Archive for April, 2008

I used to wonder why all the librarian blogs were so snarky…was there no joy in librarianship? Now I know better! And it only took me four months behind the reference desk, too.

We had a patron much like the one below today. And this is not an isolated event…


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(…unless you are Ewan McGregor, Joaquin Phoenix or Viggo Mortensen…then, by all means, give us some luv darling!)

Ran across one of the funniest videos celebrating National Library Week called “Reference Desk.”

Yes, these questions all sound familiar! I think this guy comes in twice a week at our branch…


Check out all the others here: http://alfocus.blip.tv/posts?view=archive&nsfw=dc


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(royalty-free stock image but visit www.fromoldbooks.org anyway, OK?)

So, I am three months into the whole librarian gig and not a fresh-faced kid anymore (can you really be fresh at 39, anyway?). I still like it but I can, indeed, see why some people get burned out.

While I knew there would be weirdos, as I have worked in the public sector for over 10 years, I had no idea the sheer number and scope of oddness. And stupidity.

Now, I’m certainly no stranger to stupidity, as you know. But somedays I despair for the future of this country. Here’s a good one for you:

A very nice young woman came in and I started to help her look for some materials she needed. As I was searching through a database, she noticed my nametag and commented, with complete and utter seriousness, “Wow, I can’t believe your last name is ‘Librarian’! I guess you had to go in to this line of work, huh.” I then had to explain to her that everyone here behind the desk has this last name…as our name tags have only our first names and then job title below that.

Oh, don’t think I wasn’t tempted to make a different remark….


On a different note… This library blog always makes me laugh: Miss Information

She’s witty, funny and I wish to hell I could write like her (grumble, grumble). Ah, well.

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Dickens at the Blacking Warehouse 
From a drawing by Fred Bernard. Reproduced in “The Dickens Country” by kind permission of Messrs. Chapman and Hall. www.fromoldbooks.org

Watched a disturbing PBS Frontline show tonight about kids on heavy duty depression drugs called The Medicated Child. There are children four years old being diagnosed with bipolar disorder and being given huge amounts of medication daily. FOUR YEARS OLD!

How can you diagnose a brain problem in a child whose brain is still rapidly developing?

I do have some mixed emotions about this issue, though. Every day I take an antidepressant that I will probably be on for the rest of my life. Although I had my doubts about the ability of a drug to actually help, I can say that it has and does make a huge difference for me.

The down side is that a lot of my “creative” talent has been lost, as the medication stops the manic highs. The upside, of course, is that I can maintain a job, relationship and life. Still…I did create some great stuff while I was not on meds. Would this be the Van Gogh Paradox then? (sure you’re miserable and lost an ear but hey…boy can you paint!)

There’s a good description of various bipolar types here, too. By far, the scariest part of this show was the private company, Brain Matters, that marketed itself as being able to pre-diagnose children’s mental illnesses by looking at bloodflow to parts of the brain. As you might imagine, they charged a HUGE amount of money to do this. And who was a big promoter of these charlatans (I say this since they are turning a profit from anxious parents using unproven methods)? Why good ‘ole Dr. Phil. I am happy to report that Frontline’s update says:

“In February, shortly after this program was first broadcast, Brain Matters filed for bankruptcy.”



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