Wednesday, March 30, 2005


I need a book about stress prevention, but I don't have any time. I was just at the dentist forever and now I have to pick up my daughter at school and .... (continues talking fast).

I think a book about stress prevention is the last thing you need!

turn it down

Excuse me sir, would you please turn down the music in your headphones? We can hear it across the room.

He responded-- quit bugging me!


Today as I was walking from my car to the liberry a man asked me if I like incense. He was carrying a huge Easter type basket.

I'm so lucky I ran into you today, what are you selling? Looks like you have a lot of bargains there.

Server down

A patron was trying to submit an online order for a credit report. She got the "this page cannot be displayed," so I explained that their server must be down. She said, oh yeah, it's after 5. Can you find their business hours so I can come back and try again when they are open?


Patron: I need books on gas.
Me: OK, could you be more specific?
Patron: Yeah, like when you get gas, you know? I want to read about it.

So I showed her some books on indigestion, and she pointed to the words irritable bowel syndrome and said what's that? I said we'll just have to look it up in the index!

Who are you?

A colleague and I presented a Woman of Mystery video about Sue Grafton, Marcia Muller, and Sara Paretsky. One of the patrons walked into the room and asked us if we were the authors!


A patron asked for the address of a huge university. I wondered if there was a specific department he wanted to find, but he said no, just any address. I figured out he wanted to obtain copies of his transcripts, so I asked him if he wanted the registrar. He said, no, just give me any old address of the school.

Zip Code

A man came to the reference desk to ask for help with a form. He couldn't understand what a nine digit zip code would mean, so he just said that scrambles my mind!

Too much beeping!

Today a woman came to return her books and was "beeped" when she walked through the security gate. She returned them and found some more to check out. So, after she checked them out she walked through EACH security gate to make sure she wouldn't get beeped. She said too much beeping!

That's one way to solve it!


Academic Liberry--

Clueless Student: Can you tell me where the library is?
Me: You're in it.
CS: Really?

Lesson in classification

Academic liberry adventures-

Clueless Student: I'm looking for the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and I've been through all the C's and couldn't find it.
Me: Books aren't shelved alphabetically; they're arranged under the Library of Congress Classification System. So chemistry is in the QD section and you're going to look for a book with "QD 65 H3 2003" on the spine.
CS: Gee, that's lame!

Not a service we provide

Not a service we provide, even in an academic liberry:

Clueless Student (on telephone): I'm supposed to meet someone named Amanda there and my car broke down. Can you tell her I'll be late?
Me: What does she look like?
CS: I don't know. I've never met her before. Can you just walk around and ask if anyone's named Amanda?
Me: Sorry, I can't do that.

What mouse?

The classics continue from the college liberrian:

Clueless Student: I followed all the directions on the print server and my paper won't print!
Me: Did you click the "Print" button at the bottom of the screen?
CS: Of course I did – see? (presses it with her finger) And nothing is printing!
Me: Let's try using the mouse to click the button…

Cluelessness Continued

More from the college liberry:

Clueless Student: Interoffice Mail is what you call it when you get things from other libraries, right?
Me: Uh, that would be Interlibrary Loan.
CS: Oh yeah, right!

Clueless College Student

From my colleague-

Clueless Student: Can I print from a CD on these computers?
Me: Yes.

5 minutes later:

CS: It isn't working.
Me: OK, let me come take a look. Which computer are you on?
CS: The one by the printer.
Me: Well, that could be your problem. See this sign that says "Print
Server Only?"
CS: Yeah.
Me: That means you can't use this computer.
CS: How was I supposed to know that?!

College Liberries

From my colleague-

Lest you think public libraries are the only funny places around, here are some true-life incidents from tonight's shift:

Clueless Student #1: What are the "stacks?"
Me: Those are the bookshelves.
CS #1: Oh. Why don't they just call them "shelves?"

Being clueless = contagious

OK, so this story is about me. Yesterday was a very LONG day, and during the last 10 minutes of my shift another liberrian called me to ask about The Picture of Dorian Gray. So what did I do? I went to I learn something new every day!

