Thursday, September 28, 2006

PSA for Professors #2

If furniture is missing from a library classroom, don't expect me to whittle you some replacements. Woodworking and vampires don't mix. Unfortunate splinter accidents can occur.

Don't really expect me to go hunt and gather some replacement furniture either. I ain't lugging tables up from the lower floors just so your students have a place to set their feet.

If it ain't there, you don't need it.


Monday, September 25, 2006

Library Thefts at Texas Tech University

Or as I'm calling it: Job Security

This is actually pretty shocking. I know none of the students I work with would ever do anything like this, but you better believe I'll be waving this article around if downsizing ever becomes an issue.

This guy could've gotten away with this a lot longer if he hadn't tried so hard to cover the library's markings. All he needed to do was advertise the books as ex-library and buy himself a 'withdrawn' stamp. Nobody would've questioned it. It's scary but Buddhist true.

Oh, and the curse definitely got him.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Stop Now

There's nothing like yelling at the top of your lungs in a library. Especially when it's at a bunch of idiots.

For the past couple of nights, students have been beating up our clear front drink machine like schoolyard bullies after the weak kid's lunch money. It's highly annoying and dangerous.

Kyle has been dealing with it the past couple of nights, but tonight, I decided to handle it.

The vending machines are on the far side of the floor. They're as far away from the circ desk as you can get. Students punch, kick, or rock the machine to get free drinks. All activities are very violent and stupid, but we don't pick up on the violence till after a loud enough hit reaches our ears, which is usually when the first drinks fall. When the machine gives up some drinks, the students don't slink off with their pilfered Doubleshots, they decide to see if they can empty the machine and so the violence escalates.

Tonight, when a bunch of drinks fall indicating a beating in process, I start marching to the back. As I'm going back, I see one idiot raise his leg to karate kick the machine.

I yell the first thing that comes to mind. "STOP NOW." Everyone on the floor freezes for a moment. (I have a very good yell. My father was a drill sergeant.) The karate kid slowly lowers his leg and turns to me.

I walk to the student and speak loud enough for everyone else in the area to hear because it wasn't just karate kid beating up the machine, "What you're doing is basically stealing from University Z, and it's dangerous. I'm telling you right now, I am not waiting with you for the ambulance after you break your foot on that machine. Do you understand?"

He stammers he's sorry.

"Are you one of the ones who've been doing this every night?"

"No, this is my first time." I roll my eyes.

"Well, quit it, and never do it again." He just sort of stares at me. I shake my head in disbelief. The machines are in profile to the circ desk. We can't tell what drops down, but we can see when the students hit the machine. Can't they understand that hey, stealing's wrong, and it's really stupid to do it where EVERYONE CAN SEE YOU?

I give up. Buddhist. I shouldn't have to give these kids morality talks. I point my finger at my head and clearly enunciate, "Common sense."

I walk back to the circ desk and tell my two co-workers, "I think I just entered my forties." (Which means I've completely skipped my thirties. Oh well.)


Newest Tenants

Many of our patrons here at Library X develop a quasi residency in our building. They build a nest in a carrel or a corner and spend long hours here doing everything from eating, sleeping, and personal grooming. We suspect even some mating goes on as well. Being open 24hrs limits our ability to discourage this behavior. They can be here all the time without us knowing.

Allow me to introduce our newest residents:

The Crawly's like living in the stacks where students leave food for them throughout the floor. It's an all-you-can-eat buffet for them every night.

The Bitey's live primarily in the staff room. They had found a lovely vase of fetid water to raise their young in. I have removed the Bitey's vase, but I still find them flying around in the staff area looking for a new home. I'm afraid the Brita Buddhist water tank with it's cracked top may become their new home.

Needless to say, I've been itching all night. I don't know when or if we'll get any sort of fumigation.


Monday, September 18, 2006

What Does It Buddhist Mean?

I've been looking at this flyer every time I've gone to the bathroom, and it really disturbs me.





For a moment, I thought the flyer was a clever bunch of haikus, but the syllables are all off so no luck there. (But a flyer comprised totally of haikus would be awesome.)

