Monday, April 23, 2007

Lost and Found Oddity

I dare any of you to top this gem currently in our lost and found:

I'm told it's used to drink tea. Just to give you a peek into my mind, I assumed at first that it was used to smoke stuff, but I couldn't figure out how, especially with the straw part looking like this:

But I am sure it is possible.

Got anything strange in your lost and found? And when I say strange, it has to be so unusual that you have to explain what it is. I mean we've all had hula hoops, dumb bells, and underwear in lost and found. That's ho-hum. I'm talking about WEIRD stuff. Stuff that is so out of the norm that you can't believe a person forgot to take it with them or come back to get it. This has been in lost and found since April 9th.

Also if you can tell me what this thing is called, where it's from, or how someone could forget to take it with them, I will electronically kiss you.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Inappropriate Flyers

I gotta wonder about these students sometimes, and my co-workers must wonder about me, especially whenever I send them an email. Sorry, I don't have images. They would be NSFW.


To: Everyone in Library X
Subject: Racy Flyers

Hey guys,

Some students have been blanketing the building tonight with what some may call inappropriate flyers. The students said they're "teaser" flyers for a play. The flyers are a bright color with two people outlined in various sexual positions. And that's it. There's nothing on the flyers indicating that it is for a play or a UZ sponsored event.

I told the two students posting the flyers that they should restrict their flyers to the bulletin boards, but they'd already gone through the building with them. I took down most of the ones on the main floor, but the flyers may be elsewhere. I'm pretty sure they posted them in the bathrooms.

Before anyone complained about them, I just thought I'd give you guys a heads up and what information I had.

Vampire Librarian


Some of the positions looked very uncomfortable and possibly anatomically impossible. I don't know how the flyers relate to whatever they're supposed to promote, or how anyone is supposed to know the flyers are promoting something. They're just simple line pictures of people having sex. What's that supposed to mean?

The students said, "They're supposed to be mysterious and make the person think."

What are we supposed to think? When I first saw them, I thought a frat was putting them up as a prank or possibly advertising a party in code like the Buddha flyer. I sure didn't think, "Oh, I wonder what play is being produced to warrant such lewd flyers?" Still don't know what the play is, and don't want to see it. Not because I dislike the flyers, but because I don't know there's a play or what it's freaking called. The flyers get a big fat F for their sign grade.


Saturday, April 14, 2007

Multimedia Hell

Sometimes, I just don't get a break.

Classes meet in Library X. The class rooms are set up with projectors that are connected to VCRs, DVD players, Mac desktops, PCs, laser disc players, dish network receivers, and possibly a beta player, or a cable box or something, I don't know how to use. It is all connected to a central switcher box and an amp. A lot of equipment and wires in one small space.

Whenever I get a call for help in a classroom, it is usually because the professor has never used one of our classrooms before and does not know how to turn on the projector. I go in show them. Get the media started, and voila, class is in progress.

Sometimes, there's an actual problem. I've learned a few tricks to help out or work-arounds if something is going wrong, but sometimes, I'm as clueless as the professor as to how to fix the problem.

I was absolutely clueless the other night. I get a call that the professor is having a problem with a VHS tape. The tape is playing, but all they were getting was sound. No picture at all. Sure enough, the sound was working fine, but all they had was blue screen. I pushed a few buttons. Nothing changed. I could tell that there was something seriously wrong with the unit and not the tape. Pushing a button wasn't going to fix it. The professor was getting antsy. He'd already tried for a while to get it to work.

The only hope was the television on a cart we kept in storage. I knew it had a VCR on the cart. I went got the cart, got everything plugged in and turned on, popped the tape in the VCR and voila, nothing happened.

I started channeling Yosemite Sam as I punched buttons to get it working. No luck.

The professor finally gave up. The movie would be stricken from the syllabus and class was dismissed. He was very kind to me. He thanked me for doing my best, but it wasn't meant to be. I still felt awful. I apologized profusely and told him that I would get in contact with the media specialist supervisor and get the classroom fixed. He offered to help me take the unit back to storage. I told him that I wanted to troubleshoot it for a little while longer.

After he left, I stepped back and took a long look at the cart. It had a television, DVD player, and VCR on it. I could get the DVD player to come up on the television fine. Why wouldn't the VCR? I walked to the back of the cart and quickly saw my answer.

Just because the VCR was on the cart and plugged into the power supply, did not mean that it is actually hooked up to the fucking television. I changed from Yosemite Sam to George Carlin in the empty room. Why the hell would you put a VCR on the crash cart and not hook it up? There weren't even any cables there for me to try to hook it up. I couldn't switch the DVD player's lines to the VCR because they hook up differently. No, I don't know how to technically explain it. The VCR needed coaxial cable, and the DVD player used those three colored line plug thingies.

And as I was swearing a blue streak, I vaguely recalled this exact same thing happened to me before, and I recalled swearing a blue streak then (swearing is like a sense memory for me), pounding out urgent emails to get the matter fixed before it happened again, and this just made me swear even more. I'm swearing in the wind, people. Nobody cares about my obscenities.

It was just one of those nights.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

But I'm Poor

A student wanted to check out 12 of our headphones for a day to use in a psychology experiment outside the library. We don't usually lend out equipment to be used outside the library, and we don't generally lend out more than one item to a student at a time.

