Monday, April 07, 2014

Miss Information is trapped in the teen area and it's still annoying

Staff shortages mean that Miss Information gets to spend part of her Saturday in the teen area. She's really starting to sense that a name change is needed. The "everyone but teens" area would be more apt. In her first hour in the department an 8-year-old asked her for the iPad password.

Oh dear. The iPads are not supposed to be password protected. If they are asking for a password that means that some little cu...stomer has decided it would be fun to mess with the nice library.

Miss Information could see password protecting the iPad if you wanted it to be available whenever you personally needed to use it but the fact is that the iPad is not a particularly high demand device (no good apps) so, basically, you can use it just about any old time.

The unfortunate thing is that now both of the iPads need to be reset and Miss Information can't do that. What she can do is put "Out of Order" signs on them and send an email to the guy who is responsible for making them work again.

A couple of hours later, Miss Information is in the department again and notices a crowd of children and caregivers huddled around the iPads. What she can't see is her lovingly constructed Out of Order signs.

She decides to investigate. An adult woman standing with several children is holding the Out of Order signs.

Miss Information fights the urge to be sarcastic. "Hi," she begins. "These iPads are not working."

"What's the password?" says Kid A. "It needs a password."

Miss Information explains that she doesn't know the password because it was set up by some random stranger who didn't bother to provide her with that meaningless detail.

"C'mon, what's the password?" says Kid B.

Miss Information replies that she still doesn't know.

"The children need the iPad password," says the adult/mother/caregiver. You remember her--she's the one who removed the Out of Order signs. By now the group seems to believe that either Miss Information is intentionally denying the children the password or that she doesn't understand English.

Miss Information asks the woman for the Out of Order signs and puts them back on the iPads. She explains that the Out of Order signs are there because the iPads are out of order.

She explains it a couple of times, just in case and stomps away muttering to herself.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Miss Information is annoyed by the young people

The next day, Miss Information is again in the teen area. Instead of teens, however she is faced with more old people and the brothers.

The brothers drive Miss Information insane. There are 3 of them and because she is terrible at judging these things, she's going to say they range in age from 5 to 11. 

The 11 year old tends to settle in with the X-Box. The middle one sits around and looks bored. The little guy always wants to use the Wii and he does--completely unsuccessfully. They are frequently joined by their father--he seems pleasant but never says anything.

At this point Miss Information should mention that she isn't doesn't understand much about the library's gaming systems. She has had a variety of handheld gaming devices, she likes PC adventure games. She has occasionally played first-person shooters. However, she is completely unequipped to deal with a 5-year-old's Wii issues. 

She sets all the systems up and heads back to the desk. After 5 minutes the little brother shows up.

"Sorry. Can I change games? It doesn't work."

"Hm. Ok. It worked for the last guy, though. Maybe you haven't done something, like pressed the right button?"

Miss Information returns to the gaming room and changes games. Does it work? She has no idea. She returns to the desk for 5 minutes of peace. 

"Sorry. It's not working."

Miss Information is sorry, too. She accompanies the kid back into the room. She makes some vague suggestions about pressing buttons. She reloads the disc because, why the hell not?

After much fiddling, the bored brother comes out of his coma, grabs the controller and presses the button that makes things happen. 

Miss Information wants to kill them all. She gets that the little guy is high maintenance and kind of annoying but surely the older kids could help him out. Miss Information has a bad knee right now and all this walking back and forth, crawling on the floor to change games/fix things/fiddle with wires has set her recovery back months. 

If only actual teens would occasionally come in, Miss Information would be happier. Either that or she'd be annoyed with them, too. Yeah, probably that second thing.


Miss Information is annoyed by old people

It's weird because Miss Information is one of the old people. She keeps herself youthful by being a bad influence on her nieces--letting them watch The Walking Dead and forcing them to listen to hip hop in the car.  

"Oh, Kanye," one of the nieces recently sighed. "What are you mad about now?"

Also, moisturizing is important. 


In any case, Miss Information generally likes the youth and that's good because tonight she's in the teen area. It's unfortunate that the Teen section has many things that attract adults to the department. Things like chairs and power outlets are like catnip to the olds and most of the time they outnumber the actual youth who are less impressed by furniture. 

On this evening Miss Information plays host to about a dozen teens playing some annoying game on the library's Wii. Also in the department are some feisty old people. 

"There's too much noise!" one women complains. 

