Tuesday, June 29, 2004

How can I help you?

I have been getting as many hours as I can, for income and stories to share. Below are a few of my favorite interactions with the fabulous community I work in.

Well Dressed CSA "Ma'am,have you used the self check before?"
Jovial Patron "Ooh, chile yes. I use it all the time"
*inserts card into reader incorrectly*
WDCSA "Girl, you are messin' this all up, give that to me"
JP *shoving me playfully, and exclaiming loudly* "OOOH! You are PRECIOUS"
When she left, she shouted across the library "BYE!", inspiring co-workers to ask if I knew her.

Lady with 32 kids "MY li-berry card has been lost and stolen"
WDCSA *thinkning I am glad you were able to track your card AFTER is was lost*
WDCSA "OK, lets get you a new card"
LW32K "Can't I just get videos on one of my kids cards?"
WDCSA "Do you have any of their cards?"
LW32K "No, look them up by name"
WDCSA*7 minutes later* "Ma'am, all of their cards are blocked due to overdue fees exceeding our limit, $7, $17, and $24"
LW32K "Well den, I want new cards for all of them."
I explained this coudln't happen until she paid all the fines off. She left in a huff.

Volunteen M "I'm surprised you still have any of these Madonna CD's, no one likes her since that incident with Brittany Speares"
WDCSA "Oh, you'd be surprised at how many people like her even more since then"
I was shushed by another coworker, who was smirking.

Girl named after a sparkling, french beverage at the computer station "HEY!! MY computer is BROKED!!"
WDCSA "Good going. You wrecked library property."
GNASFB "No I di'int."
WDCSA "Just playin'"
GNASFB, with an amused grin "You're funny. Now fix this."

Drunk Patron "I think I owe money on my card"
WDSCA "let me look up your account. OK, yes, you do. Would you like to clear your fine?"
DP "No, I just wanted you to know that I thought I owed money on my card"
WDCSA "Well, Thank you. Have a great day!" *toothy grin*
DP "Oh, you too!"

I really need to start writing these things down as they happen, as many are just to hilarious..but so numerous I forget them. The days behind the desk are so busy, they fly by. 8 hour shifts are gone before I know it. Its almost like I'm being paid to be entertained. 2 weeks down, and not one angry complaint. Thats pretty darn good.

MORAL OF THIS BLOG: Not even the Medici's have me on patronage.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Dear Well Dressed Librarian

I would be remiss in not sharing with you the many questions shared with me over the course of writing this blog. I feel that by sharing these questions with you, you too can become a more graceful librarian, patron, and "person of the world".

Apparently, being the Well Dressed Librarian has inspired masses to inquire over dozens of questions, and of course being who I am, I am qualified to share this information with you, my devoted readers.

Dear WDL,
I was wondering what your position is on wearing white after labor day?
Lady in White

Dear LIW,
First, there are many factors to consider. Will you be getting married after labor day? Wearing white would certainly be OK, and put many of your wedding guests at ease- it will signify your chaste nature as well as hold with tradition. Secondly, if you live in a non-yankee part of the country (read as Back East) or a part of the country that it is forever summer (read Florida) this too is OK. Tropic climates practically beg its denizens to wear white. Its also advisable to wear white if traveling to places like Cairo and the Sudan, for photographic purposes.

Dear WDL,
How often should I moisturize?
Best Wishes,
Scaley and Dry

Dear SAD,
It is important to moisturize every morning after you shower, and I do hope my readers shower daily. I suggest something with an SPF of at least 15, and should be applied to your face, neck, and exposed arms. This prevents premature aging of the skin, and appears to make you glow angellically under proper lighting.

Dear WDL,
I am sick of reading all of your elitist and over the top gay agenda. Screw you and the horse you rode in on.

Dear Secretly Gay,
I am sorry to inform you that I am taken, and despite the fact that you obviously want to treat me like your personal sex pinata- I can not make exceptions to my monogomy rule. I however, am excited to hear of your fondness for things equine - I too enjoyed horseback riding when I grew up in the country side of Western New York. Alas, once my parents divorced I was no longer in a practical proximity to keep my hobby polished. I have however maintained close ties to my Nanny and her husband who helped with the gardening.

