet answer it we did, with alacrity.

We pipe up, “Oh! you must mean the graphic novel From Hell by Alan Moore,” and our cover is blown. We have been exposed as professional know-it-alls. Any chance we might have had to pose as members of another, sexier profession has been lost.

We couldn’t just say “huh” like normal people. Nope, had to jump in there with the full bibliographic citation.

How librarians talk when they think no one is looking

This is how librarians talk when they think no one’s looking. The following excerpts are from actual email conversations:

Me: Good news! The ALA now has a Library Worker’s Day! ALA loves library assistants! What I like most about this day is how close the phrase ‘library worker’ is to ‘sex worker.’ “Hi, I’m Erica and I’m a library worker! I started out as a library dancer, but now I just do some phone reference and a few library tricks on the side.”

My Librarian Friend: Some day I will be Madam at a whole Library of Ill Repute. Really naughty boys will be sent to Technical Services!!!

Me: Good news! The ALA now has a Library Worker’s Day! ALA loves paraprofessionals!

My Other Librarian Friend: Show me the money.