shoe's blog

personal day burning a hole in my pocket...

I think it's time to put in for my personal day and a vacation. I'm getting a bit antsy with the beautiful weather and the impending release of Sims 2. (Well, at least, the download that precedes the eventual release of Sims 2.)

I'm hoping for a quiet, virtually computer-free day today. Perhaps I'll weed reference.

I was feeling a bit burnt after work yesterday. Between listening to one particular person on the staff bitch for about an hour while I was trying to work, and having a bazillion patrons interrupt to ask when I'd be done, I was feeling a little low. Then of course there was "Eighty Cent" and a regular who's regularly off the wall... It just was a long day.

I took my bamboo flute music out by the pond for a moment or two of Zen and felt a little better. I could go for a whole day of Zen today though.

Heh, who's bitching now? Heh.

It's not that I don't love my job, because I do. It's fun. Sure, I am still new enough to get totally anxiety ridden about it. I mean, I get totally anxiety ridden about a lot of things a lot, truthfully. But I enjoy my job. And as my mom says, "You wouldn't be happy if you weren't worrying."

If I can get the second week of July, I'd love to take vacation then. I hear that August is the tough month to get. Ideally, that is what I'd like. But I think sooner is better for me, judging by how I'm feeling.

things that smell @ your library

Now what made you think I was talking about patrons?

No, actually, it's the lilies we got for the wine tasting last Friday. No one wants to throw them out till they wilt, but man, do those things stink. People go into Anaphylactic shock walking by these things. Sure, they're gorgeous. They also make me feel a little bit like looking around to see where the casket is located.

Flowers are nice in the library. But these babies are overpowering.

I had to carry them away from reference, just to keep from having to call the paramedics for the poor AV librarian covering there. When I did so, I managed to get some nasty pollen crap all down the side of my shirt, conveniently spreading down and covering my butt. The first person who noticed was one of our support staff. Of course, she didn't say, "There's something on you." She starts patting my butt. This was right when the hysterical patron came in. I wanted to say, "Why the hell are you patting my butt, Ms. M--?" but luckily I managed to choke that back.

I have to say, our new reference computer area is downright beautiful. I have the three internet terminals facing the reference desk, with the Mac (card only) also in easy viewing distance, but not so close that it's going to be mistaken for a one time use number machine. I have the one Mac word processor beside the Mac internet, and I have the two PC word processors on the large tables. Of course, I can't get one of the damn things to actually see the network, but hey. Little bugs.

I can't count on one hand how many patrons came in, saw the computers were down, and said, "Can't you just make it work, for two minutes, for me?" Sheesh. I want to say, "No, not for you, but I can make it work for twenty minutes for that guy over there."

One not particularly computer saavy regular computer user came in and asked this. Then she asked when I would be done. Then she proceeded to sit down and talk to me and ask if I had time. I could have been miles ahead had that not happened. But what do you say to her? I mean, I can't say, "Hey, you know, you'd get your internet faster if you'd let me work."

Today the husband of the eighty cent fine lady came in. Nice guy. No, I mean that. He seemed like a very nice guy. And he was as dogged as I was in not wanting to concede on the fines. Turns out there was some human error in his last checkout... It wasn't a computer glitch. But the book that generated the eighty cent fine? I still maintain that yes, that book was returned late. And that's my story and I'm sticking to it. I stuck to it for half an hour. We were both very polite. And he was very polite to my supervisor. He very politely paid his fine in the end.

Then, to prove it's a full moon tonight, a more hysterical patron came in. I left before that flew into full swing.

I broke the internet

No, no, for the love of jessup, I didn't do the Sasser worm... Actually, correction: I am breaking the internet today at work. And the word processors. I've had signs up since Friday, but I'm sure people will wander in and look confused. As one of our custodians says, "It's a library. People don't come here to read."

Yesterday I had a young man (college age) who really should have known better. He came in to use the internet. First, he plugs his cell phone into my power strip, which is already hopelessly overloaded (jeez, I'm getting protective over power strips) to charge it. I told him he couldn't do that. So instead of charging the phone, he decides to call his buddy up on it, right there in reference. I mean, we have people on cell phones all day. Yes. And we throw them out. Yes. But this guy seemed to think, because his buddy was helping him with whatever he was doing on the internet, he could just go ahead and talk to him.

