Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Horse Races

The horse racing fan man comes every day and asks us to print out the entries and winners for the local racing tracks. Today he picks up the stack of papers about our summer reading programs and tells me to throw it away. Just make it exciting around here.


Yeah, nothing exciting or dramatic never happens here.

time is up

I tell a student that her computer time is waaaay up. She has been there for about 6 straight hours. She says so what am I supposed to do? I tell her that everyone is allowed 30 minutes (and wanted to say....you dear, have had 12 times that). I suggest she visit a liberry that isn't so busy, like the one up the hill. She says so is that your normal procedure? Just tell the customers they have to leave?

I know Dewey

Clueless guy in his 30's: I know Dewey, but I can't find the videos about JFK.

Me: First of all, you are looking in the Spanish video section. Second, you don't have any call numbers.

CG: Oh, so it isn't arranged like Blockbuster?

the only advantage

The only advantage of having a fan is that when I make the internet announcement that your time is up, he gets up immediately!


We need information on albino tigers. Her 4th grade son screams out, no, they are Siberian albino tigers. His mom tells him he needs to stop playing with my pens, paper clips, and rubberbands because this is not his office. I find the number in the juv section but of course they have no idea how to find it, and surprise surprise, the juv reference desk is unattended. So I walk them down. Or actually, the kids trot down. I show them the section where books on tigers would be, and the mom says, where is the one about the albino tiger from Siberia?

Test Tomorrow

I have a test tomorrow and I need to know all about anesthesiology. You know, the how to and different techniques.

We aren't a medical library. You won't be able to find that sort of detailed information here.


Marian's phone conversation

Today Marian was trying to help a caller order some books. However, it was hard to hear because of all the top volume conversations taking place. Marian apologized for the background noise, but the caller said that's ok, I always hear my peanut gallery!


And we always have our own peanut gallery to combat too!

Today I learned

Today I learned that the "mam" language is spoken in Guatemala. Just a fun fact.

my friend who likes to look at Indian books

My friend who likes to look at Indian books always brings them back to me when he is done. Today he gives me his stack and tells me that I can check them to make sure they aren't ruined. Then he picks up the stack of flyers about our summer reading programs.

State seal, is this free?


Is it written by Indians?



my "no problem" friend

Today my "no problem" friend walks to the desk and salutes me. He asks for a Spanisha Englisha. I take him to the circulating books, but our dictionary is checked out. I tell him that we have a copy in reference, but that means it can't be checked out. No problem, he says, and brings it to the check out desk anyway. Minutes later he returns to my desk to tells me no check out!


Noisy and fidgety

The noisy, fidgety, attention-hungry guys returned today. When they walked in Marian reminded them they need to keep their voices down. One replied, ok, I will make sure that I keep my voice down at top volume.

Later the security guard has to knock on the table to get their attention. He tells them they need to keep it down. The attention-hungry screams out, "I'm ok, are you?"

No change at all.

Pokes my arm

As I'm trying to help a patron find IRS tax forms, a frantic woman reaches over the desk to poke me several times in the arm. I tell her that I can't help her now, I'm busy helping this gentleman. She starts to cry. Marian takes over, thank God.

The woman's wallet was stolen. She left it unattended with $100 cash and her green card. The irony in the situation is that she leaves her purse unattended when she comes to the desk to poke me.

Marian calls the police station and lets the woman tell her story. They can't come over to file the report because they are so busy. But, the woman is too much of a wreck to tell us if she is supposed to wait at the liberry for someone to take the report or if she is supposed to go to the station. Finally the security guard takes over.

Have nothing better to do

Guy who doesn't want to wait in line for the internet asks me to print out some pages on Bahai and Esperanzo. I print the pages, and he asks me when would be a good time to come to use the internet. I tell him that we expect we'll be busy all day since we have been closed for 2 days. He said, that's ok, I'll keep coming back again and again several times to check. I have nothing better to do and I live across the street.

Last week I had a circular conversation with him about the whole internet / email concept.

Abbreviated RefGrunt

Today was busy, but not as bad as I expected.

  • Two requests for zip drives. Not a service we provide.
  • One request to open a .wps document. Sorry, we don't have Word Perfect.
  • We don't have a scanner either.
  • Or a fax machine.
  • This isn't a picnic ground.

Clueless Patron of the Day Award

Today Marian asked me what is with your devilish grin? Oh nothing, I'm just happy I have material to blog. The prize for the clueless patron of the day goes to the woman with the side ponytail:

SP: So I just go to goggles, then what? There are three blank lines and I don't know what to do.

Me: I go and look at her monitor. She has the annoying MSN vertical search box that takes up 1/4 of the screen. She thinks that is goggles. I tell her how to get to goggles and ask her to type what she is looking for in the box. She types cache. I tell her she needs to be more specific than that if she wants to find anything useful. So I ask, what aspect of cache are you researching?

SP: I don't even know what that means, cache. I'm trying to find out, someone tried to cache me. You know, lure me.

Me: I say, were you being stalked?

SP: Not exactly, see, we met at the same place at the same time, so it wouldn't be considered stalking.

Me: I still can't figure out what type of information she thinks will be on goggles, and I tell her the internet probably does not have what she is looking for. However, we might have some legal handbooks.
Life goes on, I walk by 10 minutes later. Now she is hacking into MS Word, trying different login names and passwords. Note: It isn't even necessary to login to MS Word.

Eclectic Movie Man is Back!

EMM: I'm looking for a series called Into the West.

Me: Okay, we have one called that, but I'm not sure it's the one you want. Here is the description--When a rich breeder tries to take a magical horse away from two city kids, their only hope is to escape and become the coolest outlaws ever to ride into the west.

EMM: That's not the one I meant, but it sounds great! I want it.

Me: You got it.

EMM: I also want Commando, Rising Sun, Norma Rae, Jackie Brown, Deep Rising, and Burn, Hollywood, Burn. And can you tell me where I am on the list for The Notebook and First Daughter?

Monday, May 30, 2005

The best is yet to come

I can't wait for tomorrow. Our customers will come stampeding in, like a herd of elephants, at 10am on the dot. They'll be lined up outside starting at 9:30, or earlier if they spend the night by the door. We've been closed for 2 days. That's two long days without the internet. How are these people even surviving?

Oh well, it will give me more material to blog.

