Saturday, May 21, 2011

Miss Information holds out hope for less annoying patrons

Miss Information is sick of people who can't figure out the holds system. It's not alchemy.
1. Place a hold.
2. wait.
3. When the library contacts you that the item is available come in and pick it up.
See how easy?

There are a few subtleties that patrons find difficult. First is the waiting part. Some clients place a hold and then hot-foot it to the library expecting the book to be there waiting for them. Nope. It usually takes a couple of days--sometimes much longer. Be patient. We'll contact you.

Of course picking up the item is a whole new problem. The library files holds by the last four numbers on the card. Some people have difficulty figuring what the four numbers are. Miss Information is no mathematician but even she can go to the end of a long number and count back four spaces. It's amazing how many people start with the 5th number or the 3rd number. Sometimes they use their phone number. Sometimes they use random numbers in their heads.

Then there's the actual finding of the number on the shelf. They go numerically. It's not that hard. Miss Information has lost track of how many people can't find their hold because "it's usually on a different shelf". Um, yeah but counting was perfected a billion years ago. You just have to locate your number in sequence. It isn't hard, people.

Yet it happens constantly. Miss Information puts on a happy grimace and accompanies the patron to the shelf to demonstrate her awesome numerical order skills. Most people are suitably impressed.

Recently a young and cranky woman came to the desk to complain that her hold was missing. Miss Information, as always, offered to help look, you know because the holds might be mixed up or some reassuring hoo-hah.

The patron became downright hostile. She had just told Miss Information that her book wasn't on the shelf. She checked all over and it wasn't there. Did Miss Information think she was stupid?

Miss Information reset the hold and assured Little Miss Cranky that she would get another call from the library soon. She then waved a cheery goodbye to Bad Attitude Betty and quick as a flash went over to the holds shelf where Grumpy Gertrude's book was right there, filed in the correct order and everything.

Know what, girlie? Miss Information didn't think you were stupid...before. However it is kind of dumb to not let Miss Information and her superior book tracking skills help you look for your book while you're still in the library. Still, Miss Information isn't losing any sleep about Testy Tilly having to make a second trip to the library. Serves her right for being so dickish.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Miss Information's march towards decrepitude gains momentum

Miss Information is old and falling apart. She had been putting off an overdue trip to the eye doctor because she sort of knew it was time for bifocals. At first the doctor disagreed but then he took a second look and yes, it is bifocal time! So, Miss Information is officially an old lady.

Yet, she is still very hip to technology. She has one a them fancy eReaders, so she's cutting edge, right? No one needs to know she mostly uses it for Agatha Christie novels and other old lady books or that she likes it because hardcovers are too heavy for her little old lady arms.

Sigh. In retrospect, the signs were there. She double-spaces after a period, even on Twitter. Only old people do that.

If she must be an old lady she's decided to be a cranky old lady. She figures that bifocals give her the license she needs to start telling the young'uns that their pants are too tight, their skirts are too short and their music is too autotuned. Also, she's decided to start yelling at children to get off her lawn. She likes this idea so much, she might actually yell at them when they aren't even on her lawn, because, you know, bad eyes.

She may be old, but she's not going down without a fight.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Miss Information is virtually annoyed

One of Miss Information's duties is to staff the online reference service. Usually this is kind of fun. The questions aren't hard--people want to renew their items but can't find the renewal button. This is a bit strange because the renewal button is way easier to locate than the online reference link, which is cleverly hidden. In any case, that's about as hard as it gets.

This week however, she was confronted by an actual reference question. The kid(?) signed in as JT and wanted to know what the "inescapable past" is in the movie The Blind Side. Miss Information showed him the databases, made some suggestions and wished the kid well. Not so fast. The kid wasn't happy. He(?) didn't want to do research. He just needed to know what the "inescapable past" is in The Blind Side, so pony up the answer, librarian.

Sadly, The Blind Side sounds like a feel-good movie completely devoid of explosions and car chases. Therefore Miss Information has not seen it. Nevertheless she could probably read a few reviews and figure out the answer but who's doing the assignment anyway? She pushed a few more pages at the kid and urged him to check out some of the fabulous databases the library provides. He didn't want to. Ok. Miss Information suggested he go to his local branch and check out some print sources. Nope. Can't do that because there are no libraries in his neighbourhood. Unlikely but ok. How about calling the main reference library and talking to a librarian? Nope. Doesn't have a phone. All righty. How about the school library? They might have some sources he could use. Not gonna do that. The kid just wanted the answer.

To Miss Information it seemed like one of those things teachers assign to students to make them think about stuff. She suggested the kid watch the movie. He had. He still didn't know the answer. Miss Information suggested that maybe he should watch it again.

The online reference service is intended to be a quick referral service. Miss Information was online with this kid for over 30 minutes or about a third of the time it takes to watch a movie.