Wednesday, March 30, 2005
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!
That's one way to solve it!
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!
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.
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…
Clueless Student: Can I print from a CD on these computers?
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
Me: That means you can't use this computer.
CS: How was I supposed to know that?!
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?"
Monday, March 28, 2005
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. . .
Saturday, March 26, 2005
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 yahoo.com. One student typed in tahoo.com, 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.
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.
Oh, then you'll need to contact Shamu's trainer.
Thankfully she didn't return! Yeah, a crisis house sounds like the last place she should be.
Friday, March 25, 2005
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
Yes, we really work for Barnes and Noble.
What I say to that is TMI- way TOO MUCH INFORMATION!
"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.
"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!
"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!
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.
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?
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?
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...
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)
Then why not just ask to use the internet instead of showing me the scorpion... just for the shock effect of course!
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
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.
Yeah. I guess I'm not a grown up.
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.
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!"
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.
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.
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!"
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.
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.
(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.
Nope, not a service we provide!
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
I was in tears...
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.
Getting to the address bar always takes a while. Click in the address bar on the top, the long one. Type in google.com, 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.
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!
Garrison Keillor, Lives of the Cowboys