Where's your son?

I'm looking for a book for my son... where did he go... oh there he is, in the adult films!

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Top 10

Dewey's Top 10 Call #'s I've Memorized:

  1. 001.942 UFO's, Aliens
  2. 133.44 Witchcraft, Tarot, Dream Interpretation, Horoscopes
  3. 220.52 Bible
  4. 351.3 Civil Service Study Guides
  5. 364.1523 True Crime
  6. 373.1272 GED Study Guides
  7. 419 Sign Language
  8. 741.5973 Comic Books
  9. 808 Cliffs Notes
  10. 822.33 Shakespeare

Where's my friend?

I can't find my friend. Have you seen him?

I don't know, what does he look like?

His name is Robin Hood, and he looks like he just came out of a Grateful Dead concert.

Sorry, haven't seen him.

Avon Lady

When I think of my liberry career 50 years from now, the Avon lady is one I'll never forget. She has bright blonde, super curly and frizzy cork screw hair. She wears a visor with a pin that says "I'm an Avon representative, ask me." If any Avon reps ever saw her, she'd be fired on the spot. She wears thick blue lipstick and usually blue and purple eye shadow up to the eyebrows. Egyptian style. Bright pink extra tight leggings and a fanny pack to complement the outfit. Sometimes glittery skin tight tank tops too! What a character!

No problem

The "no problem" guy who wanted us to schedule a time for him to meet with Arnold asked when the next computer class will be. (He already forgot both yahoo addresses / passwords). I said it won't be until September. He says September when? what time? I don't know that yet. Well I'll ask you, no problem? Sure, talk to me in August. No problem.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Love the Liberry

I love coming here. Everyone is so nice and helpful!

Renter's Rights

I need that book on renter's rights. They are harassing the hell out of us.

Obviously off his meds

You two need to mind your own business. Just leave me alone. Get out of my business.


I didn't even know he was there until he strolled by to tell us to keep out of his business.


Excuse me hon, you need to stop licking the counter. (Standing right next to her oblivious mom)...

my "internet" class

One lady in her 80's came to my "internet" class today. I say "internet" because it turned into a typing class-- put your index fingers on the f and j, use the thumb for the space, etc. However, we did do a little on the internet. We found Bill O'Reilly's site; however, she wanted to read about why people don't like Bill O'Reilly. We went to google and found a few of those sites. She said Bill O'Reilly Sucks, yeah, I want to read that one.

Why I can't return my books

A daughter called in to say that she can't return any of her dad's books. She found him dead in his apartment. He had been there for 2 weeks, so they had to throw everything away.


"At husband's request, wife is dead. Please cancel her account."


"Patron was found dead on doorstep. Please cancel the account."

circular conversation

So if I get email I have to check it here every day?

No, you can check it anywhere.

But it is no problem for me to check it here; I just live across the street.


But I want to check it at home; how do I do that?

Do you have the internet at home?


You need to get an internet connection at home. You pay about 20 dollars a month.

Will they charge me for overseas messages?

No, email is free once you have the internet connection.

I can't come here every day... it is just too much for me.

Friday, May 27, 2005


I was born in September, so I'm a Virgo. However, Marian is a true Libra(rian). I wonder how many liberrians are Libras?


Hmmm... nothing to blog about today, i.e. we've become immune to the insanity!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Top 10

Top 10 reasons why people hate liberrians:

  1. No running.
  2. No yell phones.
  3. We don't have the book here today, now.
  4. We won't do your homework for you.
  5. We don't have all the answers instantaneously. Sometimes we'll never get the answer.
  6. You can't check out reference books.
  7. You have to wait for the internet.
  8. Your time is up for the internet.
  9. The internet doesn't have it all. Actually, believe it or not, books contain information!
  10. We're not babysitters or after school day care providers.
Aren't we mean?


Do you have internet access?


And does that mean I can google things with internet access?

Yes. [Nope, Google is blocked by our filter].


my 3rd grade teacher

Today I reminded myself of my third grade teacher, a nun from Ireland. I had to ask this guy to please stop fidgeting (one of the key terms of third grade besides snickering).

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Why I'm not a math teacher...

An elderly man asked me if I could calculate the population in the year 2020 if today it is X and it grows at an exponential rate of t. Easy enough, I whipped out the calc book and showed him the formulas for exponential growth: e to the tX.

But he wanted me to derive the e. Sorry, I don't know. I can't call Euler either...
It's like asking why is pi 22/7. However, I do admire the guy for wondering.


Marian always gets the math questions and I always get the crossword clues... which should be the reverse, but that's not the way it happens. Today I was asked to figure out a clue about "an a-line line" that should be a four letter word like -ea-. Yeah! All my sewing knowledge paid off: seam!


An old man with a long white pony tail always has some conspiracy theory.

First he came to the desk with a list of databases the public library has. I explained that we don't have those databases because we are the county, not the city. He repeated, see it says here, you have it.

Today he was researching his long lost relatives and he wanted to order an interlibrary loan. I found the book he wanted and filled out the slip.

Man: How do you know they will send volume 2?
Me: Because I wrote volume 2 right here, see?
Man: Yeah, but what if they mess up? Will I get my money back?
Me: No, it is not refundable. ($2.50)
Man: That's horrible. What do you mean I don't get a refund? That's taxation without representation.

Whatever, life goes on.

Man: What if I wanted to buy these books online?
Me: You can order them through Amazon. You will just need a credit card.
Man: That is discrimination. And how do I know I won't get conned, huh? How do I know they will just take my money and I'll never see the book?

As I was filling out the slip he was mumbling about how one of his relatives got incarcerated in Georgia.
What a pill!

see I told you

Woman asks Marian how to spell "coliseum." Marian takes a pink piece of paper and shows the woman how to look it up in the dictionary. Yes, you really can find it in the dictionary even if you aren't sure of the spelling. (Genius).

Ten minutes later the woman returns with the pink paper with an alternate spelling:

liberry Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

7th grader

I'm looking for a few books. I have the call numbers written on my hand and arm.

Wow, they certainly were written on her hand / arm in a DARK BLUE marker.

where's my girl

I wanna find out if my girl is in jail. Here's her last name:

And he doesn't know how to spell it- it could be either Smith or Simth (something similar).

I checked the database and found nothing, at least under that spelling. That completely made his day!

