Friday, November 20, 2009

Finding Fowl

Here I am at the Info Desk again. I helped a woman (mother?) find the 3rd & 4th novels of the Artemis Fowl series - the books don't feature a number on the cover, and our online catalog doesn't tell you. There are tricks - like sorting search results by publication date - #3 in a series is never published before #2, right?

I haven't had many live people asking for help. And most of the phone calls make me feel like a receptionist - "Let me transfer you to her office."

A preteen girl wanted the Dear America series. A friend had recommended them. I found the series in the catalog, then set her up at a catalog terminal so she could scroll down the list until she found one she liked. She found two. Neither was on the shelf. One was checked out. The other? Who knows. While we were looking for the Dear America books the girl started spinning a rack of paperbacks and said she was okay with not finding the Dear America books as she was finding other things of interest.

I don't do the children's paperbacks. I will help with the processing of them - entering the titles into the system, slapping on a barcode, whatever. But I don't choose any. So if there's great stuff there I can't take the credit.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Info Desk Blogging

Quiet night. I'm usually not on Info Desk the last two hours of a Thursday. I guess I got plunked here cuz the head of the branch is taking part in a public meeting to gather input on the renovation of the branch. I just got a phone call: "Are there many people at the meeting?" Being as I can't see the meeting room from the Info Desk I tried encouraging the caller to come and have his say. "We welcome the input," I said. But the caller wasn't right nearby. It would take him fifteen minutes to get here. He didn't want to come unless nobody else was here. So I put him on hold and went to see. "Looks like there are five people at the meeting," I told him as I got back on the line. "Oh dear," he said, "I'll be there as soon as I can."

Tonight is also our day of the month to host Lawyers in the Library, a volunteer service of the Alameda County Bar Association. There's only one lawyer. So it's Lawyer in the Library. Rather than Lawyers ... donchano.

The Lawyer night brings more anxiety than usual into the library. I don't hear any of the stories that lead people to need lawyers, but worried faces come up to the desk wondering if the lawyer is in, how long does the lawyer see each person, what's the order people are seen, and so on.

One of the slightly weird things about our Lawyer night is this: "In-person sign-ups only; sign-ups begin at 5pm. Names pulled by lottery at 6pm." You are not seen in the order in which you show up. You are seen in a random order. This seems to change somewhat according to who is at the Info Desk. Some Info Deskers give people a place in line. This changeability is kind of annoying. The Berkeley Information Network page (linked above) has the rules; I read the rules to anybody who asks and whenever they tell me someone else told them something different I tell the questioner all I know is what's written. If the policy has been changed the written version needs to be changed so we all can give out the same information. Blah blah blah. I try to say it nicely.

I try to say everything nicely. Nobody likes attitude. Frankly, attitude just makes the job harder. Of course, part of the job is enforcing rules and that's not always happy-making.

Ooh. Is cold out. The door opens and chill air pours in. Just think, at home now we have central heating! It's cheering me up.

Monday, November 16, 2009

pre-Thanksgiving thoughts

The renovation project drags on. It’s stressful. Working on our fourth* month. I’m sure other people have had it worse. Do you ever actually feel better when you hear how much worse other people have it? Better, in a relative way, maybe. It doesn’t make you feel good, right? It just puts your misery into perspective. At least I’m not in prison or wandering homeless in the desert. My hands are cold – but I could be starving!

Really, I don’t get the could-be-worse strategy for bucking oneself up.

Last night in bed I was counting my blessings. Most of them came with a yeah-but (“Praise be for two orange kitties. … Yeah, but it would be better if they didn’t pee in the house, and if that big fluffy one didn’t act like we were just this side of enemies and run away from our affections.”); I tried to quiet the yeah-buts and came up with a pretty good list.

We don’t have concrete plans for Thanksgiving. … uh … Cooking in the new kitchen?


* actually, we're working on our fifth month!

Monday, November 09, 2009

a haiku sequence written at sunset Nov 8, 2009

too chilly to sit
on the porch, have to pee
write about that

white apartments sunset pink
cherry tree porchlight yellow

two old toilets under a tarp
chimney now a pile of bricks
grass green again

cat circling me
hunting a chin scratch

the mop propped outside
gets wet with each rain
but not clean

all right, daylight
leave the page
to my imagination

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Info Desk Blogging

Don't have the approval to clear the weeding shelves yet. So. Not doing that.

And I did a heckuva lot of paperbacks last month so I want to wait till people adjust to the new stuff before processing any more. And I kinda don't want to kill off any older paperbacks right now.

On lunches & breaks I choose a book from among the deleted paperbacks (yes, I hang onto those that look interesting). Last week I finished The Boys and Their Baby by Larry Wolff. I started The Good Conscience by Carlos Fuentes at lunch today. I ate a veggie sandwich at Nabolom Bakery and in two chapters worked my way through two generations of a Mexican family.

Weather is nice. The front door is propped open.

Browsing paperbacks that have been checked out today so far:

Karen Joy Fowler - The Jane Austen Book Club
Emily Griffin - Baby Proof
Anne River Siddons - Sweetwater Creek
Anna Quindlen - Black and Blue
Robert B. Parker - High Profile
PD James - Shroud for a Nightingale
Adrienne Brodeur - Man Camp
Jane Smiley - Ten Days in the Hills
Cecelia Ahern - P.S. I Love You
Anne Tyler - Digging to America
Velma Wallis - Two Old Women: an Alaska legend