Saturday, June 28, 2008

Miss Information is annoyed by nostalgia

Although Miss Information has a history degree, she doesn’t actually find the past all that interesting—unpleasant diseases, unreliable drinking water, no e-mail. Ick. But some people can’t seem to let go of the good old days.

Today Miss Information has had her fill of those people. The first guy wanted some kind of encyclopedia of nuts. He knew the author and title so it was a simple matter of checking the catalogue and letting him know that the book was not at this library. The man protested. He knew the library owned the book. He had taken the book out before—about 5 years ago.

Miss Information is sorry but 5 years is a long time in the life of library books. She offers to have the book brought in from another branch but the man says no. It turns out that he lives clear on the other side of town and came all this way to get the book. Miss Information mentions that the library has a telephone and unless he really enjoys a completely pointless scavenger hunt now and then, he should have phoned ahead.

Later that day the phone rings. A guy on the phone wants a book. He knows the library has it. Sadly, he knows very little about the book besides that. Title? Nope. Might have had the word “mechanics” in it though. Author? Uh-uh. Didn’t make a note of that. Anything that might help? Well, he took it out before, so he knows it’s in the library. Miss Information does a search using key words like “mechanics” and “analytical” which may or may not have been in the title. This results in nothing useful. Well maybe it was “classical” not “analytical”. Miss Information still can’t find the book he is looking for. When did he read it? Oh, about 5 years ago. Miss Information narrows the search down to the years between 1995-2005. Still nothing. The man thinks some more and lets her know that the book was probably published in the eighties. Oh, and it had a pink cover.

Miss Information tries to interest the man in other books, she checks the shelf and finds him a lovely book published in this century with a black cover. But no. He needs that pink book.

Miss Information suggests he check the library’s online catalogue which has pictures of book jackets and find his pink book that way. She urges the rest of the world to stop living in the past. 350,000 books published each year--time to move on people.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Miss Information is annoyed by opening day

The end of school, as always, coincided with the start of Manhunt season. Manhunt, for those of you unfamiliar with the sport, is really just an amalgamation of tag and hide and seek. What makes Manhunt so exciting and popular is that the playing field is the library. How very innovative. And annoying.

There’s a new crop of rookies this season with talent to burn but there’s no substitute for experience. Miss Information is a wily veteran who always comes through in the clutch. This could be her year. She overheard a co-worker shouting at some kids to stop running. This is the Manhunt equivalent of dropping the puck or tapping gloves. Some sports play the national anthem but whatever.

Miss Information could have ignored the whole thing if one of the kids hadn’t slammed into her. He called out an apology as he ran at top speed through the stacks. He came to play. Miss Information went after him. It was gut check time. You could feel the electricity.

She cornered those running, yelling brats and explained library protocol. She was in the zone. She gave 110%. In a final dramatic gesture, she turned and stomped away…knocking herself senseless against one of the pillars holding up the building. It ain’t over till it’s over but yeah…it was over. Miss Information lost her focus. She choked. It was a hard fought contest but the other team just wanted it more. You could feel the momentum swing.

Miss Information has to put this loss behind her. She’s gonna to take it one game at a time. She’s got to regroup, make some adjustments, rethink her defensive strategy, step it up and take it to the next level. Unfortunately there's a lot of games left in the season.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Miss Information is having like the most annoying day ever

Unfortunately it's not over yet.

Miss Information has not been sleeping well lately but the day started out ok with lots of kitty cuddling. And then so very quickly the good times were over.

Her first realization that the day was not going to be a happy one was when she realized her car keys were missing. Her mom, Mrs Information had borrowed her car. She returned the car, but not the car keys. Miss Information easily tracked down her mom and the keys, but this involved a longer walk than was recommended in those shoes. Also, it meant she was about an hour late for work.

Miss Information spent the morning putting bandaids on her blisters and trying to get ahead of the piles of work which had grown a ridiculous amount in the lost hour.

At some point Miss Information heard the sound of an unmuted computer. She gave the guy a minute to correct the problem, when that didn't happen she went over to help.

The guy for some reason took it all quite personally. Miss Information tried very hard to be polite, she was sorry for disturbing him but he needed to mute that computer. Maybe the headphones were plugged into the wrong jack. Let's work together to fix the situation!