Marine Biology

I want a complete diagram of a killer whale's skeleton. Every single bone has to be labeled.

Week of parent involvement

ANOTHER mother came in to do her son's senior history paper. I said, is your son here? Oh no hun, I'm doing this for him...


Do you have books on codependency?

Let's see... they should be right over here.

Damn, this is such a nice library!

Thanks. (And I give her the book).

Thanks man!

Do you have a gender identification problem?

Where's your job coach?

An important line I learned early on = where's your job coach?

When I first started working here I dealt with a woman who thought I was threatening to murder her. See, I was nervous, and one of my habits is to twist my ring around my finger. She interpreted that "I'm threatening to kill you and cut off your fingers." Actually, she thought I was not only threatening to murder her, but also her twin sister. Then she said, "I hate Sarah, I'm going to kill her!" As we debriefed that incident, I learned that I should have said where's your job coach to bail myself out of that situation.

Today another frequent "job student" came in and asked a series of random questions (as he does daily): What's the Terminator's phone number? Where can I take karate? What's the phone number for the GI Joe stores? What about stars and stripes? When are we gonna reelect the Terminator? Where does the military store get their supplies? Any phone numbers? Fortunately his job coach came after 5 minutes of this string of questions...

Monday, May 23, 2005

Anything sharp?

Do you have a pick, like a toothpick?
No, sorry, no toothpicks.
Well, do you have anything sharp?
Um, not really…
(Grabs a paper clip) This’ll work. I want to clean my nails.

Ref Grunt again, because it's the most fun

10:00 Can I use the internet?

10:01 (insistently) “Good morning.”

10:08 Are my CDs and books that I ordered in yet? (no)

10:09 PHONE: “Can I get back on the list for the new John Grisham book? I haven’t finished it yet and I can’t renew it.”

10:21 Can I have some paper?

10:22 Can you please take your phone outside? Thanks.

10:33 A lady would like to request Codex by Lev Grossman, The Serpent on the Crown by Elizabeth Peters, Map of Bones by James Rollins, Alibi by Joseph Kanon, and The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell.

10:39 On her way out, she waves across the library. “Thank you!”

11:00 Books on Frida Kahlo (we have); poetry of Paul Scott Mowrer (we don’t have); Invented Lives by J. Mellow (the last copy is missing).

11:08 (10-year-old girl) Can I order Word of Mouf by Ludacris and The Massacre by 50 Cent?

11:11 Do we have to sign up for the computers?

11:12 Where do we pick up prints?

I need a book.
Okay, which one?
It’s called…..(thinks for a while)…Major Something in California. Major…Problems. That’s it. Major Problems in California. It’s a textbook.
No, sorry, we have other books in the Major Problems… series, but not that one.

Hi sweetie, I’m working on this resume. If I just put Betty Sue Kolodziej @ Yahoo.Com on here, will that work?
Well, you have to register your address with Yahoo first, to make sure no one has the same one. Your name (not her real name) is pretty unusual, so it might be available…
I know!
But also you can’t put any spaces in an email address.
Oh! See, I knew if I just asked you, you would know what to do.

11:20 Can I sign up for the internet?

None of those books on Frida Kahlo are what I want. Do you have Genius Together by Humphrey Carpenter?
No, sorry. We have a biography of J.R.R. Tolkien by him...
No, I don’t care for him. How about Hemingway’s Wives, or something like that?
We have The Hemingway Women by Bernice Kert…
All right, that sounds like the one.

11:38 A gentleman considerately leaves his computer and comes over to the reference desk to cough. “I swallowed a piece of my cough drop,” he says.

11:42 OMG a cute boy!

11:43 PHONE: Do you have Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking?
Well, we only have one copy and there are 2 people waiting for it.
So that would be a month or more?
Probably. Do you want to be on the list?
No, I’ll just go buy it.

11:51 PHONE: Another library wants to know if we have the [Large City] White Pages.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

What is HELL?

Today was probably one of the most hellish days of my life at the liberry. I'm going to explode... (The other day that comes close was when I received a love letter from a creepy old man- it said he is from Chicago and is a mind traveler, the happiest day of his life was when he met me, continued for two pages. When I got it my first instinct was to shred it, but I stopped to think and sent it to personnel. But I digress).

The ninety plus degree temperature didn't help the situation. Combine internet rage, cell phone rage, homework rage, and just plain rage and the result is today...

It started off fine. I was happy because the guy who remembers my name couldn't recall it! He roamed the liberry and constantly mumbled to himself. And we got the usual questions- what does that mean "does not circulate."

However, things started to escalate when I asked this jerk to take his cell phone conversation outside. He screamed - yes, screamed - what do you want me to do, blow up the place, start a fire? and gave me the talk to the hand gesture.

His rage just allowed people to act in a similar (if not worse) manner. I asked one guy to leave the internet because his half an hour (plus 3 hours) has expired. He yelled at me- I just got here. I asked the security guard for help, and what a help he was. He said, he said he just got here and his friend vouched for him. Whatever.

Then the phone call- My son is doing a senior high school project about independent films and literature. What obscure titles do you have on the subject? Did your son suggest any titles? What sorts of themes is he thinking about? Then her cell phone cuts off. She calls back- sorry I can't hear you hon, I was dropping my son off at the movies.

And the dense high school student who had no concept of a newspaper. How many times did he ask the difference between a feature article and an editorial? I explained it about 5 times, so did my colleague.

Yes, today we achieved a new height of rudeness and insanity! Thank God I have the day off tomorrow...

Saturday, May 21, 2005


Today a stressed out woman was in complete tears because the video she checked out was in English, not Italian. She was an absolute wreck. Fortunately, we found a video in Italian for her!

don't sleep

I don't sleep anymore. I am haunted by ghosts and spirits that keep coming to me through my wall. Make as many printouts about this topic as you need; I have lots and lots of money. I need to get rid of them.

for my daughter

Do you have any videos about global warming? I'm helping my daughter.

What grade is your daughter in?


Is she here with her assignment?

No, she's busy, that's why I am here.


I want books about a parakeet.

Ok, here are the books about birds. I'm guessing that a parakeet is a type of parrot, so it should probably be in this one.

A parakeet is not a type of parrot. A parakeet is like a bird.

