Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Rat Poison

Learn something new everyday.

Because of the policy changes to the computers, our community/non-UZ patrons have been coming up to the desk to discuss the new restrictions with us. Oh it's fun to be bitched at.

One such patron came up with his little girlfriend to speak to me. He's a young guy. Doesn't even look college age. He's got thick blonde hair. He's looks clean, but his clothes are a little worn out. His girlfriend is the same.

Patron: Why did you restrict the public computers?

Me: We wanted to make more computers available to students.

Patron: What's the policy with the science labs? Can we go in there?

I assume he's asking about the science library computer labs.

Me: You can go in and check books out, but I don't know what their computer policy is.

Patron: No, I meant the science laboratories.

He pulls out a small stoppered vial.

Patron: I make rat poison for my friends because they don't like to buy it, and I wondered if I could use the university labs to do it.

The vial has a watery red liquid in it, and I am officially weirded out.

Me: Um, I don't know what the lab policies are, but I doubt that they'd let you use them for that.

Patron: You don't think so?

He tucks the vial back into his bag.

Me: Like I said, I don't know for sure, but highly doubt it.

Patron: Well, thanks.

He walks out with his girlfriend.

Later I mention the exchange to my boss.

Boss: Rat poison's slang for LSD.

Me: You serious?

Boss: Yeah, I can't believe he showed you his stuff.

Me: I can't believe I didn't know.

Boss: Haven't you ever done LSD?

Me: What?!

Boss: Well...

Me: Yes, I will tell my boss if I've done LSD.

He laughs and shelves a book on a cart. I narrow my eyes.

Me: Have you done LSD?

Boss: Yeah, I'll freely admit I have.

Me: Well, I haven't.

Boss: Why not?

Me: Um...The idea that I could have flashbacks five years later didn't appeal to me.

Boss: Yeah, that does suck.

I'm pretty much speechless now.

Boss: Do you think Laura or Kyle have?

Me: Um, don't know. Either Kyle hasn't, or he currently is. Hey, is there anything else you want to tell me? All this info is very useful.

Boss laughs again. He's a real laid-back, easy-going guy.

Me: Does being Springsteen's brother mean anything?

Boss: No, why?

Me: Well, a couple nights ago, another community member was claiming to be his brother and that Bruce comes to visit him every few days and seeing as how I'm such an innocent, I thought I should ask.

Boss: No, claiming to be Springsteen's brother is just crazy talk.

Me: Good.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Not So Paranoid After All

One of the suggestions I wanted is finally being implemented in Library X.

Non-UZ patrons can only access six of the computers within the library, and they have to stand to use them. None of the other computers will allow the public login.

This only began tonight, and those computers have already become prime real estate. Plus they've beefed up the porn policy. If patrons can't show proof that they are viewing sexually explicit material for academic reasons, then the patrons must stop viewing that material and may be asked to leave. If they are involved in academic work, we're to move them to a more secluded/private location. I'm thinking a utility closet.

And yes, it could be academic. Deep Throat and Behind the Green Door have been put on reserve before. A censorship class had to watch these gems.

Back to the policy changes, we're supposedly going to have an age requirement very soon too. No one under the age of sixteen can be in the library without adult accompaniment. That will be a very good thing.

So I'm not paranoid or a complete bitca, or at least, not the only one. Things are changing, and it's all for the good.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

They Must Not Frequent the Library

Oh, I wish I'd been there to see this.

It's raining here at Library X so I couldn't go outside the front doors like I usually do to have a smoke because I didn't want to mess up my nice suede jacket. I go out to the covered loading dock which is down a floor and through a locked door and is shared with the student center/dining hall.

As soon as I light up, a fire truck comes rolling up with lights flashing. Three firefighters get out and walk up and ask me what's the quickest way to the kitchen. I point in the general direction at the student center. I really don't know, but I figure they'll meet someone quick enough. A person in a dining hall uniform comes out after the firefighters disappear, and I ask her if they called the fire dept. She says they did, and she told the firefighters where to go. Being consummately nosy, I ask what the emergency was. I'm thinking grease fire, or maybe someone got cut with a knife.

She tells me, "Five kids were playing a game to see who could stick their hand through a hole in a chair. One student got his hand stuck. We tried icing it and greasing it to get the hand free, but nothing worked. I told them to stop before they broke his hand and called the fire dept to cut him loose."

I stare at her. My mouth may be hanging open. "These were university students?" I ask because I really cannot believe this.

"Yeah, they're always doing stupid stuff like this. We've got to call the fire dept or someone at least once a semester to get them out of trouble."

"But that's so stupid," I say still disbelieving.

"Yeah, but I guess he won."

Now I have the burning urge to go through the library and make sure we have no chairs that students could wedge their hands in and get caught. Maybe I should child proof all the outlets too while I'm at it.


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Dastardly Villains

(Not to be confused with Happy Villains)

The lowest, crummiest, worst type of criminal imaginable is the library thief.

I don't know what goes through these miscreants minds when they take a library book. Maybe they think libraries have tons of money to replace this book or maybe we won't notice the missing book or maybe we're cold heartless bitches and bastards who won't let the thieves check out anymore books because they have ten dollars in fines and haven't paid in a timely manner so their fines have gone to bill collection and their accounts suspended. Many things could possibly 'justify' the theft.

