Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Potluck lunch, Celebrating with a

Librarians should celebrate the holiday season with an office potluck lunch. Nothing honors the baby Jesus's birth like a lukewarm casserole.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Work, On dumping a whole bunch of yours onto someone else's desk the day before you go away on vacation which also happens to be MY day off

Go ahead and leave a nice healthy pile of work on my desk the day before you go away for a couple of weeks, you sniveling coward. Make sure that you do all of the easy stuff and leave me to do the work with the highest ass-pain-to-hours-it-takes-to-complete ratio. Go ahead, I won't mind. But be warned, if I find another gig while you're gone, I'm going to shred the work and leave it on your desk in a big plastic bag. Odds are that won't happen so, instead, you better not leave behind anything of yours that is easily breakable. I'm sure those cheap trinkets on your desk would be impossible to replace.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Devil, Advocating for the

A librarian should realize that the devil has very little concern for the display of the detailed record in the library's online catalog.

While you may be claiming to be the "devil's advocate" in your committee meeting, you're actually just being a cantankerous douche.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Co-Workers, On ways to annoy the annoying ones

After compiling a mental list of annoying co-workers, find out what irks the living daylights out of each one and then proceed to do that thing. Do it as often and obnoxiously as possible. Do it every day. Don't just do it, amuse yourself by thinking of doing it again. Do it for yourself. Do it for librarianship. Do it for the kid who was born without an immune system. Do it for your country. Do it for me!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Infections, Resisting

Librarians should disinfect public workstations and telephones after each use to avoid the spread of MRSA and other staph infections.

Recognize, however, that no amount of Lysol can remove your library's staff infection.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Friends, Making

A librarian should never reject the friendship of another person in the social networking Library 2.0 online environment. There are lots of perverts out there who need "friends" too.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Silly, Twittering yourself

Librarians who participate in the Web 2.0-world of Twitter, should heed these general etiquette rules:
  1. Set up a second Twitter account for your anonymous self.
  2. Recognize that this activity is not considered working.
  3. Always wash your hands after you tweet.
  4. Never shit where you tweet.
  5. Make your twitter updates as mundane as humanly possible.
Much like fornicating and drinking, one may tweet alone, but it is more fun to do it with someone else... the more, the merrier.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Nominating, Self-

Never nominate yourself for an award or prize even if self-nominations are encouraged. Such egotistical gestures are undignified, vain, and narcissistic. Instead, delegate this task to one of your subordinates.

Monday, November 05, 2007

SLA Division and Chapter websites, On wrecking as much as possible

There's no better way to represent your gnarly web organization and design skills than to volunteer to manage the website(s) of an SLA Divison or Chapter. Make sure that most of the 'newsy' announcements are at least six months out of date, that the links don't work (especially the important ones) and that you organize the info not with fancy Flash or Java functions, but rather with crappy looking tables and low-resolution photos and buttons. Furthermore, make sure that you guilt trip your fellow librarians into paying the astronomical association dues in order to maintain such a visual bounty of awesomeness. We wouldn't want to have to host those fuckers on a Geocities site with banner ads for spy cameras, would we?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Library 2.0, Believing in

Never admit that Library 2.0 doesn't really exist. To do so is to admit that the emperor has no clothes cardigan.

-- Posted from Internet Librarian 2007

Monday, October 29, 2007

Library 2.0, Embracing

A new version of the Internet (version 2.0) is now available. Libraries are now free to abandon the first one.

-- Posted from Internet Librarian 2007.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wikis, On pretending to give a shit that they exist

Make sure that you fool your bosses (who are a million times more technophobic than your grandparents) into thinking that you are 'up on technology' by making reference to Wikis and RSS content as if they really mattered. In the old days before either of those things, librarians were constantly referring to listservs and internet bulletin boards and before that they were probably referring to modems and electronic mail. There's nothing more amusing than seeing the look on the faces of your boss(es) when they pretend to a)know what you're talking about and b)act like this bold new technology will revolutionize [fill in the blank] at the library. Every once in a while, make something up and watch their faces light up when you claim that there's a software company working on a product that will [fill in the blank] and that it's gonna be so awesome and that they should do a web search on that product to familiarize themselves with it before it becomes the next trend. Your boss will be too embarassed to admit that he/she didn't find anything about it online and will probably lie and say that they read a Wired column about it. Then go outside and cry softly into a handkerchief or a tissue.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Conferences, Blogging