Laughing all the way

Two women wanted help signing in to their WebCT accounts. They were taking an English class for Arabic speakers. I helped them sign on. Then they asked me to tell them what a grade of 30% meant. I said that means you failed, and they thought it was the most hilarious thing in the world!


I'm looking for a person named Sam Jones in Nebraska, or maybe it is Florida, can't remember.

That is a very common name.

Really? Well isn't it all on the computer? You guys are so fast. I'm just learning how to run one of those things. [I wonder if it runs like a dishwasher]. Dells computers are super fast, aren't they... God, you guys are so helpful...


I can't say we found Sam Jones, but we entertained him as we typed away: Look at her go!

Interesting (or not) reading material

I am looking for some books about car repair.

What type of car?


Our car books are organized into categories: imports, domestic... They are in reference.

No, I want some I can check out. See, I'm going on a five day bus trip and I need some reading material.


Note: He's the guy who has his weight loss story about how he lost 110 pounds by speed walking. Freak!

All in five (maybe ten) minutes

Quite an insane morning...

  • Pushy lady (meaner than Miss Piggy in her Wicked Witch of the West persona in Muppets' Wizard of Oz) wants passbooks on governmental administrative assistant. I show her some but they aren't acceptable. She keeps calling me sweetie and honey. I go back to the desk to look up something else and she keeps screaming honey, where are you sweetie? as well as Damn it is hot in here!
  • Then pushy lady wants a template so she can write a letter to protest her traffic ticket. She doesn't want to go to traffic school.
  • Another lady comes to the desk with her blood test results and wants us to interpret them because she doesn't believe the nurse. I tell her she'd need a medical library, she doesn't believe me.
  • Meanwhile, a five year old girl in bright pink bike shorts keeps vaulting onto the desk. She also hits the blood test lady three times which makes her angry. The dad doesn't care. The girl keeps running, jumping, screaming, and pretending to fly.
  • Monitor the internet- do you have your card with your permission sticker?
  • Lady in line- does anyone work here, is anyone going to help me? When?
  • I hear customer talking to my colleague: well that's just my opinion and I guess it doesn't matter.
  • Pushy lady keeps screaming sweetie.
  • Blood work lady thanks me for my help and says it was delightful.
Ten minutes later pushy lady calls and asks about another book. Why don't we have it? That's not fair. I don't understand.


Yeah, that's just a quick summary of a five (okay, maybe ten) minute slot in the life of a liberrian.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Postman takes a walk

I usually go to Barnes & Noble on my days off. Last time I went I found one of our regular customers (who usually causes a scene) in the bathroom "washing up." Why oh why are these people attracted to books?

Highlight of his day

When our "ballerina" colleague used to work at our branch, an old man in an electric wheelchair used to wheel up to the desk and tell her hey chubby!

Thursday, May 19, 2005


Every night we close, we have to wait for the security guard to lock up. And sometimes we have to wait a good five or ten minutes before he is ready to go. Why? Our theory is that he leaves milk and cookies out for all the elves who spend the night in the liberry...


Two liberrians on our staff are "twins," call them James and John. James recently played musical liberries and transferred to our branch. They look nothing alike, but everyone gets them mixed up.

At James' other branch, the following happened today:

Max came into the liberry with his "job coach." He pointed at me, grinned, and said (in a VERY loud voice) "Hey! I know you! But where's John?"

Do you mean James?


James. The guy who used to work here. The one who looks like John.

I don't know him. [oh yes you do!] So did you and John switch places?

No, John is still at the other branch.

Then what are you doing here?

Nice to see you again, Max. Bye now!

keep an eye out

When we opened at 10 we got a report from the men's restroom about someone with porn. The only man on the staff at the time was given the task of telling the porn fan to put it away. The stuff was all over the bathroom floor... Then we got the call at the desk to keep an eye out for the porn fan. Yeah, just a normal day at work...

Reverse Reader's Advisory

This little old man who always carries a backpack and a few plastic bags came to the desk:

I wanna tell you something.


There's this author, Aspirin is his name, like the kind when you take an aspirin. Yeah, that's it. Anyway, he writes these books that I think you would enjoy. See, he takes a word that everyone knows, like devil, and completely changes the meaning.


Later he returns to the desk with 2 of Aspirin's books.

See this one? It's called Phule and His Money. Get it? He took the word fool and changed it to phule. These books are science fiction about vampires to come to this land from another system. Only, it's different: these are the normal ones and everyone on this planet is different. Yeah, you would really love it.


No, I wouldn't really love it. I'm not a sci-fi fan, but thanks anyway! Now, where did I put my aspirin? What a phule I am!

wife is in court

Hey, my wife is in court and me and my niece here want to know where we can go to play some basketball. Like, where can we go?

need to change the name

Note: The planet Uranus needs to have a name change.

A high school girl asked for books about Uranus, and her mother shushed her...

Computer help

I went over to the computer to help the man delete the underlining on his resume because it was "driving him crazy." While I was working on that computer, the lady two pc's down the line yelled out "liberrian, liberrian" because her computer was frozen.

man with baby blue and pink beaded necklace

The man with a baby blue and pink beaded necklace (the one who thought he could find thousands of biographies about himself) said did you know there's this book about using the internet? I bet you could sell at least three copies!

candle man

An elderly man comes in about once a week and looks for books on candle making. He's seen our whole collection, but I always show him where they are.

Today after we went to look at the books about candles, he asked for videos about machines, machines that are bigger than big. I said tractors and bulldozers? Yes, absolutely, bigger than big!

So, I showed him those videos. Then he asked for videos about animals. He said, I think they call it extreme. Yeah, animals extreme. We found some...

nice old lady

A nice old lady tells the man waiting for the internet that he can sit at the table. He says- lady, I can wait wherever I damn well please. You ain't gonna tell me what to do!


A guy asks for books about how to win the lottery and strategies for playing keno. I find a section about gambling and also show him the books about statistics. (Yeah, like that will help). He says, wow, ya can't beat a girl with a brain! Did you go to college?


Well, cool!

unclear on the concept

The first person to rush in at 10:00 am asks if she can use the internet. I say, sure, the time limit is half an hour when someone is waiting. She says, what, I have to wait half an hour?


I always knew that theoretically a person can request 100 books. Today I met a customer who reached the limit. When I checked her account I found that 63 of the 100 items were ready for pick up. And, none of them were children's books! Unbelievable...

