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.


Kevin Cutrer said...

Lawyer night would make me paranoid, especially with those inconsistent policies.

I used to work as an office manager for a shopping mall, and part of my job (the biggest part) was collecting rent from some of the stores/vendor carts. This one tenant of ours didn't like paying rent, and he loved hinting that he had connections to the Russian mob. I didn't know whether to laugh in his face or look over my shoulder as I locked up at night.

Glenn Ingersoll said...

I never remember it's Lawyer Night until I start getting anxious phone calls.