Steffers's blog

Friday funnies

We're having network problems here (ie: they're moving our servers but things aren't going smoothly). Well, someone upstairs made signs up to be posted on all our public pcs so the users would know that we weren't just being mean. The signs said "Pubic computers are down." and then mentioned something about a computer outrage. This was just the sort of funny I needed after they lost all my files in the ether.... Oh, btw, we have reports that all the signs have been confiscated and destroyed so I don't have the real sign, unfortunately.

Harry's in the house!

We just got our first shipment of Harry Potter. It's huge, but not as big as the last one methinks. Anyone want me to ruin the ending for them? ;-)

The Pre Face to the After Word

Where, O, where have my editors gone?
O, where, o, where can they be?

Clearly they were on lunch when this book "Practicing Primitive" by Steven M. Watts came through the office. On a quick scan past the t.o.c, I saw the phrase Pre Face. I thought "No, this can't be right...", so I found it and sure enough at the head of the page in large, bold letters is 'Pre Face'. When you look in the back of the book you see that there is an 'After Word'. LOL... Thank God it's Friday, I don't think I could take too much more of this.

Happy Weekend, folks. I'm going to commune with my fellow geeks tonight. (That means, I am going to see Star Wars)

bomb threats @ your library

Apparently, over the weekend a letter was found with a suspicious substance at my library. The letter also contained bomb threats (I don't know if the library was threatened this time). The library opened late and the letter has been sent off for testing. This the latest incident in a string of such threats throughout Nashville. This is also the second bomb threat letter found in this building in 3 weeks. What concerns me is the silence from the admin/security people towards the staff. I had to find out about this through the newspaper. Shouldn't we be told to be on the look out for any suspicious people? I understand the need to keep panic to a minimum but where do you draw the line between keeping the place calm and hiding information?

Anyone out there really familiar with CybraryN?

One of our branch librarians has complained that some of her high school students have figured out a way to hack CybraryN so that they have unlimited 'net time. When she told our software people about it, they said it was impossible. Knowing how supremely hackable Windows is in general and the fact that the branch lib. is watching them do this, I don't believe our software guru. Anyone out there know how to hack CybraryN into giving you unlimited time? Basically, what the kids are doing is logging CybraryN off... which is impressive since not even the branch staff know the password. So, either our password is exceptionally easy to figure out (possible) or they have found an easy hack out of it (very likely). Any help would be welcome. Thanks. And any help on what we can do to prevent them from hacking would be even more welcome.

Can you really call it a class if no one learns anything?

Okay, so this morning I got tapped to go to a training class on an updated version of our ILS software. We were told that they were going to do the acquisition and cataloging modules in the morning. Well, after sitting in the acquisitions module looking at (seriously) every entry under the menu bar for over an hour, I knew it was going to be a long morning. We spent 2+ hours in the acquisitions module doing stuff that only 2 people in the room will be authorized to do. The freaking headings of some of the sections were 'Managerial authorized blah-blah". Then we take a break, come back and have another 20 minutes of acquistions stuff. Finally, they get to the cataloging module which had been prefaced to us as the module with the most enhancements and changes. We spent 40 minutes in the cataloging module. The trainer did not even go into or show a bibliographic record. Not one. She didn't even talk about the barcoding aspect. She concentrated on things that only my manager will do... then she couldn't even answer my question about macros. If it was outside today's product she had no clue about it. Yes, she said that. Then we broke for lunch and the rest of the group (who had sat through all of this needlessly) was coming back for circ training.

So, I ask you, if you didn't learn anything can you call it a class???

An early Thanksgiving Funny


A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad
attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird's mouth
was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity. John tried and tried to
change the bird's attitude by consistently saying only polite words,
playing soft music and anything else he could think of to "clean up" the bird's vocabulary.

Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled
back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even ruder.
John, in desperation, threw up his hand, grabbed the bird and put him in
the freezer. For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed.

Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute.

Fearing that he'd hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the

The parrot calmly stepped out onto John's outstretched arms and said "I
believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I'm
sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend
to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior." John
was stunned at the change in the bird's attitude.

As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in
his behavior, the bird continued, "May I ask what the turkey did?"

a pie in the face?

This week I got to indulge in one of the best fantasies we peons can have. I got to throw a pie in the face of one of our administrators. :-) It was part of a fundraising event for the staff, we could put 2 bucks for a ticket to hit our Administrative Services Admin in the face with a pie. Man, was it fun. Worth every penny I spent on the ticket. Hopefully, I'll be able to track down pictures because there are some funny ones.

cute kids book

Just got to catalog "The truth about poop" by Susan E. Goodman (0670036749). Man, it's cute, funny, and informative. Did you know that during WW2 the Germans thought it was good luck to run over camel dung with tanks? So those crafty Brits made mines that looked like a pile o'poo. Neat-o! Plus, the artwork is really fun. This is definitely a good book to catalog on a Friday afternoon.
Have a good weekend everybody!!

it's a good day already...