Top Secret

Do you have a book by or about John Doe? (I can't remember the real name).

Let me check. No, it doesn't look like it. I can check amazon to see if it is something we don't own. Nope, it isn't there either. Where did you hear about the book?

I don't know if it exists. See, John Doe is my body guard and it is top secret in the government. So, I guess none of their secrets are published. Figures...

at the "academic" liberry

Clueless Student: I'm trying to do this online library orientation exam and there are just a couple of things I don't understand.

Me: OK, what can I help you with? (Keeping in mind that it is one week until final exams and this exercise is normally supposed to be completed at the beginning of the semester).

CS: Well, I found these magazine articles in XYZ database, but how do I know if they are full-text or not?

Me: Click on the title to bring up the full record. Now do you see the citation?

CS: What's that?

Me: The citation is the part that lists the title, author, etc.

CS: Oh yeah, right.

Me: Now look below the citation and tell me what you see.

CS: An article.

Me. Right.

CS: So like, is it full-text or not?

Me: If the article is included, then it's full-text. If you only see the citation and abstract, then it's not full-text.

CS: What's an abstract?

Me: It's a paragraph that summarizes the article.

CS: Oh yeah, right.

CS: So what about here, where it says "This title is not held locally" - what does that mean?

Me: It means our library doesn't subscribe to that journal. If you need that article, we can request it for you through interlibrary loan.

CS: What's that?

Me: It's where we ask another library to send a copy of the article for you.

CS: And how much does that cost?

Me: It's free for registered students.

CS: Really? That's so cool!!

Not gonna work for me

Our timeout software is coming soon. One of our colleagues at a different branch told a few of her customers about it. The guy said that's not gonna work for me. I can't sit still for more than 5 minutes. I have so much energy I have to log on, run around, and then come back.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Ebay man

The same man comes in day after day to surf ebay. And, every day he asks how he can save the picture of the item to a disk and upload it in an email.

Can he remember how to copy and paste into MS Word? No.
Does he remember how to switch between windows? No.
Does he know how to save the image to the a: drive? No.
How about browsing for the attachment? Of course not.

That's what the liberrians are there to do!

Cadillac stroller

A baby (about the age when they can almost walk) was sitting on the floor next to his huge Cadillac of a stroller while his mother was on the internet. It was so cool- he pushed it so far away (while crawling) and his mom didn't even "notice." She eventrually dragged him back.

The baby pushed the Cadillac again, but the oblivious mother didn't "notice." A man walked up to the desk and asked if that baby is with anyone. I walked over to the mother. She yelled I know, I know and didn't do anything!

Parenting lessons anyone?

Top 10

The top 10 books most likely to be "missing"

  1. GED
  2. ASVAB
  3. anything on dream interpretation or horoscopes
  4. Go Ask Alice (YA)
  5. how to do your own divorce (or any other legal help books)
  6. car repair
  7. music like Now That's What I Call Music or 50 Cent
  8. civil service test prep.
  9. books on microsoft products- and such a demand, at least tonight...
  10. anything by Matthew Lesko (why do we even buy them-- practically a guarantee they will disappear into thin air)

Number- call or phone?

Here's the call number: 700.8997

So is that your phone number?

Another UG

Another unemployed guy (UG) comes to the desk today and asks us if we ever visit bored.com. We both say no, we don't have time for that. Then, he reinacts several videos- one of someone fishing and fighting with a bear, and 2 others. When he was in the middle of the 2nd reinactment the phone rang so I didn't have to listen to him...

Dude, get a job!

Monday, May 16, 2005

X-rated genealogy?

Lady on the phone: Do you have the microfilm of the censor's reports?

You get 30 minutes--you can use them for whatever you want.

The other day, a woman who was waiting for the internet waved at me, trying to get my attention. She was making some kind of signals at me but I didn't know what she wanted so I went over.
Lady: (whispering) That guy is asleep!
Sure enough, a man was sitting in his computer chair, head back, fast asleep.
Me: (loudly) Excuse me. Are you all right?
Guy: Hm wha? Ahem. Oh. Yes, I was just trying to decide how to end this e-mail.

Things I say about 50 times a day

  • At the service desk, up front on the right.
  • In the back corner, by the windows.
  • In the lobby, on your left as you go out.
  • This is Marian at the reference desk, how can I help you?
  • No, you don't have to sign up. Just wait over there by the sign and take the next one that comes available.
  • There's no charge.
  • Over there, in the center shelf where it says 'Car Repair'.
  • 15 cents a page.
  • If it looks like it's turned off, press the orange button on the left side.
  • Did you press 'enter'?
  • There's a 30-minute time limit.


From our colleague:

I used to handle the donated books and found many interesting enclosures - bills, personal mail, business cards, grocery coupons...

Once someone donated a book called "How to satisfy any woman any time" or something like that. Tucked inside were four home-made photos of a nude couple going at it - waaayy more information than I wanted to see!!

Hold out your hand

I'm going to call my customer Sam... S as in Sam. Last summer Sam came to the desk and asked my colleague to hold out his hand. He did, and Sam gave him 2 racecars- the type from a cereal box or 7-11. My colleague said thanks, and Sam hurled up his suitcase onto the desk and proceeded to pull out about 25 more race cars.

Sam: You take em, I don't have any place for them.
Colleague: We don't want to take all your cars.
Sam (no voice modulation): Cuz cuz I don't have any space for them. You take em.

So my colleague went to the check out desk to get a plastic bag for them.

Sam: 4:00 already? Gotta split, lunchtime! Seeeeeee ya later!


Two boys who watched the scene came to the desk to look at the cars. I told them they could have them if they wanted, but they said that's ok, like kids in some movie I can't remember!


You can imagine the scene: Sam and his race cars, Mr. Kissy Kissy- sweety pie- hotcakes running around, phone ringing off the hook, and God knows what else!

Sunday, May 15, 2005

She did it!

I helped one of our regular customers make copies because he can't afford to mess up- he won't get paid until next week. I made the first copy and he screams she did it, she did it on the first try! and gives me a high five. I make the rest of the copies. Then he tells the security guard what I did. Security guard says, hey, don't let it get to her head... she went to college to learn that.

At 4:00, the regular guy always says 4:00 already? Gotta motor. Or gotta split! Dinnertime, seeeee ya later!

