Saturday, December 27, 2003

Resolutions?



I've been thinking and thinking and thinking of what I could possibly resolve to do in 2004.

I've thought of several things, all of which include giving something up. I want to resolve to do somthing that doesn't require me to give up anything in particular, while still allowing me to become a better person. I've never prescribed to that school of thought that deprevation actually makes a person stronger. Thats nonsense.

One of my thoughts was to be more like my comic hero Andy Rooney. Maybe cranky, opinionated, and could use a good eyebrow shaping, but nevertheless funny as hell. While I was thinking about this, it made me realize that old people can say or do anything, and the rest of the world laughs at them, or deals with it. I seriously mean they can get away with anything.

At the OCJ, I worked with an individual who called black people Africa-Americans, and on occasion used some other less appropriate, dated, and often non PC terms. This person was old. The good people in the office chalked it off to his age. Had anyone else done this, that would have been an appointment in HR to kiss your job goodbye.

At our library, I know I let old people do what ever they want. Sure they've gotten to a point where they deserve respect for having survived for so long, but whatever happened to that argument our parents gave us when we were the older sibling "Oh, I expected more from you being the oldest..." or the classic "You're old enough to know better..."? How old do we get before you can't say that anymore?

Several examples of what I let old people get away with:

1) talking at exceptionally loud levels
2) carry on lenghthy conversations with me on the floor, where I'm supposed to be working

I also don't wake them up when I see them sleeping at the library. What makes them so special? And why do I shut down and let it all happen? Because like the rest of the world, I have a soft spot. One that goes deeper than the puppy/kitten "AWWWW" reflex. But still, I want to get away with all this!

I've been accused mutiple times of acting like an "old lady", or dressing "like an old man" (p.s. its called vintage fashion), and as for my mind set- I've been reminded multiple times that it is no longer 1945...so really, this New Years resolution is very practical on my part. Perhaps I could have chosen a better idol, but then again, who else would have said " My grandmother has a bumper sticker on her car that says, 'Sexy Senior Citizen.' You don't want to think of your grandmother that way, do you? Out entering wet shawl contests. Makes you wonder where she got that dollar she gave you for your birthday. " Now thats priceless.

Having a role model who is a successful TV peronsality, writer, and geriatric seems fitting for me. To resolve to be more like this role model, even more fitting.

The moral of this post: Resolutions don't have to be about giving something up. Go ahead and eat that chocolate bar. If you aren't happy in the new year, you're going to do a lot worse than eat the chocolate bar. Resolutions can be about adding something to your life. I resolve to laugh more next year, whatever that entails.

Happy New Year to all of you fabulous readers.



Friday, December 19, 2003

Happy Holidays



Ahh, the season of light & miracles. While not library related, I wanted to say happy holidays to everyone.

At my branch, we do embrace all faiths and even those that seem faithless.

Additionally, I'd like to commend the manager of my branch, who was named one of the New York Times Librarians of the Year! Good going Kentucky librarian! We are all so proud of you! This is something to celebrate!

Its for public librarians, so I will never have the honor, G-d knows what a tough job it is to manage a branch in our neighborhood. The fun part is, you have to be nominated by a patron- I guess my neighborhood does respect what its been given!

Matthew

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Uh, Not quite



I was shelving over in the YA section the other night, and a group of students ages 9-12 were sitting at the table. About 6 of them. They had coats thrown all over the floor, and were making a lot of noise. A LOT of noise.

I told them to quiet it down, they were in a library. Then the not so nice, ethnic slurs between one another.

Our policy states that when kids use strong language, we tell them the following "You have two choices. Go home and use that language, or stay here and be respectful and quiet." Usually solves the problem.

So they sit there, chatting (not doing homework, as they tried to have me believe) and dropping the occasional "f" bomb, along side the ethnically un-PC "N" bomb.

Then the conversation goes into overload. Here, I will recount it for you.

Kid #1: I think my teachers pregnant.
Kid #2: OOH, she prolly is, fat ol' ho.
Peanut gallery: OOOH! You called Mrs. so and so a HO!!
Kid #1: Yeah, she so fat, theys gonna have to cut that baby out of her
Girl: Ooo, you nasty. They don't cut babies out. They come out of your butt.
Kid #1: NONO! Its true (drawing an imaginary line on his stomach,properly I might add) Right here, they cut you. My momma said when I was borned they cut her, and just waved a piece a turkey, and I jumped out to eat it.
Peanut Gallery: Assorted hoots and hollers
ME: OK guys, settle down, homework time.
Kid #1: SIR!! HEY! MR! Tell em. They can cut the Mom's stomach open to get the baby.
ME: Yes, that is one of the ways a baby can be born.
*the kicker*
Kid #1 (looking around for full effect) They an also come out of the VAGINA (extra loud voice), right? The VAGINA?
Girl: OOOH! You so nasty!
ME: Alright. Get to your work. No more of this loud talking. There is nothing about a C section in your Spanish homework.


First, lots of things wrong with this picture. A child thinking babies come out of your butt, another one that is ready to become a gynecologist, and the rest of them laughing about the word vagina. My branch is obsessed with vaginas. Im starting to get scared. I've also recently begun growing orchids. Perhaps its contagious. I doubt it.

I am getting a true education in this branch. When the little girl showed me her art homework, and I told her it was "tight" she almost fell off her chair. I was tempted to tell all of them to "quit being so salty , or they'd all be treated", but my better judgement kicked in.
They'd love to know I'm swooning over Missy Elliott's new "Pass that Dutch", although not in public. It would wreck my whole "I only listen to Glenn Miller Persona."

I have one more final to take tomorrow, and then Im done with my first semester of library school. Yippee Super. And this means I work more hours at the public library, so I'll have more stuff to share! OK, back to studying.

The moral of this story: Not all Orchid growers are big eavesdroppers, like me.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Its not you, its me...



This is me. This is what a glamourous, well dressed, corporate librarian wanna be looks like after 3 glasses of chianti. This is what a black tuxedo shirt looks like when worn in public. Why don't guys just wear stuff like this? I used to wear it to the office when I had the OCJ. Now, it is a "goin' out" shirt. Sad. I have a lot of "goin" out clothes now.

My new library wardrobe is basically khakis, white button down oxfords, and a v-neck pullover sweater. I am afraid to wear anything else in fear that a patron will a)pee on me b)vomit on me c)touch me with sticky sucker hands. Not that any of this has happened, but I do see them sneeze onto computers, I know they pee ALL over the floor in the men's room, and I pick up gum and half eaten suckers several times a week.

OK, even though I love to talk about myself, I will stray onto another. We'll call her Retro-Hip Librarian. She's the one we all wanted to have for a librarian growing up. She's pretty, raven haired, and super-hip-funky! She rocks, especially when she sports the horn rim glasses. She is a second year, almost ready to graduate. I work with her a few times a week. Last night the conversation between us went something like this, we were shelving CD's. (She helps me even though she is reference in training):

Glam Page: It is SO busy in here tonight
Retro Hip Librarian: No doubt. Oh, the phones ringing, I have to get that, my CD's are on the table behind you.
GP: No problem

I shelve for a minute, and she walks back smiling and says to me:

RHL:That person just called to ask the date. Today's date.
GP: What? They stayed on hold just to find out today's date?
RHL: Yep!


