Thursday, August 25, 2011

The earth moves for Miss Information

"I need your help," the woman said. "I need you to find me a book."
Well, she probably said that. Miss Information wasn't really paying attention because there was a bloody earthquake taking place at the exact time the woman started to speak.

The woman, who was about 6 inches away, noticed nothing and carried on with her reader's advisory question as if there were no natural disaster taking place.

After the ground stopped shaking, Miss Information got back to the business of librarianing. Miss Information's heart was pounding. Could have been the earthquake, could have been the question. Miss Information hates reader's advisory. For one thing, she can't figure out where the apostrophe goes in the word "readers". Also, she does not like to tell people what to do. Or read. This is ironic because quite a lot of her current job is doing exactly that.

The woman wanted a mystery. Cool, not only does Miss Information read mysteries, she had recently done a presentation on that very subject. In any case, reader's/readers' advisory is not brain surgery and there is a series of questions to help narrow down the choices. Miss Information asked the first question which is something like: tell me what your favorite mystery book is. And here's where things broke down. The woman had no answer. She didn't know. She could not name a single book she had ever read. In her life. She mostly read bestsellers. She wanted whatever was popular.

Miss Information soldiered on. Well, did the woman like stories about detectives? Women in peril? Did she like violent books? Was she more of a cosy mystery reader? The woman didn't know the answer to any of these questions. She wanted something popular. What was everyone reading?

Well, basically it depends on whether "everyone" likes stories about detectives, women in peril, violent books, or cosy mysteries. Or spies, or cats who solve crimes, or serial killers, or forensic mysteries, or historical mysteries....

Miss Information moved on to the next question--the one for people who aren't being helpful when asked question number one. What movies/tv shows do you like? The woman wouldn't say. She got a little nervous at this point. Was she afraid Miss Information was trying to pick her up? Never fear, Miss Information was just trying to narrow down the huge number of possibilities.

In the end, the woman wouldn't budge (unlike the earth) so Miss Information gave her one book about detectives, one about women in peril, one that was violent and one that was not. She also threw in a forensic mystery for good measure and told the woman to sort it out for herself.

Then she went back to her now non-moving chair and began googling earthquakes.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Miss Information is feeling insecure

You may remember a few weeks ago Miss Information finally learned the combination to the staff doors in her library. It was a moment of triumph. Almost immediately afterwards, the library decided to change to a key card system. They didn't come right out and say it but Miss Information suspects they realized that if riff-raff like her had the combination, the library was doomed.

So, cards were handed out. New equipment was installed at the doors. The first thing everyone noticed was that the key cards worked at the special staff entrance. Everyone was quite pleased about this. The special staff entrance had previously been inaccessible to all but the important people. Regular staff had to walk about 25 metres to the regular staff entrance.

While that was a nice bonus, there were some problems too. The staff room and its fork were now completely inaccessible because this door wouldn't work at all. The door to the area Miss Information works in was not calibrated correctly so you had to swipe, pause, and open the door. Or, using Miss Information's method, swipe, and keep yanking on that door handle until it finally gave way.

Although Miss Information managed to carry around her key card tor most of an entire week and used it to open doors, she later learned that most doors were not locked at all and she could have just walked in.

Then the security guys came back to make some adjustments. The staff room was still off limits, but now so was Miss Information's workspace. The only way to get to her desk was to take the staff elevator all the way down one measly level. Once there, Miss Information was basically trapped. The washroom was just on the other side of the floor but visiting it required one to leave the secure area, do one's business and then go up a flight of stairs, and then take the staff elevator down again. With the staff room inaccessible, Miss Information's opportunities to consume liquid were curtailed so it wasn't that much of a problem. Annoying as hell though.

As of right now everything is back to normal more or less. The library doors are all locked and importantly, can be opened by staff. Although apparently the regular staff were never supposed to have access to the special entrance and the security guys are going to come back and fix that later.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Miss Information is annoyed by a suggestion

"Hmph," says the woman. "You should get a cup of coffee."

Now obviously this is a suggestion Miss Information wishes would be made more often. She should get many cups of coffee. However this woman was not suggesting a date or something friendly like that. She meant to imply that Miss Information in her decaffeinated state is basically useless. You probably figured that out from the "hmph".

What led to this charming exchange you may ask? The woman had come into the library to pick up a hold. In Miss Information's library system you have a certain number of days to pick up holds after they arrive. The woman had called previously to get an extension but "someone must have screwed up because my hold isn't there".

Miss Information looked up the woman's record. "Oh, see the problem is that the hold is actually not at this branch. It's at the Pippa Middleton branch across town." The woman acknowledges that she sometimes uses Pippa also.

Even though Miss Information doesn't like the woman's attitude she decides to put her feelings aside. She asks the woman whether she will be able to get to Pippa today or if she'll need a further extension. See, because Miss Information was going to arrange another extension for the woman, even though she's a bit snippy and blamed the library staff for her own mistake.

"Well," the woman snarls. "I'm supposed to have until Saturday to pick it up. They told me Saturday!"

Miss Information tries to channel Hugh Grant's charming bumbler character. "Oh, look at that," she says. "It does say Saturday." She explains the problem is that she has no idea what day it is. Hah, hah. Isn't she just so adorable?

It was at this point the woman made the coffee suggestion. See lady, Miss Information was a tiny bit confused about the date but at least she came to the right library today. Who needs coffee?

For the record, the hold the woman was trying to pick up was the DVD of Don't Mess with the Zohan. Miss Information knows that it's unprofessional to make fun of a patron's selections, but really? If she watched better movies she might be less cranky.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Miss Information is annoyed by obsession

The woman at the desk seemed a little off. Nothing Miss Information could put her finger on. Well, there was the gigantic fake gold chain but bad taste doesn't always mean crazy. Unless it does.

The woman interrupted Miss Information who was with another patron but agreed to wait her turn. When her turn came along, Ms Flava Flav she needed the Jimmy Fallon movie Taxi. It's a sad thing but it is a movie the library does not own How could they have missed ordering this classic? Chain gang woman is sad. But Jimmy Fallon....of course you have it.

Just in case, Miss Information did a search on Jimmy Fallon movies. The library does indeed own two--Fever Pitch and something else. "Not Taxi?" the woman asks. Nope. Not Taxi. Did she want one of those other movies? No, the woman wanted Taxi. "Jimmy Fallon, the talk show host, you know?" Miss Information does know. "He's so funny!" the woman declared. Well, if you say so. Miss Information doesn't think he's particularly amusing but doesn't think it matters since he seems to find himself endlessly hilarious.

The woman is truly a rabid fan. Miss Information knows this because the woman returns no less than three times to have the exact conversation. At least wait for a shift change and ask somebody different, lady!