Miss Information worries about the medical profession
A man couldn't find his hold. Well, that's not new.
Recently Miss Information encountered a woman who thought the holds were filed alphabetically. They are not. They are filed numerically by the last four numbers of a person's library card. The hold labels have a big 4 digit number and then underneath in tiny little letters, the first two letters of the patron's surname. No wonder she couldn't find her hold.
Anyway this fellow today came to the desk complaining that his hold wasn't on the shelf. Sometimes they are not but it's rare. Still, Miss Information doesn't like to march over to the shelf and just find the book because that makes people feel stupid. She doesn't like people to feel stupid--even the stupid people.
This hold had been processed the previous day which means it's on the shelf but Miss Information looked in the back room. Nope, no leftover holds there. The man was all ready to leave without his book but Miss Information said she'd take a peek on the shelf just in case.
Obviously the book was in the exact right spot. She picked it up and handed it to him. It was early and she was too cranky to tell her usual lie about the book having been misfiled.
Before she handed it to him she noticed that it is a book for the medical licensing exam. Miss Information supposes that finding things in numerical order doesn't come up that often in the practice of medicine but she likes to think someone about to become a medical doctor can do that sort of thing in their sleep.
Miss Information is not making this up.
Miss Information actually overheard this conversation while she was peacefully drinking coffee Sunday.
Four women were seated at the table next to her. It was clear that they hadn't seen each other in a while and chatted to catch up. In the course of the chatting one of the women revealed that her cat had died a few months ago. Miss Information was sad for the woman. Her friends were also sympathetic.
One of the women suggested that the bereaved woman check out a wonderful white cat available for adoption in a nearby shelter. One of the other women agreed. She had seen that cat, too. Why it was a wonderful cat! And beautiful, too, the other woman noted.
The bereaved woman declined. While she was certain the cat was awesome, she wasn't convinced it would match her furniture.
Huh? thought Miss Information.
"Huh?" said the women at the table.
Well, yes, said bereaved Betty. When she'd gotten her now deceased cat, which she described as "beige" (who uses beige to describe a cat?) she'd redecorated the house to match and while she wanted a new cat, she simply wasn't ready to get a new couch.
At this point Miss Information would like to mention that while she has often told people that the beautiful black cat she used to have matched her wardrobe better than the current Kitty Information (calico, mostly white and sheddy), she absolutely is never replacing her with another cat, even if that cat does go better with her clothes.
Who needs libraries? Miss Information knows the answer.
So, a writer named Terry Deary recently announced that libraries are obsolete. He's wrong about that, although he is correct that more people are reading digitally these days. Well, more people want to read eBooks at least. An awful lot of them struggle with the actual technology of it.
That's where library staff comes into play.
One day recently, Miss Information had to sort out digital library products with three different patrons. Exactly one of them was nice. Lady number 1 had a Kobo and she and Miss Information had a friendly chat about it while reviewing downloading procedure.
Patron number 2 was a youngish gentleman who wanted to download an eAudiobook. He was needlessly hostile the entire time Miss Information was helping him. At one point she explained that this particular eAudiobook could be transferred to an iPod. He became enraged and launched into a tirade about the evilness of Apple. Miss Information agrees that Apple is slightly evil but they've never been as rude as this guy so if they were ever pitted against each other in a Death Race, she supporting them. Please note that the library wasn't forcing him to download to an iPod at gunpoint or anything. It was merely an option.
Patron number 3 was a woman with an iPad and a bad attitude. She wanted to know how to use Overdrive to get eBooks. Miss Information has an iPad but doesn't use it for eBooks because Apple is evil--or she doesn't like the backlighting. One or the other. It took her a moment to refresh her memory about the device. The woman became impatient. "Who can help me?" she cried. "Find someone to help me." Impatient Lady meet Miss Information. Miss Information is actually helping you right this second if you'd stop whining long enough to notice.
Miss Information discovered that the main problem Impatient Lady had was that her Wifi wasn't connected. Miss Information did what she does when she wants her own iPad to access Wifi. She tapped the settings button. Impatient Lady snatched the iPad out of her hands. "Do not touch the settings!!!! Ever!!!!! Is there someone who can help me?" Nope. You're stuck with Miss Information who, once again, is the person currently helping you.
Eventually she convinced Impatient Lady to connect to the library Wifi. "It is connected!" No, it wasn't. "Who can help me with this?" Sigh. Miss Information persisted and the woman walked out of the library with several fresh downloads for her vacation. She didn't say thank you and she probably doesn't realize how close she came to taking a stapler to the head, but downloading was achieved.
It was a good day.
Miss Information cannot be allowed in civilized company
Miss Information screwed up at work last night which meant that today she went to Starbucks to use their Internet and coffee to repair the damage.
