“My Librarian Thinks I’m a Criminal.”

February 27, 2013

“Librarians at this university take their job way to seriously, we’re students not convicts.”

My Librarian Thinks I'm a Criminal

This comment kind of reminds me of the famous video, Give ‘Em the Pickle.

The moment that I am thinking of comes in another part of the full training video (not found on YouTube that I know of) where  Bob Farrell talks about an experience going to a bank. There at the bank they have those pens that are attached to the counter with a chain. Farrell says the message you are sending to the customer with those types of attached pens is, “You are a thief and we know it.”

30-October-2009 - Pen on a leash

What are some of the messages we are sending our patrons without really realizing it?

Several years ago at my local library I returned a book to the main desk. The clerk, in an effort to be helpful, told me that I could return my books at the front of the library in the future. I don’t think she realized that she also told me this, “Next time don’t bring this here. Take it to the front instead of bugging me.” She didn’t mean this at all but that was the message I heard.

We need to be very careful how we help our patrons. We may be sending a message we don’t intend.

photo originally uploaded by I Am Rob


“I Can’t Understand My Librarian.”

October 8, 2009

Twitter user: chrisdude: “I was in the library and I went TO ‘the stacks,’ and I still don’t know what that means.”

For those who have heard this idiom used by librarians but have never learned what the phrase means, ‘the stacks’ refers to the open shelves that any library user can browse through (i.e., anywhere you can find a book, pick it up, and read it/check it out.).

Librarians have a lot of common terminology that can be confusing to anyone unfamiliar to it, just like any subculture. Yes, librarians have their own subculture just like skaters, tweeps, Twilight fans, and bloggers. I was a part-time employee for months before I learned what other librarians meant when they would tell me to “go look in the stacks.”

Some other terms we use that spaz our users (and ourselves):

  • monograph
  • patron
  • reference
  • information literacy
  • resource sharing
  • collection
  • OPAC :: Library catalog :: “The catalog”


“Library Catalogs are Broken.”

October 1, 2009

“I hate the library!! Why are you telling me you have things when I can’t find them 😦 stupid system!” twitter user: andrewmoore24

OPACs continue to be obstacles to finding. Sometimes I wonder if our users wouldn’t just be better served by searching in WorldCat or Google and having a “Get at My Library” link which sends them back to the local catalog. I have written before about Bookburro. BB really does this well (for books only) from any site with an ISBN then uses WorldCat to point to local libraries. As a librarian I may be stoned for saying this but sometimes it is just plain easier and faster and yes, even more effective and scholarly (i.e., I find better materials) to not use our OPAC but start at Amazoogle for books. Until recently I had a similar sentiment for bypassing databases and going to GoogleScholar for citations but it has become so bogged down with unscholarly material (a pdf, ANY pdf, makes the cut) or books when I want articles that I am not as impressed as I used to be.

I feel sorry for our patrons.

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“My Librarian Cares More About Silence than Literacy”

July 15, 2009

RT @bethsteadman: “Did the icky librarian really just tell my son not to read aloud to himself in a faraway corner of the children’s section near NO ONE?”

This is unbelievable. I have to stifle the rage welling up in my soul over this.

Do these 20th century librarians still exist? It’s the 21st century; let’s try to champion a young boy reading over absolute quiet in a library.


“I Love it When the Library Has What I Want”

June 30, 2009

RT @girlfromPBO “I think stopping by the library on a whim and finding the EXACT RIGHT BOOK you have been pining for is one of life’s most awesome moments.”


“Library Instant Messaging is Useless”

June 12, 2009

Cautionary words from JesHolbrook about library chat reference. Libraries should go through great lengths to ensure that someone is actually monitoring IM at all times or that the service goes “offline” or “busy” if the librarian is away for longer than a few minutes.


“I Can’t Find a Librarian.”

April 30, 2009

Aside from helping with computers, the “anything else” could be anything from directions to the bathroom to a twenty-minute research transaction. Some libraries try to solve this issue by “roving” or “roaming” librarians but it is still sad when we work so hard to promote ourselves and how eager we are to help…but then we aren’t around to do it. I have written before about doing a service well, if we claim to do it well. As a service profession, we really need to ensure that we are giving the best possible assistance to our patrons.