I asked him to leave to take the call. He says, all indignant, "But this is important!" He got up and went to circulation (to take the call there) and they told him the same thing. He finally gave up. Little did he know it was his lucky day -- I beat some teens off his computer for him while he was taking his phone call.

I am still thinking on moving the computers. I better think quick. I meant to move around the library and get visuals yesterday on where terminal number one is, but of course, life got in the way.

On the plus side, I did get some games for the little cherubs installed. They all seem to be geared for younger cherubs than the ones that like to play Power Puff Girl video games on CartoonNetwork.com, however. I don't think that this is going to go over well. Actually, until the new hardware filtering appliance is installed, I don't think it's going to go at all.

It will be nice to be able to stop games and instant messaging.

Yes, I have a problem with IM on a personal level. Same problem I have with cell phones. Sometimes it's nice to be incommunicado.

I have a personal day, I just discovered, I have to burn before June 30th. Woo hoo! It's like finding a twenty in your pocket!

games for the little cherubs

I had a patron call her kids that... little cherubs. For some reason it struck me hysterically funny and I've been calling them all little cherubs.

Today, if there is a free moment, I am going to try to install some games for the little cherubs. We generally don't allow games, but I guess that just goes for the internet. "Reader Rabbit" is preferred over CartoonNetwork.com, anyway (well, at least by the staff).

Ah, the little cherubs... How I love little cherubs. Cough.

I was told terminal eight kept booting some gentleman out only nineteen minutes into his half hour allotted time. I have my doubts. I've had more people try to pull fast ones with that.

The librarian watching him speculated he was trying to do things to the computer that shouldn't be done, and that was the problem. Serves the bastard right.

Maybe it's the Sasser virus. If I can get through one more day, I can do the critical frickin' updates tomorrow to once again patch up Windows. I was going to take down the internet terminals (and the word processors, for that matter) and clean them all tomorrow anyway.

I think the most obvious solution to keep unauthorized souls off the Mac is to have a librarian log them in and out. I mean, it's not like people can figure out how to use it on their own anyway (people are mondo Mac impaired, I find. Even more than me). I figure it will arguably be less trouble than having the custodian come bitch about someone unauthorized on the computer (he's a librarian trapped in a custodian's body). And it'd be better than having to bodily rip the LAN connection out of the wall when the unauthorized body in question refuses to get off the computer.

arg matey, ye should have been a pirate

Sometimes I try to think what a good alternate career would have been, and that's all I can come up with. Booty on the high seas. Eating endangered sea reptiles. All that sort of stuff.

Then I realize, you know, I probably am better off ordering books and fending off the public.

That would be a great way to greet people at the info desk, though. Or on phone calls. "Arg, matey. What might I be able to do for ye?"

When a patron loses it over an overdue fine, I could get on the loudspeaker (we have a loudspeaker) and yell, "Thar she blows, batten down th'hatches at circ!"

Okay. Spent a little too much time in the sun.

This is what I have to think about this week. I am moving the internet terminals. I am moving them so they are all together, because I think it will be easier to watch them. What I haven't figured out is if this really going to help. I think it is, in the long run. Honestly, the whole SurfControl issue doesn't sit right with me, and I want all the computers in a non-secluded location so that we can keep an eye that people aren't leaving nasty images on the screens. I think we're going to have to spend more time beating people off the one Mac, however (um, no pun intended).

Aye, here's the rub, matey: The Mac of course has no timed access software on it (yet). We do have it card access only. Right now it is in a far corner of the library, and people jump on it and use it all the time without authorization. Usually no one notices except the custodian, who likes to then go complain to everyone but the person in question. I am hoping moving it to reference helps that. I think it could go either way, however. It could get jumped on more. When reference isn't staffed, the info librarian is supposed to check the computers. I know, though, this doesn't always happen.

It's not like it's really hard to move it back though, I suppose.

The two internet terminals that are facing away from the reference desk are most definitely being moved to the desk facing towards the reference desk. Two reasons for this: yes, once again to make sure we can monitor a little more closely people breaking the internet policy. Second, because there is less room to congregate there. We have a big problem with hordes of teenagers around one computer. I mean, hordes. All looking at shoes on Google Images, yea verily, ye salty dog. One kid, in an effort to get me to print out some (he hoped free) color pictures of sneakers for him, told me he was doing a school report on shoes. Uh huh.