I tried to explain this to the student. I couldn't even guarantee that we would have 12 headphones when she came in the morning to check them out.

I suggested she go to Dollar Tree and buy 12 headphones.

She wouldn't hear it. She didn't think she should spend $12 for something she would need for only a day. She said she was poor and insisted $12 would be better used for something more important like groceries. She was trying to imply that she would starve if I didn't check out 12 headphones to her. I asked her how many people were in her group. Four. Then it would be $3 for one day. She still didn't like the idea.

I wasn't very sympathetic anyway. It may have been because she'd mentioned she owned an iPod, had a camera phone in her hand, and drove a car. Obviously, the girl ain't gonna be so broke that she can't buy some 9ยข Ramen Noodle packets. But the boss did loan out the 12 pairs of headphones the next morning. He did say that we won't be making a regular practise of this.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Yes, I'm a Bitch, pt.3

Not twenty minutes after the whole television debacle in my previous post, Cedric decided to create policy and deny a student service. I didn't find out about it until I had to deal with the fallout.

I was working at my desk when I heard some raised voices from the circ desk. I looked but neither Cedric or the other student asst called for me. Library X is loud usually so raised voices isn't unusual. I stayed at my desk. Cedric came back to retrieve a book. Through the bookcase, he told me that he'd refused to check a laptop out of a student because she had a drippy ice cream cone.

"Um okay, but that's not how we do things."

"Yeah, but I thought she'd mess up the laptop."

"Well, I can't undo what you said, but we've never refused to check something out to someone because of food or drink."

"She brought a friend back to check the laptop out for her."

Sounded fine to me as long as the friend knew she was responsible for the laptop while it was checked out to her.

Cedric went back to the front, and I heard more raised voices. I finally got up to see what the hell was going on. A couple of the girl's friends were talking at Cedric. One guy was being especially confrontational. He was goading Cedric, calling him son and then switching to sir. Stupid shit like that. Cedric was arguing with him, upholding his decision instead of apologizing for his mistake.

"Look, have some common sense," Cedric told the group.

I come up to break up the confrontation. "Cedric, that's condescending. You shouldn't say that." Now I have told students to have some common sense, but that was when they were doing Kung-Fu on the vending machines. Eating ice cream and checking out a laptop is not that unbelievable. Food is allowed in Library X. The laptops are in high demand. Waiting to finish your ice cream could be difference between getting a laptop and not getting a laptop.

The male friend of the student is still hassling Cedric, and Cedric is responding in kind. They were barely keeping it civil. I told them both to drop it, to just let it go. As a parting shot, the male student said, "Yeah, it's not because we're black or anything, is it?" I could've rolled my eyes at this. Most of the students in the group are regulars at Library X. They've dealt with me and know that isn't condoned. Cedric was being a prick, not a racist.

"No, it's because your friend was eating a drippy ice cream," Cedric shot back. See? Prick. I told Cedric to just cool it. He went into the back. I helped cover the desk.

Cedric finally came back to the front. I motioned for him to stand back with me. "Tell me what exactly happened."

"This student comes up to check out a laptop, but she has the drippy ice cream cone. I figure she's going to mess up the laptop and told her to finish the ice cream before I'll check it out to her."

"But we don't do that. We don't have a policy about not checking laptops out if you have food."

"I was trying to protect the laptop."

"But it isn't your call to make."

"I think I did right."

"Cedric, I just told you that isn't how we do business. It isn't our policy. You did wrong."


"Cedric, who's your boss?"

I'm ashamed to say that I took delight in the deer caught in headlights expression that crossed his face. "Y-you are."

"Then why aren't you listening to me? Why are you arguing with me?"

"I felt responsible for the safety of the laptop."

"Well, you're not. When the student checks it out, they're responsible for it. It's clearly stated on the laptop."

"Okay, but I'm going to ask the Science Library about it."

"Why? They don't have any bearing on us."

"Just for my peace of mind to see if my instincts are right."

"Cedric, I just told you your instincts were WRONG."

"See, you're always saying no to me just because it's me."


"Cedric, have I not explained myself to you? You weren't supposed to put up the television, and you weren't supposed to deny someone service on a whim."

"Yeah, but you didn't back me up!"

"Because you were wrong. I'm not going to back you up on something you did in error. You should've apologized to the student and let her check out the laptop."

"You've got to be kidding me!"

"Am I laughing? No, I'm serious. When you make a mistake, you've got to fess up to it."

"I don't have to take some eighteen year old kid talking to me like that."

Nice subject change, Cedric. No, let's not deal with your mistake.

"He was being rude, but you weren't being much better."

"Why didn't you come up when I first spoke to you?"

"Because I didn't know I had to."

"I told you when I was getting a book."

"You told me what you did. You didn't ask me to come up to speak to the students."

Cedric seemed to finally accept that he wasn't going to browbeat me into submission about this, but he couldn't let it end there. "I still think I did right."

"That's fine. Just don't ever do it ever again."

And there you have it. I am a bitch boss because I won't let student assistants make up rules when it suits them. I am just so UNFAIR! And I seem to just say no arbitrarily to student assistants.