Ruined their day

A group of little boys raced to the desk to ask if they could use the internet. It was down, so Marian and I told them gosh, I'm sorry, the internet is down now. Well when will it be back up? There's no telling; it could be five minutes, it could be five hours. Why not check back with us tomorrow?


Isn't it something when the server goes down how the whole liberry clears out and becomes a quiet place!

They don't get it...

I need to see if you have a book on the rack.

I need it for take out, to go.

I need to take out a membership.

So tell me about your late fees...

Saturday, May 14, 2005


Today the UG gave me another origami gift. This time it was a squirrel. He said this is something for you to play with. So thoughtful, it is obvious that librarians just sit and the desk and read all day.

spell it

Ok, I'll hold the book for you at the check out desk for three days. Please tell me your last name and first initial.

Jones, S.

Did you say S as in Sam?

No, I said S as in Sarah.


I sort of want to say "S as in Santa Claus?" just to see what might happen!

Email II

Today was the Email II class- advanced (that's a laugh). The guy from Iraq came but couldn't remember his ID or password, so he had to start from scratch. I bet when he comes next week I'll have to walk him through the entire process again. That's why they pay me the big bucks!

Where do I sign up?

I'd like to sign up to be a saint.
Oh, let me call the pope... hello Benedict? I have a candidate here for sainthood.

More weeding

Lots of pen and crayon scribbles throughout the books on ADD/ADHD/why can't my child behave...

lesson of the day

The patron who wins the award for whining the most goes to a girl who is in nursing school. Her name is tattooed right on her arm in case anyone ever forgets it. But, there is no way I could ever forget her. She always whispers will you do it for me?

The other day she came in with her boyfriend. My colleague remarked- that just goes to show, there is someone for everyone!

New Hat

The guy who walks around calling all the women sweety, hotcakes, honey, turkey, I'm gonna get ya, you're fired, and blows kisses got a new hat. Around Christmas he wore the little Santa Hat. Then in January he switched to a red baseball cap. Now that summer is close, he has a straw hat!


The guy who never seemed to remember my name sure does now. His little routine for the past two days has been to make a special trip to the desk to say Hi [Name]. Fortunately there was a long line of people waiting both days.

However, he waited until the line ended and came again to say, Hi [Name], you sure do look nice today.

Printing 101

So what do I do to print? Just go under edit and hit copy? That didn't work.

Whatever he did, he printed 67 pages! What a mess.


More weeding, more bookmarks: Today it was just sunflower seeds and the gum that helps one stop smoking [in the horse racing ones]...

Also, lost of the fishing books were water damaged!


You girls are so lucky to be working here, and at your age, my! Did you have to go through any special training?

Friday, May 13, 2005


This story is from a colleague who worked at the liberry way back when we took names to sign up for the internet. She said, what is your name sir? He said, well Princess, what do you want it to be?

A few days later he returns with his seven year old daughter and Princess is working the children's reference desk. He tells her I asked about you the other day... you know, the one with the big bootie, ah haw haw haw!

Princess was a deer in the headlights. But that's exactly how I felt when the guy asked me if I do tae bo cuz I sure knocked him out. It just takes one time to learn...

Copy Machines 101 again

So where's your copy machine?

Right over there, by the window.

Comes back... Your copy machine ate my money.

You probably need to turn it on.

Oh, so now you tell me.

See this bright yellow sign that says the "on" switch is on the side of the machine? That is how you turn it on.

Oh, so now you tell me.


Caller: Do you have books about a psychopath?
Me: What kind of information are you looking for?
Caller: Basic information, easy to understand. I'm in my 50's and just found out that I'm a psychopath.

More weeding

Message in a donated book: Kim, if you want to, cut pages out to frame. Don't feel guilty. I would frame them all, if I had room. Enjoy! Merry Christmas! Roger & Terri

And what did Kim do with it? She donated it to the liberry, in perfect condition! Thanks Kim:)

Copy Machines 101

I want to make a copy.

Our copy machines are over there.

So what do I do, just put the whole book in there?

Yep, throw er right in the hopper!


An old couple came today to donate their lifetime collection of National Geographics. The husband kept showing me the different covers and asking me to guess the date. I told him that he should keep a few of them, and the wife said, we don't know how much longer we are going to live. We are old. But I can tell you are a very special little girl.

Yep, I look like I'm eight... plus twenty.

Thursday, May 12, 2005


UG= Unemployed Guy; one who comes to the library every day to watch the music videos and/or play games all day.

Today an UG gave me an origami bird. I said thanks, and he said, see? it flies!


A must read book is on display today: Dead Snails Leave No Trails; Check it out:)


Yesterday when I was weeding books I found a dirty kleenex and a coupon for Fuji film. However, when I talk to the veterans of the liberry, I learn about more interesting bookmarks- banana peel, strip of bacon... just 2 that I remember off the bat!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Gettysburg Address

Phone caller: How many words are in the Gettysburg address and what is the first sentence?

Colleague- 285, and reads off the first sentence about ten times, spells many of the words.
For a minute I thought she was going to read off the whole thing.

Ten minutes later he calls back, this time I answered. What day was the Gettysburg address? November 19, 1863. What? November 19, 1863. Huh? November 19, 1863. Oh.

Ten minutes later he calls back to ask- how long did it take Hitler to write Mein Kamph? My colleague did some research and told him it was written while Hitler was in prison for 9 months. Then he asks, what about the second volume. How long did that take?

Every time the phone rang I prayed it wouldn’t be him again!


We had a sub come in today, and she got some interesting questions. I asked her what it is like working in the other branches, and she said there is nothing like this branch. She has been here for 6 years, and said it was a lot crazier a few years ago. Why? They had this regular customer who would walk in with a colander on his head and marbles in his nose- taped in! Funny stuff.

email class

Just one student came to my Email class this morning. But I still have material to blog about… The student was the guy who asked us to schedule him an appt. to meet with Gov. Arnold and Pres. Bush, very important.

The first step is to get to yahoo. He writes yahoo, and says, comma, no problem? We resolved that problem and moved to the box where he needed to put his last name. He misspelled it over and over and over again! I had to keep asking him if he wants the a in the name. He couldn’t really remember the spelling of his name because he changed it when he moved from Iraq- his name in Iraq no good.

