Friday, March 23, 2018


What I'm doing between questions: marking items that have won awards in our catalog, currently the ICBAs from 2009 and going backwards

11:00 in the children's room
  • Stuffed animal meeting in the comfy chairs! And they came by train, which is waiting there...and no one puts any of it away when they leave
  • Mom with baby and toddler arrive looking for Splat the Cat books [got 'em]; toddler hits the iPad station, of course, while Mom does some printing with a slightly crabby baby and needs help printing [not enough hands with the carrier with her]
  • Chat with shelver about my son's newest tragedy [bedbugs], which is on point because he and the toddler have the same name [though mine has 20+ years on this fellow]
  • I have over an hour to go and I'm starving....sigh

12:00 in the children's room
  • Yawnsville. I'm not even sure the phone rang (main desk calls ring here too)

2:00 in the children's room
  • Lengthy discussion of weird patrons and our local criminal justice system that spirals wildly, with Librarian C

3:00 in the children's room
  • Cleaning dude comes through to do bathrooms and needs to tell me his Jimmy Buffet story from a decade ago. ...
  • There's literally been two mom/daughter combos here in 90 minutes, plus the cleaning guy and a (different) shelver
  • As soon as I leave to use the restroom, someone comes in. Natch. And needs the train set to play with.

4:00 [Closing hour is usually hectic at the main reference desk, and I didn't have time to do this at work, so I'm back-filling while a kill a few minutes at home.]
  • Librarian C is maniacally trying to get stuff finished before she goes on vacation next week; running back and forth past the desk multiple times
  • Librarian AB comes through with her ESL conversation group to see our Peeps display
  • Aaaand, Librarian KT comes to check in about the young adult section because she's leaving at 4:30
  • Someone comes and takes nearly half of the neatly cut stack of scratch paper that I just put out; says not one word
  • Tech is working on getting some of the dead internet stations back up again before he leaves at 4:30
  • Quick survey of the area via cameras and then eyeballs shows that people have been moving furniture (and not putting it back) again, so I go take care of that and do a census
  • Closing announcement
  • Mom(?) and son(?) arrive; she is clearly very ill but they wave away my offer of help
  • 4:47 Zooey walks in. The computers are supposed to shut down automatically at 10 till closing. She's got her usual pile of bags, is disorganized, has to scan something, and THEN realizes her card won't work logging her into the internet because it's expired. Now it's 4:53 and I tell her that she's out of luck online anyway. "But it's my timesheet!" [dear God....but the computers are OFF, Zooey!]
  • Meanwhile, most people have filtered out. I grab today's newspapers and put them away
  • Help the sick-looking mom place a hold on a book we don't own
  • Shoo out the people in the study room
  • One more circuit, turn off the scan/fax/etc machine and time to leave!

Sunday, February 25, 2018


What I'm doing between questions: in the children's room I was ordering our Next Month's Bestsellers orders (Books and AV) and doing a pass-through on the next Audiobook order I'll need to place. Once I get to the adult area, I'm busy enough that I start looking at reviews but don't get far.

1:00 [in the children's room]
  • Close/Lock children's bathroom doors as we open.
  • Talk to Librarian C about splitting the desk hours, and then put out all of today's newspapers, dropping one with patron RR who will collect a list of books from the reviews sections and give them to me later
  • Smile [the copy on the shelf isn't there, so I go get one of the SIX (!) in storage]
  • On the way to and from storage, I direct one person to the second copier in the back of the building, and help another person with the first copier
  • Sort out transactions tally sheet for the day
  • Random semi-homeless woman is wandering through for some reason....go away! [somehow my unspoken command works!!]
  • Two tweener girls come in look around and then head to the YA area
  • Family of 5 kids + Mom arrive; the older kids immediately sign on to play Roblox while Mom and toddler ask for the train set and go play, analog-style
  • My Many-Colored Days and I Am Not Going to Get Up Today [all our shelved copies are out, or MIA, so I send her to Circ for them to check storage for either/both]

