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This is the not the first time my family has crossed paths with Walt Whitman.
In my family’s lore, my grandfather would tell a story about how his grandfather (a judge in Camden prior to the turn of the century) once sent the famous and highly debated poet to jail for public intoxication. His grandmother and her friends would cross the street if they saw ole Walt stumbling their way, drunk as a skunk, for they did not want to be on the same side of the road as he passed. Their recollections, as retold by my grandfather, were singularly unimpressed with the man who has been called “America’s poet”.
Even in death, my mother’s family cannot escape some sort of proximity to the poet. Harleigh Cemetery, where my maternal grandparents, their siblings, and both sides of my grandfather’s family have family plots, is also the resting place for Walt Whitman. When I visit the family gravesite, I can see the Whitman mausoleum about one hundred and fifty yard away hidden in the trees that have grown over it. The only way out is to go past it. You can see the slots of the Whitman family behind a heavy barred gate with little knickknacks, flowers, and other minutiae left outside. -- Read More
Use this flowchart to decide whether you should become a librarian. I hope you find it helpful.
link to full-size version is here, http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z213/effinglibrarian/keeplo.png
feel free to use however you wish.
This weekend, co-vocabularists have challenged the legacy of Melvil Dewey by stocking and stacking imaginary libraries according to whimsical classifications.
Oct. 25th blog post, www.merrylibrarian.com
Book drops. It seems simple, doesn’t it? A name like “book drop” doesn’t leave much room for mystery…you’d think.
A recent poll of librarians has proven otherwise, however. Across the nation, patrons of public libraries have confused a book drop with trash receptacles, a donation box, urinals, chicken coops… The list goes on and on.
While we may never understand how or why this confusion occurs, we do know that the result of patron confusion–though sometimes disturbing–is frequently amusing. So, until the government provides libraries with several billion dollars to launch an education campaign on proper book drop use, we have taken it upon ourselves to provide you with this useful list of book drop dos and don’ts–all based on the true stories that have been sent in from around the world.
1. Situation: You work at a library in the city of Las Vegas, NV. As you approach the book drop, you hear the sound of squawking and scratching.
Don’t…Assume you’re crazy. You may be miles from the nearest farm, but there actually are chickens in your book drop…complete with food and water. Hey, it happens.
Do… Tell your coworkers to fire up the bar-be-que, baby!
2. Situation: Upon opening the book drop, you are pummeled by the stench of garbage. And on top of the rubbish heap in your book drop? A used maxi pad.
Don’t…Toss your cookies into the book drop. You’d only have to clean that up, too. -- Read More
The following is another story from The Merry Librarian. Once again, this true story is an example of patron expectations for a librarian’s abilities. As bizarre requests go, this one is definitely a strange need for information. And we’re just curious…why is it that when a patron needs something complicated and bizarre, they always want it within 24 hours? Just curious....
“Here’s a situation I ran into yesterday that I thought you might find amusing…it falls under the “librarians should know everything about everything” assumption that much of the general public seems to have. A man walked into our branch yesterday and asked me the following questions:
“If something were translated from English into Mayan hieroglyphics into Egyptian hieroglyphics, would someone from Iran who speaks Hebrew be able to understand it?”
Umm…I’m thinking not.
“Well, then, could you translate it for me so they could understand it?”
…Why yes, of course I happen to be fluent in ALL those languages. (I am a librarian, after all.)
“Well, do you have a book that translates Mayan hieroglyphics into Egyptian hieroglyphics into Hebrew?”
I’m thinking not…but I’ll check anyway just to appease you…Nope, just as I suspected. Nothing.
“Why don’t you have any books that do that?”
I don’t think there is a book anywhere that does that.
“Well, what can you do? I need it done tonight.” -- Read More
The "Wong Fook Hing Book Store" chose the perfect name:
The following is posted from www.merrylibrarian.com from our Story of the Week archives, dated Oct. 4th, 2009. Check out the site for all of our stories!
"Another Day, Another Taser"
Just in case you haven’t gotten the memo, we no longer live in the cheerful, black-and-white world of “Leave It To Beaver.” The streets aren’t even clean anymore, much less safe. Where the public library was once a quiet, quaint place for study and leisurely reading, it has now become a strange mix of internet cafe/detention hall/day care/reading room/homeless shelter. Don’t get us wrong–we aren’t complaining (too much)! The library is supposed to be for everyone, and we gladly open our doors to any person who may walk through them.
But let’s face it: the whole “libraries are for everyone” thing means we get a lot of unsavory people stumbling past our desks everyday. And with them, we get a whole slew of uncomfortable situations. (It is the Merry Librarian’s humble opinion that librarians everywhere should be considered for the Nobel Peace Prize.) But the true heroes of the library are easily the library security guards. They undoubtedly see the worst. Not only do they get the porno freaks and drunks, they get the screamers, irate parents, gangsters, predators, thieves, liars, abandoned children, squatters…you name it. -- Read More
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal has an interesting take on censorship and librarian burnout: