Posts Tagged ‘librarians’

Back when I was working as a naturalist, I lamented that the annual professional conferences of the big name organization were:

  1. Far away
  2. Too expensive for regular naturalists to afford
  3. Offering the same shtick you got at the local conferences

It seems the same is true for the American Library Association Conferences. The upcoming one in Chicago is exorbitantly expensive and that’s not including housing and food (AND drinks…I weep for you, Chicago when the librarians are turned loose…).

And what does your hard-earned moola get you? Some innovative library speakers? Some literary experts?

Sorry, no.

Instead you get:

“James Van Praagh

Saturday, July 11, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
James Van Praagh is a “survival evidence medium,” meaning that he is able to bridge the gap between two planes of existence, that of the living and that of the dead, by providing evidential proof of life after death via detailed messages.Van Praagh’s unique paranormal experiences during the past
25 years have been recorded in his New York Times bestselling books Talking to Heaven, Reaching to Heaven, Healing Grief, Heaven and Earth, Looking Beyond: A Teen’s Guide to the Spiritual World and Mediation with James Van Praagh. He has also produced a number of television programs, including a hit primetime series, “Ghost Whisperer,” starring Jennifer Love Hewitt. He has made numerous guest appearances on shows such as “Oprah,” “Larry King Live,” “20/20,” “48 Hours” and “Biography.” His first
memorable encounter was at the age of eight, when he prayed for God to reveal Himself to him and an open hand appeared through the ceiling of his room. Today, Van Praagh is recognized as one of the foremost mediums in the world. In addition to speaking with the deceased, he says he can “feel the emotions and personalities of the deceased,” as well as see the spirit in solid form.”

Seriously. Seriously?!

Shit, why don’t you invite Sylvia Browne, too?! I can picture it now: Psychic Reference Desk. When patrons walk up to the desk we just hand them a book and say knowingly, “This is the book you are truly searching for…I sense it!”

I did laugh at the name of this program in the Children & Young Adults track: ‘Where You Can Go with Every Child Ready to Read.”

Oh, I can tell you where to go….;-p





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jester reading a book

(Picture is in public domain, but check out Liam’s Pictures from Old Books)

I am going to have to learn some magic, since patrons keep expecting me to bend the rules of time and space for them.

For example, our public printer has been on the fritz for a week. We have plastered signs up indicating this on ALL the computers, on the printer, on the entry doors, and on the back of a slow-moving shelver.

You would think people would get the message. However, I still have at least 3-4 patrons a day come up to the Reference Desk and ask, “Is the printer not working?” Once I confirm that it is broken, they then say, “So, there’s no way I can print anything?”Now, several snappy comebacks have occurred to me over the past few weeks….no, no, I won’t go there.

Now, we move into the second stage. They then say, “But I really need to print something right now and continue to look at me expectantly. What, exactly, do they think I will do? ….”Oh, you REALLY need to print something? Well, let me pull out the secret, hidden, working printer we keep just for that purpose!”

Maybe they are waiting for me to suggest a bribe? A knowing wink and a finger aside my nose? “Eh, I might be able to help you out, Mr. Patron, if you had a box of Thin Mints…”

I get the same reaction when a book they are looking for is missing. Sometimes, even though the (all-knowing) computer says a book is “available,” we cannot locate it on the shelves.

So, I explain that it could be because someone else has used it and left it on a table or it could be misshelved or it could even have been stolen (a pox on all you book thieves!). After suggesting that we can order a copy from another branch, they still continue to stare at me…”But the computer says it’s ‘available’ at this branch!”

Maybe next time I will say, “Wait a minute…what’s that behind your ear? ::reach up and pull out missing book with magician’s flourish:: “Why, here it is!”


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Two very wrong situations at the library recently:

     1.) A young boy comes running in and heads for the new children’s books. He is followed by his annoyed grandmother who yells, “NO BOOKS! You can’t get any books, only videos!”             

     Poor little kid. He got the short straw for a grandparent. (I should note that this boy, who is about seven years old, always says, “Hello, how are you?” and “Thank you very much” to the circulation clerks…he’s a real gentleman).

     2.) A very cute toddler is wandering around the library wearing nothing but a diaper. Mom is sitting at a table up front on her cell phone and doesn’t seem to care that her child is sitting on the floor (the floor of a busy public library) nearly naked and all alone. The kid is picking up litter off the floor and putting it in his mouth. When informed of this situation, she yells at one of her older (meaning about age five) kids to go get the child. The older sister then grabs the toddler’s arm and starts pulling causing, naturally, quite a loud struggle.              

     Rinse and repeat this scenario. I think you should have to be licensed before you are allowed to be a parent.


Finally, this situation is kind of sad, really: A nice little boy, around age six, regularly comes into the library alone around 3:00 p.m. He sits at a table, pulls out his backpack and doodles until 5:30 p.m. when his mother arrives from work to pick him up. It just seems sad that the library is his default day care center.

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rex libris screen saver 
(logo created by James Turner: visit his website to download this image to your desktop)

As I was editing the other day (a necessary but often tedious library task…hmmm, funny that they gave that job to the new guy, right…) I stumbled upon an interesting graphic novel (or comic, if you prefer and want to piss people off…) called Rex Libris, “I Librarian.”

That’s right, a graphic novel about rock-em sock-em librarians! Here is the lead in explaining that Rex fights:

“…against all forms of perfidy, from book-bashing boogeymen to moaning undead legions who ignore the “quiet please” sign. Not even superpowered delinquent alien children can abscond with books without signing them out while Rex is on the job. For the first time, the secret world of librarians and their daily struggle to protect civilization and the very knowledge it is founded upon is revealed!”

How can you not love that?!

I enjoyed James Turner’s work immensely, but my one gripe is that the book is kinda tiny and that makes the print even tinier (I should note that this was a bound collection of #1-5). My old eyes are just not up to that challenge. (I’ll have to ask “Q” if I can get those new bionic eyes…)

{For those librarians who are inclined to be easily offended: don’t take yourselves or your profession so seriously…have some fun!}

I would dearly love to photocopy a picture of Rex to tape to my desk, but you know I won’t since I have to uphold all copyright laws and whatnot (grumble) …but I am hoping there will be a print for sale at SLG Publishing in the future.

Speaking of librarian images (and special powers) reminds me of a great site: Librarian Avengers

You should also check out Batgirl was a Librarian

Finally, if you want a much longer (much, much longer) article on the image of librarians, look here.

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