OK, perhaps not as funny as I wanted that to be, but it cracks me up big time. WHY? would you call and ask the date? Are you living in a calandarless void? Anyway.

This I saved til the very end, in hopes that you would all get bored and turn away. I mention it because this is a true documentation of me moving through the public library system. It has been joked about at work that I should hold story hour for the kids. It would go something like this:

GP: OK kids, first things first. WHO wants to hold my ashtray?
Lots of happy kids: ME! ME! pick me! ME!
GP: OK, Sally I pick you because you are the only one with good cheekbones
---time to let the kids settle down---
GP: OK, what do we want to read? Vogue or Cosmo?
LOHK: What the hell are those?
GP: Don't make me hate you.
LOHK: HAHAHAHAHAHA, people don't hate children!
GP: Oh yeah?

Story hour corrupted with a cigarette smoking, cocktail wielding page. Not pretty.
So here tucked in the end, my real story of an interaction with a real child.

Little Girl: Hi. My name is Tamika.
GP: Hi Tamika. Im Matthew.
LG: I'd like that book on the shelf. Can you get it for me?
GP: Sure. Here you go honey.

---minutes pass----
LG: Can I have a sticker?
GP: Yes, you've been so good you can have two.

Then the whole crew called me out. Apparently, that is "sweet" and "Nice". See what public libraries do to Corporate bitches like me? THEY MAKE US ALL GOOEY.

The moral of this post: Be HOT and GLAM, even if you have to be nice. It's possible. I'm officially living proof.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

No, not yet



I have been sooo busy with finals and Thanksgiving, that I have not had time to blog as much as I'd like. Classes are done on the 12th, and as I write this, I should be putting the finishing touches on two major papers. But instead, I have decided to share more stories from the trenches.

And because you are all wondering, my Thanksgiving was wonderful, I hosted 12 people (including my inlaws for the first time) and made a 25lbs bird. My table was set with depression era amber glass, and french lead crystal. I gotta admit, even I was impressed with the end result. It looked even better after we had finshed 13 bottles of wine.

So, the library. Last night, slightly dirty, looks like a uni-bomber man came in looking for the "USA TODAY" paper. He asked the librarian if we had a copy. And so this conversation unfolds....nb: to get the full effect, ring your hands and speak quickly while role playing the creepy patron. For the ultimate experience, add a Kentucky accent to the librarian, and smile the whole time.

Creepy Patron: Do you subscribe to USA TODAY?
Librarian: Yes sir we do. It is in the periodicals.
CP: No, no, its not. I've looked. Are you sure you subscribe?
L: Yes, there is a spot on the shelf for it, it maybe in use right now.
CP: How many subscriptions do you have?
L: One.
CP: Where is it?
L: If its not on the shelf a patron is using it.
CP: Where is the patron?
L: Sir, you'll have to wait your turn, we share in a public library.

4 minutes later

CP: I've just walked around the library. I didn't see USA TODAY. Are you sure you subscribe to it?
L: Sir, we do subscribe to it. It must be in use right now.
CP: No, no, its not. I've just walked around everywhere. Its not here.
L: Sir, I am assuring you we have it. Just wait, the patron should finsish with it before long.

Now, creepy patron walks away. I say to the librarian

Glamorous Page: Couldn't he just go online and read the web version of USA TODAY?
Librarian: Umm, Matthew, he's crazy
GP: Oh

Its little things like this that make me want to run screaming into a 35 floor corporate building begging for a job as a librarian. Sometimes the situations are so surreal, I want to walk over and pinch people...just to make sure its real. Only I wouldn't because people are dirty, and although I've given up on manicures, I still care deeply about my skin. Its just not worth the risk. For all I know, I'll end up with e-coli or monkey pox. I just have to take each situation at face value.

In addition to this, I have also come to another realization. I can not stand the sound of children whining or crying. Yesterday, Mother of the Year was in the library with all 5 of her kids. 3 of them were crying, and one was emitting this low, skin crawling whine that would not stop. I wanted to give the kids stickers to make them stop, but realized they were crying because their Mother was forcing them to play computer games that they didn't want to play.

She was making a 3 year old play a game with french and spanish words. The kid couldn't even read, let alone two foriegn tongues. I don't think from what I gathered that she could either. Finally, our very own Kentucky librarian came to the rescue. She explained to the MOTY that the games were too hard, and got them to play something else.

End of crying & whining. For 6 minutes.

Then the MOTY decided it was time to go,only the kids wanted to play more games. So she screamed at them. Then she couldn't find one of her kids. So, she decided to call for her, like she was in a State Park. Multiple times.

Finally they left, and I had one of the worst headaches I can remember. And I have a good memory.

Anyway, another day in the life of a Corporate librarian turned public page. I don't know how Kentucky librarian does it. She's amazing.

Now, back to reality, and my final papers.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Coming to a theatre Near YOU!



SO while shelving yesterday, I overheard two men talking. They went on and on and on, swapping "well, I was arrested AND had to go to court for this"..."well I was arrested TWICE for this, and ...." you get the picture

Then one guy says "hey check this out" and whips a video cassette out of his pocket. The other guy said "damn, where'd you get that at?" and he replies "theys sellin' em over to..blah blah blah. And this made me think of one thing. The scandalous Paris Hilton tape.

Now maybe its because I've gotten about 50 million SPAM's in the last week since the story broke, offering this delightful footage for a small price. Apparently, its made it onto VHS now. Sorry BETA geeks, you're gonna have to wait a while.
Now if this weren't good enough....Vagina Collage man is back.

Only now, he apparently has turned over a new leaf. He's been having the librarians help him with spelling, to avoid those costly mistakes made in advertising. Yes ADVERTISING.

He's starting a moving company. I found out yesterday that he already drives a big white van -very de rigeur for a mover. And apparently by chatting it up with the people at the reference desk he is finely tuning his people skills. I wonder if the vagina collage was actually just a prototype for his business card? Hmmmm. Maybe I'm onto something.

Aside from that, I'm sure his hand written, photocopied signs are about to bring in more business than he'll be able to shake a stick at. And I'm hoping even at that, he doesn't shake anything.

Today's valuable lesson is this: Public libraries foster all kinds of literacy. Not only do they excite people in a literary way, but also in a cinemagraphic way as well.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Love in the library


Oh the things that I see when I'm at this library of mine. This had to have been one of the most vulgar displays of machismo I've ever seen.