Not only has my Star Wars dvds been shipped, in fact they might be here today, but last night I was invited... nay, encouraged to join the Academy of Recording Art and Sciences. Whee!! I'll get to vote on the Grammys!! And if you're out there wondering how a quiet, staid young cataloger like myself gets to be eligible for membership... it's because I worked my ass off to sing in an up and coming symphony chorus. :-) I sing with the Nashville Symphony Chorus, and the chorus and the Nashville Symphony released a cd in March of this year to surprisingly good reviews. See here for reviews of our Missa Solemnis recording (it's available from the usual outlets). I'll put a shameless plug in for the cd, it's a great recording plus it's cheap... only 7 bucks.

Anyhoo, just had to brag a little... it certainly made my work attitude a little brighter today.

2 really cool things!

Hi guys! Just wanted to pass this internship along to those of you who are students out there:

Subject: Internship, Cooperstown, New York

Technical Services Internship Opportunity

The National Baseball Hall of Fame invites graduate students in Library
and Information Science to apply for a Technical Services Internship.
Interns will have the opportunity to experience a technical services
environment outside of a traditional academic setting. Interns will
perform original and copy cataloging of baseball monographs,
dissertations, serials, and newsletters using OCLCs CatME and the local
Innovative Interfaces, Inc. system. Students may also be exposed to
acquisitions, serials management, bibliographic and authority control, and reference.

A basic cataloging class is recommended. The intern is expected to use
AACR2R, LCSH, LC Classification, and MARC21 formats.

To apply: Please submit a letter describing your interest in the
technical services profession, a resume, and the names, phone numbers
and addresses (including e-mail) of at least 3 professional references
to: Melissa Krok-Marietta, Assistant Manager of Educational Programs, 25
Main Street, Cooperstown, NY 13326.

Baseball Hall of Fame

Also, I get to do the coolest thing. I have volunteered to help the librarian of the Nashville Symphony Chorus mess around in their music library. I've been singing with the chorus and I jumped when John (our Librarian) said he needed help. We're moving into a new hall in 2 years so we're started to get things organized. It should be a really awesome experience!!

Have a good day kids!!

Friday morning gross out...

Okay, here's fair warning for the more skiddish LISnewerz out there who are afraid of bugs.

This morning I was sitting at my desk minding my own business listening to the radio on my headphones. My boss goes wandering by, stops dead in her tracks about 10 feet away, and says "that's where it is!". She then grabs a piece of paper, places it on the floor, and stomps on something. I heard the crunch at my desk over my headphones. Seriously. It was gross. Now, I just wandered by the kill-zone and there is an impressive smear on the floor. It's icky... I'm glad it didn't come near my desk, I'd probably still be on furniture.

Questionable logic

It's a few weeks before the end of the fiscal year here and at the beginning of last week we had 3 (count 'em 3) temps show up in our department. Neither manager had a clue they were coming. Yay. They are supposed to be helping with the receiving and barcoding of new materials, which would require them to have pcs. Well, our IT department is so over loaded that they have yet to set-up their pcs fully. What bothers me is that these 3 people are here for only 1 month... so by the time they get the job down pat it is time for them to be sent to another locale. We will really need them next month when we lose 2 barcoders to retirement, and have a crummy budget year ahead with no idea when we'll be able to replace them. I understand the need to use the money that we recieved for temps but isn't this a little late to try and spend $$ and help out a very busy department?

Dancing Administrators

Have had a wonderful Friday so far...
We had a staff appreciation breakfast this morning at the Main branch (we're doing them at the 5 larger regional branches as well). It was VERY well done and VERY well-received by the staff (I was on the planning commitee). 6 of our Administrators were servers, our Director was playing hostess. The 2 male admins. were wearing flowers behind their ears. Tres chic, let me tell you. My table was the rabble-rousers so somehow I got the idea to see whether the gentlemen would dance. I walked up and asked where their grass skirts were so they could do the hula. One said his was at the cleaners, the other started dancing. When he finished, the crowd applauded and he got embarrassed. LOL.. now I think I might lose my job (just kidding). But, it was nice to get breakfast AND a floor show.

Mentoring advice please!

Hi All. I have just started mentoring a lady who is working in cataloging at a nearby PL. She is not a professional and has only minimal (like 1 conference) training under her belt. She's at a severe disadvantage because no one in her department is a professional at all. The only training they have received has been learned by doing (which is great but some of the things she's been asking are stuff that she should have been taught). Her library's focus is not on having a professional, degreed staff... which means that the catalog is a mess. She is working with a Sirsi system, which I have never used so I am zero help on that, and there seems to be no one at her library who knows the system at all. It seems like an impossible situation...

