How do you spell “pedia”?

February 12, 2008

Today I have:

– had a patron call and say, “So I need to build a bar in my basement.”
– helped someone figure out the difference between “acclimation” and “acclamation.”
– used NoveList to figure out where a book was in a series (my favorite NoveList feature, seriously.)
– found a book a patron was desperately searching for (but could not remember anything about) using only the search terms “mango” and “sail.”
– endured a conversation about Wikipedia between a patron who had no idea what it was and a librarian who understood even less. The subject line of this post says it all.


Almanac of Almanacs

January 28, 2008

I’ve spent the morning opening a considerable pile of mail from vendors who want to sell me expensive reference books. I don’t want your $800 Encyclopedia of Religious Movements! Nor do I want your $300 almanac of government information which you and I both know is provided for free online. What I want is for someone to publish some up-to-date readers’ advisory books about romance, horror, and mystery/thrillers. I’d totally spend $300 on those, even though I know they pretty much become outdated as soon as they’re in my hands. They’re still useful resources.

And then I won’t feel so bad about withdrawing the ones we have from 1990.

Today I have:

  • been told that the library is like a mother – the one you call for everything.  It was a very sweet compliment.
  • been tempted into passive-aggressively dealing with a nosy co-worker by looking up Yahoo Answers to the question, “How do I handle a nosy co-worker?” while she’s reading over my shoulder.
  • completed my very first display – a Jane Austen theme, with actual Austen novels, spinoffs, movies, and non-fiction. It was awesome fun.
  • tried to dissuade a six-year old from watching Too Fast, Too Furious: Tokyo Drift
  • set myself a challenge of starting to collect information on local book clubs and what they are reading, because I have gotten similar questions several times this week and still not had a good answer.

Patron Theft

January 7, 2008

We don’t work on commission here, but we do thrive on building relationships with our patrons, and patron-stealing isn’t cool. What’s patron-stealing? A colleague butting in on my conversation with a patron about choosing a book for her book group just a few minutes ago. What happens is this: my colleague acts is though she is the only one who knows anything about book groups – she knows more even than the patron, in fact – and jumps into the conversation, suggesting a book without hearing the patron’s requirements, and then she beckons the patron over to her side of the desk and deliberately pretends not to hear the phone ringing, so that I am forced to answer and be parted from my patron, despite the fact that we were mid-sentence.

Thankfully, this incident of patron-stealing didn’t stick because the patron did not find my colleague’s suggestions helpful, and she returned to me once my phone call (a quick request for a book) was complete. We ended up compiling a good list of leads for the patron’s book group, I showed her how to use NoveList, and then she recommended a book she had just finished. A perfectly excellent interaction, despite the attempted subterfuge. My rage was slightly diminished.

I know why it happened. This is just the way this woman rolls. She’s the Experienced Librarian, and I am the New Girl. She knows more, and instead of teaching me (a small blessing, honestly) she just takes over when she thinks she should.

I wouldn’t have minded a team effort – in fact, that’s one of things we do well at the reference desk, especially in terms of readers’ advisory since we all have wildly different reading interests. But there’s a big difference between cooperation and outright theft, and on top of the website playing Hide and Seek with me this morning, I was not in the mood to have my readers’ advisory cred questioned. I may be the new girl, but I give good RA.

Things I love:

Things I am thinking of doing:

  • laundry Getting on Facebook. We’re thinking of getting the library on it, but I’ve never used it, so I thought I might be a guinea pig.
  • Ditto for LibraryThing. I’m on GoodReads, but I like that LibraryThing is searchable even if you don’t have an account, and often use it as a readers’ advisory tool, and ought to get to know it on the inside.
  • Getting a BlackBerry. Y/Y?

Two fun links:

Repurpose Ability

October 3, 2007

Today I have:

  1. Miraculously boiled down all my notes from the NHLA Library 2.0 to a small list of projects I think my library should work on.
  2. Come to the conclusion that using social networking tools in a library setting is about repurposing them for use in a library much in the same way that Library 2.0 is about repurposing the library itself.
  3. Delighted in introducing a patron with a readers’ advisory question to BookSlut and Trashonista (the latter of which resulted in a huge smile.)
  4. Had a patron bring in her suction-cup soap holder, hand it to me, and ask me to help her find where to buy another one.
  5. Had the Circ. Desk call up and ask if I was fluent in Spanish. (I am not, but they eventually found someone on staff who was.)
  6. Tracked down the contact info for a library in Virginia with the same name as our library, and passed it on to the patron on the phone who thought she was calling Virginia in the first place.