Thursday, October 30, 2008

Miss Information learns that leakiness is not limited to children

Well, it turns out that the frightening normalness of the new branch may have just been a feeble attempt to impress Miss Information. Now that it knows her, it's letting all the crazies out of the woodwork.

Yesterday, an adult man appeared, coughed a little and then horked into the garbage can near the circ desk--conveniently situated next to Miss Information. After years of this sort of behaviour at the old branch, her only response was to glare at the man. "Sorry," he muttered.

Miss Information's new co-workers don't put up with this sort of thing quietly. One of them told the man his behaviour was "gross". Amazingly the man returned a few minutes later for a repeat performance. Miss Information was now farther away from the garbage can, however.

This time two co-workers approached the man. He was told to stop spitting in the garbage can. A debate followed over where he should spit. A staff member suggested the washroom. The man suggested the floor. Another staff member threatened to make him clean up any spit on the floor that had once been in his mouth. The man subsequently repeatedly put on his coat, walked past the circ desk sighing loudly and spit on the ground outside the front door. So, the library staff kind of, sort of won the battle--except for having to avoid the now-frozen spit puddle when they left for the night.

No one got stabbed or punched out or anything and that's how you can tell this is a civilized library.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Miss Information is annoyed by a patron at the new branch

Yes! Finally! It only took two weeks. Two weeks of mind-numbing civility. Two weeks of well-behaved children. Two weeks of Miss Information liking people, enjoying their company and remembering that this environment is kind of the one most people think of when they think "library".

But, whew. That's over. Miss Information is still working in the world's most mellow library--it's like the James Taylor of libraries--but she had her first baffling customer encounter.

Here's what went down:
Woman came to the desk. Needs a new library card. She used to have a card, but well, you know. Miss Information suggests making the woman a replacement card. It'll cost a couple of bucks. Is that how the woman wanted to proceed? The woman agrees. They get along great during the making of the new card and during the handing over of the $2 replacement fee. Where it all starts to go wrong is when Miss Information hands her the receipt for payment. The woman scans it over, says hey, wait a minute. Miss Information asks what the problem is. The now incensed woman points to the receipt. It says "lost card fee" or something. The woman protests. She most definitely did not "lose" her card. Miss Information is puzzled. But she wanted a new card? The woman says yes. And she agreed to pay $2 for the new card? The woman says yes. So what's the problem? The problem is the wording on the receipt. It basically accuses her of being irresponsible. She most certainly did not "lose" her card. It's at home...somewhere...but it is definitely not lost and now the receipt has impugned her good name and besmirched her reputation.

Oh. Ok. Miss Information mentions that "lost card fee" is just library speak for "replacement charge". She also reassures the woman that the library will always think very highly of her and wishes her a good day.

Sigh. At last Miss Information gets to use the skills she spent all those years learning in the punchy, yelly, Manhunty library.

(For the record, Miss Information is not typing this during library time or on library equipment. She has the cutest little netbook and they are currently on a wireless and coffee date.)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Miss Information is annoyed by school

People have questioned why Miss Information has kept quiet about school. Surely, they say, she must be annoyed. Well, yeah. But Miss Information's mother always told her to be nice to the people who grade your papers.

However Miss Information got her first paper back. She got a "bravissimo" and even though she made a couple of mistakes, her professor graded on the totality of effort or something and she ended up with more than 100%. Graduate school is weird.

So, now she's feeling smug and wants to share a little story about her first day of school. She arrived at school early to register. The registrar's e-mail said that she had to: 1) register and 2) pay her student council fees and 3) get a locker. Sounds easy, doesn't it?

She got in a line. When it was her turn she said she needed to register. The clerk checked things out and gave her a couple of forms. She took them to a desk to fill them out. She got back into the line to hand them in. At this point she was required to pay her student council fees. Because they're kind of low tech, they asked if she had exact change and gave her an envelope to put it in. "Just write your name on the outside." They said. Um. Ok. She did that, then she got back in the line to hand over the money. When she got to the top of the line the third time, the clerk arranged a locker for her.

So to sum it up, in order to do three (3) itsy-bitsy tasks, Miss Information had to line up three (3) separate times and deal with the same clerk (who was very nice) three (3) separate times.

