Saturday, December 31, 2005

One of my favorite transcripts--

Kid: My family is at my house and we have nothing 2 do. What should we do????

Liberrian: why don't you go for a walk?

K: it's dark

L: is that a problem?

K: yes are parents don't want us 2 get hit by a car duh

L: Why don't they go out with you?

K: because there bissy cooking 4 Thanksgiving.and who whould want 2 walk with themanyway

L: Okay. Well, this isn't an advice service. (i.e. that's not a service we provide). My job is to help answer informational questions. So you'll just have to use your imagination and figure out what to do.

K: o please help do u know any fun games?? Like what do u play with your family???

L: [Page sent - Yahooligans!] Here are some links you might enjoy.

K: AWESOME!!!!!!!!! thanks there sexy

L: You're welcome. Is that all you need right now?

K: I mean cool I guesse


Why I like this post: The word "bissy" reminds me of Kip Dynamite's conversation with Napoleon. Can you come and pick me up? My lips hurt real bad. No Napoleon, I'm bissy. Ask the school nurse. She has like 5 sticks in her drawer.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Password Frustration

Once tech savvy Mike had to call the help desk to reset his password. I was in the office too, so I overheard the call. Mike was getting very frustrated, and told the helper that I would speak to them instead.

Hello? Yes, enter password7.

Mike had been entering 7 over and over and over...


Creative Customer Comments/Complaints from Crabby Curmudgeons--

if you are taking critiques on your n ew website, i do not like it. it is unacceptable; for starters, you: have broken links; ask for the same info over and over; have to request an advanced search. i'm sure there's more but i just got frustrated and got off the site. this is cumbersome and archaic programming and i know what i am talking about because i am a systems programmer


finally have moved into the 21st century and got rid of most of the primitive 'log in and prove who you are' crap

unbelievable bugs in the catalog searches


I have to find the "canned" response to contact the second one today.

Common words in the titles of Western novels


Mix and match: make your own!

The Lonesome Hell Riders
Buffalo Honor
Down the Border Trail
Devil's Revenge Hunt
Red Bullet River
The Legend of the Buckskin Gunman

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Deep Reference Question

Yes, an actual question:

If I ate only Cheetos, would I turn orange?

Liberrians are paid to answer...

Do cows have kneecaps?

What was Benjamin Franklin's favorite color?

Why are donut boxes pink?

What is a shit talking mushroom? i.e. shataki mushroom

What is the execretory system of a moose and how does it work?

What happens if you eat too many calories?

I need information on the two hemiphere's of the brian.

What happened during Paul Reverses Ride? I need the answer.

Which beaches are near to Baltimore? In case I go to Ocean City, wherecan i sleep that be cheap, as i am student?

how we take a paper book to our home from the big book place?

I recently had a sinus infection, that I think I'm currently gettingover but now I have a really itchy throat, causing me to cough alotand sometimes gag myself. DO you think this is normal to follow asinus infection?

Audiobook Posters

Don't Read

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Frantic email about fines

Please check my library records I paid and brought in the outstanding books 3 years ago! it has not cleared my name and in fact says i have been sent to a collection agency. This is not right i paid in person and brought back a couple of the books please help!


So, he admits he brought back "a couple" of the books. How many more might he have?

Virtual Reference Desk

Today my job was to answer the virtual questions emailed in... I sifted through an archive of questions from the past month. Most questions are about PINs, renewals, or obit requests. However, here are some highlights:

  • Hi, I want to know if u guys check out SAT practice books.
  • I'm a 55 year old woman; where can I play tennis at the parks and recs?

(didn't you sort of answer your own question?)

  • Approximately how many gypsies (romanis), communists, and homosexuals died in auschwitz? i mean seperately.
  • A friend just lost his legs and we were signing a get well card. I am at a loss of what to say. I hope you can help me. I feel so bad.

Answer for #4-- let Hallmark do the talking. Just sign "Love, [your name]."

Saturday, December 24, 2005

2005-- the year of

Love the Liberry blog

What's next? The best is yet to come!

Possible Customer of the Year--2005

It's tough to decide on this award, but here's a candidate-- call him Joe.