I overheard a patron (an adult) asking the YA librarian why our print outs were so expensive. It must have been so tempting to make something up.

Like, "We be saving up for a pirate ship, lassie!"

More musings on day care

I guess it's easy to say what you'd do as a parent if you're not a parent. I know me, though. I don't like when people look at my dogs funny. I can't imagine what I'd be like with a kid. Okay, I would so not be leaving my kid at the library unattended. At least not under the age of thirteen.

Here's the thing, though. When I worked retail, I worked in pet stores. We regularly had people thinking the pet store was a safe place (they never saw the guy we had taken off by security... several times... for shoving parakeets in his pants. I wish I was kidding.) They'd leave their kids with us in the store. And the managers were cool with that, because the customer is always right, even if they don't buy a damned thing.

I could bitch about society in general, but I won't.

I think Great Western Dragon makes an excellent point. The good kids are something to worry about too. I notice that most of our good kids, like our bad, travel in groups. That relieves me somewhat, because there is safety in numbers. But how often do I have to go down to our really secluded non-fiction areas and move kids (or sometimes a single kid) along? Several times a week, and I try to at least look at what's going on down there every half hour.

There is stuff that goes on down there that I miss. I know it. I only know of one other librarian that really checks down there regularly.

What makes me laugh is that these are the parents that are probably all for tighter security in schools...

The library shouldn't be like a church. It's not sacred. It's meant to be used by everyone. I have little tolerance for the adults who yell about the young adult area being noisy, and then just check hotmail for ten minutes and leave. The kids have every right to be there, and are often times using more of the library's resources more effectively than the adults.

However, manners are extremely important. And structure. My job isn't to teach manners, or to provide structure.

I am a librarian. I give you information. I find you books. I make the place run, and I make it so you can find the information and books on your own if you are so inclined. I do bibliographic instruction. Where does child care fall into that?

Question for public librarians out there, when you have had to call in the authorities when children have gotten out of hand, did you warn them first? I told them the police were coming. I also knew their parents were and they were virtually captives there.

Every other time I've threatened calling the police, it's worked and the crowd has dispersed.

I will eventually get my "librarian legs" and when to draw the line in the sand will become crystal clear, I know. ;).

sterilization is good

Today, I called the cops on our day care crowd. The teenagers were outside, throwing water at each other. That I didn't care about too much, so long as they didn't disturb other patrons. In other words, if they weren't right in the doorway. When they whipped off their belts and started whipping them at one another, then I got pissed. So I went out and told them to stop, or I'd call the cops.

One girl got real cheeky about the whole thing. She tried to engage in a pissing match about whether I really would call the cops. So I did. Hey, she double dog dared me! No, she actually wasn't nearly that nice about it, and I didn't sleep last night and wasn't about to take it from her.

Of course, I'd like to say it didn't affect me. But I was all nervous about calling the cops. And when I get nervous, I get nervous after the fact. So the kids had all left and I started shaking. I felt like a goober calling, and the cops said, "What do the perpetrators look like?"

Of course, two of the little creeps got back in and went immediately to the poor YA librarian, who got to hear how mean I was for calling the cops. She came over said, "Thanks for calling them. They had it coming." Solidarity is a good thing.

We also had a rogue record attaching itself randomly to patron records. Hello.

It's baaaaaaaaack. My nemesis, a book called The Innocents, was returned and found its way into my line of vision. If you recall, this book had a tendency for awhile there to show up everywhere I went. It was back this morning to say goodbye before it took a trip off to a network library. Good riddance.

It's a lovely book, visually, and probably very moving. But man, it sort of creeps me out.

meme me

1. Owns a cat(s)? I am not a cat person. Never have been... they're like kids for me, better in someone else's house. I do have about twelve or so snakes, six turtles, and two pekingese dogs.

2. Drives small sensible, economical car? I myself don't have a license, but hey... My husband and I own a Prius (it's gas, it's electric, it's really, really white).

3. Wears comfortable, sensible shoes? Sneakers when I'm not at work. My shoes are so sensible I got them at Sears and it actually says on the box, "I love Comfort." I kid you not.

4. Reads constantly? Not as much as some co-workers, unless you count my time here and other sites online. I read mostly technical books. And Kurt Vonnegut.

