Tuesday, April 25, 2006

What Miss Information has here is a failure to communicate

A few weeks ago, Miss Information attended a communications workshop. Pretty early on in the presentation, the highly-paid motivational speaker explained to the group that "sarcasm is counterproductive". After that, Miss Information spent the rest of the workshop planning her new career as a highly-paid motivational speaker. Besides that tip on sarcasm she would offer advice like "swearing at the patrons is a bad idea" and "stabbing people is messy".

If she had paid a bit more attention, she might have known what to do this afternoon when the library's security guard approached the Reference Desk accompanied by two men who were screaming at each other.

The security guard reported that the men were upset. Well, duh. Happily Miss Information is never in charge, which is why she'll never leave this place to go to a smaller library. Before she can share this tidbit of information, the men began to tell their stories. Their argument was along the lines of "he touched my stuff" "did not" "did so" "did not" variety.

It seems Guy #1, a man in his 30s, had left his possessions unattended to go to the washroom. Upon returning he witnessed Guy #2 "pawing" through his things.

Guy #2, who looked about 40, denied the allegation. He never touched the other guy's things. Well, ok, he took a piece of gum from Guy #1's desk but he was insulted that he was being accused of theft.

While Miss Information was puzzling out the logic of "I stole something from you but how dare you accuse me of stealing something from you", Guy #1 suggested they go out to the parking lot and settle this like men. (Miss Information is not an expert, but she doesn't think smashing somebody's face in because they stole a stick of gum is particularly manly, but whatever.)

This was the point that Miss Information realized that her strategy of staring open-mouthed at these two dimwits was ineffective and she alerted the person in charge that there was an incredibly stupid incident to handle.

Luckily the guy in charge must have paid attention in his communications seminar and was able to calm the idiots down, thus preventing bloodshed.

Miss Information retreated to the Reference Desk to complete the remaining 3.5 hours of duty, however the evening brought with it one additional conflict. A young boy complained that a bigger kid had "stolen" his computer. Miss Information is pleased to report, however, that the child's gum remained untouched.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Miss Information's mother always said it's about location

What a fun week! The weather got warmer, so everyone started wearing fewer clothes and displaying their pasty flesh for Miss Information. Eww.

Also, because everyone loves Screaming Child Day so much, the library decided to host a weeklong Screaming Child Festival. A good time was had by no one.

Towards the end of the week a woman came in looking for books on ADHD. There weren't any since the guy from the previous entry had signed them all out. The woman was inconsolable. This wasn't her usual branch but she had "sensed" that the books she needed would be here.

Bummer. Miss Information can totally relate to unreliable psychic visions. For example, on the way to work she often "senses" that this will be the day the normal people come in. The disappointment is heartbreaking.

Well, not to worry. Miss Information could arrange to have some books sent to the woman's local branch. Which would be...?

The woman didn't know. She described a vague geographical area. Miss Information suggested a branch on X Avenue. The woman was pretty sure the library was on Y Street--where there are no libraries.

Fortunately the library homepage has photographs of all the branches. Miss Information cranked it up and showed the picture of the X Avenue branch to the woman. It didn't look familiar to the woman. It didn't look familiar to Miss Information either and she's been to that branch. Admittedly the photograph was mostly of the bike rack and sidewalk in front of the library. Good news though, the website described the library as being "located next door to Carol's Coffee Cabana and Bob's Bagel Emporium". Ding, ding, ding...we have a winner! The woman went away happy.

Hopefully she found her way home.

Sometime later a man came to the desk. He asked for some DVDs. They all had waiting lists, obviously. Miss Information placed the requests. Now, then, did the man want to pick them up here? Or would another branch be better?

The man agreed--yes, indeedy another branch would be much better. (Miss Information often thinks that herself.) And that branch would be...?

The man launched into a long explanation about his busy life and how difficult it was to come to the library. Again, Miss Information can relate. It's hard to come to the library for her also! And she surely appreciates that busy life stuff. She was quite busy herself and if Mr Vague could just let her know what branch to send the stuff to, she could get on with her other work.

Well, there is a library near his job. Cool. And that would be...? Ah, right in the hub of the city where there are many libraries. Well, Miss Information can play Guess the Branch with the best of them. She named a couple of branches. Nope. Eventually the man made his choice.

Whew. Relieved Miss Information assured the man that she would have those DVDs sent to the branch of his choosing. Goodbye, now. Have a nice day.

