Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Backhanded, Passive-Agressive Comments, How To Make

While in the pantry or coffee room, it is accepted and, indeed, expected that the librarian should make backhanded comments regarding order and cleanliness. Example: if you see a staff member accidentally drop a coffee stirrer on the ground, make sure you behave like a martyr by picking up the offending litter, tossing it angrily in the garbage can and then softly exclaiming "some people need to learn how to clean up after themselves; I'm not their mother!" Make sure the comment is barely audible because you wouldn't want the staff member to think that you are confronting them. Just make sure you don't pull this type of thing on me, because I will answer with a very direct "I know you're not my mother, pal, because my mother has class and dignity!"

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Mr. Rogers, On becoming

When you come to work, change from your snow shoes into your work shoes, change from your warm wool cardigan into your cotton work cardigan, and catch yourself humming a little song about being someone's neighbor... maybe it's time to step back and take a critical look at yourself.

Living up to stereotypes isn't necessarily a bad thing -- as long as you recognize that that's what you're doing.


Thursday, January 20, 2005

Normal Human Being, Acting Like

Library Science has a long tradition of being the 'career' of last resort. It's the chosen track for people who are too socially retarded to do anything that requires human interaction. Fine. But for 8 hours, can you at least try to represent a little better and make some frigging eye contact?!? It's embarrasing for me whenever I go to a public library and the person behind the reference desk eyes you like you're a martian with 3 heads or that you stink like a heap of garbage. I never let on that I'm a member of the cult, though, because then we'd have to bond for, like, 30 seconds about this great field of ours and that would make me ill.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Nobody wants to hear your stupid stories

It's one thing to annoy the library patrons (often, it's a good thing), but making yourself a bloody nuisance to your co-workers by constantly talking about your cats, your dumb kids, or your boring weekend is just unacceptable. Seriously, nobody wants to hear it. Save it for when you get on the subway and bother a stranger with that crap. And, above all, do not tell me about that awesome dream you had last night about you hanging out with the Olsen twins and the guy from Bright Eyes. I won't even feign amusement when someone tells me about their dreams. Keep a journal, or something.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Office address, Having personal mail sent to your

Okay, so suppose your wife wants a cd for Valentine's Day, and the cd is by an African musician named Fela Kuti. The specific cd she wants is called "Expensive Shit." Also suppose that your wife works at home and often gets the mail before you can see it. So, you order the cd online and have it sent to your work address, but since it is coming from (as are all of the library's book orders) it accidentally gets sent to the Library's Acquisitions Department.

When you get a call from an older, modest woman working in the Acquisitions Department asking, "Did you order this cd with the shirtless African women on the front? It's called, 'Expensive S-H-I-T.'" You can say, "Yes, I ordered it for my wife for Valentine's Day. Women like 'expensive shit,' right?"


Thursday, January 13, 2005

Rap Courtesy

when another librarian jumps onto a table and begins a freestyle "library rap," this is to be treated as a gift to you and you alone. it is not a story to be shared with every other librarian in the building. also, it is appropriate and even encouraged to smile and laugh during the performance. it is not, however, acceptable conduct to continue laughing for the following six years. this action might be considered rude and could result in a strained professional relationship.

Prank phone calls, Receiving

You can never be too careful when you suspect the caller is pranking you at the Reference Desk. It is especially risky to mock the person's voice when responding to a suspected pranker. Don't learn this lesson the hard way.

Some people really do talk that way, and they may be entirely serious when they ask you where they can "find some body cavities."


Meetings, Commandeering

If someone commandeers a meeting (class, training session, etc.) that you are conducting, it is perfectly acceptable for you to do any of the following:

1) Leave the room with a dramatic door slam.

2) Make childish sing-song noises while the offender is speaking ("La! La! La!")

3) Do an exaggerated impersonation of the offender so that the person can see how he or she looks to everyone else (e.g., "Hey everybody! Look at me! I'm Pat, and I'm taking over this meeting!") You might also talk in a baby voice and wave your arms wildly just for effect.

4) Squirt the person with a water gun. (It works for cats.)

5) Be passive aggressive. Sigh and roll your eyes a lot. Revenge is a dish that is best served cold.

6) Go crazy. Start cursing and spitting and throw a real tantrum. You'll be the talk of the library for a while, but it might scare people into not interrupting you again. [Warning: people might get a kick out of seeing you "go off," so this might backfire and cause more people to interrupt just to see your reaction. Use this strategy sparingly.]


Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Patrons, Making fun of

It is perfectly acceptable to make fun of patrons, but not to their faces or in front of other patrons. Impersonations, quotes (e.g., "I need to find some venereal diseases..."), and nicknames (e.g., Limp Dish Rag) are all good ways to ridicule patrons.

Do not make fun of retarded people. You will go to hell.


Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Custodians, Dealing with

Custodians are people too. Don't be afraid to talk to them when they empty your waste basket. Be careful with what you throw away though... sometimes if you don't have much trash they will just grab it out of the can without taking the entire trash bag. This makes trash collection a very personal thing. "Oh no, that's not my empty Preparation H tube..."

Take care to wrap bloody knives in plastic grocery bags, shred sexually explicit love notes, and recycle empty beer cans in the staff lounge.


Meetings, How to behave in

What follows are some general guidelines for librarians who attend meetings...

For Attendees
  • Arrive on time.
  • Bring a pen and paper.
  • Do your homework (if appropriate).
  • Don't talk over other people when they're talking. Wait to be recognized.
  • Pretend to be interested or at least pretend to be writing something from time to time.
  • If doodling, don't draw caricatures of your fellow attendees. Also, don't draw anything too funny that might get you in trouble when people see it and laugh out loud.
For Moderators
  • Arrive on time and have the room set up for the meeting before it is scheduled to start.
  • Distribute any lengthy handouts BEFORE the meeting so that people can do their homework before they arrive. It's no fun to sit around a table while everyone reads the same document.
  • Don't print multiple copies of something you can email or display on a screen.
  • Keep the meeting under control. When other librarians start misbehaving, make them stop. Use force if necessary.
  • THE ONE HOUR RULE: Under no circumstances should ANY meeting last more than one hour. Any remaining business should be continued at a separate meeting or disposed of altogether. Violators of this rule should have their ability to call meetings revoked.

Welcome to the Guide

Librarians are strange people. There are no exceptions to this rule. Many are unknowingly awkward, dirty, unsocialized, and rude. The Guide is meant to be a reference source for these poor souls who walk among us.