Thursday, January 29, 2004

DON'T Come Over and See Me Sometime...

We've established that I'm devestatingly gorgeous. My charm is as bubbly as a bottle of '53 Dom.

We've established that I work for a public library, in a highly visable role.

Patrons, I am not in love with you. I mean your nice and everything...but, you see.. I'm, well, I'm with someone.

Being nice to patrons makes them want to skip off into the sunset with me. Its starting to freak me out. Is this why librarians are kind of mean to people? Our handbook insists on a "friendly demeanor". Where do we draw the line?

Granted, in the corporate world, a smile buys you another drink, another 2 days on a project, and occasionally, a well timed smile can capture the clients business. But in a public library, a smile means something different. It means "Hello Patron, I'd like to 'get to know you' *wink wink*". HOW?? Sophia's film Lost in the Translation might be onto something.

Yesterday, a patron came up to me and said "HEY! I didn't get to thank-you the other day. Thanks for the tip about Bobbi Brown , I just loved using the liquid eyeliner!" This is the same patron always in asking about make up, hair, etc. Pages can participate in Reader's Advisory. I suggested a title, Bobbi Brown Beauty.

I should mention this patron is a man. And now I am apparently his new best friend. He asks me the same questions everyday. I have to refer him to a librarian, and he knows it. Its starting to freak me out.

Then there was the Harry Potter lady. Nice enough. In the beginning. She wanted Chamber of Secrets. All checked out. Then she followed me around the library, leaning against shelves asking me what I was into reading, inquiring after my interesting accent and where I was from, she liked my shoes, etc. I finally had to go into the back. We're talking about 7 minutes of this. CREEPERS!

Does a warm smile translate to something hotter? Is my Clinique Happy , for Men the equivlent of phermones? Do my swarthy Jew looks entice them? Are cashmere button downs aphrodisiacs? Dear me.

So for now, this brief public service annoucement will have to do.

"Attention Patrons: I have to be nice to you or I will be fired. That is all. Now, as you were".

So there. Thats said and done. Now I can go on shelving in peace.

Moral of this blog: Being hot is really tough. So is running away from a patron with an arm load of books. And I don't even like to run...

Sunday, January 25, 2004


I'd like to say thank you to a few people who helped me with a project:

The very handsome Male Centerfold Librarian, and the witty Sex and the Library author. The information you shared was fabulous, and I don't use the "f" word lightly. I think my survey will be tremendous, and make me very much an over achiever in my class! Rock on type A personalities!

Moral of this blog: NETWORK NETWORK NETWORK.

authors note: thanks Rob!

Friday, January 23, 2004

Corporate Domestic Goddess

If there is one thing I wish that I could be, it is a domestic goddess. You might exclaim "but you want to be a corporate librarian!". But I have to verbalize it to make it real. I realize the ramifications of all of this.

My maternal Grandmother (G-d rest her soul) was bascially, a domestic goddess. All 350+ tea totalling, cigarette smoking, snap front smock wearing, butter and cheese sandwich eating pounds of her were domestically enchanted. I remember learning to cook under her wing in the kitchen, learning that sugar, flour, eggs and butter were the staples of any good culinary experience.

And now, here in 2004, I have realized that I may be turning into a well-heeled version of my Grandmother. I start my day in the kitchen , putting on a strong pot of French Roast, having bagels with cream cheese, butter, and lox. I listen to the local classical music station-and hope for news of some local scandal, or news of a recent building development. When I read the newspaper, the first thing I read are the obituaries (despite the fact that I live in a state where I know nobody), and then turn to the police blotter in hopes of a scandalous revelation -that perhaps one of my neighbors has crossed the law. All the while, I'm feeding scraps of lox to my 20 lbs Russian blue, Moscow. I should mention that I am still in my housecoat and houseshoes, yet my hair is already styled.

In 2004 the desire to be a dometic goddess is a tough realization. Its almost like deciding I am going to be the president of the United States...its a wish that only some can realize. Imagine waking up every day and getting to cook and bake scrummy food, pot plants, buy new curtains, and run the Hooover over well placed persian area rugs. This is the life. Something about leisure mixed with satisfaction-cum domestic accomplishment.

On Saturday, unbelievably for the first time, I came across Nigella Lawson's "How to be a Domestic Goddess" . I baked a loaf of rustic bread. I prepared a Sauerbraten , and enjoyed both in my posh Colonial India-inspired dining room, in the glow of a silver 5 branch candelabra. I didn't want to go to work the next day. I wanted to do it all again.