At the circ desk, when I was working in rough sort, this guy walks up to the counter. Kind of a Mac Daddy with no social skills walks up to this pretty tall asian woman. Here, I will narrate the conversation

Pimp Daddy: Heeey Lady. Checkin' out some books.
Kind Reserved Asian lady: Yes, that is why I am at the check out counter.
PD: So, Korean or Chinese?
KRAL: Excuse me? I am not going to answer that.
PD: I like to know what kind of lady I'm talkin' to
KRAL: I don't tell people that kind of thing
PD: Don't get me wrong, I just don't want to insult you by calling you Korean, ya know, if you're not
KRAL: :Yeah. Well have a nice day
PD: Oh yeah, you know I will now

IWWWWWWWWW! What on G-d's green earth was this guy thinking? He was going to mac on this lady right there, and she was going to swoon over this guy, and hand out her number like Halloween candy? To make this even worse, he was standing AT the circ desk, having his discourse infront of "hip retro-librarian in training", who had to listen to it all. Then he says to HRLIT "I dunno why she just didn't tell me, I like to know who my ladies are"...like his reasoning was going to make all parties involved say "Oh, well, in that case, Kind Reserved Asian lady was a total jerk to you". Whatever, this guy is an icky freak.

But the hot love doesn't end there. Remember man who wanted to create his profile at blackloveplanet.com? Well he came back. This time he had gone to Kinko's and scanned his picture. Now he wanted to know how to "put it in his profile". Only you can't download stuff off a disk onto the computer. So we had to tell him to go back to Kinko's and email it to himself, and then just insert the picture from his email.

You know what he said? "what is email?". How does this guy think he is going to even use his online profile if he doesn't know what email is? Good heavens. Maybe he plans on listing a PO box for women to write to. Who knows.

Its bad enough that the librarians and staff at our branch are so gorgeous that we have to fend advances off with a special stick we keep under the reference desk, but now our poor patrons also have to brave this climate of "hot seductive patron candor"? Maybe we need to have a can of pepper spray that hot patrons can check out of reserve when this sort of thing happens. What else are we supposed to do? We certainly can't have a "No hot people allowed" sign on the door, because then none of the staff could come to work, and if we did, it would be a double standard.

Needless to say, I've learned that not only corporate librarians are hot. Public librarians can be too. It's a very valuable life lesson. I hope you've all learned something.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Elementary, My Dear Watson



I was thinking today about library school, and some of the things I have learned this past semester, and decided to try and apply them. Ranganathan's Laws contain among them 2 that I've decided are the most interesting:
2. Every book his/her reader
3. Every reader his/her book

Now taking these rules, and focusing on my branch's collection I can deduce many things.

Our collection is very complete, but there are certain areas that I've noticed contain a bit more stock than others. These would be sex education, substance abuse, graphic novels, home repair, pop film/music, WWF, and travel. Mind you, we do have lots of other books. As a page I get to shelve all of them, and find myself amused over and over again by titles that rest next to each other. In one instance, this was the kama sutra, right next to a book about the teachings of Ghandi. Who would have thought to do this but our dearly departed Dewey.

So back to my neighborhood. One could pull from this that we have alot of sex hungry, drug addicted people living in well finished homes, who enjoy retiring in the evening to watch a bit of SmackDown, then tune into a little travel network.

OR one could suppose that our patrons like to travel to comic book conventions, while listening to the latest Rufus Wainright CD, and wrestle down a drug dealer.

Another blatant possibility is that our customers would enjoy watching Ian Wright have sex with one of the glamourous ladies of wrestling, after having downed two bottles of Nyquil and an eight ball.

Or of course, this could mean that there are a bunch of nurses, with a penchant for wrestling who enjoy current culture and interior design.

Whatever it means, we certainly have a diverse crowd in the library. Where else could I be surrounded by a man making an anitomical collage, sitting next to a teen mom feeding her baby, across from a lawyer, who had just passed by an elderly woman, who had just opened the door for 6 teenagers? OK, so this does sound like a mental hosptial's waiting room --but thats not what I was getting at. It doesn't take Sherlock Holmes (or Jessica Fletcher for that matter) to deduce that the library is the melting pot of the community. Our readers do dictate our collection, but the point is THEY USE IT.

Now if we could only get more books about really hot gay jewish librarians. So maybe my boyfriend wouldn't like that, but it would be fun to see who checked out the books.

Besides me.



Thursday, November 13, 2003

Don't Use the C Word



I have just come home from my class, and learned something that distresses me. I can't use the "c" word. Yes, my dream of becoming a cataloguer is shattered. The new techno lingo word is metadata specialist. I don't want to be a metadata specialist.

I have dreams of taking my business card out of a sterling silver, engraved business card holder. My card will say "Sotheby's, Head of Catalogues, etc", and go on to give the posh address of whatever big city with citizens who have prominent accents that I land in. Now, my card will have to say Metadata specialist? Oh, the tragedy. It makes me want to lift my hand to my mouth and let out a silent scream. Well, I do that anyway, its too boring to save drama for big occasions.

I know I advocate for the bun headed shusher to be locked in a closet, and perhaps left there with nothing but out of date waiting room magazines and a tin of stale biscuts. But some tradition needs to stick. I mean "cataloguer" just sounds nice, and you can spell it with that extra "u" that no one seems to use anymore. My goodness! Imagine if they change the word "auction house" to "second hand goods" I wouldn't like that either. But thats not happening, so I guess I shouldn't fret over that yet.

I couldn't help myself when I heard the phrase uttered in class today. "don't use the 'c' word". It inspired me to ramble even more than usual. Somethings are left best alone. Let sleeping dogs lie. I want to be a cataloguer, and I want to use the C word. Especially on my heavy ,cream colored, embossed ,cardstock business cards from Sotheby's.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Ma Vie en Khaki



During all of my recent studying, I've found that most librarians are female! And further reading has rid me of the notion that all male librarians are gay. I haven't found any statistics about Jewish librarians, but when you roll all of those bits together (carefully...), you get ME! The Gay, Jewish, Male Librarian.

Yes, its true. So, you can stop inquiring quietly in your heads, pondering in your journals, and calling the local Cornell Cooperative Extension to ask them if this breed exists.

If dinosaurs could have written, archeologists would have a much easier time framing their lives up. So, in line with that rare breed that died out, I had better document a bit about me. Just in case something happens, like a comet hitting the earth, a tornado like they predict tonight, or the Gap going out of business.

I'd like to say that I come from a long line of Gay Jewish librarians, but I can't. I came from small town, Western New York, population 600 or so. Long way from a synagogue, a social life, and a Burberry outlet. My folks started getting divorced when I was about 8, and finished up in time for me to turn 13. I lived with my Mother, who is perfect and shiney and very very blond (thanks to a very good stylist). She is a social worker.

After the divorce, my mother and I moved to a slightly bigger town, outside of Rochester, NY. Here I grew into the prissy, perfectionist, type A of a person that you see before you (only now my nose is even more perfect, and I worked with a personal trainer). My mother and I shared a passion for gardening that has exisited in our family for several generations. Our gardening time became our bonding time, and was precious to both of us. We read voraciously so we had things to discuss, and at the same time allowed my passion for books and literature, and the arts to grow (see the patern? type a personality +loves books = librarian). Ok, so that equation doesn't work.

Then I went to college. I have an under grad in Art History (focus on Art Deco), and a minor in English Lit. Then I graduated, having experienced several lovely boyfriends (who Ironically have all been Catholic..hmmm). Now off to the work world. Auction house, then corporate library.

