Saturday, July 31, 2010

Miss Information is annoyed by a grandmother

Up until Friday, Miss Information was less than thrilled with librarianship. She missed her previous job a lot. As the reference desk clerk she got to meddle in everyone's business, picking up the slack, taking over librarian jobs if they were left unattended and criticizing everyone and everything. She was a complete asshole and it was wonderful.

Now she's a librarian and organizational politics prevent her from meddling, taking over other people's work and criticizing everything. She can still be an asshole but only with regard to her assigned collection areas. Only a limited amount of assholery is possible in the photography and French collections, so Miss Information has been pretty bored and depressed.

Friday afternoon, however, Miss Information got to do something more librariany. She was in charge of the branch and something actually happened! The Children's Department staff became concerned about a little girl who had been left unattended and needed the person in charge to make a decision. The child in question was a 7 year old whom we shall call May. May is a regular to the department and is usually accompanied by her grandmother. Today she had come with her grandmother and a friend and her mother. However, her grandmother was nowhere in sight, the other child had left and May was alone and getting hungry. She wanted to go home. The child had been in the library for about 3.5 hours at that point and no one was answering the phone at her house.

The library is not a day care. The correct procedure in an abandoned child situation is to call the police. Miss Information believed that there had probably been a misunderstanding about who was responsible for taking May home. So she decided not to call the police. It was a crappy decision. It basically made the poor, underpaid library clerks in the Juv Department responsible for the life and safety of this little kid. It isn't their job and Miss Information was wrong, wrong wrong. Good to know she hasn't lost all those asshole skills.

The story had a happy but annoying ending. Eventually Miss Information got the grandmother to answer the phone. Since they didn't share a common language the grandmother hung up on her. Next time she gave the phone to May and the child reported that her grandmother was coming soon. Miss Information was covering the reference desk when Grandma arrived but the staff members who spoke to her reported that she didn't take the situation seriously at all.

People think libraries are safe. These people are wrong. Bad stuff happens here all the time. There's a guy who masturbates while reading his e-mail for instance. May was adorable. Miss Information thought she would make a nice companion for her cat and a fine friend for the Duchess of Information. Grandma doesn't realize how lucky she was.

Fortunately, Miss Information is only at this branch for a couple more weeks. After that she's moving to a job which is less public and more electronic service. At least she won't be face to face with the masturbators anymore.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Miss Information is annoyed by a teenager

The new library is on two floors. Circulation and other useful parts of the library are downstairs. Reference is upstairs. Today, the library is relatively peaceful. A youth approaches the desk. He mumbles something about having to pay fines and get a new card. Miss Information excitedly describes the new library program where the young ‘uns are able to get a coupon to exempt them from $10 worth of fines. The kid is offended. He has money, you know. Well, great but he doesn’t need money. Miss Information gives him a coupon and tells him to take it to the useful people downstairs and get his fines cleared up. At this point the kid starts getting a bit snippy. So, he can’t pay his fines here? Downstairs. He can’t get a new card here either? Nope—downstairs. Well, what’s the point of her being here then? Why does she have a scanner if she can’t do anything helpful? All right, kiddo. Miss Information gave your cranky, critical self the equivalent of $10. She made a big deal over giving her niece a quarter last week and she likes her niece. And as for the scanner, you’ll note that it is designed to be handheld making it much easier for Miss Information to whack you upside the head with it.

Damn kids.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Miss Information is undone by an old nemesis

Timing is a hideous troll with sociopathic tendencies. This is why a job Miss Information has always worshipped from afar suddenly became available after she had been a librarian for only 20 minutes. This is why she spent part of today—day nine in the new job—interviewing for a different new job. Life is strange.

The interview followed the standard format. Sensible questions, incoherent answers followed by Miss Information begging pathetically to get the job, if only to prove that she isn’t always a babbling maniac. She hates interviews.

