Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Turned Around

Yesterday my LII went to the branch to work the ref desk for a while. An older man (I bet it was Mr. Common Sense) asked her to show him the exit as he is a little turned around. While she was walking him out the door, he said, you look just like Elizabeth Taylor.

She hopes he meant the young ETaylor.

Monday, January 30, 2006


Today a branch had to ask a problem patron to leave because of his fragrance and the fact that he wet his pants. He demanded to see the policy in writing, so the liberrian showed him the binder. But he wanted it in Spanish, so the liberrian found a bilingual colleague. The patron yelled-- this guy is Mexican, I want someone white, and then demanded that he read the policy in German.

Virtual Reference

(Since I was on vacation last week, I didn't get to answer this one).


Q: Where can i find a book on how to get deep into a loving relationship with my boyfriend?

A: In doing an initial search in the catalog, I came across several titles that might be of interest: Don't Sweat the Small Stuff in Love, Simple Ways to Nurture and Strengthen Your Relationships, by Richard Carlson (call number: 306.7 CAR) and Mars and Venus on a Date: a Guide for Navigating the 5 Stages of Dating to Create a Loving and Lasting Relationship, by John Gray (call number: 646.77 GRA).

Also, if you do a Subject search in the catalog on one of the following topics you would be able to browse other titles in this general subject area: "love", man-woman relationships", dating (social customs), "couples."

Still doesn't get it

I wrote the directions for the CD burners last year. Apparently, they weren't clear enough. Here's what has been happening @ a liberry branch:

We have been working with a customer over the past weeks who has been having a heck of a time saving things to a CD but then especially opening them again and making changes. He has repeatedly been given the printout of the FAQ but still does not seem to get it. He was in on Sat. and, according to what he said to me today, the 3 liberrians all tried and could not get it to work. I spent quite a while demonstrating the process, but he still had trouble when he attempted it on his own.

I watched him and the hang up for him seemed to be the whole concept of not working at all from the CD - not making any changes until you put a copy in the CD Burner Buffer. When he finally understood where and at what point the document says "Read-Only" I thought he had it. No, he still continued to get error messages that I never got when showing him.

Also, he says that it would help novice users if #4 under MAKING CHANGES TO FILES... was corrected to say, at the end, Click on "Open" instead of Click on “OK."

Possible Patent

We need to find a way to prevent the customers from turning off the computers in attempt to hack around the timeout software. The perfect tool would the duct tape and a water bottle cap over the off button. Maybe I'll patent one.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Gonna be some more changes made

I get to revise the contact us page again when I come back from vacation next week. One of the LIIIs announced retirement. I think I'm going to keep track and count, ah ah ah, the number of times I update that page.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Revised Menu of Services We Provide

Since the menu below was published in 1991, I have several additions:

  • email $1.50
  • PIN $1.75
  • disc $.40
  • CD $.75
  • USB flash stick $4.00

Computer help
  • opening an email account $3.00
  • resetting the PIN $3.75
  • setting an appt. with the immigration office $6.75
  • undoing the "delete all" holds $7.00 the first time, $10.00 each additional time
  • formatting and printing images $6.00
  • burning a CD $5.00
  • defining services we don't provide $10.00
  • reminder to turn off cell phone $17.00 first time, $25.00 each additional time

Menu of Services We Provide

I found this in my liberry files. It's from

Carol Hole, "Fees for Library Services." The Whole Library Handbook. Comp. George Eberhart. Chicago: ALA, 1991. 444.

My note: These fees need to be adjusted for inflation.


Telephone Reference
Ready Reference: $.25/min
If staff must get up to answer $.50/min
Singing answer $5.00
  • in rhyme $6.00
  • with musical backup $7.50
Guaranteed correct answer $10.00

Reference Materials
  • first 1/2 hour $.35
  • succeeding half-hours $.50
  • back issues $.25
  • current issues, per half-hour $.50
*Note: Magazine binder locks when time is up.

Reader Guidance
Looking in card catalog for patron $.35
  • per author/title $.35
  • per subject $.50
*Penalty of $.25 for each incorrect author or title given to librarian.