Monday, March 28, 2005

Sisterhood, Part II

Nice Lady: So do you need my library card for that?
Me: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . oh, sorry, yes. I was just mesmerized by how great your purse is.
NL: Oh, I know what you mean! It's red!
Me: I was thinking, "What if I had a purse like that?"
NL: And you're running through a field of flowers. . .
Me: Exactly.

You will if you keep calling me "honey"

"Can you help me, honey? Men always need help."

Saturday, March 26, 2005

one fry short of a happy meal

"So, like, Oxford is the guy's name who wrote the book?"

makes perfect sense to me

"I can't get my laptop out of the air. I did a lot of electrical work in Vietnam."

Interesting way of saying it

"Her books are enjoyable: they make me laugh, and six months later they are like Chinese food."

an awesome Yahoo! email class

There were 3 students today in my email class- it was an absolutely hilarious hour! There was a woman with a walker (she talked about her wheels), and a couple who had been married over 60 years. The husband could hardly hear. All of them had an awesome sense of humor.

The first task is always one of the hardest- getting to One student typed in, and another wrote y-a-h-zero-zero. Then, it was a huge effort for everyone to think of a username. One woman said, “is it for keeps?” It took about 40 minutes to make it through the sign up. There was the “look what I got” response to what happened when the password was entered (i.e. *******), “I missed,” “one more,” “so just click it?,” and plenty of “I can’t remember’s.” But that part of the class was typical.

The husband was really cute when he saw an ad for Mastercard- great for bad credit customers. He said, “Oh, there I go.”

When we got to sending practice emails the husband didn’t know what to write to his wife. She yelled at him, “Just type FIX MY LUNCH. And don’t forget to say please.” He actually typed, “Tell Carol to get on her horse and come to the derby.” Almost the same as “fix my lunch,” but he had his own ideas after all.

The other woman wrote a message that went like this: "If you push shift and hold it down and hit the number 2, you get @." Practice makes perfect!

At the end of the class the wife said that her husband can hear everything she says, even in her sleep. He said, “You know what that’s called? A nightmare!” So cute.

In stock

I'd like to see if you have a book in stock, and if so, can I order it for takeout.


How are you sir?
Wonderful! Of course I lie because I'm a guy, that's my other job.

No more Oscars

A patron in her 20's: Everyone's so nice at the library. What
happened to all those mean old mental grouchy women?

Science Fair

Student- I want books about the effects plants have on humans.

Liberrian- Okay, what type of information? (Plants make humans happy!)

S- Like you know when a human eats a plant? I want stuff like that.

L- What type of plant?

S- Like a vegetable.

L- So you want some information on nutrition?

S- No, I want to know how I can grow these plants at my house.

Piece of advice

A man who hardly spoke English shared some advice-

Never be afraid to ask a question, even if it seems stupid. Because if you ask the question, you only feel stupid for a few minutes. If you never ask, you will feel stupid for a lifetime!

Science Fair

A woman came to look for information about her son's science fair project. She said she needed something about fish. I ask her what type of project is he planning to do, i.e. what does he need to know about fish? She said he is going to get a goldfish and ring a bell to make the fish come up to the top and eat.

Oh, then you'll need to contact Shamu's trainer.

Just one psycho Sunday...

A woman comes to the desk: "My sister was robbed at gunpoint with a gun. Her brain is mush, and I don't want you to send us to some crisis center. " She explains the same event over and over, using the word "mush" repeatedly to explain that she is an advocate for her sister... finally she says, "I'll be in the children's section with the books about unicorns."

Thankfully she didn't return! Yeah, a crisis house sounds like the last place she should be.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Never assume

A nice, older lady with a cane comes up to the reference desk...

NOL: Can you look these books up for me, dear?

Me: Sure, what are they?