Miss Information replies that this is the library's place for teens--a place where the library provides gaming consoles. Of course there's noise. She refrains from rolling her eyes. 

"I came here because I wanted a quiet place to relax," she replies. 

Miss Information points out that there are many quiet places to relax in the rest of the library--7 floors in fact--that an adult might find less noisy. 

"But I'm charging my phone!" the woman says. "You tell them to be quiet!"

Miss Information repeats the words "this is the teen area" until the woman gets tired and goes away. 

A little while later a couple of youth from the nearby shelter do a freestyle rap as they're leaving and yes, Miss Information should have shushed them because even in the teen area, this sort of thing is frowned upon. On the other hand they weren't bad and included Miss Information's nice smile in their rhyme, so she let it slide. 

After they'd left another of the tiresome old people came to the desk. 

"I think those people were up to something. You should check the security cameras. Mark my words they were doing something."

Well, yeah. They were doing all sorts of things. They were converting oxygen to carbon dioxide, they were hanging around, they were interacting with each other....

"They were swearing! Check the security cameras! They were using the f-word."

Oh. Right. That. Miss Information is pretty sure the security camera wouldn't catch that unless the fellas wrote the word down on a piece of paper and held it up directly to the camera.

She repeats that line about rules being relaxed in the teen area and reminds the man of the adult parts of the library--that is: basically everywhere except where he is. He's actually a good sport about it. He goes back to his seat mentioning that he doesn't like hearing the "f-word" and thinks no one should be allowed to use it in the library. 

Miss Information promises she'll pass it on to the head of youth services but since he's been known to use that particular word himself, she doubts that it will get anywhere. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Miss Information is annoyed by overparenting

So, Saturday Miss Information is working at the hellscape she likes to call the Teen Area. She answers the phone to a panicky mother. 

"My son is missing!" she says. "He was at the library for some training and now he's missing! He's only fourteen!"

When Miss Information was 14, she had a job. She got herself there and back without help. She also used to go all around town using public transit--sometimes with friends, sometimes alone. She also used to walk home from school and stay by herself in an empty house. She never set fire to anything. She was never kidnapped or murdered. 

Miss Information doesn't think the training ended that long ago and suspects that the kid is still here or even more likely has gone to one of several nearby fast food restaurants to indulge in substandard food. He's fourteen for goodness sake. He'll turn up. Still, it's a new era--there are criminals and psychopaths behind every snowbank so one must be vigilant. Miss Information tries to be sympathetic. She asks the mother if the kid was supposed to be taking the subway or walking or what. The mother doesn't have a chance to answer her call waiting goes off. She puts Miss Information on hold. 

When she comes back on the line she reports happily that the child's father has found him. Miss Information pretends to be very relieved instead of merely being grateful that her parents let her do things without supervision when she was that age.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Miss Information finds that some people's anger is misplaced

Today's snowy weather has put Miss Information in a festive mood. Specifically it has reminded her that Christmas was really annoying. The weekend before Christmas a massive ice storm wiped out power to a ridiculous number of people. Leaving one's house is a bad idea--kind of like most days, except fallen trees and downed wires have made it all kinds of treacherous.


The day before Christmas, Miss Information optimistically assumes that the library is fine despite all evidence to the contrary, and heads  to work. The library has a hotline set up for times like this and Miss Information could have phoned to check but well, she's not good in the morning and she sets off without bothering to find out if she has a place to go.  

Trying to get through the city is like navigating London during the Blitz. There are fallen branches everywhere, public transit is sketchy and hundreds of intersections are without working signals but she gets to the library. She gets a truly awesome parking spot, too--possibly because the city is paralyzed and the sensible people have stayed home. Still, it's a great spot. At the parking lot elevator, there's a sign about the ice storm. It's in Korean, except for the words "ice storm". Miss Information knows there's a Korean bank in the complex so she figures it's got something to do with them and continues on her way to the library through the eerily empty mall. Hm. Well it is Christmas Eve, people are probably home wrapping presents.

Her travels take her past a subway station. It has a sign--Subway Only!!! All Stores are Closed! This would be ominous if Miss Information didn't take everything literally; she's not going to a store, she's going to a library--who cares about stores? She gets to the part of the mall housing the library and finds her path blocked by barricades. So annoying. This means she actually has to go outside in the bitter cold and walk around the building. She passes the library window and sees a few staff members--not a lot, though, but is relieved that she will soon be inside at work. Except the mall doors are locked and she can't get in. She returns to the library window and waves until someone recognizes her. In the meantime, she's picked up a stray--a patron, apparently, who is plenty annoyed that the mall door is locked. Please note that it is about 30 minutes from the library's scheduled opening time.
 