Explaining Dewey system $2.98
Explaining LC system $5.98
Explaining AACR2 $1,000.00

Reference Questions
Directional questions $.05
Research questions, general $.50/ 3 min.
Switching subject in mid-question $1.50
Municipal or government documents $2.00
Looking up symptoms in Merck Manual $5.00
Genealogy questions $10.00
  • Repairing microfilm reader $20.00

* Contracts for the following reference questions available at reference desk. Notary on duty at all times.

Business questions 10% of profits
Explaining tax form 30% of refund
Explaining how to get divorce 20% alimony
Looking for non-payers in city directory for collection agency 50% of recovery.
Note: 20% discount on reference questions if you know what you want and can explain it in plain English.

Information and referral questions
Cop who fixes tickets $1.98
Honest mechanic $24.50

Friday, January 20, 2006

Feeding Nemo

One branch has a huge expensive fishtank. When it was first built, the deal was that the liberrians would clean the tank and feed the fish. However, the administrators made it crystal clear that cleaning the tank and feeding Nemo is not a service liberrians provide.

On the agenda

My next job will be to delete the DELETE ALL HOLDS button in the webopac, because our guy keeps pressing it. Then he is totally upset he loses his place in line... Can't wait till that one disappears!


Yesterday I got this forever long message on my voice mail like this blah blah blah... problem with the website... blah blah blah. Oh, by the way, my name is Harry.

When I called Harry back he had no recollection of his message. He said, who is this? Which liberry? Oh, yeah, I think I have a problem with the website, what's a PIN?

Thursday, January 19, 2006


Rules we could apply @ the liberry. I especially like the statement "do not assume that everyone ... cares what you are saying."

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Just for Laughs

I decided to use one of the wonderful translation tools to see what would happen if I converted the Spanish part of our site to English.

  • One site contains info on how to get kids to read, from drinks until age 6.
  • Another one offers "amused infantile activities."
  • "How to prepare the son for school"
  • FAFSA translates to Gratuitous Request of Federal Aid for Students.
"I love technology!"

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Insane Translations

Bernice is back from her conference, and she reviewed the free translator tool.

  • Volunteer Opportunities translates to "requirements to offer yourself"
  • Where can I return my books translates to "where can I return myself"
  • The word branches translates to ramas, has something to do with the word prostitute.
  • CD Burners translates to hornillas, which means little ovens!
  • The word for flash sticks = toothpicks.
  • PIN numbers are either needles, screws, or safety pins.

My colleague said, the more I read it, the worse it gets.

Another day of laughter/tears!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Perfect Comments

Next time I'm working the ref desk and the customer starts babbling, I wish I could say either--

  • You know everything is not an anecdote. You have to discriminate. You choose things that are funny or mildly amusing or interesting. You're a miracle! Your stories have NONE of that. They're not even amusing ACCIDENTALLY! (Trains, Planes, & Automobiles).
  • What do you want me to do, clap? (my Grandfather's line)
Actually, I could use this line next time I'm sitting next to a Chatty Cathy on a plane too.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Unnecessary Messages to Liberry-All

Marian and I love to laugh at the unnecessary messages sent to the entire liberry email list.
  • Does anyone want these weeds? (long list of titles) followed by a message 10 minutes later-- "last chance."
  • We need 3 more boxes of calendars to distribute. Followed by more messages that continue the conversation-- yeah, we need more too. Same here...
  • I'm checking on the status of my application/interview. (Could have saved this person embarrassment).
  • And, a couple years ago we changed the branch codes from 3 to 2 letters. The problem was that some of the labels weren't legible. This began a long conversation sent to liberry-all. Guess what? We got a book meant to be sent to AB and we are BA... Oh yeah, same here, we got 3 books sent to the wrong branch.
My solution: The "liberry-all" should be removed from the address book. Instead, messages should be sent to HQ to be approved first. However, if I suggest it, it will be my job.

A little TMI Overheard in NY

Sssh! This is a Library!

Old Woman: Oh, I just feel so gassy. I've got so much gas.