In this instance, the interviewers very kindly provided paper and pens for Miss Information’s use. Clicky pens. A disaster of epic proportions was certain to follow. About half way through the 2-hour interview she noticed that she had picked up one of the pens and was mindlessly clicking it. Open, closed, open, closed, open, closed. This is what she does with clicky pens. She simply cannot resist the urge to press that little button. The clicking is hypnotic and comforting and she is absolutely incapable of stopping once she starts. Open, closed, open, closed, etc. It is possible that the interviewers might not have noticed except that Miss Information pointed it out to them. She then threw both pens on the floor and took out her own non-clicky pen so she wouldn’t be tempted to pick them up. So, babbly, incoherent, twitchy and unforgivably weird. Fortunately in the library world these characteristics are darn near universal. Maybe they didn't notice.

Miss Information concedes. The clicky pens won this round but she'll be back--most likely clicking. Open, closed, open...Damn pens.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Miss Information is not feeling challenged

Miss Information started her new job (as a librarian!) last week and is in the “let’s not scare the new girl” phase of orientation. Instead of actual assignments, the recent recruit spends time “getting to know the collection”. For some reason all libraries seem to do this. Miss Information once asked a former supervisor why. She replied that it was mean to overwhelm the new people with actual work. They’ll learn the truth soon enough, but by then their spirits will be crushed and they’ll be ours forever. Then she laughed an evil laugh and rubbed her hands together as her flying monkeys danced happily on the reference desk.

However. Miss Information is not scared by work. She likes work. When she’s bored she gets depressed and when she’s depressed she starts to notice how flammable everything is. It’s in everyone’s best interest to keep her busy. One of the things they have asked Miss Information to do is wandering reference. This is a big trend in libraries. Library staff accosts innocent patrons in the stacks in order to help them. Miss Information doesn’t have the hang of it yet. Most of the people she’s approached have turned down her offer of assistance. One older woman apologized guiltily for wandering away from the large print section. There were a couple of people who actually needed help—one woman needed the ESL section and another asked where the French books were. Miss Information was useless here though because she hasn’t gotten to know the collection that well yet.

Miss Information hopes they find something to keep her busy soon because the field next to the library would look really pretty on fire.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Miss Information has been wanting to say this ages

Miss Information has left the nice neighbourhood library. She enjoyed her colleagues at this branch but has never met a group of people less interested in going home at the end of the day. It was very frustrating for Miss Information on those nights when she was on “last out of the building” duties. Every other branch Miss Information has worked in, closing time is a signal for library staff to run out of the building as if it is on fire. Not these people. They would reorganize their desk drawers, have endless conversations with each other, plan tomorrow's work, attempt to duplicate the cold fusion experiment and put on their coats impossibly slowly. Except for the coat thing, they had at least 7 hours to take care of the rest of those things. Miss Information has other stuff to do you know. She wants to go home at night.

Monday, July 05, 2010

The earth moves for Miss Information

Tomorrow Miss Information starts her first official librarian job. This is the story of how she found out.

Shortly after arriving at work recently, Miss Information got the phone call offering her a new job. Her immediate reaction was to begin worrying about this lifestyle change. Typically for Miss Information, she was sitting with one leg curled under her because sitting like a grown up just doesn't help anyone. Suddenly, the leg that was not curled up on the chair started twitching, shaking, spasming. Her leg doesn't normally do any of these things. Great. Miss Information is finally going to be a librarian so obviously this is the time a previously unknown neurological condition would crop up just to ruin everything. How annoying. Fortunately Miss Information noticed that one of the patrons at a nearby computer was looking around in panic.

"The library is shaking," she said. Why is the library shaking?" she asked. Oh, good. The library is shaking. Not Miss Information. What a relief. Except that the library doesn't usually shake, everything is back to normal. Miss Information suspected an earthquake, but for some reason made up a ridiculous story about construction in another part of the building. Right. Imminent building collapse is much more reassuring than earthquake. However, both the woman and Miss Information were satisfied with this explanation and went back to their work. Of course, Miss Information's work now consisted of Googling words like "building shaking" and "Happytown library".

The library where Miss Information works is fortunate to house some of the library system's administrative offices. One of Miss Information's colleagues was returning to the library after lunch and discovered the entire human resource department staff huddled together outside the building. It turned out that they had decided to evacuate the building because of the earthquake and were standing outside until it was safe to return. The people working at the circulation desk were really bitter that they hadn't at least popped in to say goodbye, but Miss Information wholeheartedly endorses the "every man for himself" policy of human resource department.