Let me state unequivocally and adamantly whatever your reason, it's shit. You're shit, and until you bring that book back, you will reek like shit. That is the library curse. Of course, you won't notice it because no one ever notices that he or she smells, but trust me, everyone else smells the stink, and they won't like you. That woman or man you try to chat up at the bar will scrunch his or her nose and inch away because you reek with library theft. People won't sit by you on the bus. Only terrace seating will be available to you at restaurants. Children will wail and scream around you. Dogs will howl. Squirrels will hurl nuts. Birds will fall from the sky. Even over the internet, your stench will waft through cyberspace. All your friends will abandon you on, and no one will respond to your emails. Soon, you won't even be able to access the internet or use the computer because your stench will gunk up the CPU.

Return the book. It is the only way to lift the curse.

And if it was the Bible you stole, well, get ready to be smote. You really should have known better.


Sunday, January 15, 2006

Stakeout in the Library

This probably shouldn't make me giggle so much, but UPD has asked Library X's permission to put a plain clothes officer in the library to watch a bike rack that's been stolen from chronically. The bike rack is right across from a window in our library, but the window is not in a public area. The officer will set up at the window and watch the bikes.

This is actually a pretty involved sting operation (giggle). There will be an officer inside our library and another officer outside the next door building in radio contact to run interception when the would be thieves strike.

Don't get me wrong. I feel bad for all the people who have had their bikes stolen, even though they could've prevented it more than likely if they'd used a bike lock (Yeah, those are the bikes being stolen. Amazing isn't it?), but we're gonna have an officer in here for two nights from 4pm-10pm watching the bike rack. I feel sorry for that officer. I hope he has an MP3 player or something to entertain himself.

The sergeant that spoke to me made it clear that I should not rely on this officer if anything police worthy happens within the library. I'm to call 911 for a uniformed officer. I'm assuming if I had really urgent emergency this wouldn't be the case. I mean if I had a serious medical emergency or serious criminal activity, I could tear that officer away from his bike rack stakeout (Try saying that three times fast.) to assist me, but let's just hope that I don't have to test that theory.

Still, they want to do a bike rack stakeout from the library. It's just so precious.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Cats and Libraries

I know a lot of people consider it a cliche for librarians to have cats, but what these people don't realize is that it's actually a law of the universe.

I didn't have a cat when I started working in libraries. I wasn't looking to get one either. In less than six months, I had a cat. The universe forced me to, and I was powerless to resist. If you work in a library, and you don't have a cat, either you're allergic and so exempt, or you just don't have one YET. You can argue with me all you want, but when you find a kitten sitting in your desk chair when you get to work, you'll know. The universe got you too. No, I didn't find my cat in my desk chair. The universe was sneakier with me.

At one time, I was in charge of opening the library, and arrived fifteen minutes early to do so. I walked around checking the emergency doors, and was strolling through the window lounge when a small glob of orange huddled against one of the windows caught my eye. I walked over and saw a kitten half covered in mud shivering against the glass.

It was late fall. It was morning. It was cold. I looked at the kitten crouched there, and knew I had to go out and check on her. She was so small, and she looked so pitiful with her hind legs covered in red mud while her front half was fluffy and orange, and her eyes were still blue. Orange fur, blue eyes, bedraggled kitten. I dare you to resist the combination.

I went outside, and circled round to the back of the library where the window lounge was located, and approached the kitten. As soon as she saw me, she did one of the most heartbreaking things imaginable. She tried to run away from me through the window. She boinked her head and scrabbled with her tiny little paws against the glass as I crept closer. I scooped her up easily. She fit in the palm of my hand. As soon as I had her, she was hissing and spitting, and scratching, but as I said, the little thing could fit in the palm of my hand so her claws were too small to even really break the skin.

I cuddled the kitten to give her some warmth and took her back inside. As I was walking to an entrance door, I felt something glance off my chin. I looked down and realized that the little thing had tried to bite me, but it hadn't hurt and instead of freaking me out, she just endeared herself to me more. I did lower her from striking distance to my face though. She continued to growl and hiss at me the whole trip back inside.

When I got back inside, I got a clean rag to wipe her off and bundle her up. The kitten still was not happy. She made outraged noises and attempts on my life as I tended to her, but I had a secret weapon--A turkey sandwich. I took the turkey from the sandwich, wiped off the Mayo, and fed small pieces of it to her. She ate the meat greedily and any nips I received I contributed to hunger and not the open malice in her eyes.

Of course, she came home with me.

I named her Caper.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Happy New Year

I hope you all had a lovely new year. I didn't do anything except rack my brain over what I could possibly do better this year. I'm not implying I'm perfect, but I know what I can conceivably manage and what's fantasy. A lot of stuff is fantasy.

I have come up with a few work-related New Year's Resolutions.

1. Be more punctual (And yeah, if you look at the date of this post, you'll see how hard this one is going to be to manage.)

2. Stop whining about not being able to take time off. I know I've been a nuisance recently about this one with my co-workers. I intend to fix this by taking time off. Dates undecided as of right now.

3. Be patient and friendly with student employees, especially now that I will have to work side-by-side with them. I've never had to work too much with them before this, but now they will be my primary back-up.

4. Shelve more.

Do any of you have work-related New Year's Resolutions? If so, what might they be?


There's a black woman speaking French near the desk. She's an international student who's in here a lot.

She speaks loudly. I was amused to just hear her switch from French to say, "I'm not fucking living here, anymore." I think she was quoting someone, but it's amusing she would switch from French to English to say that. Do the French say, "Excuse my English?"