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.

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.


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.