Joe always has about 80 items on order. He discovered 100 is the limit. Frequently he "accidently" hits the "delete all holds" button. Then Bernice has to call the help desk for III to restore the list. However, his place in line is lost.

Also, he believes staff have an "unfair advantage" on ordering the new DVDs. He thinks they are cataloged in the client first before they are displayed in the web opac, which, of course, isn't true.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Mr. Conspiracy Theorist Guy

The old white-haired man with ponytail and long mustach comes to the desk and starts talking about a book that he knows should be in the collection but has gone missing...He's researching his genealogy again, and knows we have the book. Mutters something about the games that "they" play because this book has disappeared. Then he starts in on military conspiracies, and about how the military runs a prostitution business. He says that G.W. Bush is setting up a new Hooters restaurant in Germany... He says: I mean, Hooters ... in Berlin, *you* figure it out.


Today Tara saw Max sitting by the front door eating a carmel apple.

Google-- Cluelessness Continued

Today searches for cluelessness continued, liberry books, liberry jokes, as well as ridiculous liberry on Google give Love the Liberry #1! Yeah! When will liberry be in the dictionary?

Monday, December 19, 2005

Completely Clueless and/or Totally Trusting?

A customer came to the desk to report that there was a truck in the parking lot with the keys in the ignition, motor running, and no one in it. We made an announcement: "Will the owner of a blue Ford pickup, license number XYZ please come to the circulation desk?" A young man who had been using the Internet for at least 15 minutes came to the desk and said it was his truck. We pointed out that it really wasn't a good idea to leave his vehicle running unattended. He asked, "Why not? I set the brake!"

Sunday, December 18, 2005

liberry @ my grade school

My mom was a reading specialist @ my Catholic grade school, and last weekend she reminded me of one the valid complaints from a parent.

The students have to check out books only according to their grade level. So, if Johnny is in 4th grade but finds a book he wants to read on the 5th grade shelf, he'll have to wait until next year to check it out.

God forbid we'd read above our grade level. I wonder if it was like that for those public school kids.

Yeah, that was a cute liberry-- one cent fines, and a really old liberrian named Agnes. After she died, a mother took over the job. She used to cut out pages from books that contained "offensive" material. I think she still works there.

Key Term

Frequently Bernice must define courtesy notice to angry customers. They don't get it... I didn't receive the courtesy notice, so why should I pay the fine?

No one reads the FAQs on our site, but we have a little paragraph that defines the term.

Job Titles-- story from our LIII

Everyone who works in a hospital is not a doctor, and everyone who works in a library is not a liberrian!

Last week I attended the FOL meeting. The branch manager normally attends also, but was not there. In looking at the agenda, the FOL Pres said, "Our liberrian is not here tonight, so I guess we won't have a liberry report." I raised my hand and said, "Well, actually I'm the liberrian and I do have a report." They listened, but did not write anything down. Later, someone suggested they could buy a book cart to put in front of the liberryy to display their books for sale. They wondered if that would be OK. I told them other branches do it, and it is fine. The Pres said, "Well, we'll just wait and ask the liberrian."

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Google goes Cookie Monster

Aren't these googly Cookie Monster eyes just precious? They move too!

Good Place

Today I drove 110 miles to take pictures of the branches for our new homepage. When I was at one branch a mom and a girl about 3 were @ the checkout desk.

Mom-- where's your card, sweetheart?
Girl-- in my boot. (knee-height)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Recent Reference Question

Every month a newsletter is published about interesting reference questions. Here's an entry from December:

A customer thought she had seen a PBS documentary about young male elephants that were attacking white rhinos in Africa. She said it was discovered they were "juvenile delinquents" whose parents had been poached and now had no role model. She wanted to purchase or rent a video of the program to use for domestic violence classes. We found a 60 Minutes segment about such rogue elephants that attributed the behavior to an excess of testosterone that was resolved by importing larger males to reduce the sexual activity, therefore the hormones. The customer confirmed this was the show and was given information on ordering tapes for 60 Minutes programs.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

HTML class

Today I went to an all day training on HTML. I thought it would be Dreamweaver, but that isn't until Jan. I did pick up a couple things in the class, like favicons, Alexa, and a page a clever kid created called Million Dollar Homepage (tangents to the subject). However, I was mostly the "know it all" in class but did my best to keep quiet while we moved @ a snail's pace.