Speeding to the present, I am in grad school now. LISNews has quoted some of my writing, and some people are calling me a cranky librarian. I'd like to correct them, and let them know I'm a cranky GRAD STUDENT. Plus in real life I'm a bit high maintenance, so throwing me into the rough and tumble world of the public sector has been a small shock. I've already given up on manicures. Really. You should see my cuticles, they look as if I've been doing dishes without my yellow rubber gloves on!

Oh yeah. My life story. So now I am deciding what to actually do when I graduate. I'm thinking more auction house, less answering the question "Yes, Bootycall is available on DVD and VHS!" I'd kinda like to be able to dress up for work again, and go to lunch for 3 hours, and accidentally go shopping at Fields, and then meet friends for coffee. I want to live in a city where the Pottery Barn has more than one floor, and the Smith and Hawken sells more than just gardening implements.

In the mean while, this experience is shaping me into one hell of a person. I kinda care about people now. I am learning to deal with reality. And watching people love their jobs is refreshing. Don't get me wrong, I keep this site so that I don't say this stuff at work....I can't really go around telling people that they smell, and that they are idiots.

Will this dinosaur of a guy be forgotten? Perhaps I like the dearly departed Diplodocus (yeah, thats the dinosaur in the picture) I will be remembered. As a rare Gay Jewish Male librarian, I will strive to make a difference in the world of information storage, retrieval, and dissemination.

In the mean while, I will continue to make a difference in the world of patrons, who for all I know have never seen fitted pinstripe trousers, let alone a Gay, Jewish, Male librarian.



Last, I'd like to extend a thank you to LISNews.com for giving props to my bit o' blog on the net.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Serving the Masses



NOTE: despite popular demand, the vagina collage is not available for resale. It will remain in the artist's collection.

Working in this situation has certainly opened my eyes. First of all, it seems that every single patron has special needs. This would not be exceptional if I worked in a day care center for LD kids, or a hospital for stroke victim recovery, or a fat farm, or even a specialty hardware store. But I don't. I work for the Public Library in Ohio. What needs do patrons have?

NEED: man who wants us to keep his library card on file at the front desk so he doesn't have to carry it with him.
REASON: (lazy) he loses it a lot.
OUR RESPONSE: We don't keep patron cards at the desk. If you forget your card, show us your DL, or other photo ID
HIS RESPONSE: Absolute confusion.
SUMMARY: Idiot.

NEED: Wheel chair bound woman wanting an Enhanced Doll Making Book Collection
REASON: She can't do anything else but make dolls
OUR RESPONSE: We can interlibrary loan the books in, and you can have as many as you like.
HER RESPONSE: I was hoping for them today
SUMMARY: Don't be so impatient! How many f'ing dolls do you plan to make today? You have 4 books!

NEED: Woman wanting paper towel, every few visits.
REASON:Her kids who are eating fried chicken and coleslaw at the reading table slopped food
OUR RESPONSE: Ma'am food is not allowed in the library.
HER RESONSE: Well my kids are hungry.
SUMMARY: Stay at Harolds Chicken Shack. Our library is not a cafeteria. If you must read while you eat, just read the newspaper they wrapped your fries in.

NEED: A man wants to upload a document
REASON: To get this picture on blackloveplanet.com, or else his profile is not complete
OUR RESPONSE: Our computers are for research, not word processing. Additionally, by adding external drives we make ourselves vulnerable to viruses and the like.
HIS RESPONSE: Yeah, but can I upload a picture off this disk?
SUMMARY: What the f*ck don't you get? NO! You can not upload your picture, or a document, or anything else. These terminals are only able to browse OPAC & the web.

NEED: Additional bathroom time
REASON: We are closing, but some homeless guy is still taking a crap
OUR RESPONSE: Sir, the library closed 4 minutes ago, please leave
HIS RESPONSE: I'm not done yet
SUMMARY: You can't kick someone off the pot if they are still going.

The public library is fabulous. Don't get me wrong. Even if an 88 year old man who reads the paper everynight was beaten and robbed in the Men's room Thursday night, it would still be great. Even if a homeless guy is repairing small electronic devices with a sottering gun plugged into a study cublicle, it would still be great. Even if a crazy volunteer we had to fire comes into the library everyday 4 minutes before close to check her email, it would still be great.

Oh, yeah. I was asked if I'd like to work for the library full time, in another position. I've only been here for 3 months. I'm super excited. Grad school and work full time can be rough, but this is one hell of a foot in the door. I'll keep you all posted on how that goes.

Ciao.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Cut and Paste



I should be studying for my Foundations of Librarianship Final (that is today at 6pm), but instead I decided I had to share my latest public library experience, that I could have never had at the OCJ.

I was shelving CD's yesterday afternoon, and our local crack-head came in. This is the guy that comes in everyday, usually in slippers, and asks where the books on crack and cocaine are. Every day, we show him, and he reads them in the corner of the library. No problem. At least he's not smoking crack. Mind you, these books are juvenile non-fiction, so they are a pretty easy read, meant for book reports on addiction.

SO, as I'm shelving the latest CD by the Donna's, I notice that this guy is cutting up a magazine. With grown up scissors. I Jessica Fletcher style approach his table, and realize that its definately not one of our magazines...its a copy of Hustler.

Yep. Hustler. The big ghetto booty, bullet wound in the ass, strech marked porno magazine. I was shocked for several reasons:
a) I've never seen anyone actually looking at a Hustler magazine
b) I've never seen anyone actually looking at a Hustler magazine in a public library
c) I've never seen anyone actually cutting pictures out of a Hustler magazine

I serenly slipped back over to the circulation desk and tell the Customer Service guy. He tells me as long as he's not showing people the magazine, there is nothing we can do. Its a public library, and he has every right to be there. He's right. We can't do anything.

So I figure I'll go back and shelve somemore CD's. Then I felt bad for having any concern at all. He was just making a collage. Yes, a vagina collage. Here I was getting all worried, and he was just expressing his creativity in the library.

I have never seen a vagina collage before, and honestly hope I never see one again. I am using this blog as a form of therapy right now to purge the images from my mind. What on G-d's green earth was this man thinking? Or wasn't he thinking at all?

I then felt suddenly nervous that this man had scissors. Hell, I even felt nervous that this man had a glue stick. Luckily, my shift was over then, and I was able to escape, and to share the information with the rest of my disbelieving friends. A g-d damn vagina collage. *shaking head*

Now the best part of this post, I'm sure now to get lots of free text search hits for using the above mentioned words. Gosh, I just used part of my vocab from Foundations. Perhaps I don't need to study.......




Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Whatever Happened to Baby Matthew?



MIDTERMS, and believe it or not, I have a final coming up THURSDAY. I am tired, and overwhelmed, and over this grad school experience already. Only I still have 1 1/2 more years to go. I'm sure I'll be all good once all these huge papers are out of my way.

Of note, I did get my shelving results as a page. I shelved 4,465 books in the last 5 weeks. Thats pretty good. OK, Very good.

Anyway, thanks for your patience while I finish this stuff up, and join you once again with more clever anecdotes about public library life.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Good Things



I think that the library should be filled with good things. Often libraries suffer because of budget cuts, staff cuts, and low circulation numbers. What pray tell should some of these good things be? Let's make this yet another one of my fantasy lists.