"What are you doing making people wait out in the cold?" he exclaims as a staff member opens the door for Miss Information. The staff member explains that the mall has only had electricity since 8 am and are still trying to get things operating.

"Well," says the angry man. "When is the library opening? It's soon, right? Are you just going to make me stand outside until 9?"

Miss Information stops paying attention as the man reports the temperature and windchill factor.

Miss Information's colleague tells him that management doesn't know if or when the library is opening. It seems that most of the library staff actually phoned that hotline number and were told to redeploy to other branches. It's a big library and the minimum number of employees is 2 per department--18 or so people. Miss Information's arrival means that there are now 4 staff members on site. There's a long way to go until the branch can open. Still, the angry man is welcome to stand in the mall outside the library. He'll be able to keep warm at least.

The man changes tactics. "I need the washroom. What am I supposed to do? Is there a washroom in the mall?" Miss Information tells him that there's a washroom in the food court but mentions that it's in the part of the mall that's behind barricades. She isn't certain he can get there. Miss Information is starting to lose patience. In any event, the library wouldn't be open for 30 minutes and it's hardly her fault the mall washroom is out of commission.

The man seems to think Miss Information can do something about all this nonsense (which is largely the fault of the storm and not actually a library policy or something) and keeps insisting that they tell him exactly when the library is opening and when he can get in. Miss Information decides her best course of action is to ignore him and go hang up her coat.

Eventually the branch opens and it's busy until the 1 pm closing time. Miss Information feels good that her colleagues risked their lives to open the branch so people could stock up on DVDs for the Christmas break.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Miss Information is annoyed by the angry helpless people

Miss Information thinks people should choose--do they want to be helpless or do they want to be angry? She can cope with either, but both is simply too much to ask. She encountered this woman on Friday.

Miss Information is restocking one of the new books displays when she hears a woman yelling at the circulation desk that there is no one to help her. The circulation staff member makes eye contact with Miss Information and suggests that the woman go and stand at the desk because the librarian is probably helping someone else.

Miss Information sighs and goes back to the desk. The woman is angry because she can't find her hold. Well, this is not anything to get mad about. Miss Information can usually help people find their holds. "Why do you make this so difficult?!?" the woman shouts.

Right. Numerical order can be a challenge. Miss Information refuses to lower herself to the woman's level and merely suggests that the hold may be misfiled and if they look together they will surely be able to find the item. She cheerfully marches off to the reserve shelf with the angry woman muttering the whole way.

It isn't far to the reserve shelf which Miss Information is grateful about. She is also happy she is not holding a pen because she would surely have stabbed the woman before they got there. This is a really unpleasant woman.

Still, they get to the shelf and lo and behold there is the woman's book. It's on the lower shelf. "How did you find that?" the angry woman snaps. "It was misfiled, wasn't it?"

Listen, Angry Lady, Miss Information usually lies to customers to make them feel less idiotic but not in your case. She will sleep well tonight even if she destroys your self-esteem. She tries. "Actually it was right in exactly the right place," she says. 

The woman then snaps that the book should not have been on the lower shelf because she can't bend over. She's talked to the library before and they fixed it so her holds were always on the top shelf but now this hold is on the bottom. What has Miss Information got to say about that?

What Miss Information has to say is The Supervisor, this is Angry Lady. Angry Lady this is The Supervisor for this department. Why don't you ask her?

Miss Information let them go at it for awhile but this question remained. Why didn't the angry woman come to the desk and say: my hold's on a shelf I can't reach. Could you please help me? Because Miss Information could have done without all the drama. The "please" is even optional.


There are some patrons, some able bodied, some not who never pick up their own holds. The library is cool with it. Staff wants you to take out books and will help you do it if necessary. 

It's true that sometimes holds are too high or too low for certain patrons to reach but that's the reality of numerical order. You might be on the top of the shelf today but tomorrow an influx of holds might have pushed you down to the bottom. In a big library with hundreds of reserves processed each day, you're not guaranteed the same shelf every time. 

