Thursday, September 29, 2005

There was a Sign, Pt.2

So this sign is outside my library right now.

Remember the 4 rules for a successful sign?
1. See the Sign
2. Read the Sign
3. Believe the Sign
4. Do what the Sign FREAKING SAYS

Lets standard letter grade the sign:

1. See the Sign - It's placed right outside our doors. If it were right in front of the doors, it would be excellent. "B"

2. Read the Sign - The large text is good and simple, and our sign makers use a little creative subversion of rule to get the sign noticed. "A"

3. Believe the Sign - The sign text is blue on a pink background and looks a little too "cutesy". Also the wording is in the form of a question. Questions aren't very authoritative unless someone in uniform is asking them. "C"

4. Do what the Sign FREAKING SAYS - Considering the sign has no date or times listed for when someone can sign up only a vague location and phone number (blanked out for anonymity's sake), I don't think number 4 will be accomplished which is the most important thing. "D"

Grade Overall: "C+"

And a big THANK YOU to my co-vampire for taking this digital picture for me. I know all the smoking students looked at you funny, but it was worth it. Kept me from bugging you for an hour, didn't it?


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Request and Regret

After much whining, I finally got security to agree to visit my library during the overnight. I don't know why we were never on their patrol route before, but now they come in and occasionally patrol the building. Of course, when you get what you want, you instantly regret it.

There's this security guard who my co-vampire and I can't stand. Let's call him Tommy because I can't recall his name. Tommy looks like a lump of saggy dough with no chin. Attractive, right? I tried to give Tommy the benefit of the doubt. Yes, his appearance mildly repulsed me, but I figured his personality would make up for it. His personality is like a lump of saggy dough, too.

Tommy does not know how to have casual conversation. He comes into the library, bellies up to the circ desk, and precedes to have the exact same conversation with us he had with us two hours ago, four hours ago, last night, the night before, since the first time we met him. And the conversation is basically him trying to make us admit that we don't do any work. It pisses me off. And if that weren't bad enough, he doesn't know when to leave. He stands there after asking us the same tired and annoying questions and just watches us for an indeterminate amount of time. I want to make gentle shooing motions and say, "Okay, conversation over now, you can go walk around the building."

I don't even think he does a real patrol anyway. One morning, a co-worker came in and said one of the fire alarm doors was going off in the back stairwell. She'd turned it off, but just wanted to let us know. I looked at my co-vampire and said, "Didn't Tommy go down to patrol less than an hour ago?" She nodded her head. If he'd really walked through the floor, he would've heard that alarm. True, it may have been tripped after he'd patrolled, but because I'm feeling ungenerous, I'm not going to give him much benefit of the doubt. If only he didn't insist on talking to us or staring at us or even stopping as he goes down to check the floors. A wave would suffice. Heesh, he just irks the hell out of me.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

PSA for Students #4

If you're going to have a fake ID, DON'T LOSE YOUR WALLET.

I'm getting tired of having to pick through your plastic to figure out who you are.

Here's some more advice because you didn't ask. Don't keep that fake ID in the clear plastic window in your wallet. That's just stupid. The only time you need that fake ID front and center is at the alcohol store. Once you got your keg, put the fake ID in a slot behind some credit cards, and when you're back at frat house, take that fake ID out of your wallet and tuck it into your underwear drawer. You don't need it with you ALL THE TIME. In fact, it's better if you don't have it all the time. Remember, fake IDs are ILLEGAL. You guys do remember that right? If not, UPD will be happy to remind you.

That is all.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Promotional Material

Everyone advertises. Everyone. Libraries do too. You'd think we wouldn't have to because hey, we're libraries. We're here for the people. We offer free services. We aren't trying to make money. We just want to help people. You'd think that would be enough to get people in the door, but advertising and promotion still happens.

What's appropriate/good promotion of a library? Bookmarks with library information. Pencils and pens are nice too. Magnets to go on the fridge to pin up due dates. Calendars or planners with library events listed in them. Tote bags to carry books. All excellent promotional material.

What does my library have made up to promote us?


I am not kidding. When I came in tonight, I had two on my desk waiting for me. At first, I thought they were just general promotion material for the university, but 'Library' is very clearly printed underneath the university name. Why is the library giving out whistles? Who thought this was a good way to promote the library? What the heck is going on?

I'm not saying whistles are bad promotional material, but it would have been far more appropriate for say UPD to give these out than us.

I mean, when it comes to promotional material, shouldn't you give out an item you would actually want your customer/patron to have when he/she visits your location? I don't know about you, but arming a bunch of undergrads with whistles and letting them loose in the stacks seems like a very bad idea.

But all that aside, I am wearing the whistle. My co-vampire Laura laughed and asked me why I was bothering. I grinned at her and said, "You never know. The phone might ring."

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Next vacation stop - Not Florida

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

There was a Sign

I've discovered that there are four steps for any successful sign.

1. See the Sign
2. Read the Sign
3. Believe the Sign
4. Do what the Sign FREAKING SAYS

Achieving a successful sign:

1. See the Sign: Place the sign someplace where it cannot be ignored. Best practice: make it a tripping hazard. If they don't pay attention, they sprain an ankle.

2. Read the sign: Make the text as large and as simple as possible. My motto: Keep it simple, stupid. If you have to read more than four words, the sign is too long. Smaller explanatory text is acceptable, but the gist of the sign should be achieved in as few words as possible.

3. Believe the sign: The language of the sign should be authoritative. No pleases or thank yous. It should be a command, but still they will question it. The best way to answer is a very firm yes without smiling whenever they ask, "Do I really have to?" A sarcastic reply is tempting such as, "No, you alone are exempt. In fact I'm going to update the sign right now, and it will say everyone but you." or "Nah, we just put that sign up for fun. We think it's funny when people actually do what it says," but try to resist. If they do not believe in the sign, they are likely to take your sarcastic comment at face value and then tell all their friends to not believe in the sign. Conversely, if they believe in the sign, they will convert others into believing in the sign too.

4. Do what the sign FREAKING SAYS: Even if the first three steps are successful, it doesn't matter unless the fourth is achieved. Punitive measures can be taken to ensure compliance with the sign. I recommend throwing things at them.

What sign made me such an expert?



Library X is restricted to University Z students, staff, and faculty from 12am-7:30am.

It's amazing how they'll either walk around the sign after almost tripping over it and still not look at it; look at the sign and just not read it; read the sign, look at me, and shrug their shoulders (I throw the hardest at them); or they'll ask me, "Are you serious about seeing ID?" Sigh.


Friday, September 02, 2005


Universities and colleges all over the country are opening their doors to students displaced by Katrina. Here are some of the states that I could find information for. Some are just news articles. It's not something I would've thought about normally. States not listed are more than likely willing to take students. Students or parents need to merely call the university's or college's office of admissions.















New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina


Rhode Island

South Carolina





West Virginia



ALA's coverage of impacted libraries.

Here's an excerpt from a Rice University email talking about the refugees using library resources there:

As many of you know, Houston has prepared the old Astrodome to accommodate
25,000 refugees from New Orleans; the buses began to arrive last night. The
University and the main library here are right off a metro stop that links
directly to the Astrodome, so we have begun to experience a significant increase
in traffic, most of whom come to the public workstations and look up the
FEMA web pages. We have set up a direct link to FEMA on our local machines, and
also have printed handouts directing patrons to agencies that can help in
replacing drivers licenses, social security cards, and other documents that have
been irrevocably lost in the flood.

Here's a link to Houston's Public Library's resource page for Katrina refugees. They've done an excellent job.