Dear WDL,
Have you ever considered the field of Art Librarianship?
Art Lover

Dear Al,
I have not put anything out of my scope yet. I am going to work on my practicum this Spring, and have been advised towards academic and coporate libraries. This would not rule out art libraries, museums, or auction houses. If anything, it moves them towards the top of my list. I can see myself moving towards this field, as my undergrad is in Art History, with a focus on movements occuring from 1850-1948.

I would love to dip deeper into my mailbag, and share my point of view with you. Perhaps I can provide you with more "Dear WDL'" in later posts. I am always here for my dear readers.

Moral of this blog: Q&A with the WDL is better than T&A anyday.

Monday, June 21, 2004


Today was my second day on the front end of the library, providing customer service at its best. I was decked out in my best hee haw gingham red shirt, and of course, khaki's. Look good, feel good..thats what I say.

I also started answering phones today. Today a patron called and told me that he had returned 6 items in the book drop early Saturday morning. I'll recount the conversation here for your pleasure:

Well dressed CSA: "OK, sir, could I have your card number?"
Phone patron: "Hold on, I wasn't expecting that question. I have to go and find my pants. The wallet is in my back pocket."
WDCSA!"OK, I'll hold!"

I have nude patrons calling. That is not hot. Its not something I want to hear about, imagine, or think about! I do not need these visuals. I am delicate. I knew the job was demanding when I took it, but dealing with nude patrons isn't my forte.

A few weeks ago, we had a man come into the library, with no shoes or shirt on, offering fried chicken to the patrons. While extremely generous of him, it was not acceptable. We did have to ask him to leave. He didn't understand why. I think security helped him understand.

Moral of this blog: There is a time and place for everything. Please refrain from nudity in my library. Unless you are Adrien Brody. I'll personally cater to that.

Friday, June 18, 2004

The Trainee

Armored in only french cuffs, and trendy vintage cardigans I boldly went where I'd never been before. Main Library Circulation. I fully anticipated questions that would require bespectacled specialists to pop out of the back rooms, but alas, this doesn't happen. They train me to deal with everything from card fraud to FBI record requests. I wanted so badly to come to you with rousing horror stories of how complicated things were for me this past week. Instead, I actually really enjoyed myself.

The cast of the Main Library is incredible. This is where I've been training...away from my sweet little branch on the north side of the city. I did notice that people that come to the main library are much more posh, and well dressed than the folks I've been coming across at my "home branch". Perhaps now that I am fortressed behind a desk, I don't get to see as many of the locals as I once did, when I was the roaming and eagerly evesdropping page.

One fun thing that I have learned, the "TRAINEE" badge that I wear saves me from almost anything. Its like a forcefield that permits me to make egragious mistakes, and no one cares. Well the patrons anyway. I can work slowly, which they read as carefullness. I can make mistakes, which they read as "new on the job". Plus this has given me an opportunity to schmooze with the patrons on a level that I never knew I was capable of. Sometimes my smarm is so thick I couldn't even cut it with a good knife. I'm tempted to say "come back again" and wink, but just incase they have developed a deep and lustful passion for me, I refrain from such behavior. You never know what patrons will do to hot employees. Especially one that appears to be wet behind the ears.

Today is my last day of training. I leave in about 10 minutes to embark on this last day of my voyage in Main Library land. Tomorrow I hit the floor running at my homebranch, where I can wield my new skills as the well dressed customer service associate. Funny to think, but this time next year I'll be a full fledged librarian.

Moral of this blog: Customer service is sexy.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Be It Ever So Humble

Where oh where could the well dressed librarian be? I went back to New York, to renew my connection with my family. I learned several very important things.

1. The reason I don't go home is because its too hard to leave.
2. I am turning into my Mother.
3. I am day to my brothers night.
4. My cat Precious is very well at age 19.
5. I hate the director of my first library with a passion.