NOL: Ipt's Crane and Rigging Training Manual: Mobile-Eot-Tower Cranes by Ronald G. Garby
Bob's rigging & crane handbook: The hoisting triangle by Bob De Benedictis
Mobile craning today by D. H Campbell

Thursday, March 24, 2005


A woman was looking at the books about fish in the juvenile section. She looked lost, so I asked her if she needed any help. She wanted the state's current laws for fishing.

Yep, it is right next to the one about Nemo:)


I need the lyrics for Joyful, Joyful, we a Dorothy.

6th grader

So, like, can I come back tomorrow?

Absolutely out of the question. Just one day a week is the limit.

not a service we provide

I want to have my own talkshow and need to dictate you a letter to Oprah.

Once again, that's not a service we provide.

why not?

What do you mean you don't have the entire archive of every newspaper across the country?


So do you guys have an art-chive of the old newspapers?

can't read

Can I get on the internet from those computers?

Oh, you mean the ones by the red sign that says NO INTERNET ACCESS?

Yeah, those.

No, you can't get onto the internet from the ones with NO INTERNET ACCESS.

invisible friend

One regular patron always pushes an empty wheelchair around the liberry. Sometimes she puts her sweater in the chair, but most of the time it is empty. She has no limp, so I think she has an invisible friend.

they don't get it

"I'd like to take out a membership."

"How much does a membership cost?"

"I'd like to rent a book."

"How much can I pay you for this book? Can't you give me a better deal than Barnes and Noble?"

why are you really here?

To celebrate Women's History Month, we offered a program about women mystery writers. We had a video to show and prepared a book discussion. One patron said, "So why are you really here? Are you trying to sell these books or something?"

Yes, we really work for Barnes and Noble.


Yesterday I taught an interesting Yahoo! email class. One student already had an account, but couldn't remember her password. She said, "It's the name of my cat- Harley. Or my other cat, he's Hotrod, but we call him Shithead. I had another cat who was blind, deaf, and couldn't smell anything, but she ran away. Five months later I was walking down an alley and found her with an elderly lady. I told the elderly lady I was glad to see my cat again. She had taken the cat to the vet to get neutered, but the vet said no, the cat is a female. The lady still does not believe it though. She asked me if I wanted to take the cat back, I said no, I've just been evicted and I'm not stable. Then she said she'll have to put the cat to sleep, so I took her back."

What I say to that is TMI- way TOO MUCH INFORMATION!

not telling

Another call ---

"I'm looking for a word that fits this definition: blah blah blah."

I asked about the context- are you taking a chemistry class, are you reading a book, how might this information be used?

She responded, "If I say, you'll get mad."

Eventrually she said she is working on a New York Times crossword.

get out the map

I never knew I could be a travel agent until the day I received a call that went like this:

"I'm driving across the country to City X, and I was wondering how many tollroads I will pass, and how much it will cost. Also, will I need exact change. I'm leaving tomorrow morning."

Believe it or not, I mapped out the route and found the info!

when calculus pays off

A colleague received a question that went something like this:

"I do a lot of driving for my job. My route's boundary can be described as City A, B, C, and D. I'm wondering how many square miles I cover in a single day of work."

Uh huh. Sounds like a basic integration problem that would have been on a Calculus exam. An example of how math skills are used in the real world, assuming the library is the real world.

By the way, that was a question for Marian. I majored in math, but wasn't there to help. And, Marian devised a way to figure it out. That's why they pay her the big bucks!

cargo ship to Germany

A customer insisted she could take a cargo ship to Germany from Newport Beach. The woman said over and over that her travel agent said it is possible, and that her grandmother made the trip (how long ago I wonder...). Just to amuse myself, I did a little research to convince her that sort of transportation isn't available in the modern day, but she wouldn't believe it.

And why Newport Beach of all places? We're not even close to Newport Beach... Hello, have you heard of airplanes? If the travel agent is so right, then why is she asking me? The line at the reference desk started to grow, and it was like pulling teeth to get the woman to leave.

Ben Franklin

A man came to the reference desk and started talking about Ben Franklin. He listed all sorts of information, but it was a challenge to understand because most of the words were slurred.