You are guaranteed that staff will help you get your hold if you can't get it yourself. After Angry Lady stomped away, Miss Information asked The Supervisor if she'd mentioned that to her. Of course she had. The Supervisor sighed: Angry Lady doesn't want to do that. She wants the library to change the entire mathematical system so her holds are always on the top shelf.

Miss Information hopes she isn't assigned to the "reorganize numbers" committee.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Miss Information's adventures in car ownership

Miss Information's car is 2 years old and a couple of weeks ago she took a day off to have it serviced. The service people assured her that everything was fine. Perfect, they said. They mentioned checking all the fluids and things and stuff and junk. Miss Information isn't clear on those sorts of things. Because it was suddenly teeming rain, she went right home. 

The next day, she went to the gym. After that she had plans to drive on the highway for awhile, because she likes that sort of thing. Shortly after merging on to the highway, a warning light appeared on her dashboard--an exclamation point inside square brackets. Miss Information has seen this one before. Something is off with the tire pressure. She exits the highway and goes to a nearby parking lot where she looks at the tires. It is now pouring rain. They seem fine enough. Is that driver's side one kind of low? Hm. Maybe it is. 

Miss Information drives to a gas station to check the air and put in more. (Miss Information does not have a working tire gauge but she's been driving around with a completely useless one for as long as she remembers. It's tradition.)

At the gas station, thanks to Miss Information's ridiculously literal interpretation of the car manual's picture showing where the location of the tire information sticker, she has no idea how much air should be in her tires. Not one to let a detail like that stop her, Miss Information puts a little air into the tire that seems low. 

The next day she goes to a local garage that is open on Sundays to get them to check the tire, because, well, the tire was fine on Friday at the dealership, it must have a leak, right? The garage is busy and tell her to come back another time. She hates that place, why does she always go there?

Miss Information spends the rest of the day anxiously watching her tires. On Monday, she starts to think that one of the tires on the passenger side seems low. Because it's raining again, she goes to a gas station and puts a little air in that tire. Please note, Miss Information now has found the sticker that tells her how much air to put in the tires. Also note that the air hose at the gas station doesn't have a working gauge. Once again, Miss Information guesses. All the tires seem the right shape. Phew. 

Miss Information decides to go shopping. She thinks about when she last saw the warning light. As she recalls, it was right before she took her car for its one year service. So, about a year ago. In fact, Miss Information remembers that it was exactly a year ago, practically to the day. She checks her records. She'd picked the car up at 3 pm on October 26, 2012. The warning light went off at exactly 1:15 on October 26, 2013. Miss Information clues in that warning light might be less of a report of an actual problem and more of an annual reminder. 

Miss Information goes into the settings menu. It wants to know if her tires are ok. She says yeah. The warning light goes away. 

Miss Information makes a note not to panic next year. 

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Miss Information is nice to someone. See how that works out.

The customer at the desk is looking for something. Specifically she is looking for the book she reserved. She tells Miss Information that after she'd taken it from the pick up shelf, she'd put it down somewhere and now it's missing. Miss Information is mighty impressed that the woman successful picked up her own hold because most people can't manage that. This woman must be a rocket scientist. Miss Information doesn't think finding the woman's hold will be brain surgery. How many places could it be?

The woman has already retraced her steps. She's even looked on the pick up shelf in case it may have found its way back there. Miss Information continues to be impressed with the patron's ability. She offers to check the circ desk in case the book has ended up there. It hasn't. She checks the bins of books being shipped to other branches just in case it wound up there. She also checks the pick up shelf, looks on the trucks the pages are shelving and asks around. The book cannot be found.

The woman takes the bad news philosophically. Miss Information marks the book missing, because well, the book is missing. She assures the woman that it will turn up and that the library will call her back. The patron thanks Miss Information and goes to the children's department.

In about ten minutes the woman returns, missing book in her hand. She explains that when she'd retraced her steps earlier she'd forgotten about going to the encyclopedias! Then she remembered and there was the book!

Miss Information is delighted. She hates mysteries. The woman starts to walk away. Then she stops and comes back. This time she doesn't seem so happy.

"You know," she says. "You've been nice to me. Really nice. And I'm an idiot. The public transit department treats everyone terribly. You should be more like them. You need to stop being nice. Stop it. Stop it right now!"

Miss Information chuckles but the woman glares at her. "I mean it!" she says. "Stop being so nice!"

Um. Ok, then. Miss Information will never be nice to anyone again. Frankly it's a big relief.