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Archive for the ‘Librarianship’ Category

Women, don’t hate me.

I have worked in seven libraries thus far, some for short periods of time and some for longer. If I remember correctly, three of them were run—from the top of the ladder to the bottom—solely by women. No guys as far as the eye could see. I don’t think there is a discernible difference between the all-female libraries and the co-ed libraries in terms of success or level of service to the community. However, the sorority libraries usually have a different working environment.

Most notably, the women can get pretty catty. More catty, I suspect, than they normally would be if there were some guys around to even out the workforce. As a rule, I don’t speak negatively about any library staff members while in the confines of the library. Usually (except for some cases), I don’t talk about them to anyone outside the library, either, because I like to separate work life from regular life. So, when I have to listen to one woman talk to another woman about a third woman who apparently didn’t buy good enough break room snacks with the library’s cash allowance, I get annoyed.

What shocked me even more was an instance that happened a few weeks ago. I substitute at a library on an as-needed basis and have only worked there a handful of times. I went to the break room to have dinner one night, and these two other women were in there talking smack about another woman (surprise). Not only did they continue their conversation when I sat down, but one of the women actually went out of her way to fill me in on this other chick and why she sucks. Number one: I don’t care!! Number two: You barely know me! I’ve worked in your library for, like, 20 total hours! Why would you openly gossip about your coworkers to a complete stranger? It’s totally unprofessional and, to me, makes the organization as a whole look bad.

So, to all the girls out there, I say: SHUT UP. To all the guys: please come work in libraries so these ladies act a little less crazy!

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Today was my second annual trip to Book Expo in NYC. Last year, I got a free admission with VIP status from Unshelved. This year, I figured I was going to have to pay the typical $65 admission fee, but then one day—out of the blue—I received a mailer from BEA with instructions on how to register as a VIP…again, for free!! Once a VIP, always a VIP, maybe? Who knows.

My employment situation changed after I registered a couple of months ago, so I had briefly considered skipping it. But, even though I am not steadily employed at a library, I decided it would still be worth the trip into the city. Because really, if you let me in for free AND say I’m a VIP, there’s no way I’m NOT going.

I got to the Javits Center at around 9:30 and made my way to the VIP Lounge, an ultra-exclusive seating area with free food and complimentary gift upon check-in. I could have just had the free bagel and coffee, called it a day, and still left a happy camper. But, the freebies only kept coming!

I walked around the exhibition area for about three hours, collecting free books and goodies, and scoping out the best tote bags. My tote bag count was way higher than last year, and there was only one bag that eluded me. It had a really cool design on it, so I’m thinking the supply ran out. I happened upon a table where Geoffrey Hayes was signing books, so I stood on a relatively short line and got an autographed copy of Benny and Penny in: Lights Out, a new title from a graphic novel series for kids. Once my feet started to ache and my shoulder got sore from the weight of all of the tote bags, I took off. Here’s all the stuff I got:

6 tote bags // 5 books // 3 posters // 2 sheets of gift labels // 2 packs of coasters // 2 notebooks // 1 1GB flash drive // 1 mini stapler // 1 bookmark // 1 pack playing cards

Some book samples.

A nice haul this year, I’d say. See you next year, Book Expo!

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This is a pretty accurate breakdown of my job. It’s sort of hard to read (I had to zoom in on it because I wear glasses similar to the ones pictured below).

From This Isn’t Happiness on Tumblr.

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Over the span of about an hour, I received the following questions from one boy. They started to increase in frequency after a while and by the end were coming one after another.

Boy: Do you have the book Alien vs. Predator?
Me: Um, I think that’s just a movie. We have it at the other branch.*

Boy: Do you have a book on dogs?

Boy: Do you have any books about magic?

Boy: I need one book for school. Do you have a book about Nazis?

Boy: Do you have books on how to make food?
Me: These are all of the cookbooks we have.
Boy: (pauses, I can tell he doesn’t feel like looking through them) Do you have any books on how to make…how to make…how to make?
Me: How to make what? Food? Crafts?
Boy: Food.
Me: That’s what all of these cookbooks are for!
Boy: These don’t have what I want.
Me: You didn’t even look at them!

Boy: Do you have any Diary of a Wimpy Kid?

Boy: (standing at the desk flipping through the Nazi book) Who’s Adolf Hitler?
Me: He was the leader of the Nazis.
Boy: But was he bad or good?
Me: He was bad.

Boy: Do you have any books about guns?

I’m surprised he didn’t ask me if these vans get good gas mileage.

*Side note: After further fact-checking for blog purposes, it turns out that there IS a novelization of AVP. My library, however, does not own it.