When I said, can I help you find a book about Ben Franklin he said, "no, I just think everyone should know about Ben Franklin. Have a nice day."

Okay then, who's next in line?

good old AOL

People often call in for help signing on to AOL, such an ISP of the past. I remember a patron who called to wonder why he can't login. He asked if it made a difference if the headphones were plugged in.

Absolutely, that makes all the difference- so glad you mentioned that or else I'd be thinking all day about how to solve the problem!

Isn't AOL for Dummies a bit redundant?

say what?

An Arabic speaking woman asked for information about "population in Iraq." When I showed her the almanac, she said that's not what she's looking for, and kept saying population (and writing it down) over and over. Then I thought she wanted the area in square miles because she talked about population in area. My colleague who used to teach ESL (but speaks zero Arabic) understood immediately- she wants books about the pollution in Iraq- emphasizing the effects of the oil fires during the war. I would have never picked that up! She was a good sport though, laughing her way through:)

That's it?

An Arabic speaker asked my colleague if he knows Arabic. He said no, and she replied, "Then what do you speak?" I guess just Spanish and English are really nothing.


Today a man came to the desk to ask- "do you know the lady about this tall who used to work in the bookstore? I haven't seen her since July." No, he did not know which bookstore, just somewhere around town.

A couple weeks ago, the same guy said "I am trying to find my sister. I haven't seen her since 1982. I think it was very cold of my therapist psychiatrist to suggest in July 2002 that I find her so I can get money. I don't have money. I need money. My sister has money, and I need to find her." So I tried to tell him we can't locate her on the internet, and he repeated the whole story. I repeated something similar, and back to square one, word for word! CRAZY...

isn't it ironic?

It's not a surprise when "outdoorsmen" with "wire Winnebagoes" ask me if I am married. It's happened about 4 times this year, and each time without a doubt I say YES I AM. A real no-brainer. And they say, oh darn, aw shucks, or that's cool... It usually happens to me when I am in the 364.1523 section, i.e. true crime. And I wonder if these jail birds even know how to read. Isn't it ironic?

they came to the sale

"End of season sale at the cerebral department."

Gareth Blackstock

do the math

"In fact a few simple mathematical calculations reveal that if reference librarians were paid at market rates for all the roles they play, they would have salaries well over $200,000."

------Will Manley, The Truth About Reference Librarians

Don Music

Another example of how my grad work in library science could have never prepared me for any of the daily events in a public library: Saturday was my day to teach the hour long Intro. to Internet class. One man showed up 15 minutes early, so I asked him choose a terminal and wait for the rest of the class. I went back to the office to finish making copies of handouts. When it was time to start the class, no one else was there (the other student came 10 min late), and I found the man asleep with his HEAD ON THE KEYBOARD.

I wondered- is he ok? does he need CPR? should I call 911? maybe he's dead? I had my colleagues help. We made enough noise to wake him up. Thank God the student was just asleep. But with the head ON the keyboard?

It reminded me of Don Music, the Muppet on Sesame St. who used to slam his head on the piano keys. He isn't on SS anymore "... because of the complaints about his alarming tendencies toward self-inflicted punishment. Apparently, kids were imitating his head-banging at home." (Sesame Street Unpaved)

we need Shakespeare on the staff

"He has not so much brain as ear wax."
Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida

For the shock effect

This guy with sunglasses and a sneer came to the desk and said he needed information. I said what subject, and he slowly opens this leather bag- little by little, to make it dramatic, and pulls out a scorpion (in a plastic box). He said this is a scorpion. I said do you want books about scorpions, and he says he just wants to use the internet.

Then why not just ask to use the internet instead of showing me the scorpion... just for the shock effect of course!

What can I possibly say?

I told the patron that the book he wanted is at the downtown branch. He said, "I hate that library, it's like a refugee camp."

Thick accent

I heard "I'm looking for warranty." So I asked what type of warranty? I was thinking car, microwave, . . . She said it over and over, and I finally had her write it down, and she wrote VOLUNTEER!