We created pages with notepad and one of the men asks, so, like, are these pages online for everyone to see?

Another woman says... so, if I don't want anyone to see my page (i.e. make it confidential) I just forget the metadata?

Instructor's question: does everyone know the difference between .com, .org, .mil, .edu, ...?
Lady: I'll fess up. I don't know.


And I thought teaching patrons how to use the mouse required patience.

Monday, December 12, 2005

City Liberry

Today after work I stopped by the local city liberry to pick up 2 books I had ordered. I asked if they were in, and the woman checks the holdshelf-- nothing-- and says did we call you?

me-- Um, no, I didn't know you would. That's ok, I'll stop by after you call.

Ten minutes later I'm in the grocery store and my cell phone rings-- the message was that my liberry books were ready for pickup.

Isn't that something, they didn't unpack/make the calls until 10 minutes AFTER I left. I didn't feel like returning to the branch; I decided to save that for another day.

the day off-- drama

Last week Marian missed a couple days because of a cold/cough/et al. Today her supervisor was concerned that Marian didn't call in, so she decided to call Marian. Marian answered and said she's fine, but doesn't work today. (She works four 10 hour days). Her supervisor was embarrassed.

Which reminds me of a story when I worked @ the branch. One of the liberrians, Mike, had a long career in social work. He was super concerned one Tuesday when Frank didn't come into work. Mike was sure Frank had a heart attack. He immediately told lots of stories of how he's seen this happen before... and when he called he found out that Frank wouldn't be in b/c he worked the previous Sunday!

What would YOU do?

Bernice does all the trainings, and one of her classes is called "what would you do." Today one of her students, a liberry technician guy probably in his 20's or 30's and new to the liberry said-- I have a situation and was wondering what you would have done:

There was a woman in her 30's who told her story about how she couldn't return the books because she was in the hospital. No one in her family could return the books either. Then she pulled up her shirt and said see my scars!

The guy said he turned all shades of red... I probably would have fainted!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

A bookmark Marian found for me

Don't look for it on eBay. This one is in my permanent museum. From 1980, ALA.

Love Miss Piggy


Clever rules for approaching a liberrian.

Frank saves the day, again

Story from Tara--

Tara was working the ref desk yesterday when the hard of hearing man came in. He said, I'm 91... do you have the definition of 'common sense'? Tara found it for him in the dictionary and read/screamed it off. Then he pulled out a tape recorder and had her read it into it. He replayed it, top volume, and was upset that she didn't read it correctly or something wrong... Tara handed it over to our sub, Kathy. Poor Kathy, comes in about 2x a month... went through the same thing. Kathy yells to Tara-- get Frank!

Frank came out and as soon as the man saw him everything was solved. He calmed down, and Frank escorted him out. On the way out, the man asked Frank about the bus. So, who knows where the man with or without common sense went.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Another non-liberry story

Last weekend I went on my annual Christmas shopping trip with my sisters and mom. Our annual time to "...maybe ... make ginger bread houses, and eat cookie dough, and go ice skating, and maybe even hold hands" [ELF]. My younger sister had a bad cold, and on the plane she sneezed about 19 times. The guy sitting next to her said God Bless You 19 times also. Ridiculous.

Our Grave Mistake

Today I browsed through the folder on website usability. I found a complaint (how unusual)--

"He really 'hates' the whole thing [catalog], but in particular he is very upset with the color scheme. He cannot see the dark blue on the light blue text. He says anyone with knowledge of design knows that blue on yellow is the easier combination to read and that we have made a grave mistake in going away from that."

Can I Help You?

Not a liberry story, but a good one about the lack of customer service:

Last week my dad went to a department store to buy a pair of Dockers. He was the first one in the door when it opened, and a friendly employee said hi, can I help you? My dad said sure, I'm looking for men's Dockers.

They went around and around in figure eights looking for the pants. My dad said they walked about a mile. Finally he said, don't worry, I'll find it myself. She said I'm not really familiar with the men's department.

Then don't say can I help you unless you mean it! Like, hi, how are you?

Friday, December 02, 2005


TOwed or StOlen?

Towed or stolen? They sound similar.

