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"I Can Name That Patron in Two Adjectives"
My coworkers and I encounter a lot of people during our time on the desk and while covering the phones. Unless you are a frequent patron, exceptional nice (or attractive), troublesome, or for a lack of a better word, down right "quirky," we do remember your name. And if you are really special, we even may have a nickname for you. Not that it means it's a bad thing. Several of my female coworkers have dubbed one guy the "hot dad."
Also, if you have a unique name, we will most likely point it out to each other. Seriously, what else are we supposed to talk about at work: cats? recipes? sewing/crocheting? I'd fail on all three topics.
We don't make fun of patrons, okay, so *some* of my coworkers do, but when you deal with hundreds of people during the week it can be hard to recall certain patrons unless you describe them like "Porn Dude," you know, that creepy guy that always looks at porn on the public internet stations without regard for those around him.
I know it would be pointless of me to say not to take it personally but really, it is personal.
My PICAW (Partner In Crime At Work) and myself found ourselves bored at work when we were covering the phones.
I randomly searched for unique names in our patron database and was quite surprised what names (first and middle) popped up. So what started out as a way to pass the time turned into a competitive game.
Our list became quite extensive and we have tried to keep it organized, somewhat...
We found out that our library system has its own "United Nations" of patrons' names when it came to countries along with some other cities.
Countries and Cities: -- Read More
Former NFL star gets a kick out of rare books
After Pat McInally signed his rookie contract with the Cincinnati Bengals in 1975, the first thing he did with his new-found wealth was also the least likely: He bought a vintage book collection for the copy of "Winnie the Pooh" it contained.
Bassett filled out a little piece of paper when she renewed her library card a while back, but she had forgotten about it.
The countywide library system held a raffle for two laptops during its annual card drive, and Gig Harbor’s Bassett won one of them.
“It was a funny story,” she said. “I went to have my library card renewed, and they had me fill out this little slip of paper. I said, ‘What do you want me to do with this?’ ”
Bassett said she regularly checks out items at the library with her husband, and she decided to get her own card updated. “I thought, ‘That’s dumb. I might want to go without him some time,’ ” she said. “It’s ironic, because I’m really a raffle nut, but I had totally forgotten I had filled out this slip.”
Winning the laptop turned out to be perfect timing for Bassett, who recently lost her job.
“It was a heartbreaker,” she said. “It was truly a dream job. I thought I was going to be there forever.”
Nonetheless, Bassett hopes to turn bad luck around. “Now I think I want to start my own bookkeeping business,” she said. “This laptop is so timely.”
The man behind the modern pop-up book, Waldo "Wally" Hunt, has died at age 88. Hunt, a Los Angeles advertising executive, sold his company and traveled to New York, where he became disenchanted. He was charmed by a pop-up book imported from Czechoslovakia. "I knew I'd found the magic key," he told the L.A. Times in 2002. "No one was doing pop-ups in this country." Hunt's first pop-up company was so successful that Hallmark purchased it. Then Hunt returned west and started another company -- making pop-up books, of course.
Check out this LA Times blog, and particularly the wonderful video of "ABC3D," a design favorite of 2008--wonderful book (maybe not the best for libraries, but a unique book for sure).
Huffington Post reports that a New York University student was found dead in the school's main library this morning shortly before 5 a.m.
Andrew Williams-Noble, a junior , is thought to have jumped to his death in Bobst Library, although the school has yet to confirm this. NYPD officials told NYUNews.com simply that it was a "non-criminal" action.
The library was the scene of two suicides in 2003 which lead to the installation of protective panels along the railings to prevent further deaths.
An NYU spokesperson has issued a statement to the University community.
The following is a post from The Merry Librarian (www.merrylibrarian.com) dated Sept. 27th, 2009. Check out the website for all postings!
"Tough Love from a Tough Dad"
This week’s Story of the Week is one of the rare stories that is genuinely heartwarming (though we’re sure there are more out there!). As librarians–as with any public service profession–we so often see the sad and traumatic family interactions. It is refreshing to witness powerful and positive relationships like this one. Thank you, “Diane”, for this great story!
I work at a small library in an area of town that tends to house the lower-economic demographic. It is not unusual for things to be stolen from our library on a regular basis–most frequently our DVDs. One day, I was at the reference desk when a man came in with a young, teenage boy. The man looked pretty haggard. He had tattoos everywhere (even a cross between his eyebrows! Ouch!) and lots of piercings. He looked like he’d had a pretty hard life. When he came up to the desk, he set a very tall pile of DVDs in front of me–at least 20 DVDs.
“I found these in my son’s room,” he said. “He didn’t check them out. He stole them.”
