Dog-Eared Pages

Libraries have bookmarks everywhere.  Near checkout, at reference, on the children’s desk, near displays.  There are bookmarks in every drawer, behind every desk, on every shelf.  Libraries also have little event flyers that, while not technically book marks, can be used to hold a place in a book.  Basically, libraries are lousy with bookmarks and bookmark-like things.

One thing that shouldn’t ever mark a spot in a library book?  Turning down the corner of your page.  Because it’s not your page.  It’s the community’s page.  And your community wants you to use a damn bookmark.

Just ask for one!  We’ve got 2 or 3 thousand waiting for you at your local library.

Google Accounts

Don’t get me wrong- I love Google and their dedication to not being evil, but when a Yahoo user comes into my library and asks for help with their Google Account, I know I’m in for a long, hard conversation.

Just a little background- I always request that new computer users sign up for a gmail account as their first email. Gmail alone has tons and tons of features, it’s easy to use, and best of all, it’s free. It also unlocks all of Google’s cool other sites, most notably, YouTube, Picasa, Google Docs (which is now Google Drive), and other cool stuff like Google Calendar.

However, when some grandmother comes in asking for help uploading a YouTube video when her granddaughter already set up her up with a yahoo email or- God forbid hotmail- it’s daunting for me to explain how her Google account is working without having a gmail email address. How do you explain the distinction between singing in to Google using something that ends in “@yahoo.com” and something that ends in “@gmail.com” (which can be ommitted)? For that reason alone, Google Accounts have made the Librarians Hit List. Everybody- just go whole hog and sign up for a gmail account. Save me some time and get a real email address that works reliably (I’m talking to you, Yahoo).

Proprietary Phone Cords

How often is it that you have to help a patron take photos from their phone so that they can email them to their parole officer or post embarrassing moments to their Facebook account? So often, right? But the problem I run into a lot (and the reason this is going on the Librarian’s Hit List) is that so many phone cords are funny shaped and non-standard.

Ok- I get it. These phone manufacturers want me to buy their own funny shaped cord. They can make bank if we only buy usb phone cords from them, but trying to mitigate a situation when the patron doesn’t understand why they can’t just use their car charger plugged into the phone and a separate (standard) usb cord that is only plugged into the library PC is exhausting.

I keep a mini USB and a micro USB at the desk if you need. Any other funny shaped nonsense will not be tollerated. Well, except for the iPhone connectors. There are enough of those that I can deal with keeping one of those around.

Waking Up Sleeping Patrons

I know.  Sleep happens, especially in quiet, comfortable, temperature-controlled environments.  I can’t judge anyone for nodding off under these circumstances.  Sometimes I want to take a nap at the library myself but sadly, ethical obligations prevent me from napping at the reference desk.

However, it’s my job to enforce our no-sleeping policy by waking up sleepers.  It’s also my job to not touch patrons while doing this, mainly because this would be creepy, but also because I don’t want to get choked out if someone awakes from a rage-dream.  Personal preference.

Instead, I drop books.  Snap my fingers.  Say “excuse me” in an increasingly loud voice.  It’s awkward, because I respect the need for sleep, and everyone looks so peaceful while napping.  I’m kind of fond of having a job though, which I won’t have anymore if I let napping run rampant.  Or sleep rampant.  Or what have you.

So if you’re reading this, chronic library sleepers, please wait to take the Ambien until safely at home.  You’ll be more comfortable, and your library staff will be more comfortable.  It’s a win-win.

tl; dr version: I feel you, library sleepers.  Figuratively, not literally.