My question is this: Can I actually become a domestic goddess in 2004? Or are these images of the uber-housewife unrealistic in this day and age? Do these people actually exist? Did they die out with my Grandmother? Martha Stewart had to make her venture corporate to survive. So did dear Nigella. Does the corporate librarian wannabe inside me have the get up and go to merge the two successfully? I think so. I seem to have the spunk it will take. I seem to have the glamour that it will take. I seem to have the corporate bitch inside to make it real. The air of the seemingly carefree is actually VERY caculated. Who better to put these elements together than a librarian?

A MLIS, 8 years of library experience, 20+ years in the kitchen, an ability to accesorize with a crisp white apron over a french cuff shirt and dress trousers with out getting anything dirty seems to be the recipe for this merge of worlds.

Its time to mix it up kids. The 21st century is going to be the era of the Corporate Domestic Goddess. I'm going to start the movement. The next time you bake cookies, dress up and throw on an ironed apron. The next time you take a break, have a biscotti that you baked with your service cart coffee. Treat your kitchen like your office. Throw a fancy dress dinner party for no reason. Wear a tailored housecoat when you read the paper.

Moral of this blog: I'm taking Grandma Wanda into the 21st century, and I think its going to work out just fine. I think she'd be delighted, and trust me you, I am ALL about delight.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Math Schmath

The whole point of library school was no math. You never see librarians fervently writing down equations (unless perhaps they are balancing their cheque book) or wearing pocket protectors. OK, thats a lie. I've seen that. But my point is that librarians don't do math.

Why didn't someone tell me about this bibliometrics jazz BEFORE I started library school? And logic? WAHH! Comeon! I can't do this! I'm totally stressing out about my latest and greatest class. And it looks like there is going to be quite a bit of it as the semsester rolls on.

And statistics. Lots of them. This is a class on writing proposals, so I need to back up all my stuff. I know as a corporate librarian, someday I will inevitably have to defend my room of books and serials to a bunch of suited-monkies. This is a "life skill", I know. But its going to make me prematurely grey, and I am not an advocate of Just For Men . What to do what to do??? And there is no "after school help". We hit the floor running last night. We were talking about emperic studies, quanitative and qualitative stuff before I could raise my now famously unmanicured hand to ask a question.

And worst of all, its televised. 4 campuses at once. And I wore lavender. I should have screen tested first. It totally washed me out. I'll have to stick to greys and tans for the rest of the semester. And today, my boyfriend gave me the cutest sweater. A zippy, collared, and argyle on grey lambs wool. Now I can be styish while I fret. No one believes how delicate I am. And I really am. Just ask me, I'll tell you over drinks.

Moral of this blog: I don't need to be A Beautiful Mind , if I already have a beautiful everything else.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Faux Finish

So the "Tin Tin" has grown out, and I've decided what will look best know is something hip. I don't like the word "trendy" as nothing about libraries is trendy, but we do keep collections like "popular fiction" and "new arrivals. They do pass, and are replaced by something more current. In this mind set, I have decided that I am going to sport a "faux hawk". Many others have tried to explain it, but I think the best definition of it would be the preppy version of a mohawk. Its not something you'd expect of a librarian, but then again, am I something you'd expect of a librarian?

I was first inspired by Simon from Real World Paris. I though that it was cute, and looked slightly naive, but chic. I don't know if I'd like to think my librarian was naive, but I would approach a hot librarian. Plus, if I decide I hate it, I can brush it down for that "instant east coast" look.

On my final last semester, one of the questions was "what kind of librarian do you want to be?", and I'm sure the professor meant for us to write something in the essay like this:

I'd like to be a public librarian because I would like to help the general public solve problems and answer general knowledge questions.


I'd like to be a children's librarian so I can work with the most promising group of leaners.

I wrote:

"I'd like to be a non-traditional, stylish librarian. I want to shatter stereotypes of what it means to be a librarian -from appearance to performance. I hope to work in a corporate atmosphere, and make people realize that not all librarians are grey haired, sensible shoe wearing, bun headed shushers."

I'm not sure what the professor thought of that answer, but I did get an "A" in that class.

Patricia Neal said "I am a very stylish girl" and went down in history for it. ".I hope to be eventually noted in my biography as a "very stylish boy

Saturday, January 10, 2004

The Great Gatsby

If I can't have it in the library, I'll have it at home. My latest decorating scheme is to turn my place into an Old Boys club, a la turn of the century London. I've been told in the past that my home would make a Merchant Ivory set decorator weak in the knees, and following suit I've added a fabulous new piece to my home.

An italian leather sofa.

This picture is the sofa I bought. I have owned the chair and ottoman for a few years, but decided no good sex pot librarian should be without this tremendous piece of furniture. This will add to the ambience of my home, and help me least that was my mentale that enabled me to buy this, despite my finanical situation.