5. Never goes out? I hate going out. I don't do well with crowds (slight little problem with panicking). Last time I went out was to see Dave Matthews at the Fleet Center -- in December. I had to leave midway through the show because the pot smoke was so bad I couldn't stand up. I'd love to go see System of a Down, but I can't imagine what the crack smoke would do to me.

6. Sexually inexperienced? In whose book?

7. Friends are all librarians? My friends ranging from physician's assistants to copy editors (my job in a former life).

8. Could care less about fashion? I don't like to look like a bum, but I thought Versace was a neck brace.

9. Leans to the left when it comes to politics? Not as much as I did a few years ago, I am finding. Oh, to grow old. I actually fear I'm more conservative than my parents.

10. Was a nerd in high school? High school never ends, really. And yes, I am still a nerd. I wear my librariangear.com t-shirts a lot. I am sometimes at CompUSA waiting at the door for them to open on Sunday mornings. Hell, I preordered Sims 2 in August of last year. My god, I work in a library.

11. Wears hair in a bun? Only reason I don't is because I don't seem to have the coordination to get it to stay that way. Ponytails are good. And halfway there.

12. Is constantly covered in dust? Depends on the computer I'm opening and how exuberant I get with the compressed air.

13. Librarian by day/Bacardi by night? I can't drink due to prescriptions. I don't like feeling out of control. I don't particularly like people when they are drinking. Actually, come to think of it, some days I don't particularly like people. ;)

14. Do you wear glasses? Yeah, horn rimmed. I love them. They're the only things about my face I can control. I've worn them since high school.

15. Are you female? Last I checked.

16. Abilities in the yarn arts? No ability in the yarn arts. I am intimidated by yarn.

transplants

I will never understand how our IBMs work. I took the hard drive out of the IBM, put in another box, and that machine worked fine. I took the hard drive of a functioning machine, put in the IBM box, and that worked fine. Okay. So now I'm going to put the original hard drive back in the original IBM box, and hopefully that will work.

Problem being: I got all the crap that was on the hard drive off it. Well, most of it. Some of it had to be done by hand and I decided a mind wipe was the best course of action. Honestly, I don't want to waste any more time than I have to on this machine. There are too many other mackerel to marinade. So anyway, I got all the crap off... and now Windows won't boot. I think it's a problem with Fortres. I am just going to find another license for Win2k, do a fresh install over 98 and get on with my life. I hope this works.

I can't get into DOS either to do FORMAT C:. Where did I leave that magnet?

What would you do? We had a patron come in today. We have a policy that if you lose a book, you can either pay for it or replace it with a like copy. Well, this was an older book that was lost, alledgedly in cruddy condition. Maybe it was. Actually, I believe it probably was. Many older books... look older. The patron replaced it with a book that was obviously deaccessioned from another library. Their stamp was all over it. The covers were cut out and pasted in on the verso pages. It was perfectly acceptable for something you're going to refer to at home, but not for use in a library. Especially not with someone else's "No longer property of" stamp all over it.

The poor attending librarian said she wouldn't take it, and I happened in in the middle and I concurred. The patron was not a happy camper. She said that we helped her pick out the book in question for replacement online. There are only two librarians I could think of who might do that, and neither of them fit the description of the person she was saying said that.

When the patron started getting, er, vocal, we called my supervisor. I guess the matter was settled, but I'm not sure how (it was time for me to exit, stage right). I sure hope that my supervisor didn't accept the book as is. I mean, if she worked something else out that was beneficial to the library and the patron still essentially paid off the lost book, that's cool. But I hope she didn't reverse what the other librarian and I said were the rules. I mean, the book was obviously not usable... Anyone could see that. Okay, what I really want to say is, anyone with a little bit of common sense and knowledge of how libraries work would see why this book was being turned down.

That's my take on it anyway. Would you have accepted a book stamped "Deaccessioned by Pokey Oaks Library" or whatever the library was as something okay to circulate in your collection? And it wasn't just stamped once... all I can say is, this library had a surplus of ink and one exuberant stamper.

Today I saw a young man pull a cell phone out of his underwear in the lower level of the stacks. Then he had the nerve to tell me "the reception down here sucks." I told him to go outside.

We have this book called something like, Licensing for Parents or Should Parents Be Licensed. Perhaps he should take that home for mom and dad to read.

