Scenes from a life: working at the library on three hour’s sleep.

  • Why do people name their children things like Xixian? Don’t they know that library volunteers will need to call them someday? We need to inform them that an item they requested is available and we’ll be holding it for them until September 30th, but when faced with a name like Xixian, or Celteste, we don’t know how to begin speaking. It’s enough to make a girl resort to unauthorized postcards.
  • Why ask the random shelving peon if something’s on the shelves when there are seven computers mere feet away? Peons alphabetize, grappling with problems on the level of “Do I put Barbara Streisand in S with all the Streisand, Barbara CDs or in B because that’s how the label was printed?” Peons do not have the entire inventory of the library memorized. If you ask this peon, “Do you have Grumpy Old Men?” she will simply ask you “Did you check the directory? If it’s not there, I’m afraid we don’t.” It’s a good thing peons are friendly, though, so if you are a tiny old woman they will probably walk those mere feet across the room for you, type in your 12-letter query, and say, “Yes! It’s under G.” If you look sufficiently baffled, she will also walk over to the G section and hand you one of the three copies on the shelves.
  • If you do not have a working phone number, or do not expect your phone service to be reliable, do not instruct the library to call you to inform you when holds are available. Give them your street address to receive postcards, or, if you have one, an email address. Do not give them the number for your modem or fax machine. Do not give them the number for your friend across town. We cannot give your information to your friend across town. Or to your modem.
  • People are seriously obsessed with the Twilight book series. Seriously. They might up a quarter of the holds I call in every day. They’re at least a third of the volume. I kind of want to read one to figure out what the fuss is all about, but like I said, they’re all on hold. Plus they’re enormous. Great cover art, though.
  • There is nothing sadder than trying to call someone to tell them that we have their requested copy of Republican Hate-Mongering 101, only to find that both their phone numbers have since been disconnected.
  • There is nothing happier than discovering that your cart of audio books to shelve has been pre-alphabetized, so that all you have to do is walk in a straight line and stick them in the right places.
  • I become surprisingly easy-going when I pass over from “tired” into “exhausted,” but all too soon “exhausted” becomes “slightly faint” and then it’s time to go home. And attempt to blog.

EDIT: Just had to add that I’ve found a new “best” name: Chacheata. First name.

Also, I’ve been informed that Xixian is probably not an exciting new way to spell “Christian,” but rather, a Chinese name (shuh-shan). Now that I know to make “sh” noises instead of “cks” noises, it’s a very pretty name and I quite like it. I fail. Sorry 😦


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