Thursday, November 29, 2012

Miss Information is annoyed by the physically inactive

...which she has mentioned before. The library is big with lots of stuff spread out over several floors. It's complicated but when Miss Information suggests that the reference material you are looking for is on one of the other floors, she expects you to go there and get it.

Earlier in the day, one of Miss Information's co-workers complained about a patron who wanted the flyer about the library's wifi. Miss Information suggested there were lots in the main part of the library and the patron could get one there. "She didn't want to go all that way, " the staff member reported. Unfortunately, if she wanted the flyer she had no choice. The department is Syberia with a cash register and cannot be left unattended. It's unfortunate but the woman would have to go "all that way" (a matter of a few metres, actually) to get the information she wanted.

Later in the afternoon, Miss Information was stationed at the main desk, trying to get some work under control before her vacation started at 5 pm. A regular came in. She wanted bylaws. The awesome thing about the big library is that it has a fabulous, nicely organized bylaws section--on the fourth floor. The library has an elevator and has (over Miss Information's protests) removed the automated poison dart thrower that fires when someone pushes the call button. They've also filled in the pit of stakes that used to be inside the elevator itself. There is really no reason why one cannot go to the fourth floor. The regular doesn't want to because Miss Information can just look that up for her. Well, sort of. There are levels of government Miss Information understands and those she does not. Municipal isn't one of the ones she can help with. Bylaws are important and Miss Information is sitting in a building with experts. If she needed bylaw information she would go to the fourth floor and ask one of the people who know stuff for help.

The patron wouldn't budge. She insisted that Miss Information "look on Amazon or something" for the noise bylaw. Because Miss Information is not totally useless, she looked on the city website instead and found 211 references to noise in the bylaws section. "Well, print them all." Um, no. "Well can you print the descriptions?" Still no. The index is 10 pages long. The woman randomly points to something. "Print this one!" Miss Information does. She looks at what she's printed and doesn't understand a word. She again suggests that the woman take a trip to the fourth floor where they can translate it into English but the woman refuses. She's not very pleasant and Miss Information is beginning to wonder if the regular may have a history with the fourth floor staff which is why she's so reluctant to get some legitimate help.

Fortunately, after taking the city web address, the woman leaves and Miss Information starts her vacation after dealing with only a couple more cranky patrons.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

If you don't want help, don't bother Miss Information.

A woman needs help with eBooks because everyone needs help with eBooks. Miss Information has had an eReader for two years. She had it set up and downloading books in about 30 minutes--about 15 minutes longer than necessary because her library card had too many overdues and she had to renew some things. Clearly she is a technology star.  A couple of weeks ago a patron came in with a Blackberry Playbook that was giving him grief. Miss Information got him up and running in about 20 minutes despite never having laid eyes on that device before. So, uh-huh. Miss Information can probably help you with your little issue.

The woman's little issue was that Overdrive app wasn't remembering her library card number even though she clicked the "remember my library card number" box. Miss Information has never seen this problem before. When she uses the app she types her card in every time because it's not actually that big a deal, but this woman is far too busy and important to do that. And this is fine. Of course it is. The app says it will remember your number, it should do it. Miss Information suspects that there may be something tricky the patron hasn't done. She does an internet search for "overdrive won't remember library card" and finds the answer in a nice .pdf with pictures and prints it for the patron.

It seems that the customer needs to adjust a setting in Safari. The woman becomes argumentative. She does not need to change her settings. Oh, has she already tried that, then? No but she knows that isn't going to work. Oh. Does she have her iPad here? They could look at the setting together and see if changing it works. Nope, the woman did not bring it. It's really important that the system saves her card number and changing the settings is simply not worth the effort because it's not going to work. In fact she's pretty sure it's because her library card expired recently. Obviously it's the library's fault and Miss Information is just messing with her head. Adjust the settings! Pfff.

Miss Information senses a standoff so she suggests the patron go home and try that stupid old settings thing. After that she can call the library and complain about it. The woman leaves muttering to herself.

Miss Information is baffled by the number of people who just seem to come in for an argument.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Miss Information tries, but fails to communicate

Miss Information is at the other desk. The one she doesn't visit very often. It's kind of fun because the regulars see someone new and try to get away with murder. Unfortunately Miss Information understands the meaning of simple English signs that say things like "one booking per day" "book only 7 days ahead" so the regulars efforts are wasted on her.

Besides room booking, the desk involves signing people up for computer courses so Miss Information gets to have conversations like this:

Man on Phone: I'm unemployed and I need to learn about computers. 
Miss Information: Well, you know the courses the library offers are very basic. They wouldn't really give you enough information for you to get a job or anything. Also we're full until 2013.
MoP: I want to sign up. 
Miss I: Well, ok. We offer a number of courses--Internet, word processing, Exc..
MoP: Word...whatever. 
Miss I: Right now our Word courses are booked until March. That's a long time to wait. Are you sure you want to sign up?
MoP: I want to sign up.
Miss I: Ok. I'm signing you up for March 5 Word Basics. It starts at 2 pm.
MoP: Do you have Spanish books?
Miss I: Yes, I can transfer you to that department. Just to confirm, you're signed up for a Word course on March 5.
MoP: March 5!?!? Why didn't you say that?!? I can't wait that long! I'm unemployed!

Sometimes it's a mystery why people are unemployed. Other times...