Well, she told herself, at least that's over for another year. She then went to her first class--all about effective management. She tried not to laugh out loud when they got to the part about how careful planning can improve efficiency.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Miss Information is annoyed by the lack of annoyances

Ok, so poor fictional Miss Information left her fictional library branch because well, they were tearing it down, or something. And don’t think she’s not taking that personally. She has been reassigned to a branch whose hours conflict with, oh lets just say everything. Also, the assignment seems to focus primarily on children’s services, in which she oh lets just say no background, aptitude or inclination. Hm…children? Are they the short ones who leak fluids constantly? Miss Information thinks she may have seen them around. But seriously, one of her friends laughs hysterically when she recalls leaving her baby with Miss Information. Miss Information read him a chapter from John Grisham's The Firm and sang him 99 Bottles of Beer. The kid was fine. Really.

Anyway, it’s her job and she’s making the best of it. The whole children involvement thing isn’t going to kick in right away, giving her time to get to know the branch (20 minutes), relearn circulation (45 minutes) and put her mug away (1 minute). The rest of the day she checked books in and out--only because she hasn’t gotten to know her new coworkers yet and doesn’t feel any guilt over shoving them out of the way to get to the customers first. She did withdraw a 20 year old book on investing in real estate. It was out of date. This would also be true about books on real estate investment written last Tuesday but she didn’t see any of those. The branch also has a book on Windows 95 that Miss Information suspects is not there ironically.

What on earth is she supposed to do in this sleepy little branch? Today she overheard two of her new coworkers saying they can’t figure out why she‘s there either. So they already agree on something! Soon they’ll be great friends, doing each other’s nails, giving each other perms…it would help to kill the time.

Miss Information loves the library, why would you ever think otherwise?

For the record, Miss Information would like to declare that everything contained in this blog is entirely her own totally misguided opinion and does not in any way represent the views of her unnamed employer. Gosh darn it, she loves the library system and would never intentionally besmirch its character with her obviously insane observations, which are probably completely fictional. Yeah, that’s it. Fiction. Good idea. Miss Information probably doesn’t work in a library at all. She’s just making this crap up. Obviously her stories are completely unrealistic. Security guards being beaten up? Yeah, right. Libraries aren't like that.

Of course if she did work for some sort of library, she would never ever do anything to break any of its awesome rules about Internet usage and personal blogging. Because, she loves everything about the library, especially that part in its vision statement that talks about the importance of intellectual freedom.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Miss Information plans and the library laughs

Miss Information was all prepared to leave her library where patrons throw rocks and punches and relocate to the “library in the bad part of town” where the kids presumably throw knives or grenades or something. Alas when she got to work today there was a message from her manager. The “bad part of town” job is no longer available—the details are unimportant. Miss Information is crushed.

Miss Information is sorry to report that she isn’t one of those carefree, spontaneous, free spirits who take life as it comes, living moment to moment. Well, she lives from moment to moment but every single one of those moments has been carefully mapped out well in advance.

Here’s how bad it is: when she is going to try a new restaurant, she studies the menu online and plans exactly what she is going to order. When she arrives, she averts her eyes to avoid seeing any kind of daily specials. She very politely allows the server to recite the list and although she nods and murmurs mmmmmm at appropriate intervals, she pays no attention to it.

So, it took the better part of two weeks to get used to the idea of this new branch. Then she made plans based on her new schedule, said good bye to her yoga class and aerobics teacher, changed her holds to that bad part of town branch, and actually started getting defensive when people called it a bad part of town branch.

And now, well, the library is looking for a new location for her to work. The search has probably slowed down somewhat while the manager talks to the police officers who are here to arbitrate the latest library brawl.
Miss Information is trying to be philosophical. Just like the Littlest Hobo or Caine in Kung Fu she will wander the earth flitting from library to library, working anywhere her services are needed. Wherever there’s a kid with an essay that’s due tomorrow, she’ll be there. Wherever a senior needs help logging on to the Internet, she’ll be there. Wherever a teenage girl needs a copy of Twilight, she’ll be there. Wherever student nurses ask stupid questions, oh, hell someone else can deal with that. Wherever a group of people attacks a library security guard, she'll, ummm, well, call the police. Seriously, she's not taking on a group of thugs. The rest of it though, she'll be there.