When I was accepted into grad school, my beloved choreographer boyfriend bought me a drop front desk that looks like a card catalogue. That is one of my favorite things. About a year ago, the antique store next door to my house (Brownstone Antiques of Clark Street) I found a set of Art Deco mahogany dressers with bakelite pulls. With all the book cases, and various other accoutrements ie an umbrella stand, a mahogany dining room table and china cabinet...the place is coming together nicely. I can't wait to buy a house! Then I can have my dream Gentlemans club (not the lap dance kind) library, complete with mantelled fireplace, and persian throw rugs.

My dream decor is sort of 1932, just inherited all of Great Grandmama's furniture. Turn of the century with modernity stopping at the pre-world war II doors.

At anyrate, Im as happy as a clam. Not that clams are kosher, but you get my point.

The moral of this post: Gay men can love leather without having handlebar moustaches and frequenting bars with the word "cub" or "bear" in them. And trust me, I've neither a moustache or do I frequent leather bars. Although I have considered one of these .

Friday, January 09, 2004


Today I had the pleasure of being behind the counter when I got to hear a patron exchange with my only colleague who can pull off coupling a cardigan with skulls and crossbones, with carebear t-shirt and still get complements. Need I say she is one of my favorites? Anyway, a very large woman came up to the desk. She needed to check more videos out. You can only have 5 out at once, and she put them on the counter...but they hadn't been checked in yet.

Plus she was using 3 cards. And didn't know what was checked out on any of them.

So after verbally abusing Skull&Crossbones cardigan, she began telling a story about why she wasn't going to pay her fine, here I'll recount it for you.

Large Woman: Oooh, no. I ain't gonna pay dat. See, I put dat book in my locker at the community centah, and one of the employees broke into it and stole dat. He said he is gonna pay me for it, but I told him he bettah pay the liberry for it. Should he make the check out to the liberry, or what? I said should he make the check out to the liberry?

S&CC:Uh, yeah.

LW: OK, Im gonna need you to print dat out OK? This is a stupid policy. When my puppy done ate a book, the liberry didn't charge me nothin'. Why am I responsible? He stole the book...

S&CC: Ma'am, all patrons sign a contract when they get their card that states they are responsible for all materials checked out on their name...

*LW interupts*

LW: Oooh, no. Not when I got my card, that wasn't the policy, na'ah *shaking head, waving over manicured long red fingernails*, no. That is not what I agreed to.

S&CC: Here is the print out with your expenses. Thank you.

Now comeon! She not only admitted she will not take responsibility for her actions, but also mentioned other library property she had destroyed! And blattantly lied. And it was a BAD lie. Comeon people, if you are going to lie, LIE GOOD!

Like the kids:

Hot Page: Riley, who through these puzzles all over the floor?
3 year old Riley: Ummm, (looking around) I don't know. It wasn't me.
HP: Well, who do you think did it?
Riley: mmmmm. Bruno. (her 8 month old brother). He's a monster.

Or the homeless:

Hot Page: Sir? Sir? Please wake up. You can't sleep in the library.
Homeless person: I wasn't sleeping.
Hot Page: OK, well, don't do whatever you were just doing.
(I was going to use HP, but just realized homeless person and hot page have the same acronym)

Or the gap toothed middle-aged ugly women with over permed hair:

Gap Tooth: Uh, my friend needs a book on those S.T.D's..
enough said

Needless to say, all of this untruth in the library is not needed. If people were just up front, and dropped the back story, they might get an ounce of sympathy out of me. OK, maybe not that much, but I am paid off of public dollars. I better be at least 6 dollars worth of nice an hour. If they are decent, or at least lie well, I'll throw in the extra 47 cents worth of nice.

The moral of this blog: When you lie, it doesn't help the situation. When you lie well, no one can tell, and everything goes even better.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Let's get it on

I look approachable, what can I say? While I was shelving some books by Whitman, an older gentleman walked over to me, and said "maybe you can help".

This is the conversation that ensued:

Hot Page: Is there a book you are looking for?
Older, balding, middle aged man: Yes, I am looking for some books on romance.
HP: OK, are you looking for poetic books, or the "how to"? (said with a smirk)
OBMAM: Well, see, here is the thing. I am trying to find a book on satisfaction, romantically, you know what I mean?
HP: Yes (knowing full well I am going to have to refer him to a librarian, but the conversation was moving so quickly)
OBMAM: You know, satisfaction of the woman, love makin', makin' her feel good, knowing where to carress her, where to stroke her, tender lovin' know? *raised eyebrows & soft voice*
HP: (still with the straight face) I hate to tell you this, but I'm only a tier one employee, I can't answer that, but I get someone who can answer that for you. Wait here, I'll bring him over.