My god, if they think holding a cell close to your ear causes brain cancer, what does carrying one in your underwear do?

life is what gets in the way when you're doing systems

If ever there was a day that was good to feel homicidal, I guess it was yesterday. First, the network people all showed up (completely unannounced) before I even came to work (I worked at one yesterday). I told my contact there, repeatedly how important it was he call first. And they show up, I'm not there, and still doesn't make an impression on him. He emails me (after I email him) and says, "Oh, let me fill you in." No, dammit. It's not a power struggle thing. Okay, maybe it is. But I sort of feel completely out of the loop now, and everyone's asking me questions.

Literally, one of the things he said in the email was, "As I explained this morning..." HELLO! I wasn't there this morning! I just told you that! Did you not notice? I am a wallflower by nature and not extremely remarkable in appearance, but most people at least notice a figure standing there if I'm around. Jeez oh man.

I got to sit in local history yesterday. It was fairly steady. I rather enjoyed it. It was dark, and cool, and quiet, and the questions are always pertinent, if not always interesting, and so I felt like I accomplished stuff. It got my head back in the public service state of mind.

Only to find the branch librarian's computer is broken. I have to refrain from commenting on this, but I am annoyed. Number one, it's one of those IBMs (like mine) you need to pat gently and dance around to make work anyway, and let's just say, this particular computer probably takes more abuse than the PACs. Just don't ask why.

I think, despite my best efforts with my probably not kept up to date antivirus, it caught something. Now, after its voyage across town, it won't even turn on (sometimes after moving those IBMs, they do that. They're pieces of crap). So it could be the virus messing everything up, or it could be the fact the computer sucks in general. I don't want to send one of our computers there, because it will suffer the same fate. So I am working desperately to find something that will fix this computer.

I tried most of my usual IBM desktop tricks, which include, usually, reseating the video card (don't ask me why, it actually has worked in two machines.) Next I'm going to take everything out to see if I can at least coax out some POST beeps. Please please please. When there are no POST beeps and the computer doesn't boot properly, the little baby Jesus cries. And so do I. Do I ever.

Our microfilm machine is still broken. I called the company again yesterday (they've been out twice to "fix" it) and let them know. Then I had a gentleman ask me repeatedly why the printer on the microfilm machine didn't take good prints. I told him because of the quality of the microfilm. And they just aren't the greatest things in the world anyway. He said, "The one you guys had when I was in high school took great pictures!"

I said to him, "I'm willing to bet you this is that same machine."

Planning a vacation

I think I need a vacation... I am going to put in for one today, methinks. I should be able to take some time in July (I will have been there six months.) I don't know why I've been feeling burnt. Probably has everything to do with coming off that killer cold and my head. That, and this is the first full time job I've held in two years (since school started) which makes things a little more hairy.

I am thinking the week of the fourth would be good to take off, but I don't know if I can get it. I like to minimize time taken and maximize days off. Hey, who wouldn't?

And now I've got to get my ass out of my civilian clothing and into my library uniform.

More Sims 2 silliness: I built the ubercomputer entirely to play this game.

The Homicidal Post

I was sick. Very sick. I can handle the killer cold I had, but I had the migraine from hell. Worse, when I get migraines of that magnitude, I get homicidal. No, I mean, homicidal. Hide the children homicidal. Push people off train platforms homicidal. Put your fist through the wall homicidal (this is the only thing I've ever really done).

So I checked emails briefly at home (found it made me homicidal and then I stopped). Posted enough that my creepy puppets were leaving (speaking of homicidal) and just laid in bed with a lot of xanax and the shades drawn. No stimulus whatsoever does help.

For the last two days. I feel horribly guilty, but I feel worlds better today. Still a little off, probably because of woman troubles (ahem) but not like I'm going to strangle somebody for asking where the latrine is.

I wish I could say to my supervisor, "Jeez, could you keep me off info today because I'm still feeling a little homicidal," but I don't think that would get me very far. Heh. Reference is a good place to be homicidal. Less stupid questions, and the opportunity to dole out sweet internet justice remotely. Boy that gives me such joy.

The assistant director was speaking of moving computers so that we can see where they are. I think I might move Terminal one where the word processors are, the word processors where the internets are, and the two of the three remaining internets right directly across from the reference desk. Until we can get this filtering issue figured out.

