Thursday, May 26, 2005

Minutes, Working mundane things into the

A fun exercise for your work meetings is to see who can work the most mundane item into the official minutes of the meeting. Some examples:
  • Periodicals will be purchasing a new pencil sharpener for public use.
  • Interlibrary Loan reported adding a second address line to the ILL forms.
  • Bathroom lights should be turned off each night at closing.
  • The Reference Department staff should turn off computer monitors each evening, but leave the PCs on for virus software updates.
  • All library staff were reminded to refill ice trays in the staff lounge.
This game will not only increase your appreciation of library minutiae, but also make people read the minutes.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Management Via E-Mail

Make sure that your underqualified, promoted-once-too-often manager ass avoids direct communication with staff by sending out pissy e-mails regarding triffling, unimportant issues, instead of making an effort to communicate directly and verbally. This will give you an air of importance; it will make you seem like you're too important to talk to your loser staff. Don't worry about sinking the morale of your staff by being a non-verbal e-mailer. Instead, worry that maybe your staffers think you've become a useless coward.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Power struggles, Participating in public

Workplace power struggles can be publicly manifested in a number of ways: personal interactions, mass email, physical posture, etc. Want to get involved?

Ways to challenge the authority of your committee chair...
  • Call a meeting and set the primary agenda items
  • Arrive early and sit at the head of the table -- normally occupied by the Chair
  • Conduct the business of the meeting (give handouts, ask for departmental reports, etc.)
  • Rephrase what the Chair says in your own words (for everyone else's benefit)
  • Be aggressive and doggedly defend your ideas, regardless of relevance
  • Re-send (to the committee) mass email messages the Chair has already sent to the committee members.
This is just a start. Be creative and seize the power.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Meetings, Scheduling

Do not schedule committee meetings (that are not "lunch meetings") during the traditional lunch hour (12:00-1:00). If you are not paying for or preparing lunch for everyone, you should schedule the meeting in the morning or the afternoon. It is also courteous to allow a 30-minute buffer on either side of the traditional lunch hour because not everyone eats at exactly the same time you do.


Monday, May 16, 2005

PowerPoint, Reading aloud from

Before you read the content of your PowerPoint slides aloud to a captive audience, be sure to promise them that you won't read the slides.

And just for the record, it doesn't make it any less painful if you have pre-recorded yourself reading the slides and you play the MIDI file instead of reading it live. People who do this are begging to be physically assaulted.


Friday, May 13, 2005

Handouts, Matching Your Outfit to

When preparing for a bibliographic instruction session, remind yourself that it is never a good idea to match the color of your handouts to your outfit. Especially if you only wear purple and turquoise--your favorite colors--on a daily basis.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Fantasy Baseball, Participating In

It's perfectly reasonable to use your down time to participate in a fantasy baseball league. Just remember, if your team is hopelessly buried by, say, early June, then you should probably stop spending hours scouring the waiver wire for a closer and get back to work. Just remember, if Curt Schilling were healthy, you'd be kicking ass right now instead of entertaining ridiculous trade offers. And remember, young librarian, there's always next year.


Unusualness, Broadcasting your

If you are a librarian with a tattoo, piercings, or punk rock hair, you are obligated to make a web page about yourself. Do your part to change the face of librarianship by broadcasting your own coolness through a vanity web site.


Liquor in the restroom, Drinking

If you are the librarian who leaves your empty whiskey bottles by the toilet in the men's public restroom, please stop! This reflects poorly on all of us. Plus, it directs suspicion on those of us who do a much better job of hiding our on-the-job drinking.


Wednesday, May 11, 2005


This is what people in the corporate library world call the end product of a researcher's research. It is that which is delivered to the customer. Instead of calling it something generic such as a report or, I don't know, maybe RESEARCH, it is called a deliverable. This term reminds librarians that they are vital cogs in the well oiled machine that is capitalism.

This one is right up there with "let's talk about this offline."

Monday, May 09, 2005

Brown Bag Lunch, Definition of

The term "Brown Bag Lunch" is another way of saying "bring your own damn food, you cheap fuck." It is perfectly acceptable to avoid any speaking engagement or presentation of any kind that employs the Brown Bag Lunch method. You, librarian, are a high roller and you should be offered food, money or sexual favors in return for your attendance at some bozo's little speaking gig. Stand proud, friend.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Weight, Throwing yours around

From time to time you may be asked to be in charge of the library, particularly when you have reached the status of “senior librarian.” This is a good time to see how much you actually intimidate people. You may be surprised at how much authority you seem to have, particularly with newer employees who have only known you as a “senior librarian” and therefore believe you can cause them problems, such as getting hassled by their supervisor or losing their job. This will probably come as a complete surprise to you, because you still think you’re 20 and goofy, even though you’re pushing 50 and, apparently, respectable.

The best method of exhibiting your superiority is to cruise through the building, stopping by to check on everyone. Have a quick word with them, and LET THEM KNOW YOU ARE IN CHARGE. If they don’t appear to be extremely busy, ask them if they need something to do. You don’t have to provide a chore (unless you just want to) but this lets them know they had better shape up! If they are not at their workstation, go and find them, see what they are doing, and ask them if everything is all right. Otherwise, you imply, they should be where they are supposed to be--working!!!

You may also wait for them to return to their workstation, and then ask them where they have been, how long they have been gone, and what they have been doing. Even someone who was not in the office because they were scheduled to be on the reference desk will blanch and quiver, and over-explain, giving you, the person in charge, the opportunity to become impatient, doubtful, and, above all, threatening.

Just so you don’t start to fade at the end of the day, make sure you have closing instructions for everyone. Look for open windows, then point them out to whoever is left at the end of the day, giving them the completely unnecessary instruction to MAKE SURE the windows are closed and locked. Doors too. If you really want to have some fun, come up with some insane micro-management pet peeve, such as instructing everyone to lower their blinds half-way when they leave for the day, so that the building will have a pleasing uniform appearance from outside! Then CHECK, to see they’ve done it.

If you are fortunate, there will be no actual emergencies or other events that need any sort of attention or judgment, and you will be able to spend your time flexing your temporary muscle, and showing everyone else who’s boss.