BUT the only person on info desk was hip retro-librarian. In the cutest pink sweater in the world.

I said: HRL, is tall, book club discussion leader, plaid button down around?
HRL: He's taking a call in back, can I help?
HP: Well, I have a patron with a personal question.
HRL: OOh, a boy question? *big grin*
HP: Um, Yeah. *big grin* I'll go get him.

And so I did.

Well, he did help the patron. We learned about "obstacles in reference", but it was fun to actually see one come to life. Even if it was to help a patron learn some tender, love makin' techniques.

Moral of this blog: Always wash your hands after you shelve books on love making. I don't actually know if they are as "how to" as a cook book, but I do know I keep my cook book propped open when I am learning something new- and at arms reach. You can put the rest of this scenario together by yourselves.

I wonder if he checked out any Barry White CD's. Hmm. I'll never know.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

And Carpri's too!

Again, Im breaking my own rules by posting twice in one day, but I was reading my friend's blog and realized I forgot one of the latest and greatest new library rules put down in place at our library.

"No more talking about patrons at the library". Apparently that thing I learned in class about library assesment is real! Unobtrusive Assesment is what they called it in class. We are going to have "secret shoppers" in 2004. So, that means be extra nice to everyone, and additionally no tiddle taddle in the back room about the patrons.

For instance I can't mention that I saw a girl chatting on line, and abruptly log off and tell her other 12 year old friend "Ooh, girl, I had to shut it down, I told him I was 17".

I also can't mention that there is a bizzaro early 20's patron with a long pony tail that has been having clandestine rendez vous with a 70 year old man. (innocent? probably, but how fun is that?)

I also shouldn't mention that a patron smelled so badly the other day that I had to hold my breath, and walked outside to take a deep breath.

I also can't mention that we hired a new guy, and already patrons are confusing us with one another. From now on he can be called the "handsome new guy". Once the confusion stops, we can indulge in some serious re-appleation activities.

I have agreed that as long as we can't talk about the patrons at work, we will have to talk about each other. Its kind of silly. Teachers talk about students, cafeteria workers talk about food, mechanics talk about cars, why can't we talk about patrons?

At any rate, I did find out that I can wear three-quarter length trousers to work next summer. I figured if the women can wear capri's, I should be able to wear my Kenneth Cole 3/4 length trousers...n'est pas? I was advised that I'd have to wear closed toed shoes. Did they think I'd wear pumps with them? Oh well.

Rare Books?

Now that I've become a true library student, one of the things I've come across is the subject of rare books. Now, rare books by definition are special because of their antiquity, provenance, or small run on press. They've survived the ages, and have fell into the laps of book collectors around the world.

I'd like to think of my collection of signed first edition Beverley Nichols books as a good rare book collection. I'd even throw in my first edition Jane Eyre, my first edition of Uncle Tom's Cabin, and my dust jacketed first edition of The Mysterious Affair at Styles into this pile of rare books. I spent a small fortune collecting these things. Some came to me by chance, others by auction, others by emptying my wallet onto the counter of a great books shop in Evanston, Illinois.

Now I've got my share of expensive books too. Ones that aren't rare at all. My annotated Shakespeare consumed every penny I received for my 12th birthday. My Arwas book on Art Deco wasn't that cheap, and either was the Parris volume on the Pre-Raphaelites. Both were easy enough to find back in the day. Both are out of print now, so I guess I can throw them back into the other category.

I don't want to confuse rare books with expensive books, but often times the terms co-exist. You can't separate one from the other. But I've just spent a HUGE chunk of my hard earned shelving money buying books that seem to exist in both worlds. Library Science Text books.

I am full time, and am taking 3 classes. So far only two of the professors have bothered to give us our reading list. The two that have set me back almost one months wage.

First, the books were available on, but required 2 to 3 weeks to ship. Not good enough, I only get 9 days to get my books before classes start.

Second, the books are nearly impossible to get at the book store. I am insane, so I buy mine the first day. But the book store only had 1 copy of a cataloguing text, 5 of the other, and 10 of the 2nd class' books. There are 30 people in each class.

Third, why do professors assign rare books as text books? One of the books is out of print. Is that a good book to assign? Is it part of the secret initiation right into the world of libraries? If I find these books, do I get extra points in some leather bound book filled with quill and ink inscriptions?

Fourth, one of the books received some of the most horrible reviews that I've ever read. And no, the professor didn't write the book. But we still have to buy it. I'm encouraged by knowing that scholars around the globe have found this text useless, and difficult to understand.

I'm thinking of writing a letter to Miriam Webster, and letting them know that "rare books" can also be defined as Library Science Textbooks. How bitterly ironic.