Overheard in a College Liberry

A student working on a paper asked for help finding information on an artist for whom all the library's books were in foreign languages. Off we went to the reference section, where I showed him the Dictionary of Art (which is really a multi-volume encyclopedia), Oxford Companion to 20th Century Art, and more. He followed along as I showed him how to use the encyclopedia's index and was very pleased to find information on the artist as well as the artist's style, period and the artistic movement (Die Brücke) to which the artist belonged. The student asked, "If there's a Dictionary of Art, is there a Dictionary of Dance??" I said not by such a title, but yes, there were many similar resources for dance research, and we went and looked at those for his dance history paper. Happy and relieved to find so much material, the student said, "Wow. Now I feel like a real college student."

U of the Arts Liberries

No Way

Park Ridge Public Liberry links to us!

The Most Stressful Job

The BBC says liberrians have the most stressful job. The article states liberrians "are the most unhappy in their workplace."

Sorry, I don't buy that. This job is way more entertaining than when I used to make cotton candy at the local theme park. I'd rather come home with stories to blog instead of eyelashes full of pink sugar.

Another Overheard in NY

Down's Decimal System

Chick: I'm looking for a book on wars.
Librarian: Okay. Anything in particular?
Chick: Oh, you know. Just whatever.

--NY Science Library


Yesterday I added a translation tool to one of our pages. The guy who speaks Spanish didn't think highly of it. However, this am I got an email from a woman -- Hi Amy, I don't speak a word of Spanish, but I just wanted to tell you that the translation tool looks wonderful!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Ridiculous Self Promotion

Sometime last month everyone on the "contact us" page received a message from a local author trying to sell his (lame) book.

Today I received a message from john at selfpromotemysite dot com asking me to post his selfpromotemysite dot com. Nice try.

Lucy the Liberrian

Fighting the Stereotype

Cool article

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Overheard in NY

From Overheard in NY--

"It's not the same without Beardsley."

Lady: Excuse me, but I'm looking for a book.
Store chick: And?
Lady: I don't remember the title or author, but the cover is purple.
Store chick: Our purple books are downstairs.
Lady: They sent me up here.
Store chick: We're sold out of purple books. You want something in a yellow?

--Barnes & Noble, Brooklyn Heights

Updates about my fav customers from Frank

I had to interrupt Mr. By the Way's job coach's internet session the other day because I just couldn't take it anymore. The next time Mr. BTW came to the desk, the job coach came up and intercepted him. That was last week.

I saw Mr. Shrek 2 on one of the computers today as I passed by. I didn't notice what website he was on, but I can guess.

Conspiracy guy has been asking for some complicated ILL microfilm requests lately, which we have been filling for him. But trying to talk him through the steps of ordering while he goes on about this and that makes for an interesting "reference interview."

Mr. Seeee Ya Later came up to me at the desk with a fistful of ball point pens which he handed to me. "Garbage," he said. "Trash," he said, making breaking -in -two motions. He said it 6 or 7 times. I had left the pens on the desk while I was talking to a customer. He finally left. The customer said, "I think he means those pens are garbage." I tried the pens. They worked fine.


This story is from my sister, but I'm blogging it because it has to do with a book and someone named Pedro (didn't change the name for this one).

Background-- My sister speaks Spanish and lives with a roommate named Michelle.


The most hilarious thing happened tonight. Michelle's mom called her, saying that a man (named Pedro) just called her, saying he had her wallet. Michelle's mom tried to talk to him, but Pedro did not speak English. Even though Michelle's mom had her wallet, she was concerned as to why Pedro had her number...she thought that maybe Pedro had Michelle's wallet or something else that belonged to their family. So Michelle asked me to call Pedro and talk to him in Spanish. Michelle stayed on the line with her mom and I called Pedro from my cell phone. I asked him questions about this wallet...to which he first said he found in a book. I was like what? He then told me that he found the book in the trash....which only had 3 pages in it and Michelle's mom's phone #. We were so confused as to why Pedro would call someone to report a book someone had trashed (he didn't even know the title because there were only 3 pages left). I asked him if there was any $, credit cards, or anything in the wallet and he kept saying "nothing, nothing, just a book!" He then told me that he didn't find a wallet, just a book, and that he dialed the number in the book...which he said "wrong #." So ridiculous... It was the most bizarre thing. I was crying I was laughing so hard. Michelle and I just about died when I told her that all but 3 pages were ripped out of this book that Pedro found in the trash. So happy ending--Pedro has nothing that belongs to Michelle or her family.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Team of Three