Objects endure. I am thinking that any good library should be equipped with a chandelier. Ambient lighting leads to reading, and reading leads to literacy. See how practical that is?

Leather club chairs. They are still found in several Gentlemen's clubs (not the lap dance kind) across London and Paris. They have been there since thier inceptions. Why not add these timeless objects to the library? Long term investments. The lovely fabric and particle board chairs that most libraries are equipped with stain, and become uncomfortable after just 10 years of use.

A fireplace. OK, mind you, we'll need a fabulous fire grate infront of it. The first library I ever worked at had one, in the mystery room. You have to admit, that is the prettiest library you've ever seen. It was filled with beautiful things. Including me.

Dark wood shelving. Its portable. Just read any Pottery Barn catalogue, you'll find the shelves I mean. They can be moved around, and in the long run, can be cost effective, compared to sagging metal shelving. Which is often avacado green.

Cute Gay librarians. Or fashionista lady librarians. No bunheads. Make the patrons feel like they've slipped into "something more comfortable". It'll be like a stay at the Savoy , minus the fluffy towels.

Why don't we also throw in tea in a silver service at 4 o'clock. With little sandwiches. The patrons eat in the library anyway, and G-d knows they drink (see mention of patron drinking a 40). Lets spice it up, and this will also pull patrons in, and help to increase our circ. numbers.

Of course all of this is coming from the guy who hopes to work at Sotheby's. Public libraries should be just as pretty. Even if it is fantastical. If budgets don't let us buy books for years at a time (my state is #2 in the country for funding-we still are waiting for our "best sellers" to come in), we might as well make the place they read the old books nice.

And last, just for the staff, a butler. I mean, we have a cleaning person, and security. Why not throw them in a different uniform? Pinstripe trousers are flattering on almost everyone, and so are Mourning coats.

Gorgeous libraries. They're a good thing.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Olfactory, try Ol'nasty



Having established that I am surprised that I can survive anywhere but a posh hotel lobby, I find myself working with constant olfactory challenges. Let us start with the one that won't leave my 18th birthday present, er um, rather my nose.

I know I work with the public. I bathe daily out of an american paranoia of germs, odor and the like. Perhaps I am working in a library where the patrons aren't "from around here". The man REEKED of alcohol, cigarettes, and intense body odor, that at one point I wished could have been masked by the alcohol and cigarette smell. Where had he come from? Was he getting really hammered, and decided "I must get a copy of Moby Dick before they are all checked out!" and ran from the bar into my library? Yuck. And worst, I can not just get a can of Lysol (R) and mist the offender. Can you believe that??

Second, Mr. Smellyjoggingpants. Same blue pair, same grease stains, same tire of adipose hanging over the untied waist cords (or should I say waste cords?). He smells like day old food, that was left in a hot car in Vegas, with the windows up. And a dead animal in the trunk. Parked in a manure heap. OK, thats extreme, but the BO is so bad, I can not move into that area of the library. Again, not only can't I spray Lysol (R), but I can't even get to the guy with some good stuff . That wouldn't even burn his eyes. For the love of G-d. If I wasn't such a nice Jewish boy...

Third. ALL smelly babies. Period. Come on Moms. You can tell when your kid shits his pants. I know you can. I can, the librarian can, even Mr. Smellyjoggingpants can tell! And then, its worse. At least with adults, you can move away. But kids FOLLOW YOU. They know I hate their rancid dirty bottom smell. So they follow me. Luckily, I can move quickly.

Fourth. Homeless guy. See above BO comments. Only his clothes are ripped, so its like an air vent, every move pushes more of the offending stench onword. I can't even talk about this. Its making me sick. For real. I am super delicate.com.

This leaves me with several possible solutions:

1. Wear so much cologne that people mistaken the new, cute, tall, thin guy for a French foriegn exchange page.
2. Wear the cream that forensic pathologists wear during an autopsy, under my nose..discreetly convincing coworkers that its the latest and greatest clinique moisturizing product.
3. Wear nose plugs, like the kind swimmers wear. I hate that idea. They only come in blue, and I like wearing fall colors.
4. Evict them and wait for lawsuits to start pouring in.

So you can see, I am really in a tough spot. A Rose is a Rose is a Rose, problem is A rotten fish is a rotten fish is a rotten fish....

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Haircut



OK, its not so bad. It looks kind of cute. I don't mind that I look like a post WWII comic book character. In fact I think its kind of charming.

Makes me realize that the librarian of today is not stereotypical in any sense of the word, as far as appearance. I've already recounted some of them from my past that have bore a striking resemblance to any good SNL parody. This new coif works for me. Rather, I make it work. It makes me look really innocent, and naive. I'm not. Im naughty. In fact tonight I am going out to booze it up with some fellow librarians-to-be.

My boyfriend is going to be in Chicago all weekend, so I figure I can whoop it up tonight, and then settle down and get all my homework done in my quiet, and utterly charming northside townhome. Yes, townhome. OK, enough of my domestic enthusiasm.

I have one more class to go before my day is over. Then I get to have a drinky or two. Only I haven't eaten anything yet today. Yes, I am svelte. No need to ponder that, how else could I rock this TinTin trim?

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

'Scuse me, libarian!



Its not misspelled. Its just like I heard it. While working in the rough sort I heard in the most urgent of Southern whiney voices:

"Come stand by Mama"
"I want this"
"Precious, I said come here"
"You guys! Bring that over to Mama"
"Just ask the libarian...."
"They have videos too! *squeal of delight*

OH MY G-D! Anna Nicole is in the library! I turned my head oh so slightly to confirm the B list celebrity sighting, and there she was. Now let me paint a picture for you.

A never been bleached, and very worn wife beater (sorry, Im not too PC) and matching dingy white hotpants, that had been literally pulled over a hulking mass of womanhood. Top this off with white high heels, and greasy hair pulled up into a pony tail, and red lipstick that looked like a blindfolded Courtney Love had applied. Hmm. Maybe this was Anna Nicole after all.

She and her 5 kids, and multiple sidekicks stood by the video cart, pawing through the AV collection to-be-shelved, like brides at the Marshall Fields Wedding Dress sale. All the while spewing quips, in the most grating southern whine. Mind you, I am only an hour and a half west of West Virginia, and about an hour and half north of Kentucky, so this isn't so out of the ordinary.

"Sweety, come to Momma, lets pick a video out" I wanted her to add "And then lets get some pizza", but sadly, she didn't. It was car wreck curiosity on my part by now. I couldn't stop staring at this lady. I use that term loosely. I was hoping she didn't notice me. Luckily, I was saved when my dear vegetarian co-worker caught my attention and I went into the "staff only" room.

Phew. I survived. I couldn't go back out onto the floor though, in fear of asking for her autograph.

Among my many new goals now, faux celebrity sitings. I figure this will spice up the day, and it will make for some fun entries.