2:00 [in the children's room till 2:30, then adult]
  • [phone] "Car crash. I'm fine. Books I had in the car are long gone with the car, though. What do I do?" [I transfer her back to Circ since I'm not sure what our policy is on sad stories like this--I mean, obviously, she has fines and overdues, but are we going to charge for the books? I don't know...]
  • Changing of the Guard: nothing of major import to exchange info about
  • "How many books can I check out?" [not really a limit] "Even if my card is from [next town over]?" [Yep, all good--load up the truck!]
  • Oldie patron, who's been coming here forever, needs a local train schedule ... and then a guest pass because the trains are on Sunday schedule (i.e. there are fewer) so she has time to kill
  • Another regular patron stops to say bye: she looks more depressed every time I see her...kinda worried about her
  • [phone] Multiple new title reserves from one of my absolutely favorite patrons
  • Hours and phone number for local antiques place; PLUS compliment about how these out-of-towners like our library

  • Card number [she has a fine, and nothing but a debit card, so she has to lug her infant back up front to pay so she can get online; I feel bad]
  • Mom comes over to print, tweener-ish (?) kid meets her and lingers by the desk long enough to whisper to me, "You're an awesome librarian!" [Pull it together woman: open weeping is frowned upon at the Reference Desk!]
  • Turn on cameras to survey the array of actual prep for closing
  • Favorite book illustrator walks past on his way out [he's turning gray, but still hot]
  • I go share the compliment from the kid with Librarian C since I didn't actually do anything to earn it, and maybe she did [nope, but we're splitting it]
  • Pen? [Have mine]
  • Trade quarter for another quarter; printer kiosk didn't like his
  • [Next Town Over] Woman has collected four shopping baskets of materials on a table; I hope to hell she actually takes them all and hasn't just organized them for us to reshelve....
  • Three specific books on cutting; his card's expired, so I fill out the requests and send him up front to renew his card so I can attach the requests to his online record afterwards
  • White-out? [not today--it's not something we keep around, but we should]
  • Chat with one of our regulars
  • Cutting dude is back, looking for Rosetta Stone for Italian [I show him our new Transparent Language database and he says he'll try it out
  • "I left a thumb-drive in the public computer yesterday..." [got it, and no, I don't have the cover to it because THAT wasn't in the slot, Ding-Dong]
  • Closing announcement
  • Shopping baskets are headed to the circ desk, one by the heck is she planning to carry all this to her car??

Wednesday, February 07, 2018


What I'm doing between questions: checking our catalog against Booklist's Editors' Choice list to see what we need to buy.

  • It is quiet tonight, unexpectedly. I can see 6 people--no, 7--only one of whom is likely to be homeless (it's sleep-in-our-town-tonight night, so we often have people here who are turned away because of alcohol or drug use)
  • Circ person brings me three books to order for her
  • People sign in for study room use
  • I place holds on things that were left behind earlier and then go eat cake and talk at the circ desk. It's really really dead, except for the Board Meeting going on upstairs

  • Chat with one of our regulars about how I "never" get sick despite all the germy people [I've been doing this job for almost 30 years: I've pretty much had ALL the regular stuff and my immune system is on high alert]
  • Check the cameras: meeting in public room, meeting in staff room, two study rooms in use, one person on her laptop, and the above regular....yawn!!
  • Study room sign out
  • Directions to the Children's Books area
  • ...time for a pre-closing walk-through
  • And everyone's gone, so I finish the last of the closing chores and head out.

Saturday, December 09, 2017


What I'm doing between questions: whatever I can figure out to kill time. So getting orders ready to send for my buying section(s), sending some of those orders, marking items in the catalog that we own that have received awards, sending the list of last month's Withdrawn Items to the buying staff...yknow, whatever.

9:00 [in the children's room]
  • Family comes in with under-2 kid (mom, dad and two grandparents) [play for awhile, show off the library to visiting grandparents, leave]
  • Staff member flies in to say there's a crisis in the workroom and they're swamped at the circ desk [Tech Staff person's pet bunny died suddenly at home--she's wrecked....don't judge, people!]