Today I took a field trip to deliver the digital cameras to the branches. (The 1st day of about 10). Of course the branch wasn't listed in my Magellan (note to the wise: don't buy Magellan), so I called my LII. She put me on speakerphone-- two colleagues happened to be in the area, and they all directed me to the branch! Another note: don't trust Yahoo maps:)

I really feel like an elf- putting batteries in all the cameras, setting the date, delivering them. I should ask the branches to leave me some cookies and milk.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

They just don't get it


Where's the liberry? On the corner of Twilight Zone and Liberry Lane.

Google Loves the Liberry

Today we're #1 for not a service we provide!

and for Marian liberry

Soundtrack for tv/movie-- Love the Liberry

  • Hit the Road Jack (Ray Charles) or Uninvited (Alanis)-- for when we boot out the porn guys
  • I still haven't found what I'm looking for (U2)
  • I love technology (Kip, Napoleon Dynamite)
  • Mahna Mahna (Muppets)
  • Bitch (Meredith Brooks)
  • Never be your woman (White Town)
  • Mission Impossible (tv theme) -- for when we hand the questions over to Frank
  • Funkytown (Shrek Soundtrack)
  • Drives me crazy (Fine Young Cannibals)
  • What's up? (4 Non-Blondes)
  • Come to America (Neil Diamond)
  • Who wrote the book of love? (the Monotones)
  • Crazy (Patsy Cline)
  • Don't know much about history (Sam Cooke)
  • I want a new drug (Huey Lewis and the News)
  • Gimme shelter (Rolling Stones)
  • Ghetto Supastar (Pras)

Friday, January 06, 2006

Philosophical Questions from virtual reference

  • A van is filled with birds, Does the van weigh the same or less if the birds are 'flying' in the van?
  • how do qaudroplegics react in the sight of danger
  • can cows attack the world?????
  • What do I think Easter means?
  • What happens when you put yeast, water and suger and then put a baloon over top?
  • how did william shakespeare describe himself?
  • I need help on a monuement. What can I do to show that I'm bright
  • im doing a research paper for my critical thinking psychology classbased on weird things. for my project i chose to do it on skinwalkers,but im having trouble finding any information or websites i can citein my paper. do you have any suggestions?

Dental Advice Wanted, but guess what? It's not a service we provide!

dear sir, i have the prb for my dooth. childlife i never care mydeath. in front of my dooth very ugly . last year i am going dentalsurgery. my also big and then not nearly. so doctor make smaler in myfront of 3 deeth and fix duplicate deeth.

Endless list of services we don't provide

  • really do all my research
  • I've heard rumor that the liberry rents out cameras, lighting equipment ect. is this true?
  • refresh my memory please. what day did i die?
  • I'm trying to get my bling bling on. Can you suggest a new ice dealer?Do you have aclue what I'm talking about?
  • I need serious help.. i am about to go crazy. I am very frustrated...i been doing this research for 3 weeks
  • i cant choose what meal i want from mc.donalds.
  • im fat and no one likes me! :( will you be my friend?
  • What's my mom's birthday? I forgot.
  • I have about 300 paperbacks (mostly literature) that I'd like todonate. Is it possible to get someone to pick them up?
  • How can I become famous easily and quickly at the age of eleven?
  • i will tell you an animal, then i will tell you if it has backbonesor not, can u tell me if i am wrong or not.