A woman claimed she couldn't return her books because her car was stolen. When she sent us the vehicle report, it said it had been towed, not stolen.

Sorry, you still have to turn them in and pay up!

Quote from our director--

A good manager is like Exlax... gets 'em going, then they go on their way!


How can a liberry's contact us page have something@hotmail, earthlink, or aol? Or, there are an unbelievable number of liberries with homepages like geocities or tripod! Obviously, they don't all have the big bucks. Here are a few "winners" I found today--

Why even bother?

Last Updates

Others of Note--
  • Buffalo Creek Memorial Marian says, " Buffalo one totally says -- Please never, ever, ever come to this library. We hate you and wish you would die in a frozen wasteland."
  • Ironridge Is it just me, or can you find the location?
  • Breeden Memorial Liberry Their hours are in "fast time," whatever that means

Give these credit for trying---


Completely opposite-- one of the best kid's sites is @ Mead Public Liberry. The alien is precious. However, I think the sounds would drive me insane!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Sounds so crazy, it must be true.

-----Original Message-----

From: Liberrian III
To: Liberrian IIIa
Subject: Customer question


I am hoping you can help this woman... who has been passed around to several branches already! She is a customer from Branch X (which has been closed), and she requested some books before the branch closed. She said that two weeks ago she spoke with Dave, who is a staff member who was working on the bookmobile. He told her that her requests would most likely be in the boxes packed up when the branch closed and will not be unpacked until the new library opens Dec 8. She asked if he could retrieve them from the boxes for her because her child needs these books now. She said he told her he would check the boxes and call her back. That was two weeks ago and she has not had a call. When she tried to call the number he gave her, the mailbox was full.

I don't know anyone named Dave at Branch X- is he new? Could you possibly find out what's up and have someone call this lady back? Her name is Marcie and her number is 555-1212.

Thanks much!


----Original Message-----
From: LIII
Subject: customer question


She called me again today - have you been able to talk to Branch X's staff about this? Can one of them call her back?

Thanks for your help -

-----Original Message-----
From: LIIIa
Subject: RE: customer question

The Branch X staff has tried repeatedly to reach her to no avail. But, will send this along. Sorry, you keep getting the calls, why doesn't she try calling them now? Their phones are operating and they would love to hear from her, encourage her if she calls again, please!


-----Original Message-----
From: Branch X Liberrian
Subject: RE: customer question


LIII had given us another telephone number to contact her. Dave spoke with customer yesterday. She turns off her telephone at a certain time so her husband can sleep.

Branch X Liberrian

-----Original Message-----
From: Branch X Liberrian
Subject: RE: customer question

Listen to this. Dave (he is new from the academic liberry) and an excellent LT2 who is ready to be an LT3, tried to reach her daily but couldn't reach her until you furnished them with her other no. She turns off the phone we had number for so her sleeping husband would not be bothered. Anyway, Dave offered to check out books for her and have them ready at lib for her pick up. She declined saying she would wait for all her reserves to arrive. And the books she is awaiting...romance novels. Every time you think you have heard it all...

Sorry for your involvement. Sounds so crazy, it must be true.


PS: Marian thinks this customer is the one who loves to send in requests for purchase on the “ask the liberrian” part of the site.

Wait a minute... "her child needs these books now" versus "romance novels." Hmmm.

Delayed reaction

Today a woman called to ask why her account had gone to collection. It was because she still had a book that was due last November.

Yeah, I like to wait a year before I think about returning my items too.

Mr. Seeeeeeee Ya Later

I haven't heard any stories about Mr. Seeeeee Ya Later in a while, so I was happy to get this one today from Frank-

Mr. SYL- Will you sharpen my pencil? (I'm surprised, he usually has a ball point pen, which is always NO GOOD!).

Tara sharpens the pencil.

Mr. SYL examined it for a minute and said in a voice you could hear on the moon-- It's perfect!!! You did it!!!! It's perfect!!! You did it!!!!

Etc. Three or four more times. A customer asked me if he was for real. Yep, real excited.


Lucky him, to get such pleasure from little things.


Today I surfed lots of liberry sites, looking for ideas for our new one. Why, oh why, do people think that comic sans is appealing, especially for the teen pages?

Love it