The insanity of it all is that the network is telling me stuff I already know about filters. I want to thank commonsense, and I need to hang around internetfilters.org a little more, when the time becomes available. I know there's got to be a way to do this, but I'm hitting a lot of resistance. It's not that the network thinks it isn't a problem... well, maybe it is. The systems people at the network headquarters sit in the systems office and don't see the crap the public pulls.

I don't want the local state rep coming in (he has) and asking me (he hasn't) why there is still porn on our computers. I don't need that. Especially when I'm feeling homicidal (grin).

In other news, I am so waiting for the Sims 2 to come out. I am a big fan of Sims games. And yes, I'm over the age of twelve. I actually plan on taking a few days off when it ships so that I can play it. (Yes, I preordered in October. Sigh). The projected date is September. I need the date nailed down so that I can have three or four days to get it out of my system.

It's really cool, the Sims are going to age, their fingers have been programmed to move individually, and if they see their parents burn up in a kitchen fire when they're toddlers, they won't use anything but a microwave for life!

the silver lining in today's migraine

The silver lining in the day off I had to take today due to migraine problems, was that when I finally got the courage (and enough pain medication in me) to check my email, I learned the scary puppets are leaving. Which means their little bodies will be loose in the library during transition time, but I guess if I'm not in the area when they're being taken out I won't run screaming from the building.

I hope the next exhibit is like... I don't know, fuzzy bunnies or something. Something that doesn't look like it should be holding a seven inch butcher's knife.

...for dummies

I had someone get offended that I suggested a "...for Dummies" book to them awhile back, and I never really commented on it. I wasn't implying they were a dummy. Now every time some asks me what the most up to date book we have on X is, if it happens to be a "...for Dummies" book, I'm a little afraid to suggest it.

On the same note, I had to make a dummy application the other day. Someone needed their hardcopy application updated... and we had no paper record of it. It's easy to make a dummy application: one just fills out the application with the patron's information, and writes DUMMY across the top of it next to the card number, over their name. Ahem.

So of course, it looks to the untrained eye that we somehow categorize our library patrons as J, YA, A and DUMMY. I have vowed to write "application" next to the word dummy. It just feels better.

And while we're on the subject of dummies, I always feel like one at info. Someone invariably asks me a question that they either word stupidly or I have no idea what in the hell they're talking about. Like the photocopier was broken the other day. A patron came in to ask me if it was still broken. Hello? It's broken? When did this happen? Or someone will say something like, "Do you have any of those books?" And I'll say, "Which titles are you looking for?" and they'll say, "Those books, you know, the ones with guy in them." The patron who did that to me on a regular basis hasn't been in lately. She was the one that mentioned she wanted a book without "all them words in it."

I think I'm deaf, too. Or people mumble. There was a gentleman, very softspoken, who got wicked upset with me the other day because I didn't hear his mumbled explanation of why he was trying to renew his fiance's books with his card. And I didn't want to miss anything else he said, (since the story was getting better and better), so I kept asking him to repeat himself periodically. He'd go through the whole spiel again, getting quiet at the same point I asked him to repeat himself. Sigh. Perhaps I should get my ears checked.

Support staff reference questions

Yesterday one of my support staff got her first "reference" question... A groggy patron called up and said, "Is it Friday or Saturday?" Luckily the support staff didn't need to do too much research on that one.

I fear the dot matrix printer I rescued from the basement to use to print spine labels is going to print them too lightly. There doesn't appear to be a way to change the heaviness of the font on either Horizon or physically on the printer.

For now the internet is up... I am exploring the SurfControl documentation this week, I decided (in between getting word processor number 3 out there and time on the info desk). I guess what's stopping me is that I don't know if it's a pointless exercise. I have little control over the configuring, although I've been promised that will change with the new version.

To complement Fortres, I am thinking of purchasing a few copies of Cooler, which keep people from messing up your preferences in the browser. Damn, how I liked my Opera on the Linux box with its ini files that I could get right in and alter. The staff hated it. The public hated it. But from a tech standpoint, it was beautiful.

I don't know why the staff hated it. Probably because the machine itself was less than optimal and the people bitched so much about it. The OS and the browser, still, in my estimation, were damn near perfect for use in a public setting.

Jakob Neilsen would have a field day with this one

I don't know what was wrong with me. Somehow, I got on SurfControl's website last night and found the documentation snap snap snap. That would be an interesting little information architecture experiment.