More virtual reference

It would be next to impossible to learn English:

  • I am looking for a Landsat georaphic map of Santa barbars.
  • what cind of cats have no hair
  • I need info on hybred cars 4 term ppr.
  • the sister hood of the traveling pants the vidio.
  • How do you write a purswasive essay?
  • can u pllz cancel my library account cause someone stold my library card
  • do you get to coose your "screen name" thing
  • I was wondering if you could help me find a United Nations deffinationof deforestation?
  • hello, I would like to know the cost or charge on verdue books

I Love Technology!

Today I went to an IT meeting for the county that lasted 2 hours, and it was 2 hours too long. I felt like a complete eejit with all the tech speak... true, I do know lots of tech things, but compared to these geeks who sprinkled the conversation with the following terms, I was blown away.

latest and greatest
project management
vpm 1A, 1B, 1C
s drive
memory hog

One woman really had a kicker-- they were talking about gigs and she said, it should really be terabytes! Hahahaha.

I scanned the room and noted that 9 of the 11 people had blue eyes, 2 were married. Really obvious I got lots out of the meeting...

I thought-- what would Mike do at a meeting like this? Would he tune out or ask for definitions every 30 seconds... probably tune out. But what if I were to give him a test?

I also thought of Kip and his song about technology:

Why do you love me? Why do you need me? Always and forever... Wemet on the internet, now our love can fully bloom... Sure the worldwide web is great, but you, you make me salivate... I love technology,but not as much as you and me... But STILL I love technology... Alwaysand forever. Our love is like a flock of doves, flying up to heavenabove... always and forever, always and forever... Why do you need me?Why do you love me? Always and forever...

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Other duties as assigned

Today Bernice and I got to clean off a box full of books that were packed with an old printer cartridge. We sanded them, but still had to weed about 1/2. We're such troopers!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

If this blog were a TV show or a movie...

these would be the characters:

LII promoted LIII: Jodie Foster
Frank: Daniel Day-Lewis
Paula: Judi Dench
Kids Liberrian: Angela Lansbury
Sarah: Ru-Paul
Marian: Kate Winslet
Amy: Keri Russell
Tara: Sally Field
Bernice: Patricia Heaton
Branch Manager, PJ: Silent Bob
Liberry Director: Steve Martin
Security Guard: Inarticulate farmer in Napoleon Dynamite (our guy = just as articulate)
Understudy for Security Guard: ANIMAL-- "Go Home!"
Tech Guy: Screech

Cameo appearances by Nancy Pearl and Miss Piggy.

I often wonder the same

Where is my invisible boyfriend? He disappeared, can you help me find him?


I often wonder the same... at least I used to. Then I realized that my invisible boyfriend doesn't like to say much. We're a good couple. Max introduced us.

Actually, my youngest sister works for maternity @ a major store. When she goes competitive shopping she has a belly she can wear if she wants to try on the clothes. I should borrow it sometime!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

a Max sighting

Yesterday Bernice was in Sears and heard Max stroll by, mumbling to himself-- I know it has to be here somewhere, I know I'll find it, that's all I need.

With any luck, I'll see Max tomorrow when I go to the branch, after my dentist appt. (Amy, your teeth are so white. So, do you floss?)

Monday, January 02, 2006

Curious about animals--

tell me some interesting facts about amoebas

how many utters do cows have?

into what do sardines grow?

hi i need to know what the external features of a elephant is for a projet

My son, 4, wants to know if fish burp?

what is the plot of how to kill a mockingbird written by harper lee?


How do I go by applying at Petco?

How does a moose walk - like a camel or a horse?

What breed of sharks have live births instead of laying eggs?

What is the path of respiration and the organs involved of a moose and what gas is important for a moose to eliminate and why?

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

Can I have sound clips of the elephant, cheetah, lion, and/or zebra

would a fish enjoy a rock concert?

More services we don't provide

Do type up reports?

I write the freshman collum for my school online newspaper and am having a major writer block. I was hoping I could appeal to your creative side... could you help me think of a topib pertaing to freshman? It kinda needs to be funny...

i have a quiz on pages in my world history text book but i didnt read it, any suggestions, its next period and i dont have tiem to read it

Do you rent out cake tins to make birthday cakes?

i need word puns or jokes about the heart or circulatory system