Friday, September 22, 2006

Customer service conundrum

Today I faced one of those customer service dilemmas which I really hate - do I help someone find a book that isn't where it's supposed to be, even though it's one minute to closing, or do I gently remind him the library is closing in one minute, and could he come back in the morning and we'd find it for him?

On one hand, going the extra mile for the patron* always makes us look good, and if the patron really needs the item, gives them a feeling of gratitude towards us. They might tell the next person they speak to, be it a family member, friend or classmate, how great it was that the librarian found that book on birding which the catalogue said was in but wasn't where it should be.

The other day I helped an elderly woman track down an issue of the French version of Reader's Digest she was looking for because there was an article she wanted for her daughter, despite the fact I was on my way to the server room to fix a problem that was occurring in the system. When we discovered it had been checked out, I took her to the circulation desk, explained to the librarian who was there what we needed (to put a PIN on her card, and then reserve the issue), and then continued on to fix the problem. The woman told the librarians at the desk how helpful I'd been, and was grateful for all our assistance. That's what we do - we help people, and we love doing it, damnit!

But on the other hand, we're only human. I wasn't feeling the greatest - there's a cold/flu going around the staff, and it isn't even officially flu season yet. We were short staffed today, so I'd spent a lot of time helping out at the circ desk and not getting paperwork done. I work tomorrow, I'll be the only manager in, and there's serious potential for all three departments to be short staffed. Plus, there's a glitch in the system that's preventing me from uploading MARC records for a bunch of new materials, but I don't know where or how to solve it. Long story short, I was a little stressed, tired, distracted, and just wanted to shoo him out.**

In the end, I had to go with the shooing, but I did promise to have a look for it in the morning, and explained how he could go online and reserve the material so that when it did turn up, we'd give him a call. What would you have done?

*That's a weird term for me - patron. As in, a library patron, or someone who patronizes a library. In library school, there were many discussions about what you call someone who goes to the library: a patron or a user?

For the last few years, I've used the term "library user" to describe someone who comes to the library, checks out material, and participates in programming. Because that's what they do - they use the library. A patron is someone who generally supports or favours something, like an arts program or even a library, but it doesn't mean they necessarily
use the library.

It doesn't mean that "library users" aren't also patrons of the library, and "patrons of the library" can also be library users, it's just that, to me, they have different connotations. Library user sounds like a more neutral term than patron (which sounds a bit snooty in my head), but to some, library user sounds cold and statistical and patron is a friendlier term. However, since everyone at my new library uses the term "patron" to describe the people who are in the building and aren't staff, I've also started using the term.

**Add to that the fact I'd had to run around looking for him - twice - because he'd left stuff in my department, and then seemed to have very little idea what it was he was looking for.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

It's Saaaaarsgaaaaaarrrrrd!

Happy Talk Like A Pirate Day!

You need to watch this video of a pirate's convention.


(Edited to add: D'oh! Thanks for the catch, John! No wonder I had such a hard time finding it! And the Sarsgaard SARS-guard skit was hilarious.)

Monday, September 18, 2006

I wish The Cranberries would shut up already

I did a stupid thing yesterday, despite taking every possible precaution to prevent what happened last night from happening.

I watched a scary movie, 28 Days Later. It was the middle of the day, the sun was shining, and I had all the blinds and windows open. I could see the kids playing across the street, riding their bikes around, and laughing and having fun. I planned to watch other non-scary movies after it to lessen the impact, but to no avail.

The movie was good. It was really good - I'd consider watching it again sometime. The most graphic thing about it was when the Infected* vomited blood (note to my mother and sisters: don't watch this movie. One word: ew.) Other than that, I was okay with the ending, and liked the alternate endings, especially the radical alternative ending.

The problem began around 11, when I started getting ready for bed. There was thunder and lightening, and when that passed, it was very quiet in the neighbourhood. I'm not used to that kind of silence; in my apartment, I was on a busy four-lane road, near an ambulance and fire dispatch centre, and above a bar, so there was always a lot of noise, even early in the morning. Here, in a residential area, it's oh so quiet - too quiet. I lay there with my eyes wide opening, knowing that it was just a stupid movie, but unable to shake the fear that someone was going to come bursting through the bedroom door. Nightmares would have been a relief because it would have meant I slept.

I did drop off eventually, and snapped awake a couple of times. Around 4am, crazy singing dude with headphones** wandered by, and it was oddly reassuring. If CSDWH can wander around the city unassaulted by violently ill people intent on killing, then surely all must be well.

* They weren't really zombies, were they? More like plague victims.
** Crazy singing dude with headphones is this youngish guy who wanders around wearing these huge headphones, carrying a discman, and singing along at the top of his lungs, usually off key. I think he's harmless - he doesn't seem to be headed anywhere specific, but he always looks like he's headed somewhere with a purpose.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Friday night it was Tim Horton's and "Don't Go Breakin' My Heart"

But I didn't dork out that hard because there were two really hot guys there, and heaven and hell forbid I act like myself (or someone weirder) in the presence of hotness. So there.


Unpacking has progressed nicely, but it's come to a scretching halt because I can't find the pegs to hold the shelves in one of my bookcases. I know I packed them, and I've found the pegs for all the other bookcases except that one. I've also found all the stuff around where I am certain I last saw them. The good news is that they are here somewhere. When I went back to clean the place, I didn't see them, and I looked in every cupboard and drawer and on every shelf before I left, so the only possible explanation is that they are already in this house.

The bad news is that they are here somewhere. Since I've already found the stuff that was around them and similar to them, and have looked in the all the possible containers that I might have put them in, but haven't turned them up yet, I'm running out of possible places they could be. It's one of those things where if I spend too much time thinking about it, it will drive me bananas, get frustrated, and accomplish nothing. If I stop thinking about where they might be, it's possible they'll turn up. Eventually.

My grandparents are here. Yay!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Yes, that was me dorking out to "Afternoon Delight" in Canadian Tire tonight*

So tired. But in a good way. Loving the job, even though there's so much to catch up on.

Really, I should have been cleaning and unpacking tonight because my grandparents are coming to visit on the weekend. Instead, I posted pictures of the interior of my house (my house!) and played around with Vox (meet my alter ego, Girl Tuesday). But they're not coming to see the mess - they're coming to see me!**

(Incidentally, the pictures were taken the morning my stuff arrived, before the movers got here. That's why there's a lack of furniture.)

And happy belated birthday to Dave. When the doctors said you'd never make it to 31, they were wrong - it's the thirst for revenge, not the iron lung, that's keeping you alive.

* The snappy title is to make up for a decidedly unsnappy post. But it's true - I did dork out when I heard it.
** The mess is just a happy bonus.