As I write this, a hazy smoke has enveloped the Pacific Northwest and the high desert whatever the hell biosphere I live in at the moment. There may be a picture accompanying this, but if there is not allow me to describe it: Gray haze with shimmering figures in the distance that resemble mountains inhabited by old chain smoking yeti figures who have run out of shit to eat.Read More
How many times have you been working the reference desk and thought, man alive I could use a meal? Too many times, am I right? Born and raised in the deep South, my meals tend to lean toward the "chicken fried" variety, so I submit to you my own recipe for cooking up chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes, green beans, biscuits, and gravy in the library break room.Read More
As you all know, Wichita Falls library has been desperately seeking a name for its racoon mascots. These mascots have a long and treasured history with the library system, much like the fabled lions that grace the New York Public Library. I promise you, by the end of this blog entry you will know the name or names of these branded creations.Read More
The annual American Library Association conference has come and gone. New Orleans took the brunt this year, the warm wild city welcoming librarians from all over as well as Michelle Obama and Emilio Estevez. I for one am excited with how Young Guns 3 seems to be shaping up.Read More
You find yourself in a locked room. Two bookcases are along one wall. A door is across from them. The door has a dozen locks, all different and all requiring a code, key, or fingerprint. The door is solid as the walls. In the corner, you hear the hiss of air from a vent.
To escape this room, do the following:Read More
Helping a patron find a book is a hard proposition sometimes. It's so rare that we do it now in the age of ebooks and ejournals and enonsense. Still, some people do need to find a physical copy to dirty with their dirty hands. Here's the steps you should take to find a book for a patron.
1. Determine the exact title and author
Sometimes the patron knows the item they need. They come to the circulation desk, slam down a wad of paper and say, "Pillow Monsters by Abraham Funkytown, please." Then you can look up the item and determine that it is in the library. If the patron does not know the exact title and author, well, you could question them or just guess. Guessing is fun. Also, Amazon has a lot of stuff so you could find the spelling there.
2. Determine if your library has the book.
Find the title in the computer box. You did that and it rewarded you with a location. That location will tell you where to find the book. Because that's how locations work. Never point to the location of the book, no matter if its an easy book in a dump bin. Always walk the patron to the location, filling them with tidbits like "this is where we keep the books."
3. Give them the book (if you can)
Two things can happen when you walk into the stacks to find a book*. You find the book or you don't find the book. Schrodinger's book until you make it to the shelf, if you will. Finding the book is easy: just give it to them, dummy. If you don't find the book, though, well…
4. Double check all the places it could be
As the philosopher John Bender said, "Screws fall out all the time, the world is an imperfect place." This includes books as well. Books can fall behind other books, be misplaced on other shelves, been picked up and placed on a table. Exhaust all options. Check all the places, including transposing all letters for numbers in the call number**.
5. Check the cataloging department
Go back to the cataloging department. Those assholes sometimes grab books as they come in or pull them from the shelf for whatever mystical reason without updating the system***. Do not allow the patron to follow you into this den of thieves and liars. If you must, kneecap the patron to keep them from following you. Say, "I'll be right back" in your most confident tone.
6. Place a hold
Everywhere has been checked for the book, even in your own hands and the pocket of your jacket. The book cannot be found. Time to pass the buck. Tell the patron you will place a hold on the item for them. Most libraries have a list of books that patrons are looking for or are too lazy to get on their own. These lists are checked daily by library peons who often with their fresh eyes find books easier than you can with a crying patron following you. Go figure.
*Okay, actually there are nine, but most of those are fantasies involving Neil Gaiman, Karen Gillan, Idris Elba, or a combination of the three.
**When typed out, 5's look a lot like S's, 8's can become 0's or O's, and in very few circumstances "&" can become "=."
***Their excuse is often "nobody wants to read that shit."
It's the holidays so we here at the library have been watching lots of holiday movies, but the one that shines by far has been Generic Holiday Movie Cash Grab.
Random Blonde Lady and Tall Handsome Guy play a couple of characters who just can't seem to get in the holiday spirit. Without spoiling anything, something tragic happened at some point. Lady and Guy then get a visit from an unlikely holiday-themed place. At first, they are put off by the cheer. Will the two of them find it in their hearts to be romantic in the snow and save the thing from not being a thing for the community?
At the core of Generic Holiday Movie Cash Grab is the romance. Lady and Guy are perfect as the couple smashed together by fate as if they were action figures played with by a hyperactive child. The screenplay guides them through a generic romance plot with a layer of snow and random jingling bells to denote the holidays are here! You'll be hard pressed not to be entertained by the side characters as well, with sarcastic Gay Best Friend and Friend of Color providing commentary and Old Flame Person slinking around for some manufactured drama.
And don't forget the Little Broken Child. You'll shed a tear as Guy and Lady warm to the Little Broken Child and find the true meaning of the holiday: Fammunity.
So cuddle up and watch the carefully edited for television breaks plot guide you toward feelings you may or may not feel at a time of year you're pressured to observe because at the darkest, coldest part of the year our species is driven to celebrate our eternal fight against death.
From our fammunity to yours, have a happy generic holiday and enjoy a movie that still can appeal to religious people despite positing universal values no one can dispute.
The library is counting down the days until Christmas and wants to let you know what you can give us. We've been all around town and have located dozens of items for our list. Here are a few.
"Tits out Miss Piggy Bank" is the number one item on our list for collecting fines and overall just lightening up the children's desk.
"Suck It Monkey" will be a delightful addition to our reference collection.
By hiring "Drunken Italian Stereotype," we feel our Books and Dinner programs will have the best food available.
The library needs a mentor and what better to lead us than a figure from our past?
The library needs to show children with "The Boy Who Didn't Believe" that if you don't believe in things, a fat bearded man will kidnap you.
Can't go wrong with a box of hammers.
Zombie Santa wants us as much as we want him.
Again, the children's desk is looking a little drab. Can't you help us lighten it up with the flintlock lamp?
Don't think we didn't forget about the Circulation Department's voodoo doll collection.
Nothing wrong with a sexual representation of Mr. And Mrs. Clause.
If you don't have a bucket of leering Santas on your wish list, whose dick are you trying to suck?
We round out the list with our favorites: What if Santa was a Muppet...
and what if Mrs. Clause needed some sex?
Fall is here! Shit fell off trees!
This past week's book was At the Mountains of Madness by HP Lovecraft because it was short and on sale. Still, it took me too long to listen to and honestly, I barely listened to it. If you've ever read Lovecraft, you know the archaic language can be impenetrable and at 2X speed I listen to things... My mind wandered, Still, check it out.
Still making it through Peyton Place and by god, this is an excellent book. Just trash and awesome at it, showing with blatant fury the small town bullshit with a punk rock attitude of "fuck all these people."
Lots of things this day made me super happy, from @libraryeliza realizing that the old man teacher in the Last Jedi trailer was Luke Skywalker, but the top has to be "How to Tell a Story" by Mark Twain. This short essay makes me super happy to read because our greatest American author still commands that title by playing with and enjoying the art of story deconstruction. Pauses and rambling, indeed.