Wednesday, July 27, 2005

I want this

My office is made out of metal. Thats nice and all, it doesn't leak or anything, so I don't really have to worry about rust. Not industrial metal either. My old office was industrial metal. It was shiney, and looked quite sexy (rather like me, only I'm not made out of metal..just ice). I have teal blue carpet in my office. And lots of cupboards. Lots of them. I have so many supplies I could dole them out to the poor for months, and I would STILL have post it notes left. I have air conditioning, and a gigantic piece of modern art in my sitting area. Oh yes. I have a sitting area, with two side chairs and a little teak occasional table in between. And its huge.

Why are you complaining, you ask yourself.

Because I don't have a deluxe office. My boss does. And I like it. She even has a dark wood desk. That's hot.

I know jealousy isn't a pretty thing, luckily the rest of me is. It masks it really well, like the cover up that Vanessa Williams uses to cover her pock marked face. That was kind of mean. Oh well.

But it got me thinking, what do I need to do to get one of those big old fancy desks, and really nice chairs? I can't order them from Office Depot. My only option is to persevere and get deeper into the world of administration, or to inherit a Royal title. Then I get one of these fancy library offices with my estate. But I'm not in line, my family isn't even British. We're a bunch of French Jews. OK, not all of us, some of us.

And the fireplace? Come on! No libraries have these anymore. Are they really that dangerous? My library back home had one. It was quite nice. At least put one in my office. No one will know. I wonder if I can order one of those from Office Depot?

Moral of this blog: I like wood.

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Camera Never Lies

I know this is true because I have never seen a bad picture of myself. OK, so that is stretching the truth just a little bit to help make my point.

When your child is caught stealing on a security camera, and we show you the video, do not call me and explain to me how "the camera distorted what really happened". You know why? Because it didn't. Your little angel is really a petty thief.

A sad reality. Now instead of calling me, go hide your jewelry.

Moral of this blog: The camera adds ten pounds, AND puts things in your pockets!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Dear Convicted Felon

jack the ripper How terribly exciting. Today I got to answer my first reference question from an incarcerated individual. The letter showed up in my inbox, and was addressed "Dear Director". A post-it note attached to it said "Matthew, can you take care of this? I don't know where to begin..."

And so my journey into enlightening a criminal began. The question was really quite straight forward. I answered it, typed up a letter and realized "I can't sign this thing!" So I closed with a simple "Thank you, XXX Metropolitan Library". According to several veteran librarians at my library, NO ONE signs their name on enquiry's from jailbirds. Makes sense. It could be terribly amusing to sign the name of another librarian that you dislike. Just remember, what goes around comes around.

I shall always remember this momentous occasion, my first reference question as a degreed librarian.

Then of course, I got morbid. I decided I had to find out what this guy was behind bars for. The internet is a wealth of information when you have a convict's prisoner number. I simply went to this site and entered the valuable information that he had provided in his return address.

Turns out that this queery answered the query of an individual convicted of aggravated murder. Delightful. Simply delightful. Apparently, there is no library in his facility.

If you are interested in Prison Libraries, check out IFLA's documentation on the subject. The Directory of State Prison Libraries might also be helpful.

Moral of this blog: Everybody in the whole cell block - was dancin' to the Jailhouse Rock

Sunday, July 10, 2005


One of the things that they do not teach in Library School is math. Many a librarian I have met have said one of the "draws" to the field is the fact that no math is required to get into Library School. I know it was for me.

This is why it is incredibly important for me to convey something to all librarians, and librarians-to-be MAKE FRIENDS WITH THE ACCOUNTING DEPARTMENT. Maybe the fact that my library has an accounting department reflects the fact I live in a major metropolitan area, perhaps you are in charge of finances, perhaps your manager is, perhaps your director is. My story does not change for you. Make friends with this person or persons!! Its amazing what can happen when you are friends or are friendly with the accounting department.

Case point & example: Branch manager of a large regional division of the library needs to get hold of a purchase order & original req. for money, dating back to November of 2004. She is not able to do this because of the red tape and bureaucracy involved. She calls me, the stylish, cute, and somewhat debonair person that I am. I call my contact in accounting. She locates, and prints out both for me. I scan them. I e-mail them to the branch manager, 10 minutes later.

Why wasn't she able to do this? She had not woo'ed the accounting department. My first week, I baked cookies for the Accounting Department secretary. When I drop off forms for accounting, I say hello to everyone by name. I made appointments with the chief financial officer and his second in charge to be trained on our accounting soft-ware. I have little chats with the departmental administrative staff, and ask after their cats and mothers. All important stuff, they don't teach this in Grad School.

When educators go to Grad School, they are taught to write lesson plans. When medical students intern, they learn to keep stat charts. Librarians are not taught a lick about balancing budgets, or "projecting monies" needed for the following fiscal year. All of this results in librarians over spending their accounts, or billing expenses to the wrong object code in the accounting software, if the librarian can use it at all. We must become budget savvy if we are to keep our libraries afloat. I'm one to talk...I could sweat through a tweed jacket just trying to balance my cheque book. But I've made the effort to win over the accounting department, so now they do it for me.

Its amazing how a perpetually naive grin, a properly placed loose strand of hair, and a stylish ability to lean on a counter with a pencil behind my left ear can win over an accountants heart. Ladies, a little decolletage might help here too. (not too much mind you, it may become an HR issue...)

It is also essential to deliver the line "I don't know how I would have done this without you...." with aplomb and expertly feigned relief. Accounting will take care of you if you feed them properly.

Moral of this blog: Have you hugged your accountant lately?

Monday, July 04, 2005

A proper hoovering

If Cleanliness is next to G-dliness, I am G-d now.

As a rule people who are sophisticated and well dressed should emerge from a home that reflects not only their perfection and glamourosity, but also speak to the dillegence and attention to detail invested in their daily lives. Throw in the fact that one of these amazingly gifted people may be a librarian, and you've increased those dimensions to include public service- giving to the masses. Yes, gentle readers, if it was not for my Jewish faith, I could leave this earth nominated for saint hood. Or at least qualify for martyrdom. Yet I share this special Independence day story with you.

As we delight in what ever it means to us individually to celebrate the 4th of July, I nominate consumerism. It makes me more American than anything else I can think of.

I celebrated by becoming the proud owner of a Dyson 07. Smart, sophisticated, and 20lbs of cleaning power. It makes my Eureka Cyclone look like a toy for toddlers. Now I can hoover in style. And I have been. I have hoovered everything in my entire house, spare the cats...and that is only because they can run faster than me with the vacuum.

One of the review calls it "sturdy, like the kind of vacuum cleaners they "used to make". My knot rug looks superb, and my embroidered dining room rug looks amazing. I was appalled by the amount of dust and dirt it pulled out, as I had previously hoovered with my Eureka upright...apparently it has worse suction than my ex-boyfriend. How could it have left so much behind? No more fears with my Dyson 07 at my side.

And candidly, I have to admit, it was my brother in law who gave it to me. He's a sales rep. Gotta love sales reps, but mostly I love my new found small house hold appliance.

Moral of this blog: Domestic bliss, with three standard attachments. Mmmmmm.