Friday, July 25, 2014

Patron feedback.

"Wow, when you leave this job, you could be a social worker."

You know you're a librarian when... #2 online dating site asks for six things you could never do without, and one of your answers is interlibrary loan.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Do you have a garbage can?

We had a presenter come for Summer Reading today.  She did an incredible job.  She is a scientist and the published author of several books - so, we're talking about a pretty damn intelligent woman here.

Then, she puts a bunch of garbage into the recycle bin.

Okay.  Blue rectangular bin full of paper.  Identical to the one to the right, except, with a liner bag, and about half full of paper.  Take a look at this recycle bin.  Notice its shape, and its blue coloring.  Picture it, filled with paper.  Notice the way it does not look like a garbage can.

This happens all the time!  Patrons say, "I'm gonna put this in the garbage" and then throw it into the recycling.  And we have to fish it out and put it in the actual garbage.  And it's not like we have the recycle bin proudly on display in an area where a garbage can should go.  I'm surprised it's even visible from beyond the desk.

The Point:  This is something patrons do that I will never understand, and it is infuriating.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

AV purchasing.

Yesterday I bought 179 DVDs for the library.

Every summer I buy a couple lots on eBay - one of children's DVDs, and one of normal DVDs.  I'm completely buying them blind.  There's no list of what's in the lot.  Sometimes you can figure it out by pictures, but more often than not, those pictures are hard to see or don't zoom in.  So you spend a fifth of your remaining AV budget and cross your fingers.

I've found that the majority of the DVDs that come are usable.  I'm expecting to put 170 of the 179 on the shelves.  (The others will be either too violent or too sexual.)  I've never had one come that skipped or was damaged.  And my patrons are thrilled to see new (to them) movies available.  And I'm really happy to see DVDs taking up the space where the VHS tapes are now, to see those moving on.

That said, it is a little scary to have spent so much money and not know what's coming.  Cross your fingers for me!

Internal debate.

There's one book (actually, an audiobook) on the return cart.  I'm working alone.  If I get down to the end of the day, and there's still only one book there, do I:

  • Put it away:  I'm nice, I want to leave an empty cart for my coworker on Monday.
  • Leave it there:  Why should I put a single book away?  Better to let it get put away with the next full batch.

I suppose it's just laziness, but it's a question I face every time I work alone.  Is this really worth it?  If I were working Monday morning, I'd leave that book for my next large batch of returned books.  Why do something different because it's not me, but her?

Yeah, yeah, I'll put it away.  Jeez.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Do you have any information about my relative who lived here before Vermont was even a state?

Today I met the 8th-great grandson of Roger Enos, founder of Enosburg Falls.  He was on a trip with his family, and they were heading up to Canada before returning to their native Kansas, so he thought he'd stop by the library and see if there was any information about his 8th-great grandfather.

This was so exciting!  I am not kidding when I say it was a bit like meeting a celebrity.  He even wore a t-shirt advertising the 1990 Enos Family Reunion!  He and his family asked for books where his forebearer might be mentioned, although they didn't have time to really pore through them, and then asked for advice on where else they might go in town to see some local history.

This happens a lot:  people come in, or call, wanting to hunt down ancestors.  We're fortunate to have a good Vermont section (although it may border on a Vermont hoard), and in particular a lot of books about local towns and villages.  People are often disappointed that we don't have birth and death records - there was a fire at some point, from what I understand - but we give them what we can, and it usually catches their interest.

I've found, however, that I'm really at a disadvantage, only having lived here three years.  If you say "Oh yeah, he lived in the old Benoit house," I don't know which house that is.  If you want to know which of Enosburg's six or seven small cemeteries your ancestor is most likely to be buried in, I can't help you.  I can't tell you whether the falls I'm thinking of are the Enosburg Falls.

I really need to do a better job of educating myself about the town.  Some of it will come with time, I guess, but I could be working harder about it, too.  In the meantime, I have the Historical Society's information constantly accessible, know the names of all the town's churches, and can give directions to just about anywhere you want to go.  It works pretty well, for now.

You know you're a librarian when... #1

... you write, in all seriousness, "New books are kept separate from the general population...".

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

I don't need it anymore.

Just, quickly, and I think I speak for just about every librarian on the planet here:  Don't request an interlibrary loan and then decide you don't want it.

Interlibrary loans:

  • take quite a bit of effort and paperwork
  • sometimes require sending multiple requests over a series of several days
  • sometimes require in-depth communication with other librarians
  • cost us and the other library money
  • are a way that we present ourselves to other libraries - mishandling an ILL can make us look bad
Today someone came in and said he "didn't need" the ILL anymore because he was going on vacation.  That's the way they always say it.  "I don't need it anymore."

This had been one of the hard ones, with rerequests and talking to a few different people at the other library, and finally today I heard back that the book was available and waiting for pick-up... and I had to email her back and tell her our patron didn't want it anymore, sorry for all the trouble.


If you aren't going to "need" the book because you're going on vacation, don't request it a week before you leave!  We're very clear that the books can take a while to come in.

Just, keep this in mind:  Interlibrary loan isn't something to be taken lightly.  It is a privilege.  Treat it as such.