A disgruntled old man saw my sweatshirt and said, "What does that mean? Who is Eddie Bauer?" I said that's the name of the store where I bought this sweatshirt. He replied, "Well they should pay you for wearing it then."

Purple book

Everyday one of my favorite patrons asks for the purple book. He says, "It was just there. I looked at it yesterday. Do you think it was stolen? Could anyone make it through the security gates? Don't you know where it is, it's the purple one?"

Home Sweet Home

Patron- Wow, you type so fast!
Me- Well I am here all day. Actually, I live here!
Patron- Really?

Not a service we provide

Like, can you edit my biography before I send it in to the publisher?

Sorry sir, that's not a service we provide.

Oh really?


I need information on the guy who invented the rat maze. His name is Wilbur Small.

Hilarious- I went to the biography database and searched for "Small Wilbur." Sounds like one of the rat's names.


"Do you have a microhead?"

"Can I have a pair of phone heads?"

You just know

I'm looking for the phone number of a company in New York, New York called "The Bathroom Company."

So, I start to hunt around. After a few quick searches, I ask the patron if she is sure of the name of the business. She said, "no, I just know it intuitively. I'm trying to redecorate my bathroom and the tile needs to be the same color as the shower. I know intuitively that New York City, New York would have the products I need. Do you want to see the pictures I drew last night?

I commented that it seems to be a Home Depot project, but I guess that wasn't intuitive enough.

Moving on to the next subject- she asked for the corporate phone number of Payless Shoes. Easy enough to find.

Then she said- "honey, you are so nice. You have been such a wonderful help. Do people like come up and pay you, like, give you cash every day?"

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

So true

"You look into his eyes, and you get the feeling someone else is driving."

David Letterman

Next time I'm asked something absurd, I'll say

"I want to reach your mind - where is it currently located?"

Ashleigh Brilliant

Shelf check 2 minutes before closing

Another liberrian called 2 minutes before closing to ask me to do a shelf check. She said, "I'm looking for 363.1251, Street Cops Guide to yadda yadda yadda." Sure enough, I found it, but was surprised not to see the yadda's in the title.

Just had that list, where did it go?

A call to the reference desk-

"I'm interested in opening a dance studio in town, and I was wondering if you could give me some information on prospective clients. I need their names and phone numbers."

On paper it looks different-

Some interesting things I've seen people write-

"I heard it through the great vine."

"I want to nip the problem in the butt."

"Dear Sir or Mum"

Auto Mechanics

Call to the reference desk-

Hello, I just got a flat tire and I'm pulled over to the side of the road. I didn't know what to do, and this nice man stopped to help. I was wondering if you could tell me the going rate for changing a tire so that I can pay him for helping me.

I called a couple gas stations; no one could speak English. I finally found a tire shop that said they would charge about $15. A customer listening to this whole exchange yelled from his computer, "Hell, I'll change the tire for $20!"

I don't know, I used to think a library was a place of books, but now I know liberrians are auto mechanics too! Next time I have car problems I should call the public liberry instead of AAA. Seems logical.

Cactus repair

A call to the reference desk-
"My husband hit a cactus and it doesn't belong to us. We want to know what we can do to fix it."

Um, hit it with a car, a bat? Let me just put you on hold...


The other day a woman asked me to show her how to find places in Las Vegas where she could get married. I found one place and she said thanks, that's enough. I'll go there.

Yeah, I'm not one to make rash decisions either!

Sometimes books, mostly not

Sometimes I help people find books, but usually I help people find free computers. Yesterday I asked this man who was about 70 to finish up and let the next person have a turn. He said, "Huh-uh, that's not what those grown ups said..."

Yeah. I guess I'm not a grown up.

Wooden Dishwasher

I need a biography and picture of the guy who invented the wooden dishwasher. His invention didn't work. I need a complete timeline of his life- and she shows us this paper with about 30 blanks to fill in!

Permission required

So can I just grab any book to read or do I have to ask for permission first?