It was a matter of homesickness tied to the fact that I am a hopeless romantic. I like having coffee with my Mom, and enjoying much to much of a chain smoke. My mother and I took coffee in the garden every single morning, while planning next years garden re-lanscape...much as we did when I lived at home. What the hell does this have to do with being a librarian you ask? Am I supposed to wade through all this sappy shit to find some funny nugget? The answer is no. This all has a point.

This upbringing in dear old New York has shaped me into the person that you enjoy so much today. All of the Word Power games my Mother and I played from Readers Digest . All of the hours of making sad puns and playing games on words gave me my sense of humor. That along with Grandma Wanda's laugh. She's gone now (G-d rest her soul)..whom I would do anything to make laugh. Those efforts made me into the family comic, taking centerstage at every family gathering.

Then too the cat Precious. She was the first "person" I told that I was gay. She didn't even care, as long as I gave her more whipped cream, and butter. This must be the secret to longevity in felines. Dairy. Its a good thing. Even though she also eats her kitty food, I can't be upset that my pussy isn't kosher too.

I visited with Grandma L who helped pay for college, and financed my voyage across Europe in college. I would have stayed in youth hostels, only I was told that no one in our family would be seen outside a decent hotel. She told me that the only good fragrances were sold across a counter. I decided that meant only at department stores. Thanks Grandma. You helped me become prissy and refined my tastes. All decent building blocks for a future corporate librarian.

The director of my local library made me hate public libraries. Don't get me wrong. I am enjoying my "tour de force" in the public realm. Its fun. I'm dealing with people that will make me appreciate my future patrons even more. I did love the first library I worked in. It was devine, and built beautifully, although the "urban renewal" addition from the late 60's does leave something to be desired. And as much as I'd like to blame the ugly architecture on her devestatingly evil personailty, I can't. Sad too. Her husband is such a nice local politician. I've even been told her children are charming. Yet more proof that public libraries are capable of eating souls. OK, I made that part up, but it sort of sounds true.

Last, my poor misguided brother. Under all his piercings (I will lay claim to one, which I'll leave to your imaginations), and Telly Savalas shaved head, mulitple tattoos, and cowboy boots...he tries. I'm saddened to learn from my family that he constantly notes he's never done as well as me, to which I remind my family that I'm a childless gay Jew librarian. Doesn't seem to matter. I seem to be a local celebrity when I go home, which just makes my brother all the more angry. I did meet my nephews for the first time. I adore them, and they are really little precious kiddos.

I've wandered off topic. I'm glad I went home, and I miss them all very much already especially Moms, Grams, and Precious. One more year and I'll be the librarian you've all hoped for.

Moral of this blog: Whiskers on Precious, and white picket fences, Grandmas red lipstick and Mother's strong coffee.. these are a few of my favorite things.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

How Do You Rate?

uh oh. I don't know what this means.
guess i'm pretty darn gay.

Finally got my piece of the pie

I didn't want to say anything before it actually happened, perhaps its the whole "jinx" thing I worry about. I will no longer be bringing you stories from the "trenches", as very soon I will no longer be a page.

I am moving into customer service. I will be a CSA "customer service associate" for my library, same branch. I'm movin' on up.

The stories that I will bring to you now will consist of such exciting subjects as card fraud, the stories behind "why I didn't return that book on time", and other assorted and equally sordid topics.

Financially, this job will be nice too. While it doesn't pay tons more, I do get "double time Sundays". I don't mind working on Sundays. Without my school loans to help defray the costs of every day living (its summer=no loans). I know I've cried this river before, but its really really hard to adjust to such a drastic change in lifestyle. I don't think I've ever been so particularly careful about money before in my entire life. My whole "well you can't take it with you" rationale doesn't seem to work here, as it seems that "I don't have anything to take".

On a slightly amusing note, a patron called in and asked if we rented XXX movies. When he was informed that it was in our best interest NOT to, as it was really against our code of ethics...he supposed that it was true, and further wouldn't want any of the employees getting "too excited". Yeah. Thats going to happen.

Moral of this blog: Took a whole lotta tryin', just to get up that hill.