I think it's advertising some sort of drinking fundraiser, but where, at what time, and why the random insertion of the word Buddhist? Do you have to be enlightened to know? Or if you are a true Buddhist will the where and what time be inconsequential since the fund raiser is everywhere and nowhere/now and never and eternally?

And how will getting drunk raise awareness for world poverty?

Inquiring minds, or at least snarky vampire librarians, want to know!

For those of you interested, here is the standard letter grading for this flyer:

See the Sign: A - It's inside the stall at eye level when sitting on the throne. Cannot be missed.

Read the Sign: A - Letters are all in caps in an easily readable font.

Believe the Sign: D - Don't know what the hell is going on. Do you have to go through a heavy regime of fasting and meditation to understand?

Do What the Sign Freaking Says: F - What am I supposed to freaking do????

Overall Grade: D - Better luck next time guys.

I finally took the flyer down so I wouldn't have to look at it anymore. It's just that distressing, or I'm that high strung, whichever.

But in honor of this flyer, I'm gonna start randomly inserting the word Buddhist into my posts.


Friday, September 15, 2006


Read these emails and be amazed.

The first e-mail is from my co-vampire. She quickly handed it off to me when the student lost all common sense.

1st email (written by co-vampire):

A bag was found in Library X containing a book and a receipt with your name on it. If these items belong to you, please come to the 4th floor circulation desk to retrieve them. They will be put in lost and found.

Here is the student's response:

I came into Library X last week and asked for the items that I had left behind. However, no one could find my items. Have they been found yet? If not, I think that I should be reimbursed for my anthropology book and sticker.

These items were no longer in my possession; thus, I feel that I am not responsible. Could you please email me back to let me know if they have been found or not.

Here is my (1st) response:

My co-vampire referred your problem to me as I am the unofficial person in charge of lost and found. Library X merely tries to reunite students with their lost belongings. We do this as a favor. We cannot be held responsible for lost items.

Our policy is: Neither Library X nor its staff may assume responsibility for the safekeeping of patrons' possessions. When you leave belongings in the library, you do so at your own risk.

I hope you find your book and sticker. Could someone else have possibly picked them up for you?

Here is the student's reply:

I received your email. I understand that Library X "tries to reunite students with their lost belongings" and really appreciate that someone found them. However, I still believe that your staff should assume responsibility for the safekeeping of my lost items since they were, in fact, in their possession.

I received an email from your co-vampire stating that someone had turned my bag, along with my receipt and name, to the front desk. She also informed me that they would be placed in the lost and found. When I went back a day later, my items were missing.

Thus, no one else picked them up. They were turned in to the library staff and were not in my possession. So, I believe this is an error on the Library X's staff, not my own. Could someone please contact me who can settle this issue immediately? Classes are underway, and I need this textbook for one of my classes.

Here is my (2nd) response:

You are mistaken in the library's role. Lost and found is not for safekeeping items. It is merely a place to gather all items left in the library so that they do not clutter up the floor. We do not assume responsibility for the items. We cannot be expected to make sure items are claimed by the rightful owners. We can only hope the items are claimed.

Since your items were not in our lost and found when you came to pick them up, they obviously were picked up by someone. We assume anyone who comes to claim an item is the owner of the item.

If you wish, you can make a report to university police.

Due to this incident, we will review and make changes to how we handle lost and found.

Please keep me informed of how this matter progresses. I am sorry your item has gone missing. Hopefully you will find it.


I cannot freaking believe that a student would assume such an ass backwards stance with this. SHE LOST HER BOOK. We tried to give it back to her. We didn't lose it. SHE DID.

I hope she reports it to UPD so the officers can have a good laugh.

I don't know what happened to her book.

She or a friend could have come by once and claimed it and then came by a second time to raise a stink. It seems very likely. I'd like to see her credit card statement to see if possibly there was a bookstore refund for the cost of an anthropology book.

I can't wait to see how she responds.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Eye Infections

I mentioned in the comments to this post that wearing contacts at the library has in the past resulted in chronic eye infections.

Over my break, I got new disposable contacts, and now I have a lovely eye infection again. What is the deal? I like wearing contacts, but not when I look like I have a pair of stop lights for eyes.

