Friday, May 26, 2006


Not too often I get to complain about this (see hours to right), though it is a common complaint among other librarians.

I announce the library is closing in thirty minutes, fifteen minutes, and finally we’re closed, and people act like they don’t need to listen to any of the announcements. Of course, all of my coworkers have fled the building like rats from a sinking ship long ago so now there’s just me and the student assistant.

Fifteen minutes later, I’ve hussled everyone out. I think the building is empty when one guy comes up from the stairs. Where the hell did he come from? I watch expecting him to exit through the doors, maybe with a wave or a guilty smile, but to my horror, he comes up to the circ desk. Oh dear Lord, NO!!!!!!

“Hi, do you have a lost and found?”

“We’re closed.”

“I left some papers down in a carrel like two weeks ago.”

“They’re gone.”

“I know. Are they up here?”

“No, they’ve been recycled. We’re closed.”

“Could you just check? They’re really important.”

I stare at him in complete wonderment at his utter obtuseness. I turn around in a daze and pick up the stack of notebooks and papers that we keep in lost and found. I set the stack down in front of the student. He glances through them.

“No, they’re not here. Do you really think they’ve been recycled?”


“But they were really important.”

“When did you say you left them here?”

“Two weeks ago. Kyle said it would be okay.”

“Then Kyle was mistaken. We don’t like stuff to even be left here over night. After graduation, we did a major cleaning. I wasn’t here, but the staff is very aggressive with what they’ll throw out.”

“But I left a note of in it saying I’d be back for it.”

“Yes, two weeks ago. We’ll leave stuff alone for two hours if there’s a note but not two weeks. We are not a storage facility.”

“But they were court documents!”

“Then maybe they were shredded. We’re closed.”

The guy opens his mouth again.

“We’re closed.”

And finally he LEAVES!

I mention the guy to Kyle the next day to see if he remembered the dude.

“Yeah, I remember. I thought he meant for just that night.”

“Well, he pissed me off yesterday.”

“He’s got mental problems.”

“Yeah, he doesn’t know when to leave.”

“No, I mean he seriously has a condition. He got like a brain injury that messed him up.”

“Well, I’m sorry for him, but he still annoyed the hell out of me.”


Monday, May 15, 2006

Crying in the Bathroom, II

Wow, thank you all for the advice to my previous post.

In the previous post, I asked how one should handle the situation of someone crying in the bathroom. Should you say something or leave that person alone? As the comments are now, it's five for saying something and two for not.

I guess I should ask:

"Excuse me, do you need help? Do you want me to get you anything?"

I had to retype what I think I should say several times because I kept having a question asking about her well being in it, and obviously the crier's well being is not that great if she is crying, and just to be clear: I'm going to refer to the crier as female because this is a university woman's bathroom. The person behind the stall is gonna be female (at least she better be or else I'm gonna have a whole nother conversation, and I do consider transexuals as she's so no snarking about that possibility). I don't really think that changes how I should handle the situation or anything, but it makes my writing this post easier if I can just write she or her.

I feel squeamish about approaching her because I know that a lot of times the crying is over a relationship or school stress, and the crier hid to let it out. She probably needs to speak to someone even then, but I know how uncomfortable I'd feel counseling her. This may sound cold, but I wish we had little cards that we could slip under the stall with counseling numbers on it.

Does that sound awful or like a good idea?

I also just thought that it'd be even better if we had cell phones we could slip under the stall with the card. Or the numbers could be on the cell phone so the person could just stay put in the stall and place the call there if they wanted. No need to go anywhere. Something on the card or cell phone could say that they could return the phone to the book drop or some other location so if they wanted to keep it anonymous they could. I know getting cell phones would be tricky. I could run the idea by the counseling offices to see what they think, and see if there is funding available for such an idea. It's always a matter of funding.

Does this idea sound good?

I know it's rather cold and impersonal, but cold and impersonal is what I'm good at.

I have to say I don't think the cell phone idea would get off the ground because of no funding and those who approve funding wouldn't think it important enough to fund it. And I don't think only libraries should have cell phones, but all over campus these would be good things, but the higher ups would just shake their heads and say, "They're just crying. Tears are nothing. If they want to speak to a counselor, they can just call on their personal cell phones."

They'd probably also argue that the students would call someone else, not the counselors to which I reply, "Well good, as long as they're talking to someone they feel comfortable with all the better!"

Sigh. I'll see what I can do, but already it doesn't look good and I haven't even done anything.

And I'm not doing anything this week because I'm on vacation. That's right. I don't have to go to Library X for a week. I'm gonna live it up.

Leave me a comment and tell me if I'm a cold heartless bitch; the cell phone idea is a stupid idea; little business cards wouldn't go over but just depress the crier more; I need counseling.

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Monday, May 08, 2006

Crying in the Bathroom

Can anyone tell me how they handle this situation?

You go into the bathroom, do your business, and hear someone in another stall crying. Do you say something or leave the person alone? I've found myself in this situation a couple of times. Tonight being one of them. In the past, others have been in the bathroom and asked the upset person if she needed anything, and the upset person said no. I didn't bother asking as well because it sounded like she just wanted to be left alone, but what about when you're the only one in the bathroom with the weeper? The weeper is in a stall. Do you tap on the door and ask or leave the person alone? I think I would ask if the person were all right if she were crying at the sinks, but being in the stall seems like a pretty clear indication that she wants to left alone, but is it?

So tell me what you think. I'm pretty unsure on this. I'm not a touchy feely person, and definitely wouldn't want a stranger comforting me when I'm upset, but I don't know if that's the norm or just me, and I wonder if the reason I feel like I should be compelled to help is because it's happening in the library and thus my domain. Am I supposed to deal with it? I know there's no official policy but what about unofficially? How would you handle it? And I'm not talking about wailing and shirt rending, but you know quiet sobs.

Leave a comment and tell me what you think.


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Saturday, May 06, 2006

I made a new sign:






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Thursday, May 04, 2006

You take the good, you take the bad

You take them both and there you have
The Facts of Life, the Facts of Life.

Sorry, couldn't get that out of my head, but it has been the theme for the day.

It is the first day of exams and what happens at 6pm?

The power goes out.

And it stays out.

For over an hour.

We've never had the power go out for so long. No one was telling us anything. Library X seemed to be the only building without power. Students were leaving in droves. Some of them in tears--All that hard work now gone. If you say something about saving their work, the students just look at you blankly. They don't want to hear it.

Students keep coming up to ask when the power will be coming back on. I have to tell them that there is no time frame. We don't know what caused the power outage. Someone is working on it. No one is happy. People shut their eyes and put their heads down at their keyboards to try and use their time constructively.

But as we're checking books out with pen and paper, a group of female students come in laden with food. They're here to give it out but begin to reconsider seeing the darkness and the lack of bodies. We quickly argue them out of leaving, at least with the food. We put out some tables and start laying the food out. The girls leave to get more food. They have a lot. When they come back, there's a line of fifteen students ready to get food and more arriving. No one has made an announcement or said anything, but students have finely tuned free food radar. They don't care that it's pitch black, and they can't see what they're picking up to eat. It's free food.

As the students fill their plates, the lights finally come back on. No one cares. They're eating. I ask the group of girls what organization they are with. The lead girl shakes her head. They aren't with anyone. They just wanted to do something nice for their fellow students during exams. That's nice, but I think that they're part of a secret society. A secret food giving society. We need more secret societies like that.

Day two of exams tomorrow, and I'm working my old shift of midnight-8am. See ya.

*I swear I haven't forgotten about the golf pencils. They'll just have to wait till after exams. I want it to be an extra special report.*


Tuesday, May 02, 2006