Wednesday, April 25, 2007

do you think stupidity/ignorance just might be contagious?

I was reading this very entertaining post about the contemptible and ubiquitous THEY who seem to send everyone into the library for all sorts of things that would never be found at the library (although WE do happen to have DMV manuals at THIS particular library~we even have them in Spanish which they Don't have at the DMV) when a perfectly reasonable patron came up to the desk and asked me if we had dictionaries here. For some reason i had to contemplate that question for a few moments before i could come up with an answer.
At a library?
Let me see...
"Why, yes we do, let me show you..."
To further muddle my already befuddled brain, by the time i got to the shelf and looked up at my patron, it was a completely different girl~although she was still wanting dictionaries and the other girl was standing around the corner, so i assumed they were together and slunk back to my desk to regroup.

I had been accosted earlier by a woman who asked me, in a whispered voice, where the anti books were.

“Excuse me?”

“The anti books,” she repeated.

(Oh right, because my library has moved beyond the antiquated Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress Classification Systems, we don’t even use synthesized systems such as Bliss, Colon, Cutter, Universal, or Brinkler; we have just simplified everything down to materials for the kiddies; fiction you will like; fiction you might like; and fiction you won’t like (why do we even collect that, you might ask, well because librarians are duty-bound to include everything); non fiction we divide into pros (everything for everything); cons (everything against everything); and neutrals (the wishy~washies)~actually we haven’t quite progressed that far so…) i’m forced to bite the bullet here, “Anti-What?”

“Anti-{actually i’m not going to tell you what she really said~where’s the fun in that?~i’ll just leave it up to your imagination (pretend you live in a community with a predominant something and insert anti in front of it)

I diplomatically led her to the section where those books might be located without comment because i wasn’t sure if she was actually looking for information or if she was looking for somewhere to place incendiary devices, and left her there.

When my usually very-organized manager couldn't find the stack of papers she had been carrying around just a few moments before i told her maybe she had left it in the anti section.

And then there was the man who came up to ask about getting his wireless internet card to work with our wireless system. I asked him if he had a library card. He told me he didn't want to use OUR computers, he wanted to use HIS laptop with OUR wireless. "Yes, i understand that sir, but in order to access our wireless network you need to have a library account or purchase a temporary library wireless access card to get an account number and password."

"I have a wireless card."

"Yes, but you need a library card or a temporary card to gain access to our network."

"What does that have to do with my wireless card"

(that is what i'm trying to explain here, your wireless card is useless without the account number and password to access our network, just as your brain is useless without the cognitive processes necessary to compute information...) "Why don't you go over to the circulation desk where they can get you set up with some kind of card?"

"They can help me over there?"

(I doubt it, but i really don't want to talk to you anymore), "Sure."

(of course once he got his library card it wasn't over because then i had to show him how to operate his laptop)

And i really do love helping people with the computers. People who can't seem to read little pop up screens that tell them that they need to add money to their card before they can print, or that the page that they want to print cannot be printed, or that the printer is out of paper, or whatever else the computer or the printer is telling them in plain English EXACTLY WHAT THE PROBLEM IS, but they have no idea what the problem is all they know is that they must come running to me and tell me that something is WRONG with MY printer (and i have always had great curiosity about the use of this personal pronoun when there is something amiss, because in all other situations it is just THE printer). When they come up to inform me of this great, mysterious emergency, i often want to respond by rushing to the printer at MY desk, examining it and saying "No, it seems to be fine, but thanks for your concern." or, better yet, by grabbing my purse and saying "Oh thank you, I better run home and take care of that pesky printer of Mine."

But no, i dutifully ask them what the message on the computer said and they dutifully respond that there was no message. So i follow them back to the computer, point out the non-existent message, solve the problem for them, cancel the 37 print jobs they sent to the printer after the first one didn't work (because, as we all know, if the first time you try something, say washing your dishes by banging your head against the kitchen wall and it doesn't give you the desired results~clean dishes~the best thing to do is to do the exact same thing in the exact same way, perhaps even with more force, many, many more times before even considering the possibility that there is something wrong with your methodology~or maybe your head) This is definitely why i amassed all that debt getting my masters degree (anyone feel like banging their head against the wall?) And no, i'm sorry, Miss i can't do anything about the fact that that page cannot be displayed, believe it or not, the library does not control the internet. And no, Sir, i don't know what your email password is even though you did set it up on our computers we have no way of keeping track of those things (i feel that old head banging urge coming on...)

Next i got to deal with a mob of old men wanting to know where the "Human Implementation Project" was meeting. "I really don't know."

"Well where are your conference rooms?"

"We only have one conference room, and it is back at the end of that hall there." i said, clearly indicating the direction with a very helpful point of my hand.

As the mob moved towards the hall i heard one of them ask another "What did she say?" "She didn't say anything, she just waved me off..." This annoyed your little rampager slightly. I wanted to run over to them and shout "I did say something, I told you exactly where to go, and i didn't wave you off, i pointed very clearly (an entirely different gesture~one i make with my palm pointed in an opposite direction to when i wave someone off, i might add). If i had known you were deaf (as well as blind) i would have spoken louder. And if you didn't hear (or see my direction indicating point).,how did you end up in the conference room when you could have ended up in the computer room just next to the hall you walked down?" but i restrained myself.

Okay, deep breaths, where i'd put that "I love being a librarian!" attitude? Maybe over in the "Pro" section? Maybe with the dictionaries...

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy,

i do love my job...most of the time...just a little venting...

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