I wash my hands constantly. I use the Purell. I don't think I touch my eyes more at work. I do fool with my eyes more due to taking in and out my contacts, but why do I keep getting these infections?

No one else at Library X seems to get eye infections, but I don't think many people here wear contacts. It's either glasses or nothing. I wish I knew what I was doing to cause this. My doc just shrugged his shoulders when I asked him.

Has anyone else had this problem?

Sunday, September 10, 2006

PSA for Students #8

Just because you work in a library, does not give you automatic access to EVERY libraries' break room.

This means when you're studying in Library X, you cannot saunter into our break room to microwave your hot pocket. I don't care if you're a shelver in the big research library. I don't know you, and I don't want you back there, especially when I'm back there hiding from all of the students of which YOU are one.

Also if you once worked for Library X, a couple of years ago, for a few weeks, and got fired, your break room privileges were revoked at that time. And we aren't going to be nice and lenient with you because you once worked here. YOU WERE FIRED.

Shit, I get twitchy when the students who DO work for Library X descend on the break room, but the Boss says it's okay.


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I'm Not Trained for This (or Why I Should Give Up Smoking)

Library X is built into the side of a hill. The entrance floor is the top floor. Attached to the library is a large patio that is the roof to the floor below. Students gather out on the patio benches and umbrella-ed tables to enjoy the fresh air and talk on their cell phones. Smokers go out there too. There are many cigarette receptacles for us.

I give you this little architectural background for this story...

I went outside around 5:30pm to have a smoke. As I was standing out on the patio, I saw a tall man go directly to the back of the patio, give a yell, and climb onto the railing to stand on the outside edge. I waited for him to immediately climb back down. He didn't. I gave him another couple of seconds. He stayed up there. I cursed softly and wondered why he had to do this on my smoke break. Why not fifteen minutes before or fifteen minutes after?

I considered speaking to him, but quickly discarded the notion as the imagined dialogue went through my head.

Vampire Librarian: Hey, mind getting down from there?

Crazy Dude: Why?

VL: Because I don't want you to fall.

CD: What if I jump?

VL: That would be bad too. Come down from there.

CD: Don't want to.

VL: Please?

CD: Alright. Give me a second--


VL: Aw hell...


UPD: And what exactly did you think you were doing?

VL: Preventing paperwork?

UPD: Come with us, please.

VL: Are the handcuffs really necessary?

See, it would've been bad. So I put out my cigarette and went inside to call 911 from my desk. I explained the situation to the dispatcher. It took a while, and eventually when he understood the situation, he asked if the guy was still out on the railing. I asked one of the student assistants to go see. Crazy Dude should've been clearly visible through the glass doors.

She said she didn't see him. I told the dispatcher to hold on and checked myself. The guy was no longer on the railing. I didn't see him anywhere on the patio. I took a deep breath and went to the railing to look over the side. I heaved a sigh of relief when I didn't find a body on the ground below me. I went back in and told the dispatcher that the guy was gone. The dispatcher said UPD was already on their way to my location. I waited outside to meet the officers. The two officers asked the students on the patio if they saw where the guy went. One girl said she saw the guy get down, and she thought she saw him go into Library X. The two officers and I searched the building for the dude but did not find him.

All evening, I've been obsessively looking out at the patio to see if the guy returned. Luckily he hasn't, but it's still made me a little jittery. Being on suicide/stupidity watch is not fun. Maybe I should give up smoking. Stuff like this happens when I go outside. I end up directing firemen to emergency calls, getting hit on by homeless guys, or almost getting hit in the head by Frisbee golfers. If the nicotine fiend didn't ride me, I wouldn't be exposed to this stuff. But if I do try to quit, I could become the crazy dudette on the railing.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Goober, Anyone?

Someone at Library X shared this list with us to read and discuss.

The Beloit College Mindset List is used by educators and clergy and by the military and business in their efforts to connect with the new generation. Beloit creates the list to share with its faculty in anticipation of the first-year seminars and orientation.