However, she is really bright and willing to learn. I just don't know where to start. She came and shadowed me for 2 days this week but I don't know how much she got out of it. She asked tons of questions, some of which I couldn't answer because I am not familiar with her system. Others I couldn't answer because they were local practice questions, and never having worked for her library I don't know the reasons why the policies exist. It's hard for me to be the leader here because I don't know where to begin or even what she wants to get out of this arrangement. I am debating just handing her a copy of Dr. Chan's Cataloging and Classification textbook. I'd hate to give up my copy but it's a worthy cause and I think it would help answer some philosophical questions. Anyone else have any ideas on what i can give her or where I can point for help? I can do basic cataloging with her, which is what she needs, but I don't really know what she wants.

Another problem that I have is that she's telling me about local practices that are totally incorrect. Like not following AACR2 incorrect... basic, basic rules that are being blown to the wind. My jaw nearly hit the floor when she told me that all reading list titles end up on 1 record per title, it doesn't matter about editions/abridgements/new introductions/etc... they are all living together. She told me it was for the ease of circulation, so that the patron can be assured of getting next copy returned. It's wacky.. oh, what stand-alone libraries can do inside their walls... wish we could get away with some of it here. Anyways, I guess I really need guidance on guiding this woman in the right direction. Anyone out there been a mentor before (not necessarily cataloging or library related) and will be willing to help me? TIA

Forgot to mention this...

This past weekend I wore my new "Beware of Rowdy Librarian" tee from
It got me lots of attention and respect... oh yeah, and free drinks! It's a great conversation starter. I got "Are you really a librarian?" more than once! I keep forgetting that librarians are very high on the fantasy lists. BTW, If Rowdy Librarian isn't to your tastes you can always try the "I'm a librarian, b!tch!" from the Lipstick Librarian.

Clap on! Clap off!

Oh my, today was a craptastic day. I work in cataloging and we get to work at 7am. When my boss got to work this morning the maintenance staff was standing outside (not a good sign). When I got there the emergency lights were on (an even worse sign). Then we have no internet, and are told that we're running on 1 box of emergency power and it could go at any time. YAY! The power goes totally out (not even the exit signs were lit) 3 times, the last time the power was out for nearly 3 hours. The whole time, we're closed to the public but we have full staff wandering the halls. Now, this wasn't such a huge deal for public staff (they have windows) but those of us that work in the basement were screwed. You couldn't see more than 1 inch in front of you in the hallways, and in our office. We were gathered at the windows like moths. And yet, no one gets sent home. The power was out for t-minus 2 hours and counting, we find out we need a new transformer and the director says "Go to lunch, we'll reassess at 1pm". Umm, reassess? Reassess what, the fact that we still don't have power? Meanwhile, we're working in a building that has zero security, zero emergency lights, no ac, no phones, and no one in admin seems to think this is a concern. WHEEEEE!!! We might not even be back online tomorrow but we all still get to go in and pretend it's a normal day! Maybe I'll take a personal day tomorrow. Geez.

not-so creepy puppets..

There seems to be a rash of creepy puppets invading libraries recently. Shoe's library has some and mine does. Mine are leaving Thursday, I think. Well tonight I went to see the troupe perform a history of marionettes. It was soo cool. Most of the marionettes were around 100 years old. By far, the coolest one was a shapeshifter. It took 4 puppeteers, and had 3 distinct puppets... it was dark and amazing to watch. I wish I could describe it but I don't think I could do it justice, it was something you just had to see.

Now, the creepy puppets have been on display and were not involved with tonights performance. I will admit that some of the displayed puppets were quite cool. There was one of the Snow Queen which was beautiful. However, the rest were just creepy. Thankfully, they will be gone soon. The troupe will be missed though. It was the Puppentheater Magdeburg from Magdeburg, Germany. They were wonderful. Here's their website as translated by google.

My library has a webpage for the puppets that we own (which are not as creepy). All in all, it was a great way to spend the eve of my birthday. Surrounded by friends and weird little puppet creatures. :-)

stupid weather...

It is far too nice outside to be working in the basement. It's 74-ish degrees, sunny, with a slight breeze... man, I want to be outside. :-( My Sister said it best "I have a window, the weather is tormenting me." I am glad that I don't have a window.
Can we institute mandatory Library recess? Like a siesta except we can go outside and play?

Strange tech services pictures

All right, I know we're a weird department. We create too much freetime and have waaaay too much fun with arts and crafts. Case in point, a couple of people found a cardboard cutout of Oprah in the hallway, brought her in here, and put her on display. When a branch manager said that she was going to kidnap Oprah, they dressed her up as Martha Stewart to hide her from the rest of the staff. The fruits of their labor have been documented. Enjoy!! Happy Friday!!

A friend of mine sent me this. I wonder if this is what will happen when Gmail starts up. Imagine having a political discussion and having ads for free trips to Iraq popping in your mail..

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