Of course the first 3 ID’s we tried to get were taken… life goes on until we get to the box to create a password. He says what I type? Make up a password. What I type? Do you have any pets? Zero, nothing. Well, do you like to eat? Fich. Now for the security question- what was your first car? Do you have a car? Yes, ford mini. He sees the word i-n-f-o, spells it out, and says what that?

The real test is always typing the characters generated at the end of the form. Type it just like it is: capital X, lower case y, the number 5. Capital 5? No, just 5.

We made it! and he laughs- Yahoo, that somebody from Jewish! Now I listen to BBC news in Arabic, no problem? Sure, no problem.

shower seat

Phone Caller: Hi, I just got a shower seat from Habitat for Humanity, but it didn’t come with any directions. Can you please tell me how I can install it?

I found a site with pictures and directions for such a task. I don’t know if it was for her specific model, but good enough…

save it

People who have lost weight often like to share all the details. Today this guy came in saying how hot it is outside, but that is because he was just speed walking. See, he lost 110 pounds just by speed walking. You know what I have to say about that? Save it for someone who cares!

Anyway, he came to ask about a book based on a movie. We don’t even know if the book even exists- he just thinks the book must exist because the movie was “based on a true story.” However, the word “story” doesn’t necessarily imply “book.”

Then he asked how much our programs cost. His response to free was wow, now there’s a 4 letter word nobody minds. Then he comments all my favorite actors are gay. My friend said- is nature trying to tell you something? Once again, save it for someone who cares.

He goes on and on as my colleague is searching for this nonexistent book. He says wow, I sure gave you a task, didn’t I. But I figure, you are a liberrian so you know everything!


Today I made the executive decision to weed Creating Dramatics in the Library. God knows there is enough drama in my liberry!

Monday, May 09, 2005

Complete Ditz

Today I went to the dentist. The hygenist there is a complete ditz. The first thing she says to me is wow, you are always renting books. The ones I read are the most boringest books ever. The annoying thing about her is that she constantly stops working to talk to me. Wow, I love your shoes. They are so cute. Where did you get them? Your ring is beautiful, I've never seen one like it. Where did you get it?

The dentist is no ditz. He enjoys spending time in his garage looking at all the rare books he has collected in his world travels.

Madame Butterfly

Cute woman about 60: Do you have Madame Butterfly?
Our Branch Liberrian: Let me look.
Woman: You are so tall, were you ever a ballet dancer?
BL: Yes.
Woman: Me, I love to dance. Even though I am fat, I love to dance. Makes me happy even though I am fat!
And she flits around in a circle just like a butterfly!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

More services we don't provide

These are frequently asked questions about services we don't provide:

Can I rent a camcorder?
How about a VCR player?
A DVD player?
Do you have a soda machine?
Do you have a coffee machine?
Where are all the comfortable chairs?

Marian is quick

Do you have Fascination?

Marian: Yes, we have Fast Food Nation.

That's why they pay her the big bucks!

Quote of the Day

from a colleague who always has a story up her sleeve:

"Let's not cry until we're spanked!"

Friday, May 06, 2005

Virtual Dad

Found in a children's book:

Dear Daddy,
You are the bestest dad in the whole world wide web!

did you know?

Did you know that you have three copies of the same book?

Yes. (It would blow him out of the water if I said there are probably 100 copies in the whole city!)

Well, can you give me a deal on one of them? I need to buy it.

2 levels of meaning

Phone call- Hello, I am calling on behalf of my weight loss group. We want to use your community room because our meeting place is much too small. See, our membership is really expanding and we need a very large room.

sign up to work here

So how do I sign up to work here?

All of our hiring is done through our central office.

Oh yeah? I once had a friend who worked at the main dish. But do you know what? My mom is a singer in the nightclub. It's good, it gives her something to do. I can never go because I'm moving soon with my fiance.

don't know

Woman in her 30's: I'd like to use the internet.

Me: OK, wait over there.

Then it is her turn and she doesn't know what to do. I ask her if she has ever used the internet before, and she says I don't know. Maybe. It's one of those things I just can't remember.

spell it

Woman in her 30's: Spell pencil videa.
Me: I'm not sure what you mean.
Woman: Pencil videa.
Me: Can you use it in a sentence?
Woman: Pencil videa is a city in Philadelphia.

Ten minutes later she returns.

Woman: I'm trying to make travel arrangements to pencil videa. But where's Fort Lauderdale?
And the computer can't find the city of pencil videa.

What a mess...

Just left

I just left the computer cuz it wouldn't do anything.

How many languages?

An old man said to me, "Ask me how many languages I speak."

So I said, "How many languages do you speak?"

Man: "Ten. How about you?"

Me: "Just English."

Man: "Praise the Lord!" ... then "Muchas gracias!"

I know you are not a medical library...

but do you have a book about the fifth cranial nerve that I can check out?

Stop, rewind. Did you say you know we aren't a medical library? Then you have your answer.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Paul Bunyan

The children's librarian from another branch came visit and be the guest storyteller. When she walked in the front door, she noticed a ginormous ax. Hopefully it was left outside a construction crew, not our patrons. Thinking about safety, she picked it up and took it to the lost and found.

Yes, I am here for children's storytime. Today we will read about Paul Bunyan!

Gonna beep!

Movie Man (who checks out strange combinations like Bring It On and Pippi Longstocking) said, "I'm gonna beep when I walk through the exit. I've got this special shampoo."
Is your special shampoo made of metal?

Writing a letter

A woman was writing a letter in MS Word. She called me over to help move the address down the page. I noticed the letter was to a friend in "Sandi Ego." I hope it gets there!


A gentleman and his friend come up to the reference desk:

Guy: I would like to buy a Spanish-German dictionary.
Me: Well, we don't sell any books here. You just borrow them, and then you bring them back.
Guy: (looking confused) You don't sell them?
Me: No, just lend.
Guy: How long can you borrow them for?
Me: Three weeks.
Guy: (to friend) Huh! That's not bad! (to me) And how much does it cost?
Me: Nothing; it's free.
Guy: (he and friend are completely gobsmacked by this idea) FREE?!?!
Me: Yep.
Guy and Friend: WOW.

And just to make us even more awesome, we actually had a Spanish-German dictionary.

We rule.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Huck Finn

Do you have Huck Finn? I've tried to read it several times and I never get past the part where he dresses like a girl. I want to give it another go!