Unmuted Guy did not wish to be friends. He became quite hostile. Miss Information apologized for upsetting him. Really, she didn't want to upset him. Nevertheless he was upset and became abusive. Miss Information was having a crappy day and this made her cranky. Actually, come to think of it though, and although it was sort of unprofessional, she is NOT sorry she told him to go fuck himself. He started it.

One of the other patrons/bystanders told her she did the right thing. So there.

Then Unmuted Guy went outside and screamed on the front steps for awhile. Seems volume control is an ongoing issue with him. Security was notified. Miss Information was waiting patiently for this to play out when the phone rang.

She answered it. What could go wrong? The person on the phone was polite but argumentative. He didn't care for her answers to any of his thousand questions. They chitchatted briefly about a government website but he wouldn't get specific about what he wanted to know. He needed information about services. What kind of services? All the services for seniors. Ok. Miss Information started to describe the services for seniors. The man took exception to that. It was too restrictive. Some services might be of interest to young people and seniors, like fall prevention.

Sure. Whatever. Miss Information informed Polite But Argumentative that it might be best for him to come in and see the website for himself. Oh that sounded dandy to the guy. When was the library open?

Miss Information knows this answer. She told him. The man replied that he didn't believe her. He accused her of intentionally misleading him by not telling him about public holidays. Ok. Miss Information clarified. The library is open these hours, unless it happens to be a public holiday in which case the library is closed. The beer store is also closed on public holidays. Miss Information is happy it is not a public holiday today. She might be requiring a trip to the beer store soon.

He became obsessed with the hours of the library, insisting that Miss Information tell him all the days the library would be open...for eternity. He probably has a busy schedule. Miss Information patched the caller through to a supervisor after the man decided he needed to know all about the library's contract with its building contractor.

It's really a miracle she doesn't tell more patrons to go fuck themselves.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Miss Information directs your attention to the spectacle of annoyance in the centre ring

The woman on the phone is chewing gum. This is annoying and Miss Information hates her already. Actually she has dealt with this Gum Chewing Lady before. She watches a lot of television and then calls the library to order books which may or may not exist. Sadly, she never ever pays enough attention to be able to pass on helpful details. Hey, Gum Chewing Lady! For the love of all that is good and holy, get yourself a pen and a notebook! Keep them by your TV! This isn't cute anymore!

Last night GCL was watching A+E. A book was mentioned. She wanted the book. It was about Sigmund and Freud. You know…the circus performers?

Hysterically, even after Miss Information clarified that the names were Siegfried and Roy, the customer continued to insist on pronouncing it Sigmund and Freud.

Little known fact about Sigmund Freud-- raised by a family of circus freaks, he was forced to abandon his first choice career as a fire eater when he accidentally ignited his tweed jacket. It was a blazer. He trained on the flying trapeze but he just didn’t have the legs for those formfitting leotards. He briefly attempted sword swallowing but quickly realized it was too Freudian.

Crushed by his failure, he ran away to join academia.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Miss Information is annoyed about being back

Miss Information has returned from vacation with perspective. This is never good. She finds herself wondering anew why staff members don’t just withdraw the mouldy and water damaged books as soon as they see them. One circulation staff member dutifully notes the damage along with her initials and the date. This process probably takes longer than the discard procedure. As if the library mice are gonna come out at night and repair damaged books. Miss Information knows the library mice and they’re all lazy bastards. Fix the books? They don’t even do their own dishes or fill up the water cooler.

Often this notation is followed by a second one, sometimes dated years after the first citing circulation figures with a desperate librarian scrawl—“only copy in region, keep as is!” Miss Information believes with all her heart that it is the responsibility of the library to provide its patrons with books that don’t make them say “ick” and run away cringing to wash their hands but maybe library school will show her the error of her ways.

The stupidest conversation Miss Information had today went like this:
Guy using library catalogue terminal: I can’t get the Internet on this computer.
Miss Information: That computer doesn’t have access to the Internet. You need to use one that has a sign that says “Internet”.
Guy (huffily): Well, why don’t you put signs on every computer that tell you what each computer does?
Miss Information: Great idea! Oh, except that would duplicate the beautiful, clearly worded signs we already have on every computer telling you what they do.

If they put a sign on Miss Information it would say “tries to get stuff done while answering stupid questions”.