Hmmm, the man said, don't bother. He changed his mind, he'd just pick them up here.

Oh, good.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Miss Information witnesses a fun encounter

Miss Information was so tickled by this she wanted to share it. Nevertheless, she realizes that it will lose something in the translation into print. The best thing to do is to imagine it. Miss Information realizes that others do not have the save vibrant imagination she does, so she's gonna help.

Setting: A tasteful and elegant Victorian building. Lots of mahogany. Marble. Nice tile floor. Everything is shiny. Nothing is broken. A few well-dressed, attractive patrons study around the library. They are polite. They speak in whispers. Their hygiene is above reproach.

Cast of Characters:
Guy In Charge: for the purposes of this reinactment he is to be played by George Clooney--suave, debonair, and for some reason wearing a sweater with giraffes on it. Oh, well. The wardrobe department will fix that.

The Kid: kind of dim, not that exciting. Miss Information doesn't know any current teen actors, so we'll travel back in time and get Corey Haim. Remember him? If he's not available (yeah, right) we'll get Keanu Reeves circa Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.

Miss Information: Sultry, gorgeous, smoky bedroom eyes and really nice shoes--to be played by Angelina Jolie. Yeah, that's damn close.


Kid approaches Guy In Charge accompanied by a few hangers on.

Guy In Charge: May I help you?

Kid: I need books about ADHD.

Guy In Charge: I'll just look that up for...

Kid: (interrupting) Do you have anything on fetal alcohol syndrome?

Miss Information watching from the sidelines explodes in hysterical laughter.


You probably had to be there.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Miss Information is annoyed during her leisure time

Miss Information had a pretty sweet thing going. She would wile away the hours at work, spending lots of good quality time with the scary losers who hang around the library. There are a few nice normal people, too, but they're way out numbered. Anyway after a fun-packed day at work teaching adults to share and play nicely with others, she would make her way to the giant bookstore/coffee place a couple of off-ramps away from the library. There she would meet her library friends, decompress, drink coffee and complain loudly about having spent the day surrounded by adults who don't understand that other people need to use the computer too.

It was nice. Oh sure, sometimes she would run into other library staff because they are all pulled by some irresistible force to books and when the library is closed, well, they just have to make the best of things. And once in a while there was an awkward moment, like the time Miss Information didn't realize her manager's husband was sitting at the next table. While she's sure she didn't say anything negative about the manager, whom she likes, the words "decrepit, stinking hell-hole" may have been used. (She could have been talking about any decrepit stinking hell-hole, right?)

Recently, though, Miss Information has noticed a very bad trend. She had vented thoroughly about the day's events to her friends and gotten up to stretch her legs. She noticed the people around her. A couple of tables away was Mattie's Mom, a woman who thinks nothing of letting her 4 year-old son spend 7-8 hours a day using the Internet, while she studies at a nearby carrel. No sign of Mattie, though. Maybe she dropped him off at an Internet cafe on her way to the bookstore. There were other customers in the coffee shop as well: the Guy Who Turns Newspaper Pages Loudly, the Stammering Guy Who Stresses Over Printing, and the Baseball Obsessed Guy. Frankly it was unnerving.

It's like the second the library closes they all wandered over here to continue their hanging around. (Miss Information has a mental picture of them gimping along en masse, vacant stares, arms extended, muttering "Brains, brains" in growly monster voices.)

Still, Miss Information attempted another visit to the bookstore on the weekend accompanied by a non-library friend. While the friend waited in line, Miss Information went on a scouting mission for an empty table, which was hopeless because the coffee shop went wireless a while back and now nobody ever leaves. Like if you aren't drinking coffee you should go home or something. Oh, and Miss Information can see right through your clever display of a nearly empty cup and a few strategically placed cookie crumbs. You've been here for hours! That coffee has mould on it! Those cookie crumbs are covered with dust! Other people want to sit down, you bastards! Move along, already!

Well, anyway sitting at one of those tables, looking pretty much the same as she does during the 8 or so hours a day she spends at the library was "Bullet Proof Hair Woman". It was the last straw.

Miss Information dragged her friend out by the hair. They went to another coffee shop down the road where her friend complained bitterly about the quality of her non-fat, sugar-free vanilla latte. Miss Information felt sad for her friend, but knows in her heart that a substandard latte is a small price to pay for a peaceful cup of coffee without the distracting presence of the library zombies.