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.


At 6:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

HA! My first library job was like that. They had all been there for years and didn't do much. I was young and ready to work - with nothing to do. They kept telling me to familiarize myself with the ref collection. I spent days reading a visual dictionary. Then they decided I should shift all of the fiction so that different books were on the bottom shelves.

At 7:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, that feeling actually might not go away... A year and a half in as a librarian and I'm leaving the profession because I'm just too bored and too unwilling to commit arson to be able to stay.

At 9:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Patrons have expectations gaps (between how they think things are supposed to work and how they do) and so do staff. I don't know why staff becoming familiar with the collection is a bad thing. If you are not familiar, than who is and what are you there for?

At 1:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's better than no me. I got an hour of useless paperwork and then told to go be on a desk in a building I was completely unfamiliar with...

There's happy mediums.

At 11:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Float your collection- you'll have plenty to do.

Roaming- I'm half and half on this. Sometimes you help a patron, most of the time you keep the thieves from their thievery. Education well used?

At 11:31 AM, Blogger Priscilla said...

I'm almost done with study to become a school librarian. I think my first job will be diving into work. Usually as a school are basically it...except for maybe an aide if the budget allows.

At 12:32 PM, Anonymous Reading Between the Shelf said...

Hi Miss and Missing Librarian
I envy your creative visualization.

But, sounds like your creative mind needs some more shelf reading (and reading between the shelf) at least for inspiration.

You say in the first para: "Instead of actual assignments, the recent recruit spends time “getting to know the collection”..."

And, in the end of the post you say: "Miss Information was useless here though because she hasn’t gotten to know the collection that well yet."

Which is back to square ONE. Understanding the collection is like knowing your own stuff. If you don't know what is in stock, how would you be able to show and tell and guide the users?

Thanks for sharing the insights.
Keep up the good spirts.

With malice towards none.
Dr. Mohamed Taher


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