How many systems librarians does it take to plug in a light bulb?

It looks like you can define your own categories in SurfControl... I'm not sure though, because I haven't downloaded the documentation. I'm doing that at work, where the connection is (usually) faster than 45.2. And there are laser printers. Well, one.

It does look as though we're SOL, and I'll have to either send a list of URLs to the network to block or we'll have to block photo searches all together. I guess I figured that, I just had to see it myself. The other problem being, disabling the filter. We should be able to do that, (we can) and patrons should not (at this point, if they knew how, they also could). I'm not entirely pleased with our lockdown software in terms of keeping people out of certain things.

Curses

Just thinking more about the filtering issues we're facing. Obviously SurfControl as it stands isn't quite cutting it. It has a lot to do with the Google Images thing, but it has a lot to do with the fact that I think the filter itself has fallen through the cracks. There's a lot of URLs that should have been blocked that weren't. And I can't get a hold of any documentation on it... If anyone can send me the link of some configuring information (preferably from the manuals), either from their experience with SurfControl or someone else's hands on experience with it, it would be greatly appreciated. It seems as though we haven't gotten documentation for quite a while. It doesn't inspire much confidence in me.

I'm actually a little cheesed off about the whole thing. It's like, hell-o. Shouldn't someone have held on to that stuff? We're paying for the stuff, I want documentation. I pay for SuSE Linux, not so much because I like the flavor, but the books rock. Same thing here. Give me a flippin' PDF file, at least! Please!

I know the assistant director isn't going to be happy about this. He is worried about liability, and rightly so, I believe. He doesn't want some little kid walking in reference to pull down a Britannica and see some guy looking at porn. I can't blame him. Kid tells mom and dad, mom and dad claim kid is scarred for life... I mean, of course the kid isn't, but I have enough people complaining about paying ten cents for an overdue book... I don't need them complaining about my "giving" porn to their kid. And you know that's how it'll be spun.

We have the filters. We have the disclaimers that filters don't catch everything. We've done all we're required to (and I'm told by the network, all we can) to comply with CIPA. But the fact of the matter is, it doesn't sit well with me. I mean, I don't care about people looking at porn at home. I don't think kids will become horrible twisted maniacs for seeing Hustler or a webpage. There are plenty of people out there who do though, and truthfully, I don't want to deal with them when they're pissed off.

I don't have kids. There's too damn much to think about with it. I don't know how I'd feel if my kid saw porn at the library. I guess I'd be upset. More upset, say, then if s/he found it in my closet or under my bed or at a friend's house. It has everything to do, I guess, with it being a public place. I don't know if I'd complain. I might mention something to the librarian. No, I definitely would mention something to the librarian. I wouldn't take it further, most likely. But as a librarian, I don't even want to be in that position.

I mean, how embarrassing is that? I'm not there to babysit your kid, sure. I'm also not supposed to let people publicly display images like that. So the parent's got me on one count. I was remiss in doing my job.

I am one of those people that my job defines a lot of who I am. Maybe it's not healthy, sure, but I've come to accept that that's the way I am. So I take people's criticism (if I'm not 100% sure it's unjustified) really seriously. I take this whole thing really seriously.

Speaking of corrupting kids... Does this make me a hypocrite? I spoke to those kiddies playing games the other day... and of course the game they were playing was one I was fiddling around with the other night myself at home. It made me giggle inside to stop them from doing something I spent hours on trying to get to work in Linux. Mwahahahaha!

What would Dewey do?

Now, if you were told, "The library is going to be closed from x o'clock to x o'clock," what your response be? Would it be, "So you mean I can't be in the building during that time? Even if I'm not looking at books?" This same person also just casually came in and suggested I hand over the keys to the function room (which we do charge for--heftily) fifteen minutes before she needed it. That place is booked months in advance.

A family came in the other day to see one of our exhibits. I think they were disappointed. It's more of a display case full of puppets than a real 'exhibit.' Honestly, the puppets kind of scare me. I have this phobia of dolls and other humanoid things that aren't alive (and some that are) and so I sort of avoid the puppet display. I get this fear that they'll come to life and kill me. Dumb and irrational, but man they weird me out. Too many horror movies as a kid.