I didn’t quite know how to respond, so I (rather stupidly) said, “Oh. Okay. So none of them are checked out?”
“No, ma’am,” he answered. Then he knelt down on the ground so that he was eye to eye with me. His son knelt beside him, looking deeply humiliated and angry. -- Read More
7 October 2009
There is a film titled "A Mighty Wind". It is a great film in the genre of the mockumentary. Unfortunately this piece is not about that film. Instead we get to talk about mighty winds.
Overnight Tuesday into Wednesday, northeast Ohio was battered with high-velocity winds. Wind gusts were estimated at points around forty-five miles per hour. Rain was scattered. Branches were felled by this mighty wind. This was something that would lead into something worse.
I was already woke up once by the whistling winds outside my bedroom windows. After I caught another two hours of sleep, I woke up to find a lack of power. The first priority, though, was to secure down the facility in light of the winds. This meant running around locking up the barn, checking on the corn crib that doubles as the "cat house" and more. The barn cats were no dummies and seemed to fly inside as soon as a door was opened.
After waiting a while in case the power outage was transient, we departed for somewhere with power. This part of Ohio has two seasons: "snow" and "not snow". It was getting cold and when we called the outage in to First Energy we were not even given an estimated time of restoration.
The outage pointed out some problems. First and foremost, my battery-operated transistor radio worked fine. I could hear WWOW's morning program just fine. The time signal on shortwave from WWV was still audible. Computers in the house were fancy-looking door stops. Laptop batteries have a particular mean time between failure and unfortunately some batteries were miserable failures. Desktops could not be fired up without electricity. The Apple portable media player had a decent battery charge but it was preserved for as long as possible.
While we went driving, we saw what looked to be part of the problem. Kingsville Township Volunteer Fire Department was out responding to a downed electrical line. The line was sparking and the field it was being buffeted around in due to the high winds bore scorch marks from the fires it started. This felt all too reminiscent of the huge outage in 2003 that covered a significant chunk of the northeastern United States as well as the Canadian province of Ontario. In that case a tree that fell started a cascade that wiped out power to many.
For librarians, this presents some interesting points. While the data cloud might be proposed to be a great tool, it would have been a miserable failure in the face of a power outage. If a Kindle were possessed on the farm it would have been useless for downloading as Sprint has no coverage at the farm. Although news was just released that AT&T will be eventually providing data coverage for Kindles, that would still not help here. Power had to be shepherded in battery operated devices as there was no way to know when service would be restored. That would wipe out any hope of mobile broadband or similar backstops for accessing the cloud. Thankfully the backup power supplies at the cell towers were intact long enough to call in outage reports but I would not have pushed my luck in seeking data through those means.
This was a case where books won out. Candlelight or the light from a hurricane lamp would be sufficient provided I could find my glasses. Analog tools like that did not need power to operate and would have carried through.
Fortunately the outage only lasted a few hours and service was restored for us by the early evening. Not everybody in northeast Ohio affected by this have seen service restored yet. This does leave an issue for librarians to ponder. While issues like irregular power are normally thought of as things happening to the poor abroad, what happens when the homeland does not seem as impervious to such problems? How do you plan effective information access over digital means in light of such?
An Ill Wind Blows by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
NPR story from a librarian, Cheri Campbell, who works at the library in Lorain, OH:
I work as a reference librarian at a public library in Lorain, Ohio, located about 30 minutes due west from Cleveland. Last Thursday, my library held a "recession resources fair" to help people find out how they could perhaps better "survive" in the current economy.
If someone approached my table, I greeted them and explained what the library could offer -- books on all aspects of the career search and job hunting process, computer access. I gave them handouts on resume help and offered my business card. If they seemed interested in that assistance, I then walked that person to the state employment agency table and introduced them to the counselor at that table, where they would then be told about what that agency could do for them -- job training, classes on interview skills and resume writing, referrals to GED and English language classes and more computers for job searching.
It was a concentrated version of what librarians do every day -- tell people about what we have and where else they might go for more help. But this time, the additional sources of help weren't a phone call away, but were maybe waiting for them inside a public library meeting room. I will likely never find out if anyone in that room received information or assistance that will make any kind of real difference in their lives. All any of us there could do was to try and help.
Chile's President Michelle Bachelet has celebrated her 58th birthday by dancing a traditional Chilean cueca — with a library worker who plucked up the courage to ask.
Bachelet was inaugurating a library in the Santiago district of Cerrillos on Tuesday when she was surprised by a group of musicians who played a "cueca brava" — a popular version of Chile's folkloric dance — for her birthday. While the musicians sang, a library worker asked Chile's president to dance — and she accepted. LA Times.