10:00 [in the children's room]
  • Yes, that was seriously all that happened. Currently, at 10:10, there is one adult in here, looks like she's going through her mail or something. The sun is shining outside and I definitely see people coming and going through the front doors, but no kids.
  • Bunny grandma has come in and calmed down TS person who won't leave because we're short-staffed today
  • Shelver asks for an explanation for the way we're numbering/sorting the Star Wars books in the adult fiction section; I verbally explain this chart to her [Star Wars people, I love your geekdom, and loathe everything else about the 'universe' in which you live]
  • Also, I just realized the books on the shelf, if I owned them all and wanted them in order, should start with the leftmost book being the furthest back in time (25,793 Before the Battle of Yavin) and count backwards to 0 BBY and then start at 0 ABY and count forwards to 45 ABY (at least to date) [the shelver just turned and walked away shaking her head]
  • Librarian AB comes in to ask me about stats and logins and blah-blah with our ILS [my short answer is "I don't know, but I don't think what you're doing will change the stats counts] ; she also says she's fine with me staying in here for another couple of hours
  • Shelver returns to ask about a call number on a Board Book ["I don't understand this board book..." My response: "I'm really sorry about that!"]
  • Truck books, REAL trucks, not stories [holy crap an actual reference question!!]
  • ...and Kleenex

11:00 [in the children's room]
  • (same) Shelver has yet another question....about the His Dark Materials series, which I love and can therefore answer easily
  • Check in with bunny mom and tell her to just go home if she needs to
  • [there are now TWO SEPARATE FAMILIES here in the area--so BUSY!!]
  • I go get my lunch bagel because my stomach is scuh-REEM-ing
  • Rump (Shurtliff) [we have 4 copies, but three are in storage, and the other is checked out--off I go to the scary basement to retrieve a copy]
  • Librarian AB calls to remind me she needs to eat lunch, oops

  • now I'm at Ref
  • And I replenish the nickels in our change drawer because the print station isn't returning nickels automatically today [tech win!]
  • How to transfer music from disc to thumb driver, only she didn't bring the computer in, so I sort of show her and she says she'll try, but probably will come back with her laptop
  • Guest pass for internet use (and extend time till closing)
  • How to close out when done online
  • [so basically in 15 minutes I tripled my patron interactions for the 3 hours at the kids' desk]
  • Book with "things to write in sympathy cards" instead of repeating what everyone else says [in this case, Google is what he needs, not a book; who uses books anymore??]

Monday, November 27, 2017


What I'm doing between questions: reviews for purchasing in my buying sections.

11:00 a.m.
  • Quick primer on "how to do the Reference Desk" since I haven't been out here for months (long story)
  • "Can I use the phone for an emergency call?" [it's re: a case number, she doesn't have a phone--homeless--so, yeah....and as I expected it's been 10 minutes so far: she's nucking futs. This shelter she's been staying at has "poisoned her with cancer" (multiple repetitions of this one) and she's suing them for throwing her out; ohmygod, it's a crazytown rant. Bless the woman on the other end of the phone] I'm getting lots and lots of names: Betty W...n, Donna, LaVerne, Kim D....n, Ron W...s, John S....z, Sofia,  [Kim has apparently wants this woman's legs cut off, or otherwise kill her; also the hospital stole her ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes so they could rape her]
    I love my job!
  • 35 minutes later...Librarian H arrives to look for her son in the paper (not this week?) and she says the woman (who had just left) has been in to get a guest pass so I was able to pass long some of the warning bells

1:00 p.m.
  • Help with printing
  • Scratch paper
  • Do we have a calculator for a test? [yup--buried deep, but functional]
  • Help printing Amazon return label
  • ...and the line commences....
  • "How much to scan and email to myself?" [free]
  • How to save doc to desktop to download to resume site [it amazes me that people trust that we'll delete it from the computer and don't even ask]
  • [other stuff I don't remember]
  • Circ person arrives with 15-item list of DVDs for patron. I place 5 on hold and set the list aside for doing more later this week

5:00 p.m.
  • Finagling with Publisher and Word [if I could manipulate the doc myself, I'd figure it out, but the guy is about at my level so I just tell him to keep trying stuff, or Google the hack]
  • Print from phone [dude's barely ESL-literate, it takes 20 minutes, but we get it done eventually]
  • Look up card number for a known cutie-pie
  • Calculator is returned, after she passed her test [w00t!]
  • Consumer Reports [ultimately, the information she needs is behind the paywall online, and we don't have access--we should do that, derp]
  • There was more, but I spent so much time with those big questions that I have no memory of what I was doing in the gaps

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


What I'm doing between questions: trying not to rub my sore, allergy-ridden eyes which hurt like hell today. Also checking Fiction Core Collection against what we actually own.