So you just need to type in and press enter.

The clueless patron just laughed. It seemed as if I just asked him to prove Fermat's Last Theorem!

a friend

It isn't unusual when a patron asks a librarian if she's married. Other patrons just directly tell librarians "you're beautiful." Today a patron came to the desk and said "you turkey!" to me. A few minutes later he said, "bye hotcakes!"

Ann Frank

I'm looking for Diary of Ann Frank.

So I start typing into my catalog and say, "Diary of a Young Girl."

The patron tells me I'm wrong because her teacher said it was Diary of Ann Frank. She was highly annoyed that when I showed her the book, it really was Diary of a Young Girl.

Like, whatever!


I cruised through the biography section and found a mother and daughter looking through the A's. I asked them if they needed help, and the mom said they needed something on a guy with the last name Angelo. His first name was Michael. I explain it's all one word, Michelangelo, and she said "no it's not." And it turned into one of those cute conversations from Elf- No it's not, yes it is... well, not exactly like Elf but just as funny!

Sounds Irish

Do you have books about Filippe O'Lippe?

He was looking for information on Fra Filippo Lippi.

Loud enough for everyone to hear-

"Remember when I used to be so freakin skinny? Now I'm 130!"

Rule of, by, and for the IDIOTS

Patron: How do you spell idiocracy?

Liberrian: Can you tell me what that means?

Patron: You know, weird habits, quirks...

Liberrian: Oh, idiosyncrasy!


I want books about the history of hats (easy enough) and funny stories about hats in history (not so easy).

Got it!

Do you have that movie called Parent Trap with Harry Mills?

I show her the set of 2 DVD's, and she says, "So one is a video and the other is a DVD?"


A librarian brought a stuffed animal to share for storytime. She asked, "Can anyone tell me this guy's name?" And a little boy said "MINE!"

Your biggest fan

From another librarian:

One elderly woman came to every single computer class I taught. Finally I couldn't stand it anymore. After class one day I asked her, "Betty, you've come to this class the last three times I've taught it. What am I doing wrong that you feel you need to keep repeating the class?" To which she replied, "Oh no, dear, you're not doing anything wrong! It's just that I like you so much, I want to see you every day!"

Sounds reasonable to me...

From another librarian:

We had spoken to a particular customer several times about not just viewing, but printing pornography from the public PCs.
When it happened again, we confronted him with the evidence.
He denied having printed them.
We pointed out his email address which was included at the bottom of the page.
He continued to deny that he was the person who printed the pictures.
Right... someone hacked into your email address at the same time you were using it and printed these pictures without your knowledge.

By the book

From another librarian:

Yesterday a man asked me to print out a copy of a California Code for him. While I was looking it up, he said, "I saw you at the X branch on Saturday." I said, "Oh, really?" He said, "Yes. You came in at 10:45 and picked up some books, but you didn't stay long after that."

Then I noticed the code he had asked for - California Penal Code 646.9, Stalking and Harassment.

Job title

From another librarian:

I had a class visit of 4th grade students one day. I introduced myself, gave them a brief summary of library policies, then toured the building with them. When I paused and asked if there were any questions, one little girl asked, "Are you the youngest person who works here?"

Just when I was starting to feel flattered that she would think that, she added, "because you said you're the Young Adult Librarian, but you don't look that young!"

Making sure

Lady on the phone: I just received a letter in the mail…it’s more or less…well, it’s from Consumer Reports—is that the magazine that’s been around for years? I thought it was just called Consumer Magazine and I wanted to make sure.

Me: Yes, I think that’s it. The one we get here is called Consumer Reports.

LotP: Oh good, I just wanted to make sure it wasn’t one of those new ones, you know, where they add a word to the title.


Lady: Where are your books by Edgar Allan Poe?

Me: Here’s one—Great Tales and Poems.

Lady: No, I need stories by him.

That's not a service we provide

I helped a rather fragrant gentleman find some car repair manuals.
"I should give you a kiss," he said.
"I don't think my husband would appreciate that," I said.
At least, if I had a husband, he probably wouldn't, I thought.