Blogging at a library conference is a great way to avoid going outside and seeing exciting new places. Don't worry, you can always read about those places on other people's blogs after you get back home.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Clothing, "Librarian"

A librarian should never wear a t-shirt that has the word librarian on it. It's too obvious. Let your social awkwardness and appliquéd vest speak for themselves.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Efficiency, Being Blindsided by

Occasionally a routinely slow library process or operation will work efficiently and smoothly. When this happens, promptly tidy your hair and begin to look around for the hidden camera. You're likely being gagged for one of those practical joke television shows.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sausages, Picking

It is never appropriate, under any circumstances, for a librarian to pick the toppings from the unserved pizza at your library's student appreciation party. If you have a tendency to molest other people's sausages, it is probably best to keep your hands in your pockets.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Provocative, Being

Be a library provocateur by making bold statements like:
  • Library instruction doesn't work.
  • Library catalogs are obsolete.
  • Reference is dead.
  • Librarianship is not a science.
  • Google wins.
Be careful not to be too provocative, lest you run the risk of talking yourself out of your cushy job.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Alcohol, On consuming during lunch hour

When the local wine store has a free wine tasting, plan your lunch hour around it and suck down as much Jesus Juice as you can before stumbling back to your cubicle. Careful not to have too much (or to have too many Guinness Stouts at the local Irish Pub, for that matter), though, because you might start finding the patrons attractive and make an awkward, drunken pass at them. This might get you fired (or laid, which would be a much better outcome).

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Stuff, On taking as much as you can home when things go bad

Once the newness of your library job wears off, and unhappiness starts to set in, quantify your dissatisfaction by taking home anything that is not nailed down to the counters. After something bad happens, like a fight with a co-worker, a freeze on wage increases, your boss is an ass, etc., go to the supply cabinet and take stuff home. Go on, take it. It will make you feel better and really, isn't that what life is all about?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Unexpected, Expecting the

Librarians should not waste time preparing for library instruction sessions. It is a law of librarianship that a teaching faculty member will always ask something random and unrelated of you in the middle of your guest lecture to the class. With little or no warning, you'll be asked to spend 30-45 minutes demonstrating how to do mail merge in Microsoft Word?

Ask the readers: What is the most random, unrelated thing you've been asked to demonstrate on the fly in the middle of a library instruction session?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Whistler, Being a

Do not whistle in your library. No one likes a joyful whistler. If you whistle before 9 a.m., know that your coworkers are plotting against you.

Exceptions include: wolf whistles, whistling to get a subordinate's attention, and chronically congested nasal whistling.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Restrooms, Soliciting in

Do not use foot taps and under-the-stall hand gestures in your library's public restroom to solicit sex from strangers. Do like the rest of us and use the less ambiguous, half-literate wall graffiti to make an appointment.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Student library workers, On feeling their pain

College tuition rates have skyrocketed since you were an undergraduate an exponential margin. Remember to express sympathy to the student workers in your library by saying such condescending things as "I only ate half of my sandwich, do you want the rest?" and "I know your family is near the poverty level because of your tuition here, so would you like to look through this bag before I drop it off at the Salvation Army?" Always make a sad face at the reference desk to imply that you understand how tough these kids have it today. You don't ever want to project the image that you are grossly out of touch with today's youth.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Expert, Becoming an

Develop an area of expertise and see the world on someone else's dime. By becoming an expert on something, you can get yourself invited to be a plenary speaker at library conferences, library school graduations, and circus freak shows.

Editor's note: Unfortunately for the editors of A Librarian's Guide to Etiquette, sarcasm is not a qualifying area of expertise.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Games, Playing

Many libraries have instituted gaming events where patrons are invited into the library to compete in Wii tournaments, World of Warcraft marathons, and Guitar Hero duels. The American Library Association and the Association for College and Research Libraries are once again behind the times with their glaring lack of arcade performance indicators in their information literacy standards.

Perhaps... "The information literate should be able to deliver a thunder clap to fell a Wailing Banshee."