  • Renew time online x2
  • "Can you look up my library card?" [yes, because he's a cute kid]
  • "Can I sign up for Summer Reading?" [well, it's got less than a week left, but sure since this week's prize is free entry to next week's county fair...]
  • Library card kid comes back--"can I get a guess pass?" [no dice figuring out his password]
  • I fill them both in on the fact that they can use the YA area now (going into 6th grade), which they decide is far cooler than hanging out here in the grown-up section [DUH!}
  • "Can we have a screen?" [he has a card, he knows his password, so...uhm, yeah....]
  • Mr. P (on of the regulars) "donates" two pens he found by his computer [they started life as ours anyway, so....]
  • Second time renewer finishes up and returns the pencil she borrowed earlier
  • Look up card number + compliment about how great our library is compared to hers [though, having been to her library, hers has a MUCH better view: lake + beach!]
  • Summer Reading kid returns, can't get online in YA [his birthday was entered wrong in his card; I fix it and give him a guest pass just in case]
  • "Screen" guy meanders over for a pencil; his daughter/sister/wife finds a writing utensil so by the time he meanders back she doesn't need the pencil she sent him here for [we discuss Job's patience and taking deep breathes while she mutters to herself]
  • Mr P stops to say bye and tell me that his wife is going to be incensed that he went to the library dressed "that way"--a pocketed clean blue T and clean jeans....--then he warns me it's likely to rain right around closing again tonight [great]
  • I'm searching for a book someone requested in my collection section (200s: religion)--I finally find it in Amazon: self-published manure re Jesus [call patron and say no-one owns and we can't buy]
  • "Screen" dude seems to be on the verge of murdering his companion; she is a bit (ahem) pushy
  • ...but they're leaving and she's actually fine in person, if a little ding-dongy
  • approx 3:35...RANDOM MAYHEM...
  • Husband arrives from train station to fill me in on his trip to the hospital in the Big City....
  • ...MAYHEM CONTINUES....till about 4:30 [I actually called for backup, twice!]
  • 700,000 Summer Reading check-ins [omg this is the last week thank God!!]
  • Reserve several movies for my regular Weds. aft. patron [she does NOT like subtitled movies, and she had two she asked for this time: "nevermind!"]
  • Help with scanning to a flash-drive and uploading the doc to email to someone
  • Mystery v. Mysteries, Western v. Westerns on genre labels [staff question]
  • Pen
  • Director from nearby library stops to say hi and give me a hug (she's a buddy) [the consortium directors met here this afternoon]
  • Sign-in for study room x 2
  • People magazine [we keep the current one back here so people might be less likely to trash it]
  • Someone I know from Al-Anon walks by and says hi [she looks great! ...hmmm and yay]
  • Scanned doc patron returns our flash-drive, and asks me to delete his file from it [I delete his AND four other people's....and send an email to Ref staff to remember to do this themselves!!]
  • more flippin' genre label questions.... "are we doing Horror? What color?" [I have a sudden realization that in about 5 months someone is going to 'realize' that we should have used "Russian Stories" or "Novellas" or "Pseudonymous Author" (or other random things) and want to add them. We already caved on "Time Travel" which I think is covered under "Fantasy" and we aren't doing "Suspense" which is basically 75% of what we buy it feels like.....  /rant
  • Ice Cream Museum yada yada yada

  • There was stuff

  • There was more stuff, and showing new staff how to close up shop and of course Zooey came in at 15 minutes prior to closing and stayed till 5 minutes after....