This is not a garage sale

"Hey, did you know you have 3 copies of this book?
Could I buy one off you?"

Look in the Hunting and Trapping Section

"Do you have How To Kill A Mockingbird?"


Woman: Can you get me directions to 1840 Chester Ave.? He’s all mad that he can’t find it on MapQuest…it’s probably the chick that he’s dating.

(she goes to the service desk, then comes back)

They said it didn’t print out—can you do it again? My boyfriend’s getting all mad at me now. He says he’s just going to take me home. What a jerk. I feel sorry for the chick that he’s dating. Men are stupid.

Me: Yes, they are.

Woman: They are! They’re just stupid.

Me: I’m sorry.

Love the Liberry way too much

I wouldn't even wear this shirt on April Fool's Day!


If I could have a dollar for every time I've said that's not a service we provide I'd be rich! Yesterday I used the line to explain why I couldn't type the patron's resume. Not just help him find the resume wizard in word... do the whole thing for him!

Nope, not a service we provide!

pickup line

During one of my first weeks as a librarian-

Wow, do you do tae-bo, cause you sure knock me out!

Yes, watch out for my fictitious husband.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

noisy e-cards

Liberrian: "Excuse me, can I help you mute that?" [e-card greeting song]

Patron: "Yes, I think whoever sends me these things ought to have their head examined!"

Let me spell it

"I'm looking for a book, let me spell it: A-L-M-A-N-A-C. Do you have that book here?"

Yeah, I know exactly what you mean

A guy said, "I don't want to burn my bridges, it will go off like a rocket."

Lost and Found...

A woman points to the computer and says "I think someone left their teeth at the computer." I walked over there and found the teeth- not complete dentures, but more like a retainer. I scooped it up with a piece of paper and brought it to lost and found. Then 10 minutes later the woman with the missing teeth came and slurred "I can't find my teeth!" absolutely loud enough to tell everyone in the building!

I was in tears...

I just like to volunteer

After teaching an Internet class one of the senior citizens said, "Thanks for all your help. So, what do you do for a living?" When I said I'm a librarian she just laughed, hopefully at herself for asking such a dumb question.

Yeah, I just do this on the side in my free time... Maybe she expected me to have a bun, glasses, and a paper card catalog.

New Fangled

Whenever I teach a computer class it is a real challenge for me not to tear my hair out! The typical class lasts an hour, and it goes something like this:

Getting to the address bar always takes a while. Click in the address bar on the top, the long one. Type in, just G-o-o-g-l-e dot, a dot is a period, on the bottom row, just above the space bar, then c-o-m. No, it doesn't matter if it is in caps. OK, now you are going to have to backspace to erase that space. The backspace button is up in the upper right of the keyboard, let me show you, just press it like this, don't hold it down, ooops, now you have to start over because the whole thing got erased. That's ok, practice makes perfect, right? So the student says, "so I just type googles and that's it?"

The email class is always fun too, especially the part at the end of the Yahoo! application that requires one to verify the registration by typing in the code that's blurred. Also, the part about if you forget your password, think of a question and answer that you will remember. It can be the name of your pet, first school, etc. It's so confusing to work with the drop down menus too. So anyway, after we get through that whole process the hour is almost up. To review we close the browser and start over. Usually the students either type in their actual email address into the bar or type in the password where it asks for the user name. Just learning...

But I have to give credit to these people who want to learn this new fangled technology! I hope I'll be on the cutting edge when I am their age.

Magic wand?

Two librarians were walking through the Children’s Area, when one of them noticed a wand with a star on top and long streamers. She picked it up. A young girl walked up, and without saying a word held her hand out for the wand. The librarian said, (in her best Children’s Librarian falsetto voice) “Oh, is this YOUR magic wand? I thought it was MY magic wand! I thought I could be the fairy princess today!” She handed the wand to the girl, and then walked on. The girl watched her leave, and then turned to the other librarian and said, “What was THAT all about?”