Now, on a side note, not nearly as amusing but to better your idea of the neighborhood I work in, I will convey this story. Last night we kicked an entire family out of the library. Around 7:30 PM, a Mom and her 4 kids came in. They wanted to check out videos:

Daughter: *non-library voice, I think she thought she was at a NY Yankees game) OOOH! I am checkin' me out a movie. HEY! Are these divided up into things like "Horror" and "scarey movies"?

ME: Um, no. They are dump shelved. All the movies are put on the shelves next to one another by title...."Maid in Manhatten" will be right next to "Mansfield Park".

Daughter "Oh, So is R for horror?"

ME: Uh, no. (Does horror even start with R?)

Daughter: OOOH! Look at this! This movie will scare the f*** out o me!

Brother #1 Shut up B****! No one needs to know that! Here, check this one out!

Daughter: No you Mother F*****, that will make me cry. I don't want to spend the whole F****** night cryin' my mother f*****' eyes out!

OK, tone set. Finally after about 6 minutes of this, good guy-outdoors type-handsome customer service-guy says "Hey, lets use library voices, this is getting too loud"

Daughter: OK, Thank You. Good Bye!

More profanity, other brothers join in. Now its security's turn.

Big, strong, bald security: "Hey, we asked you once, please be quiet, there is no need for that here".

Daughter: OK, we heard that already. Thank You, Goodbye! (in a super loud voice)

Now the Manager of the library walks over, and asks whats going on. The mother now jumps in to say that they aren't doing anything wrong, and that they have been told and she says "OK??? Thank you. GOODBYE!!" Then starts yelling at the big, strong, bald security man. He asked her to leave, and to gather her children, and leave. After about 3 minutes of her telling him she wasn't going anywhere, he escorted her to check out, they got their movies and left.

CRAZY!! I am much too delicate to deal with this.

At least I got to see Anna Nicole. sort of.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Influences



So I write in this almost everyday now, and still have offered up no real reasons as to why I want to move into this field of Library Science. I was thinking about it more this morning, and decided it was a good enough topic to spill today.

So, in order of their appearances in my life, MY INFLUENCES:

1) Miss D******. She was my elementary school librarian. She was always wearing turtleneck sweaters and cords. Her hair was shorter than any of the boys, (Do I detect one of the Seven Sister colleges? hmmmm) and she wore little gold earrings. She was the one that convinced my parents & teachers that I deserved a pass to the high school library once a week to get books to read. Thank you.

2)Mrs. B*****. Middle school librarian. Very traditional, down to the long skirts, bun in the hair, and horn rimmed glasses (you go girl, this was the late 80's). She was giving, and maintained one of the most efficient, and well organized libraries. She tought me being quiet in a library was important (maybe its not SOOO important).

3)Mrs. L****. High School Librarian. Again, turtlenecks and cords, but she was awesome, and perhaps one of the biggest influences. I was the kid voted most likely to be found in a library. I used to get passes to go down to the library, and I was naughty. I would wait for her to get up, and sit behind her desk, and type into her computer. She never let me sit there though for some reason. I also loved it when we got laser technology to scan books out. I would "Charlies Angels" with the laser gun. OK, maybe this just taught me that I was pretty darn gay. I learned to love the atmosphere and realized that it was because of the librarian that I loved spending my free time there.

JUMP TO THE FUTUTRE

4)Leslie C***, my first corporate job, and she was my boss. She is THE biggest influence on me. Not only is she well dressed, well spoken, and funny - but she knew EVERYTHING. If she didn't know the answer and its reference point, she knew how to get it. She impresses (to this day) the hell out of me. Corporate, tasteful, I dare say glam, sassy, and efficient. She encouraged me to go to library school, wrote one of the most glowing letters of recommendation I've ever received, and best of all, we became friends outside of the office. I strive to achieve her perfection. And to aquire a similar wardrobe... only in Mens.

In true Oscars Thanking format, I would also like to thank my Mom, both Grandmas, my now deceased Undergrad advisor.

Currently, my mentor/advisor is one of the best influences. She is a cataloguer, and she talks the talk with such impressive ease. She is sweet, smart, and funny. And she doesn't read this site, so I can say all those things without feeling awkward.

Who knows where I will be in 5 years, let alone 10. I would even settle for this life. OK, Im kidding about that, but I have never been so in the now, and not planning ahead.

I know I have to take all of this day by day, and after last night's escapade at the library with an even dirtier version of Anna Nicole Smith, I sometimes wonder if this is right, or if maybe I should have been a Botanist. But who ever heard of a hotsy totsy botanist? At least I'll always know that people fetishize over me.

I'll blog more about faux Anna Nicole later.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Regulars



So yes, I have been accused of being super sleuth boy, been compared to Jessica Fletcher (earning me my one of my favorite nicknames "Fletch"), and have also been called the proverbial nosy neighbor. I can't help it. I LIKE TO KNOW WHATS GOING ON. Working in a public library just allows me a little more leverage into the kind of insight I like.

Astonishingly, I have not only been activley playing Sherlock Holmes, and making up entire worlds around patrons based on the books they peruse, but found myself caring about these people as well.

First Patron: An elderly woman who smells like she has lived inside a humador her entire life. She checks her maximum of 5 videos out every single day, right around dinner time. When I didn't see her for a week, I found myself asking the branch manager if SHE'd seen her. I was much relieved to find out she'd been playing Siskel and Ebert at the lunch hour for the past week. I've named her Grandma Smoker.

Second & Third Patrons: Two girls that come to the library every single day as soon as school lets out. I didn't know if they were best of friends, or if they were related. I have since sleuthed that they are half sisters. What makes them most precious to me is that when one of them had a fine on her card that blocked her use, she made it her mission to find all the money she could to pay it off. She proudly came back into the library with her $6 to pay this fine off. The best part is: it was obviously her TOP priority in life, $6 to a 10 year old is like a million bucks - yet she used it to clear her fines. Mind you, these are also two of the naughtiest patrons - they like to take 75 books of the shelf at a time, walk over to a corner and read...and leave the books there. As a page, I groan each time I see this happen. They are affectionatley referred to as "the Girls" by the entire staff.

Fourth Patron: A sista with weave. She is all about the new releases, and comes in almost 3 times a week to see if they are in, even though we call you when they do arrive. Each time, she checks her status to see if she's moved up any on the list, or to request even more new releases. Sometimes her husband comes in, and fondles her and makes a small scene....yuck.

Fifth patron: This british guy, who I call "Hugh". He is hilariously british, and comes in everyday to use the internet, and to check out books on small "thing" repair, as well as a healthy dose of science fiction. He only stands out in my mind because he leaves his library card at home every single time, makes us hold his books, and comes back for them. He always seems surprised that he needs his card.

And then we get a big mix of infrequent people. The loud woman from the Carib, with her 3 kids. She screams (yes, not yells, SCREAMS) across the library for her kids in a perfect Ms. Cleo. Maybe libraries in the Carib do not enforce a quiet-while-in-the-library policy.

Our local homeless squad. We've evicted two of them for being loud and disorderly in the library. Their stories amaze me, and occured while not on the floor....and they include profanity, pushing other patrons, and , yes, a 40 of something in a paperbag.