Because it was busy, she sat at an adjoining table with a nice young couple. She quickly realized that she doesn't know nearly enough about her flashy new computer, specifically about Windows 8--that pretty, but dysfunctional operating system."Oh, damn it all to hell!" she exclaimed at one point.
The nice young man half of the couple gasped in horror and quickly put away the phone he had just started to dial. Miss Information tried to explain that simultaneous typing and swearing had gotten her through graduate school but they didn't seem to believe her. Clearly terrified, they packed up and left very soon after.
In which book burners annoy Miss Information
One of the local papers recently published a front page article about bed bugs in the library. Yeah, well. Bugs are many places. Little bastards.
So, unsurprisingly this has caused some concern among the patrons and Miss Information's mother who doesn’t go to the library but likes to worry about things. In any case the library has many branches and a relatively small number of confirmed bed bug appearances.
Recently Miss Information was pleased to see a book she had recently recommended on the library website sitting outside her supervisor’s office. She was slightly puzzled that it was carefully placed in a ziplock bag.
Did the book she had publicly endorsed have bed bugs? Oh, boy! How cool is that?
Unfortunately her supervisor crushed her dreams. Maybe the book had a bed bug. Maybe it didn't. The patron decided to be proactive with the book, you know with the library having bed bugs and all, you can't be too careful. In order to sanitize the book prior to reading, the patron did what any sensible, thinking person would. They microwaved it because yeah, that should kill bed bugs, right?
And it might have worked. Or perhaps not. Sciencey websites suggest that bed bugs are too feisty to be dispatched so easily. Science is awesome. Please note that it took Miss Information about 6 seconds to search online and discover this.
This library patron was a do-it-yourself type apparently and just went right ahead and popped that book into their oven. Instead of killing the bugs (which may not have been there in the first place), this innovative microwaving process set the book on fire because (look surprised, everyone) paper burns.
It also left Miss Information wondering who would think it’s a good idea to put something that’s infested with vermin into a device that’s used to cook food? Ick.
Oh members of the public, Miss Information will never tire of your kooky antics!
Miss Information is annoyed by the illogical
It is Christmas and Miss Information knows that with all the grimness and sadness of the past week everyone should make an effort to be kind and to hold off on the petty complaints. Well, fuck that.
The library system recently introduced a fine that is charged to people who don't pick up their holds. This afternoon, Miss Information encountered a gentleman who had been charged one of these fines because he needed to pick up his book by December 17 and failed to do so. Miss Information told the gentleman that the circulation desk could probably waive the fine because they have been doing that for first offenses.
The gentleman protested! He should not have a fine. He requested the book. It came in. He picked it up but thought that it was the wrong book and gave it back. Then he went home and discovered it was the right book and put another hold on it. So you see, he did, in fact, pick up the book on time.
Um. No. He was supposed to have picked up this copy of the book by last night and didn't so he had been charged a fine. The man insisted that the first time he picked up the book should count as picking up the book on time. Except it doesn't. The process the man describes is the equivalent of two holds, not one. Picking up and cancelling the first hold has no bearing on anything.
The man insisted that Miss Information is wrong. The library had screwed up! It was their fault! He should not have a fine because he picked up the book on time! Except that he didn't, Miss Information explained. Two holds, two pick up dates, two chances to be fined for not picking up the book. At this point Miss Information recognized that the conversation would go on like this forever. As much as she wanted to make him see reason, she sent him to the circulation desk to share his screwed up logic with the staff there.
Miss Information is haunted by library school
When Miss Information went back to school a lot of her librarian friends used to warn her that the experience would have long lasting consequences. "Tee, hee," they would say. "I still have nightmares that I haven't finished a cataloguing assignment. Heh, heh, heh!"
Truthfully, Miss Information has had a couple of library school related nightmares before but nothing quite as strange as this. She blames her friend E. who has decided to become a librarian and god help her, has asked for Miss Information's notes. (Notes! Honestly.)
Anyway, in the dream Miss Information is back at the school taking a course. Why this didn't instantly wake her up in a cold sweat is anyone's guess. Before the lecture starts she is having a conversation about information transmission in baseball with the professor, who bears a striking resemblance to Miss Information's old high school history teacher. (That high school haunts Miss Information is no big surprise.) It is also no surprise that there is a discussion of information transmission. It is a bit of a shock that Miss Information is participating in it. The other shocking part is that during the conversation Miss Information's foot becomes entangled in a cargo net and she must continue talking about information transmission while trying to free herself. After she becomes free she takes a seat next to British actress Juliet Stevenson who praises Miss Information's recent radio critique of Kenneth Branagh. At this point Miss Information accidentally switched on a CD player and flooded the room with some really loud Christmas music.
Miss Information hopes you're prepared for this, E.