Cute stick figure drawing

A 4 year-old girl handed the librarian a drawing of a stick figure inside a circle, surrounded by dollar signs. The librarian said “My, what an interesting picture! Can you tell me about it? Who is this person in the circle?” The girl said “It’s George Bush, of course!”

Really on the cutting edge of technology!

50-ish guy: I can't get into Hotmail.

Librarian: People have a lot of problems with that lately. Perhaps you should consider switching to Yahoo! Mail.

50-ish guy: Oh, no, I couldn't do that. I've been using Hotmail for 20 years. You see, now that I'm over 50 I can't remember a thing!

Define a librarian-

Librarian is a service occupation. Gas station attendant of the mind.

Richard Powers, In The Gold Bug Variations, 1991

I hear ya Regis!

"What can I say? Librarians rule!"

--- Regis Philbin, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, February 17, 2000

Sometimes it's worth it!

A classic from our branch liberrian-

A mentally disabled young man came up to the librarian and said, "Gosh! You're beautiful!"


A woman called the Reference desk and asked if her son (age 28) was there. The librarian looked around and said, "Yes, he's using the computer." Ten minutes later, Mom stormed in, grabbed the man by the ear, and dragged him out of the library!


A student came to the Reference desk and asked for information about Copernicus. The librarian helped him find several books and journal articles. Later, the student came back, thanked the librarian, and said he had finished the report. He then said, "Copernicus didn't really do very much, did he?" The librarian said, "Well, actually he did a lot for astronomy. He completely changed the prevailing belief that the sun revolved around the earth." To which the student replied, "Yeah, but he was wrong, wasn't he?"


Two librarians were at the Reference desk and a customer asked -- "Do you have anything in your business section specifically about opening strip clubs? Like a Strip Club Business Start-Up Guide or Idiots Guide for Opening a Strip Club?"

Did you think liberries are quiet places?

"Libraries is fun! They got lots of tables to crawl under."
-- Lil DeVille, Rugrats episode

Random acts of kindness

A woman came up to the librarian at the Reference Desk and said, "Thank you! You made my day!" He had never seen that person before in his life!

I don't care!

A student said she had to do a book report on "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand. The librarian told her our copies were all checked out, but she could request one from another branch. She said that wouldn't work, as the report was due the next day. She asked what else the library had by Ayn Rand. The librarian told her there had a copy of "The Fountainhead" available. She said fine, she would take that one. The librarian pointed out that that was not the book her assignment required. She said "It doesn't matter - just give it to me!"

Librarians are...

"As a general rule, librarians are a kick in the pants socially, often full of good humor, progressive, and, naturally, well read."

(Bill Hall in American Libraries, January 2002, p. 44)

Couldn't have said it better...

"Librarians, Dusty, possess a vast store of politeness. These are people who get asked regularly the dumbest questions on God's green earth. These people tolerate every kind of crank and eccentric and mouth-breather there is."

Garrison Keillor, Lives of the Cowboys

Then why even ask?

Last weekend a woman came to the desk wondering what day of the week April 12 is. I whipped out the calendar and showed her that it is a Tuesday. The argument went like this: no it isn't, yes it is, no it isn't...

Computer Class Classic

The librarian taught an Introduction to the Internet class for a group of senior citizens who all had varying degrees of Parkinson's, making it difficult for them to manage the mouse. One woman was also quite deaf, and kept turning to her companion and shouting, "What'd she say?" At the end of class they all filed past her and said, "Thanks, honey - you're a great teacher! We'll be back for your next class!"

What do you mean it's not on Google?

Young man: "I'm like applying for this job? And they want like a list of places where I've worked and stuff?"

Librarian: "OK..."

Young man: "So, like where do I go on the Internet to find that?"

Monday, March 21, 2005

Fence painter and author

"Do you have Huckleberry Finn by Tom Sawyer?"

Of course I do

"I forgot what I was going to ask you for, but you'll know what it is--I want that book that was made popular by the gal who convinced that guy to surrender."