The staff is the best staff I've ever worked with. Everyone really loves their job, and it shows. It is a very positive work environment, and having come from my Old Corporate Job (hence forth to be referred to as the OCJ) it is refreshing. The staff is totally over qualified, and really serves its public better than any other branch in the system. Out of the 13, two have an MLIS, 4 are working towards an MLIS, and the other 8 are all college educated. Imagine a branch where even the pages are librarians in training!

Now, for true excitement link over to wonderful The Male Centerfold Librarian or the truly hilarious Sex in the Library.

I guess its true all the way around, today's libraries are not the same as the hush filled rooms of the past. Now the only time we get to quiet a patron down is when they are screaming profanity across the entire library. And to think that guy didn't even offer to share his 40.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Oral Presentation



The fact that I have linked Dan Savage's column, and used this as a topic today are purely coincidental. But yes, librarians do have sex. Especially the cute ones. OK, maybe thats not true. You decide.

Last night was my "Presidential Libraries" oral presentation. My fabulous group of MB, SC, CH and me was pretty hilarious. We strayed from the traditional power point presentation, and opted to introduce the PL's by having the actual presidents give the talk. How you may ask? We printed out each of the 12 presidents faces (and Eleanor Roosevelt and Nancy Reagan) on card stock, and put sticks on the back. When we presented we WERE the presidents. Needless to say, our class roared with laughter, which is good, and our professor told us it was an amazing presentation (which is great).

The class gasped when we presented the Ronald Reagan Library, because Ronnie did come up, but Nancy gave the presentation...all while Ronnie looked around the room, and wandered about. I'm glad we didn't decide to have Betty present for Gerald!

At any rate, this is the type of innovation that I am gearing myself for, none of this traditional stuff. I don't want to be a traditional librarian, and while my far flung fantasies of being a glamorous librarian are probably pretty off the mark, I will be tremendous in my field. Last night, CH and I were discussing how when we both got to where we want to be (myself = auction house land and CH = art & design curate) we want to do cross exhibitions, and benefit from the success of one another.

Speaking of traditional my professor ,who is a self-proclaimed Trekkie, brought in THE shushing librarian doll action figure (which for posterity sake will live forever in its packaging) and showed it to our class. It is hilarious, don't let anyone else tell you anything else! We librarians have an action figure! I'm still recovering from the fact that Barbie lost in the polls , and became something else (even though I have a tall, pretty blond girl in my class who for all practical purposes IS Librarian Barbie).

Librarians don't seem to make the news much. Libraries do, museums do, but not the actual librarians. Maybe if we were all pin-ups, it would make a difference. When I left my firm in Chicago, I was encouraged and advised to "sex it up", or in other words, "glamorize the profession". I am working hard to do this, I think wearing a French cuff shirt with art deco cufflinks, charcoal pinstripe trousers, black Steve Madden slip ons, and a light blue tie last night were just the way to start my mini-revolution.

According to some sources retirement will be opening a huge space in 2006 for us (the year after I graduate). This is when we can all jump on board and change the tide of libraries, maybe I can be the sexy, well clipped, dandy of a librarian I hope to be. Perhaps in 25 years, children will no longer be able to recall the librarian dressed in corduroys and the tweed jacket with leather elbow patches. Children will want to become librarians as badly as they want to be supermodels. We will be smart and sexy! Children will be librarians for Halloween - and people will mistake them for Hollywood glitteratti.

OK, so MAYBE all of this won't happen. But I still love the response I get when I tell people I'm a librarian! And ladies, the world won't stop until you prove that slingbacks ARE sensible shoes! And men, we don't get off the hook either. A little fragrance, a clean shave, that impeccable dimple in our ties, just enough cuff showing from out our sleeves, cufflinks if you dare, and DO NOT WEAR PLEATED TROUSERS. No matter how svelte we are they make us look like chubby hubby.

OK, I need to go moisturize before I start my day at the public library. All those dry books really pull the pink out of my cheeks.

Ta!

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Study Hard!



I've realized while studying for my upcoming midterm in this class, and having already taken two,I've learned that Librarians love acronyms. I can't even begin to count how many terms I've learned with an acronym.

The funny part is, as long as I've worked in a library (6+ years) I've never heard a single one of them used in context. This leads me to wonder, how many other things are going to be extranious knowledge. While I realize a librarian is "a jack of all trades, Master of none", am I going to be a walking, well groomed Trivial Persuit game?

This could have its advantages, I'm sure of that. But am I actually going to get to apply Ranganathan's principles anytime soon? Do we actually use the term "Pearl Fishing" in context, or is the theory just applied to what we are doing so that we can call it by its true name?

Some of the other stuff I'm learning makes me laugh. I can't imagine that anyone in my class could suppose anything else:

1. smile, be friendly
2. listen carefully, take interest
3. Take each question seriously
4. Keep asking questions, until you’ve got it
5. don’t think of strategy until you have the question completely stated
6. Never think you know the answer, use all reference tools
7. Invite user to return if more help is needed

Thanks to Linda Smith and Richard Bopp, I now know that the 7 principles of interviewing a patron can't happen like this:

me: Smoking a cigarette while thumbing through Italian Vogue, wearing a black Gucci two button
Patron: sipping a martini, wearing an Oscar worthy dress, taking small steps in Jimmy Chu shoes

me: Dahhhling, how can I help you (without looking up from the magazine)
patron: I adore that two button, and where did you find that tortoise shell cigarette holder?
me: Is that your question?
patron: Aren't you a clever little monkey, no, I wanted to know where the nearest Chanel boutique is?
me: (getting comfortable in my chocolate leather club chair) Are you serious? We are in the mid-west! How many of those cocktails have you had?
patron: (laughing loudly, digging through her small, but very smart handbag) I just received this (pulling out a fabulous Isadora Duncanesque scarf) and wanted a different color! Aren't you charming? Here, let me light that next cigarette....
me: I'm feeling peckish, shall we go get some nibblies?
patron: you are the best librarian in the world!
me: yes, but this is all part of the job....

My world is shattered. All this time I've been having "Thin Man" fantasies of life. I suppose all of the above could happen, only since its not 1930 anymore, women just don't carry small and smart handbags anymore.

Oh well.

Time to study a bit more.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

This morning I was treated to a facial, thanks to Clinique. I thought that this would bring me back down to earth, and make me feel calm again. Then I remembered that I am no longer a corporate librarian, and having things like manicures, pedicures (dress code now states no open toed shoes, so that means my Kenneth Cole slides are collecting dust), and facials are no longer really necessities of the trade.

This reality check made me realize how hard I am going to have to work to get back to where I want to be. Mind you, I adore where I work. The people there are more than fabulous (ooh, yes, I used the F word), and tremendously kind. I have already been forwarned not to wear dress clothes to work, because they will be trashed. Kneeling and crawling around the kids department to pick up various puzzle pieces, stuffed animals and the assorted like just serve to destroy the knees of good trousers. Perhaps I will go to Sears and buy some toughskin double reinforced knee jeans! On second thought, I won't.

