Wednesday, March 29, 2006

It is Wednesday, after all, and Miss Information is annoyed

Wednesdays are usually bad. This is the day the library offers its very popular Computers for the Clueless workshops. It is a humanitarian effort to bring enlightenment to that group of library patrons who really have no business being anywhere near computers. Miss Information wouldn't even trust them with ink, let alone anything electronic. Still, their eternal bafflement means that there will always be jobs open for Miss Information and her colleagues.

However, the Wednesday workshops mean that a large number of library computers are unavailable for other users. It is worse than usual today, because the high school across the street has decided that it can't bear the presence of oh, 75% of its students, naturally they crossed the road to spend some quality Internet time. So now, there are many people jostling for computer time. Oh, and that automated computer system that kicks people off when their time expires isn't really working. People are kicked off, but then it absolutely refuses to allow the next customer to log on. This has caused endless turmoil.

In the midst of all this, a man was trying to print a .jpeg of a very interesting looking legal document, which Miss Information was just dying to know more about. She was full of questions: is this you? what kind of corruption was it? were you convicted? were you guilty? But she maintained her professionalism and tried to print the document. She couldn't get it to work because of library restrictions on the computer system. The man kept insisting that if she were a "printing expert" she could make it happen. She referred him to the Internet cafe down the street which she assured him is full of "printing experts".

While Miss Information was busy with this, her reference desk colleague disappeared, probably to sort out another computer booking snafu, there was a line-up of desperate people and not one, but two of Miss Information's co-workers wanted her to stop what she was doing and answer their stupid and pointless questions. At about the point where her head was about to explode a serious looking young woman approached the desk.

Miss Information offered to help her--like that was even possible at this stage. The woman asked if Miss Information knew there was a liar in the building. Oh, hm. Miss Information knows about the perverts and the thieves and the unhygienic, so it doesn't surprise her. She replied that she's certain there are many liars who come to the library, and that she tries not to judge the moral flaws of others but she wanted to appear helpful so she asked what the liar had done to upset the woman.

The woman wants to make any appointment with the liar to have her will notarized.

Oh, that liar.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Miss Information is annoyed by school holidays

It is that joyous time of year when schools close so teachers can go skiing or get therapy or something, and the children get to spend the week hanging around the library amusing and delighting Miss Information with their antics. Oh, those kids!

It has also been the week when just about every library computer system has failed, most importantly the electronic system of scheduling Internet appointments, so Reference Desk staff has had to spend way too much time arbitrating disputes between patrons over who got here first and whose turn it is now. Admittedly some of the customers are 6 year olds so sometimes it is age appropriate.

At any rate, it is now Thursday and Miss Information was drinking bad staff room coffee so her patience was at an end when the kid who annoyed her all day yesterday asked to use the phone like he did several times yesterday.

There is a payphone in the library and if this kid's mother sent him out without a quarter then clearly she doesn't care if he never comes home and Miss Information was just about to tell him to piss off, when he was jumped from behind by a member of his posse or crew or crime syndicate or whatever.

It takes a lot to get Miss Information to throw people out of the library, but she has always identified wrestling as a "non-library" activity. She asked them both to leave. There was much discussion over this. The "victim" protested that he had done nothing except fall over. Which is sort of true, but Miss Information viewed it as a group activity anyway and stuck by her initial decision. The rest of the troops were gathered, words were exchanged. A whole bunch of them left the library, but not before one of them said he didn't realize the library hired nerds.

Oh, that poor misguided child. Miss Information would like to think that her profession is full of happening, far out, funky people with fashionable shoes, but she knows the truth. In fact anyone with eyes and brain cells who has made it all the way to the Reference Desk at the back of the library, should have noticed something slightly, well, nerdy about the staff.

At first terribly offended, Miss Information has decided to reclaim her nerd status and wear it proudly (along with those fashionable shoes, obviously).

She hopes one day to make her mother proud and achieve the noble title of geek.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Miss Information is inspired by a patron's suggestion

February, the month of library fundraising is thankfully over, culminating with an exciting raffle of bookends. Not, unfortunately the ugly metal bookends the library has thousands of, but some "nice" bookends donated by some store or other. As Miss Information keeps as far away from the fundraising campaign as she possibly can, she did not either enter the raffle ($10.00!) or publicise it to any customer. Ten bucks is ten bucks after all. Also, the bookends? Frankly, not all that "nice".

Anyway, one of Miss Information's co-workers shared a little anectdote with her today. It seems that one of the people who had entered the draw showed up at the library and became incensed that she had not been informed that her ticket had not won one of the fabulous prizes. There were other prizes up for grabs but Miss Information didn't pay any attention. She supposes this woman had never entered a contest, bought a lottery ticket, got involved in a hockey pool...either that or she'd led an amazingly charmed life right up to this very minute.

At any rate, Miss Information likes her suggestion and volunteers to telephone all the unsuccessful contest entrants. She thinks the script would go something like this:

"Hello. This is the library calling. You're a loser. Yep. A really big loser. Have a nice day."

On second thought, that "have a nice day" part might be optional.

In fact, Miss Information likes this idea so much, she would even be willing to make these calls when there isn't a contest.