Like a good little librarian who reads all of her email, I looked at the list. It all seemed pretty ho-hum until I came to:
26. "Boogers" candy has always been a favorite for grossing out parents.
Uh, what? If I had seen just the statement, I would have probably shrugged it off, but the creators overplayed their hand by including an image. A clearly doctored image. What's going on here? Is this list supposed to be a sly joke? I quickly go back to the email to check for an ironic tone in the initial message, re-scan the rest of the list, google "Nestle Boogers" to see if I somehow had mistaken a cherished candy of my childhood, and have a small anxiety attack. I found no indication of there ever being a Nestle Boogers brand of candy.

Nestle Goobers, though, are still going strong.

Do a lot of people call Goobers--Boogers? It doesn't seem right. I've never heard it, and I googled Goobers and boogers to see if boogers is the usual way to call the candy. I didn't find any indication that this is the case.

I emailed the list creators. Maybe my email could've been written better...
What the hell are boogers?

I have eaten GOOBERS, but never boogers.

Is this list not supposed be truthful?
This is their response to me:

Go to and click on the Mindset list and you will see a box of Boogers...never had them personally but ask somebody under 20 about them.

Do not understand your other question. list is is not meant to be chronological but a measure of students worldview and experiences.

So yeah, I'm going to go ask a bunch of random first-years, "Have you ever eaten boogers?"

It'll be a lovely ice-breaker...

Monday, September 04, 2006

It's Started

On Sunday, I arrived to be told:

1. A trash can was on fire.
2. A bathroom was flooding.
3. A printer was spitting out plastic. (Seriously)

Ah yes, school is officially in full swing. (I really wanted to type fool spring, which seems sort of apropos.)

As the evening progressed, I had:

1. One student asst not show up, which meant I was alone for a couple of hours.
2. A piece of ceiling unhook and dangle and a hanging display fall to the ground.
3. The UZ debit machine break.
4. Someone use the broken bathroom, never mind the 'Out of Order' sign or the large puddle of water in front of the door.

I hope tonight is quieter, though I've already had problems again with printing, the debit machine, and I kicked out one group of kids. It's 5:15pm. Only 7hrs and 45mins to go...

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Yellow What?

This is why I shouldn't check my email on the weekend:

As of 6pm Saturday evening, Library X is quite cold, perhaps due to a hot water problem from yesterday's outages.

Also, there is a new ceiling leak, a yellowish color, on the 4th floor near Vampire Librarian's desk. I have informed Facilities of both problems.

--The Boss

Why is the leak YELLOW? And how close to my desk? Is my chair safe? My plant?

Friday, September 01, 2006

Cleaning up

My house is a mess, and it's all Library X's fault.

I have no will power to clean my domicile after spending eight hours picking up after 20,000 students.

I don't HAVE to pick up after the students, but when I see five empty plastic bottles beside the recycling bin, I tend to stop and drop all five bottles in. I don't know why the students can't make this little connection in their heads to do the same, but I can't stop myself.

It's not like it's only the students either. Last night, I went into the break room and found chocolate sprinkles covering the counter. There was no cake in sight. Just chocolate sprinkles on the counter to mock me. I got a damp paper towel and wiped them up, but I left the dirty dishes in the sink. They can sit and rot. I use disposable dishes and plastic utensils for this reason. (We do have cleaning people for every floor of the building, but they can only manage the mess.)

Straightening furniture, throwing away trash, putting away books all evening at work just makes me go home and ignore everything at my house. My cat Caper is disgusted with me. But what's to be done?

I try to not pick up the trash, but if I don't, we'll eventually drown in discarded student papers, drink bottles, pizza boxes, and half eaten fruit. Maybe the library tutorial should include a simple trash can demonstration. If the students can understand how to use a complex library catalog, they should be able to grasp the simple task of throwing trash into the proper receptacle rather than placing their refuse on the edge of the table beside the bin. We have just have to show them.

If that's successful, we can include a stapler demonstration. Or we can save that for the advanced class. Don't want to overwhelm the tykes.

BTW, I only had a week off work. I stayed home and, you guessed it, cleaned, or rather had every intention to. I hope Caper doesn't find the SPCA's phone number. She's good company.