Not a service we provide

So, do you guys rent headphones?

There is one attached to each computer.

So that's it? You don't have any others?

She was looking for a headset for her cell phone. Sorry, we don't provide accessories to make it easier to talk on your cell phone! I know I haven't lost my mind; headsets are obviously a service we don't provide!

Online exam

I am taking an online class, and one of the requirements for our exam is that the browser has to be AOL or Netscape. Do you have either one of those?

Sorry, we just have Internet Explorer.

I wonder if the class was about frustrations of the net in the 1990's.

No cell phones

Excuse me, can you please take your cell phone conversation outside?

No, I don't know how to use it, that's why. (Huge exhale), and continues to talk.


The highlight of my day-

A man was using the microfilm machine--- without --- asking for help in setting it up. I can't believe I didn't have to hold his hand and do the work for him!

Seating Chart

Can you print out the seating chart for the concert I'm going to tonight?

I bring it up on the screen, and she freaks out because her tickets are near the front. She says to her boyfriend, "Wow, you really weren't kidding! These seats are in the front row!"

My RefGrunt

It is really headache material to create a detailed RefGrunt, but here are today's highlites:

Caller: I'm looking to reserve a couple of books.
He tells me the titles and says "all right!" several times.
Woman wanting to upload resume: So is Yahoos as good as any, or what do you think about MSN?
Girl: Is the old man who was working at this desk yesterday here?
Me: Can you be more specific?
Girl: Tall, skinny, glasses, gray hair.
Me: That still doesn't help me.
There are 2 men who work here and too many people think they are twins, even though they look nothing alike.
How much is a color print?
15 cents a page.
So, what about prints in color?
15 cents a page.
Hi girl, hi honey, hi dear, hotcakes, I'm gonna get you, (and blows kisses).
So where do I sign up to look at the computer?
This isn't a museum- but if you want, you can stand over there and look at the computer all day!
Where's the copy machine?
Over there by the window.
So where's the copier?
Just over there by the window.

Yes, that was a different guy who asked about the color prints twice.
And the most frustrating reference work of the day: A man came in looking for a list of vendors outsourced by the city and county. He wants to contact each company to "infuse capital." I found some information about vendors on the city's site, but it wasn't enough detail. I explained that the type of information he is looking for is probably not released to the public. He says, "I know that, that is why I am at the library asking you to find the information. Hurry up, I don't have all day. Walk me through how I can find the SIC codes" So annoying, he wouldn't give it up! Finally Marian goes to the back office and calls me to ask if I need a rescue. Unfortunately, it was too late because he left.


I was weeding some retro books in the late 700's and came across one about backpacking with children. I showed it to Marian, and she said- Wow, I bet my parents checked out that book before they took me backpacking on the Matterhorn when I was 2.

My 1st thought -- Wow, they hiked the mountain at Disneyland? When I was 2, my parents took me to Disneyland several times a year, but probably pushed me in a stroller instead of actually hiking the Matterhorn.


Mother of 4th grader

My son needs books about American culture, costume, holidays, traditions, anything American. All in one book.

I show her the area...

So, are we in North America?

I don't know what planet you are on, but yes, I am in North America now.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Ref Grunt! Because all the cool kids are doing it!

May 2, 2005 10am-12pm

(This is all the questions I got during my desk shift this morning. No additions or deletions, scout's honor!)

10:01 Where are your books on billiards?

10:02 Can we print?

10:05 (billiards guy returns)
Him: Can we buy any of these books?
Me: No, this is a library.
Him: I know, but even if you order extras, I can't buy them?
Me: No.
Him: You don't sell books at all?
Me: No.

10:10 PHONE: Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday by Steinbeck

10:15 PHONE: "I was reading on the internet about American Regionalism and how it's ruining our country. Do you have any books about that? I couldn't find very much on Google—I think it's a secret. They want to have appointed officials and do away with the elections, so it's very important to find out about it."

10:17 Do you have the phone book with the government agencies? And can you tell me which congressional district we're in?

10:23 Can I use the computer?

10:40 Can we use the computer?

10:48 PHONE:
Guy: My name is Brian, and I'd like to make a request.
Me: Okay, what is your request?
Guy: I want the video Sun Style Tai Chi, the 73 Forms.
Me: Sorry, we don't have it—we have one with 24 forms…
Guy: Can the library buy the 73 forms?
Me: Sure, come in and fill out a request form and we'll consider it.

10:50 Can you order Sea Wolves with David Niven, and Beethoven, you know, the one with the dog?

10:52 Can we use the computers? And can we print?

Girl: Can you help me print this out? It keeps getting cut off at the side.
Me: Sure.
(it's pictures of people with hideous mouth diseases from tobacco use.)
Me: Ew, gross.
Girl: (cracks up)

10:58 An older gentleman would like to know all eventualities of the internet policy, e.g. what if he gets off then gets back on, what if no one is waiting, etc. etc.

11:00 Books on electrolytes for a 5th grader

11:05 Can you help me get to Shrek2.com?

11:07 You can take that empty computer there, if you're waiting.

11:09 Guy in "Trust Me, I'm a Doctor" shirt: "where do I pick up my prints?"

11:10 Can I use the computer? And where do you have books on representing yourself in court?

11:12 That other guy was helping me.

Lady: Can I order Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand?
Me: I think we have it on the shelf.
Lady: Wonderful!
Lady: Thank you!

11:18 I can't find that number you gave me.

11:19 Do you have paper?

11:20 And a pencil?

Guy: Can you run TurboTax on these computers?
Me: No, you can't run any outside software.
Guy: And you don't have it on there already, do you?
Me: Sorry, no.
Guy: Do you need a credit card to get on the computers?
Me: No, it's free.

11:33 I'm just looking for an internet computer.

11:36 PHONE: "I'm calling from out of state—do you have the [Large City Two Counties Away] Times from 1951, or do I need to call the [Large City] Public Library for that?"

11:41 Where are your books on interior design?

11:45 The children's librarian wants me to come look at some flyers or something.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Another grouch

"How come your homepage doesn't support UNIX? I bet you have never even heard of it, have you... You are trying to get rid of old men like me."

Marian: Actually, our homepage supports Internet Explorer, Netscape, Firefox, and Opera, just to mention a few.

Bet ya haven't heard of those!