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While driving on 287 this morning, I passed one lone shoe a few hundred feet from exit 7. Seeing shoes on the side of the road always confuses me, especially since there’s usually only one of them. How does a person lose one shoe? I really don’t understand how it is possible, unless the driver or passenger simply threw it out the window voluntarily. And if, for some reason, it WAS accidental, why doesn’t anyone ever turn around to get it? People lose cell phones, wallets, sunglasses…they don’t just lose shoes! It makes absolutely no sense to me.

In other news, I hate when I’m at work and I see middle aged/old people getting scammed by the internet. Sometimes I try to give them the heads up, but other times I feel like it’s not my place. In one instance, an older man called me over to his computer to inquire about this really shady email he got inviting him to be a secret shopper. But he didn’t call me over because it was shady, he called me over because he couldn’t find the link to click on to submit his information. It turned out that there was no link at all; the email just said that he should reply with all of his personal information. There were a million red flags in the email, which I told him about and convinced him not to respond. Today, though, I just happened to walk by a woman filling out an online form, which at the top read “SUBMIT NOW TO RECEIVE YOUR $500 CHECK!!!!” She later called me over because she was having trouble filling her phone number in, and I saw that she had entered her credit card number to pay a “postage fee” of two dollars and change. At that point I felt pretty conflicted, but I still didn’t say anything. I can’t tell people what to do or not do with their money, right? The way I see it, a line exists between the first guy and this lady. The guy asked me a direct question about the email he received, and all I did was state the facts and tell him that it was “probably not legitimate.” He ultimately made the decision about whether or not to respond. This lady needed me to click on the phone number field, and that was it. It’s not my place to delve any deeper into what she is doing…right? Luckily, her internet session wound up expiring before she was able to finish filling out the form, so that was good. But, she’s still sitting at her computer now, 45 minutes later, and god knows what she’s up to at this point. What’s a librarian to do?

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Yesterday was a long, tiring day at the library. Summer is in full swing and I was having a really busy day. Around 4 o’clock or so, a second grade regular came up to me and asked me to find her some books from her summer reading list. As I said, she is a regular, so we’ve done this multiple times. Every time I pull books for her, she asks if there are any “longer” books she could take instead. I explain that everything on the second grade list is pretty much the same level, so the book in her hand was the longest book she’d be able to get. Still not satisfied this time, she asks for other, longer books. I brought her into the Fiction section to show her that most of the books there (typically 4-6th grade level) would probably be a little too long. She’s persistent, though, so she asked me for “books about summer that are longer.” So, I looked some up and pulled out a selection of four. None of which she wanted. So I said, “Okay, well, these are the longer books if you want to browse through them and find something you like.” A few minutes later, she came up to my desk and said, quote, “Um, do you have any books that are longer, but shorter…but longer?”

It’s hard to find words to explain how questions like this make me feel. Luckily, it is illustrated perfectly by one Mr. Sideshow Bob.

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I got annoyed yesterday, and you know what that means. That’s right, another scathing blog post.

About eight months ago, I started a blog for the Children’s Department at my library. I write some of the posts, but I prefer the majority of the content to be generated by kids in the community. My publicity states that I will publish pretty much anything that kids submit; but in order to augment the number of submissions, I often prompt kids with various contests and promotions. So far, I have incentivized most of the activities with small prizes that I’ve purchased from the dollar store (on my own time) to ensure interest from the kiddies. I’ve had them submit things like book reviews, short stories and, most recently, designs for the banner on the library’s main web site (winner of the contest has their banner posted on the site for a week).

ANYWAY, I got an email today from a colleague who was working over at the main branch. She said that a mom came in asking about a short story that her kid had handed in. My colleague pulled it up on the blog to show her that it had been published, and the mom told her that the kid had never received a prize. So, my colleague offered up a couple of dollar store items, to which the parent supposedly said, “That’s it?” and “That’s all she gets for the hard work?”

Where do I begin? FIRST OF ALL, lady, you should be thanking me for getting your kid away from the TV and using her brain for a little while. Do you understand that I’m trying to get your kid to do something creative? Would you rather she not spend her time writing just because she might not get some spectacular reward when she’s done? What kind of lesson does that teach your child?! I’ll tell you what lesson it teaches, because you’re definitely too stupid to figure it out yourself. It teaches her that she should only do things that will provide her with a direct, tangible, benefit. Don’t do things “just because” — especially things that might hone her creative abilities. I guess the fact that I posted her story on the blog isn’t important, even though something like that could be cool to a kid, and perhaps inspire her to keep writing.

But I must thank you, lady, for inspiring ME to put a moratorium on all prizes. I’ll probably get fewer blog submissions, but at least I’ll know that the kids who do participate are doing so because they like what it is they are doing.

You are the worst.

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