It's my day off. It's been beautiful all week. This morning, it's pouring. I really wanted to work out in the garden. Not library related, no, but we put in a water garden two years ago (complete with koi) and last weekend put in a Zen rock garden. I'm thinking of getting some of my Chinese and Japanese classical music piped out there. Complete the ambiance. It's nice. I've wanted to be out there all week.

Tomorrow is supposed to be beautiful again, and that means all sorts of people will be coming to the library. It's odd. It's actually the exact opposite of when I worked retail... When I worked retail, it was dead gorgeous days, and busy as hell on rainy days. I think what it is is that so many people in our area walk to the library. There's no parking whatsoever in the area, so they walk or take the bus.

Our photocopier has been broken for three days. Thank god that's not in my jurisdiction.

The other day I got to explain to a girl how to use the library. I think she was embarrassed to ask the guy librarian how to read Dewey numbers. I guess because I am a chick and closer in age to her she felt a little less intimidated by me. She was a quick learner and it made me feel like a real librarian. It was pretty cool actually.

I love timed access

Moreover, I love all of you who encouraged me to make the computers card access. It has helped tremendously in getting people to pay their fines off.

Funny how people accept the computer's determination of when their machine is available. I mean, true, it is ruthlessly fair. But whereas people would hedge over and make noise and in general be nuisances about ten minutes before their turn was coming due, now (wonder of wonders) they actually get up, get a newspaper or magazine, and sit and read while they wait. I think it gives a sense of security.

There were some kiddies using the computers today. Kiddies meaning that I think they still had juvenile cards. I made a note on the circ computer that no kiddies were to use those computers. If they need mom and dad's permission upstairs, they sure as hell need it downstairs. I spoke to them once about playing games. They got a little rambunctious and one of them clocked the monitor mighty hard with his fist, trying to hide the email he was writing from his friends.

The support staff hasn't quite been adhering to the seventh grade and above rule that I thought I laid down.

Today I decided to test the filter some. Okay, every informational site about breast cancer, rape, and sex change operations I had no trouble getting to. I could even get to quite a few, er, non-informational ones. I would so like to see exactly how this is configured... I've written to the systems office that is currently maintaining the proxy server. I hope they can pass along some information.

This has got to be the weirdest job ever. I am supposed to look for questionable materials, and sometimes my bosses look over my shoulder to view the stuff and don't get upset. Actually, it's quite uncomfortable for me. I've never been one to really talk about any of my relationships with people I work with... well, at least, not that aspect of my relationships... so viewing stuff like this with people around that I've only known a few months and who hired me... well, that's a little uncomfortable. It is part of the job though. And who said librarianship was all about shushing?

That being said, I'm also one of those people that believes there's a time and place for at least some types of "adult entertainment". I don't actively buy the stuff, but I certainly don't see a problem with someone buying a magazine if that's their thing. I just don't want them reading it in a public place. And sure as hell not on my watch.

New Librarian Discovery Number 5: Boy, do I love to shush.

Good library story

A patron came in looking for an appropriate Bible. I hooked her up with the most appropriate Bible we had (which isn't the translation I would have chosen) and after some discourse, tried to talk her into a study guide as well. After a few pages of "... begat ..." it gets pretty tiresome. I thought this might help her get through.

We went round and round (she was quite nice) and finally decided on an annotated Bible. She was intimidated by two books. (I really wish we had some good study Bibles.)

Because I needed to relieve someone on the desk, I left her to browse further.

The book she actually left the library with... KJV? New English Version? Nope. A nice little tome on astrology.

When reader's advisory goes terribly, terribly awry.

I found an old Okidata dot matrix printer in the basement -- an earlier model than the ones I was looking at for printing spine labels. Now if I could only find a driver that wouldn't blue screen my computer. I hate to spend $250 on a printer for such a specific task and just because I can't find a damn piece of software.

I had a young man ask to speak to a manager. I told him I was the manager. His eyes got wide and he said, "You run this whole place?" I think he was trying to get me to bequeath our old magazines to him. He even offered another librarian money for them. He could actually get a subscription for the money he offered.

Funny, when he found out that we were the front line managers he didn't seem so eager to ask any of us yet again about the magazines.

We seem to have uncovered a major shortcoming in our filtering software in that it doesn't block any obscene images on any search engine. The kicker being the only way it seems you can block naughty images is by blocking all images, which is a bad thing. The head of systems at the network is looking into a work around.

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