Friday, October 15, 2004

Ignore the Gal in the Glass Office (or, Why I Shouldn't Drink a Pot of Coffee in the Morning)

At work, I'm a member of a team that is creating an auditing document. It's to be used by the teams who will be auditing the programs we offer our clients. Right now, we're at the stage where we have almost completed the process, but need to test it out to see how it all works. During our regular meeting on Wednesday, I was assigned the task to create scenarios on which to test this draft document. This morning, while working on another document, I began thinking about possible scenarios - all of them silly, of course, because I had slept very well the night before* and had consumed a pot of coffee this morning.
  • Scenario #1: Problem Library Users - the program is designed to teach librarians how to deal with those library users who make your life a living hell. You'll learn when and how to confront them, when to ignore them and walk away, and how to hide the bodies if the first two suggestions fail.
  • Scenario #2: Effective Gossip-mongering - the Library is the hub of any community, where residents go for all of their information needs, from formal and informal sources. As such, the library should be *the* place residents turn to when they want to know the latest news about what everyone else is doing. The tools presented in this workshop will teach you how to collect tidbits of gossip, how to assemble them into a more complete picture, and how to go about passing them along.
  • Scenario #3: Computer Repairs 101 - How many times a day are Librarians forced to drop everything and deal with library users complaining about a major computer malfunction, when in reality the problem is no more complicated than the mouse cord has come unplugged? Or even worse, what happens when the library user announces they have "fixed" the problem, which results in one less computer, irrate Internet users and a visit from the computer technician? In this workshop, librarians will learn how to discourage users from undertaking "repairs", and technical-sounding jargon to placaite the most insistent "computer expert."
  • Scenario #4: Erotica Pool** - Libraries will have a chance to host a collection of tasteful videos, books, CDs and "how-to" manuals. Marital aids not included.
  • Scenario #5: Collecting Overdue Materials - are polite reminders and mailed notices being ignored? Do library users feign surprise when you tell them that the book they borrowed in January is past due and needs to be returned immediately? Learn the take-down and repo techniques that are used by the top bounty hunters in Ontario and across Canada.
Naturally, I'm just kidding and would never actually submit any of these as legitimate scenarios. Although, I'd be curious to see what happens if libraries express an interest in #4.

* Of course, I had another one of my stupid post-apocalyptic dreams. Usually, something disasterous has happened on a global scale, and I'm stuck trying to find various family members - this time, my sister Rachelle who hadn't been heard from, and my sister Denise, who had left me her cat and gone to work, not to be seen again - and figure out how we're going to survive. Then I wake up and try to figure out if what I'm hearing outside is rioting or just traffic and rain.

** A "pool" is a special collection of materials, usually something that a library doesn't have or can't afford to have a whole collection of, and is rotated between participating libraries. Sometimes this might be DVDs or videos, talking books or music CDs.