Can I be a fashionista working at a public library? Is this just another reason to strive towards the glittering world of coporate toil? I'd have to say yes to both. The gal who is incharge of several of the branch locations is stunning. She has the greatest bob haircut, a black wardrobe to make even a catholic sicilian widow weep, and good skin. She is still in the public domain. Could this be the factor that swings me to the public sector?

Tonight instead of watching movies, and eating junk I will be working on my paper for my oral presentation. Presidential Libraires. How fun.

ps Tonight I was able to help a patron. I am allowed to answer questions about book locations, if the patron has a call number. She asked me why she couldn't find the book, the computer said we had it. I looked it up, and the computer DID say we had a copy, only it was checked out. Amazing, people checking out books who can't read....

Friday, October 10, 2003

Breaking my own rules



I promised myself I wouldn't write more than once a day if I could help it. But I can't. Tonight while I was shelving books, a customer kept clearing their throat, as if they would spit something very large and painful up. It was SOOO loud, I can't even tell you. One of my co-workers said something that is soo true.

"Isn't it amazing what we'll put up with from the customers? If that was one of us (the staff) we'd be telling them to cut it out!"

My manager laughed and agreed. I said "should we do something?" and she in her hilarious, southern-charm way smiled and said "No, I think nature will run its course". I laughed out loud!

But this has made me realize that we DO put up with a lot of stuff from the patrons, stuff that we wouldn't put up with from our partners, friends, relatives, etc. Because it is a publicly funded entity, everyone has a right to be there, that I am not denying. But please...how much loogie hacking do we need to hear? Common decency.

Now I have been accused of being a bit grandmotherly, and I do fantasize about being a librarian in a Cabot Cove like setting. Perhaps my moral and ethical standards make Emily Post look like a scrubber, but then again maybe not. I just think that the customers should give as much respect as they get...my library gives more respect to the patrons then you can imagine!

Perhaps I'll write a book on library ettiquette....or maybe I'll do my homework. hmmm.

I'm so embarrassed.



This morning when I sat down to check my e-mail, I got a letter from my advisor, whom I mentioned yesterday. She wrote to tell me that because I am such a good student, and because she is my advisor, that she wanted to go over my test results with me to see why I did so poorly.

This was after a letter that she had sent out to the entire listserv of my class, explaining her grading - apparently a lot of people did REALLY bad. The fact that she singled me out made me feel like a naughty son, being pulled aside by his mother. I adore her for doing it, but I still feel really awkward. I wrote back to her and told her that a meeting was unnecessary, and that I was going back in and looking up the answers I got wrong on (which I am), and striving to do better. I have never in all my years of college (well only 4 Undergrad years) written a letter of remorse to my professor/advisor over a less than perfect test grade! We all have to have a person that watches out for us. I have one. My advisor. She's awesome.

It reminds me of when I first started at my first job as a cataloger for an auction house. It was a small house, and they had just brought in 4 estates off the truck. Being the prissy, glitteratti white shirt and BR trousers boy that I am, didn't think that I needed to help unload the packages. I figured thats what the hired hands did. I didn't know my soft, manicured hands were supposed to dig through the boxes before I cataloged them. When the Auctioneer came up to me in the back and asked what I was doing, I told him "I'm waiting for the boxes to be unpacked"...like I worked for Phillips or Christies. He told me they wouldn't unpack themselves, and I needed to have the contents cataloged in the next two days, for the upcoming preview auction night.

Is such a delicate flower ready for the rough profession of cataloging? Will I get that job at Sotheby's and Pavlovianly upack the boxes when I see the truck pulling up to the dock? More importantly, what will I wear on my first day? I'm thinking a chocolate four button two piece with high lapels, a pocket sqaure, a Burberry tie, and the unquestionably fashionable black Prada loafers with the matching belt.

Maybe I really should be working on that studying for that mid-term next Wednesday...I don't think I can handle the guilt if this professor writes to me too....

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Today I got back my midterm grade from my organization and information class, and I should note the instructor is my advisor. Lets just say that this bright undergraduate student, isn't such a bright graduate student. On the flip side of the coin, I also received my first big paper back, and received an A, with a "good" written in the margin.

My question is, how did I do so well as an Assistant Librarian in a corporate firm, and I feel like I am struggling with this grad program? This makes for very dull blog.

On a lighter note, I have just come home from my 3 hour and 40 minute Thursday night lecture on Foundations of Librarianship. That is one tough pill to swallow, but I have made it into an adventure. Outside of finding time to write my weekly grocery list, I have noticed things in the class room that amuse me. In the back rows, there is knitting instruction. There are students who are teachers grading papers, and other students doing crossword puzzles. Do you suppose this is a reflection of the teacher? Or is this the true spirit of the future librarian shining through?

My humiliation on the job front has grown. Yesterday, I was treated to my 8 week evaluation of shelving, and sorting. I actually mishelved an Edmund White book (one out of sequence), and put a book by John Gardener in the wrong order while sorting. I am not allowed to answer patron questions, such is the life of a page. The cool part about this system is that lots of the promotions are internal. Maybe in 3 more months, I'll be customer service. Having started at the bottom will just make me appreciate what I have even more.

Every time a patron comes up to me, and says do you know where the *fill in the blank* are, I have to walk them over to the Information desk, and hand them off to the reference staff. OH, how the mighty have fallen. I know its my job, and I love it, for the first time everyone I work with loves their job. Its refreshing to me. I had no reason to be embarrased, but never the less, I was.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Well, some more interesting nonsense. I was an assistant corporate librarian in Chicago before I moved deeper into the midwest to persue my Masters degree. I am now working for a public library, as a page. I earn as much every month as I did every 1.5 days there. Its kind of crazy, but I am dealing with it. While shelving in the childrens section about 3 weeks ago, I overheard this coversation between two young girls, playing with rag dolls (that were life size):

Girl 1: Boo hooo, wahhhh, boo hoo
Girl 2: Girl, whats wrong with you?
Girl 1: My baby is dead....
Girl 2: MINE TOO!
Girl 1: Well, what should we do?
Girl 2: Let's take them to the hospital
And they walk over to the big couch in the kids section
Girl 1: Well, should we leave them here?
Girl 2: Mmmhmm (yes), Girl, you wanna go to lunch?

And they walked away! Made me wonder what exactly is going on in their worlds! At any rate, I am loving my public library experience despite the pay, and the insanity that I get to hear on the floor of the library. The head librarian/manager of my branch is a children's librarian. All I can say is that she has the patience of a saint!

Well, I am off to hand in my Web Reference Evaluation paper. I am hoping I did good. Sometimes I wonder if its all worth it....

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

This is my first go at this. What can I say, I felt that this segment of the market needed a voice. *laugh* Lots of interesting stories to tell, and I'm realizing that I am sort of crazy for doing this.

To start, I am 27, working towards my MLIS degree, and I am one of a few who hope to work in a Special Library. I am almost frowned upon by the leagues of people who have decided to become public librarians, thinking I am selling out for the corporate buck. I would be a public librarian too, only you can be arrested for smacking children with dictionaries, and you aren't allowed to shove homeless people off of reading couches when the sleep. I kind of like the black tie cocktail party option after work - call me crazy.

So, as I figure this all out, you can follow me on my trail of astonishment and excitement.