Ask the readers: Got a gamy suggestion for the ACRL information literacy standards? Share it in the comments section below.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Booktrucks, Crashing

Every once in a while, a librarian will experience the infuriating and humiliating experience of turning over a cart loaded with books while patrons are watching. There are several acceptable ways to handle this situation:
  • Fake an epileptic seizure.
  • Pretend that you did it in a fit of rage. (Stomp a few of the books for dramatic effect.)
  • Jump aboard the cart and ride it out the front door.
  • Walk away and leave it for someone else to clean up.
  • Swear.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Kids, On not bringing yours into the office

It's a time-honored tradition to bring your kids (the smaller and cuter, the better) to work with you in an attempt to avoid doing any meaningful work while co-workers go apeshit over their precious precociousness. Avoid doing this, though, if you don't want people to think that you're a complete asshole. Bringing your kids to work means that when you fuck something up, nobody can really tell you off because you'll have your young, impressionable tots to shield you from any verbal confrontations. It also means that while you're making the rounds and introducing your brats to the entire HR staff (and whomever else happens to be in the office that day) you're allowed to not do any real work, necessitating that your much smarter childless co-workers will have to take up the slack. Having a bullet-proof reason to be in the office while doing jack shit all day will only make everybody hate you more you Starbucks-drinking, SUV-driving, Dave Matthews-listening loser.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Spelling, Checking your

Always double-, triple-, and quadruple-check your spelling before posting flyers, web pages, and other advertisements for your library's special events. Otherwise you might be surprised by the clientele at your library's midnight Hairy Pooter release party.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Reference, Redefining

When writing haikus about the reference desk, a librarian must face the question: does the word reference have three syllables (ref' er ens) or two (ref' rens)? Unsure? Avoid the question altogether by assigning the desk a more up-to-date name. Some examples:
  • Research Consultation and Referral Desk (11 syllables)
  • Information Commons Control Center (10 syllables)
  • The Place Where the Magic Happens (8 syllables)
  • Center of the Universe (7 syllables)
  • Concierge (2 syllables)

Want to try your hand at writing a reference desk (... or whatever you want to call it) -inspired haiku? Give it a shot in the comments section below.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Computer screens, Touching

When helping library patrons with computer-related problems, be sure to touch your finger to their computer screens. This is especially important when patrons are using their own laptops. The greasy fingerprints you leave on their screens will serve as reminders of "where to click" once they leave and are no longer within reach of your pointing extremities.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Coworkers, Diagnosing the mental health of your

With your idle time at the reference desk, use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to analyze the mental health of your library coworkers. They're all in there somewhere. (And so are you.)

Ask the readers: Is there a prevalence of one particular mental disorder at your library? (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder? Asperger's? Borderline Personality Disorder?) Let us know in the comments section below.

Monday, July 09, 2007

The Media, On Saturating mercilessly with regards to your supposed hipness

It's not enough to get national media attention in the New York Times for being a young librarian who doesn't fit all of the dumb, tired stereotypes so make sure that you make your presence as ubiquitous as possible by yakking to every reporter in the New York area about your little group hangout in Disgusting, Irritating, Self-Entitled Hipster Hell (aka Williamsburg and Greenpoint). And as for trying to remake the image of the typical librarian, how about not going out of your way to tell the entire journalistic world 'See, we're normal. We leave our houses just like you do. Really, we do.'

Team Blog, On Not posting on one for almost one whole calendar year

Create mystery and give yourself an artifical sense of importance by not posting on a blog of which you are a team member for long periods of time (preferably for at least one year). New readers will wonder who you are and spastically search through your old posts in order to get a sense of what you stand for and for whom you voted in 2004. Old readers will try to score hipness points by saying 'Oh, yeah, I remember that guy. I always knew there was more than one person running that g*dd*mned blog.' The oldest readers, though, will chime in and remind everyone that there were actually 3 original bloggers here and that the poster formerly known as 'El Señor' passed away after making only a single post in January of 2005. The body was never found.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Hipster status, Determining your

If you think you might be a hipster librarian, but you're not exactly sure, ask yourself the following question: "Do I socialize with other librarians?"

If you answered yes to this question, you are probably not as hip as you think you are.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Nemesis, Choosing a

Every librarian should identify a nemesis within their library. This person can bear the brunt of all your frustration, moaning, and general ill will. Think of this colleague, patron, or pesky employee as the mascot for your misery. No search committee required.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Breakfast party, Choosing food for a

Some foods should be avoided for breakfast potluck parties at your library. Some examples include: potato salad, Doritos, and cigarettes. Sometimes it's better to bring nothing at all.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Dreams, Describing your

Never give a library coworker a play-by-play account of last night's dream. It's never as interesting to the other person as it is to you. Exceptions can be made for sexuality explicit or graphically violent dreams involving a boss or a common enemy.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Job titles, Sharing

A librarian should always spare non-librarians from hearing their actual job titles. No one cares that you are the "Coordinator for Interlibrary Loan, Resource Sharing, and Document Delivery Services." Saying "librarian" will be sufficiently boring.

Ask the readers: Share your unusually long (yet official) job title in the comments section below.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Graphic novels, Embracing

Every library has at least one librarian who is a graphic novel enthusiast. This person will argue vehemently for a new graphic novel collection for your library. Give him a paltry budget to spend each year just to shut him up. It will be money well spent.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Reference desk time, Idle

Librarians sometimes have down time at the reference desk when business is slow, but there is no clear consensus on how that idle time should be spent. Is it better to be productive (and perhaps distracted) or unoccupied (and perhaps bored)?

Should a librarian bring office work to do at the desk? Or is it appropriate to read a book or a newspaper? Should a librarian stare into space? Leer at patrons? Should a librarian knit? Balance a checkbook? Clip fingernails?

Today, we ask the readers: What do you do with your down time at the reference desk? Post your answers in the comments section below.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Beanie Babies, Decorating with

Librarians should be aware that there is a limit to the number of Beanie Babies that may be tastefully used to decorate one's workspace. That limit is zero.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Files, Organizing your

Save all of your electronic files to your computer's desktop. A screen filled with overlapping icons will no doubt serve as testament to your ability to organize information and will instill confidence with your library patrons who've been wasting their time with folders and organized file structures.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Sexy Back, Bringing

Never let your library coworkers catch you listening to Justin Timberlake on your office computer. You will never hear the end of it.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Interviews, Being cool during

A librarian should play hard-to-get while interviewing for a job. Never let yourself drool with delight at the mention of the prospective salary. Don't moan with pleasure at the sight of your potential office. And don't wet yourself with anticipation when you get winked at by the office slut.

Also, during your interview, limit yourself to three whines of the word "please" while clutching onto the Director's leg. Anything more would just make you seem desperate.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Second Life, Joining

Librarians should think twice before joining Second Life in an attempt to connect with patrons. Your patrons don't want to be friends with you in real life, so it's not likely that they'll be interested in hanging out with your avatar.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Networking, Conference

If you happen to get lucky with another librarian at a library conference, hang your lanyard on the hotel doorknob to keep your roommate from coming in and catching you in the act. No one should be subjected to seeing two librarians awkwardly trying to integrate their systems.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Anniversaries and birthdays, Celebrating

Keep a detailed log of your library coworkers' anniversaries and other miscellaneous milestones. Don't limit your celebrations to library events ("Joe, congratulations on your fifth year in the Cataloging Department!"). Your coworkers will be flattered to learn that you keep a detailed record of their extracurricular activities, romantic relationships, and rehab milestones.

[Editor's note: Today marks the two year birthday of A Librarian's Guide to Etiquette. Celebrate by doing something rude to a coworker.]

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Greeting cards, Disposing of

Never dispose of a birthday card, Christmas card, or a card of congratulations from a library colleague. Keep them filed away (preferably by the last name of the sender) as a record of who your real friends are. How else will you remember who said, "Have a great one!" in 1997?

Monday, January 08, 2007

Sick, Being

Sick days are for the weak. Drag yourself into the library despite any contagious colds, stomach viruses, or flesh eating diseases you may have. As an important information professional, you owe it to your library to be there barring an amputation, decapitation, or death.

Your colleagues and patrons will be so thankful that you came in to save the library that they'll hardly notice the reference desk telephone, public photocopier, and various doorknobs you've contaminated with your sneezes, coughs, and other secretions.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Time, Taking your

Hiring an academic librarian is a big deal. Be patient and do not rush the process, no matter how excruciatingly slow it may seem. There is a reason that it takes longer than...
  • growing your hair out
  • filming a season of Survivor
  • confirming a lifetime appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court
  • delivering due process to prisoners at Gitmo
  • creating a new human life (from foreplay to delivery)
That reason may not be obvious to you, but there must be a reason.