Monthly Archives: September 2012

In Which I Am A Superhero

We’ve had a busy week at the library! Wednesday we had a retirement breakfast for the lovely and talented Meredith Pierce, who is leaving the library after 25 years to spend more time writing. She is an accomplished YA fantasy novelist, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next! Thursday was our “reopening” party because of all the renovations on the third floor; we’ve swapped the collections, opened a new quiet reading room, painted, re-carpeted  and generally changed the layout of the whole adult services areas. It looks great, and all the bigwigs came to celebrate. On Saturday we had our annual Family Literacy Festival, which was a big hit! A lot of kids came to be recognized as part of the Million Minutes of Reading, there was a play, some dance performances, and booths set up by local businesses giving out cool swag. I wandered around on my lunch break (as everyone was breaking down) and ended up with a Publix bag, a Florida football poster, and I got to make a button!

My totally cool Bookaneer Button!

It was a lot of fun and the kids all seemed to love it. The Literacy Festival is a great way for parents to get their kids interested in reading and TH and her staff of amazing volunteers did an incredible job!

The other day I was at  work and patron came up to the desk and asked if I was a performer at the medieval faire. I told her that I was (I sing with a group of women in a wench troupe, we sing naughty songs and tell jokes) and she said that she recognized me! She told me that she thought I looked familiar but then she saw my necklace (a Celtic knot I always wear) and she knew it was me. She mentioned that she loved our act and she can’t wait to see us next year! It was really flattering (and a little embarrassing!) and kind of surreal. Does this mean I’m famous? I’m pretty sure this means I’m famous.

 

I needed to rent a car this week while mine was in the shop, and the Enterprise representative who picked me up made conversation by asking where I work. Great question! I managed to not talk his ear all the way off about the library and how great it is that we offer so many services. He was really impressed by the idea of downloading audiobooks to his phone to listen to while he was at the gym, since he said he’d been listening to the same music for a while now and was getting tired of it. I told him to stop by any of our branches with a photo ID and proof of address and we’d be happy to get him started! I really hope he does, new patrons are my favorite! (Except for my old patrons that I already know and love!) Besides, as I’ve mentioned, September is National Library Card Registration Month!

And now, the meat of today’s post: A young man called the library in a state, and said that he had returned some DVDs over the Labor Day weekend, but one of them apparently hadn’t been checked in! He had received a bill notice in the mail and was panicking, not sure what he could do. He said he was nearly positive that he’d returned it, and he would be willing to pay for it if it came to that, but he’d rather not. I told him not to worry, and that I would take care of everything for him. I said I’d take a look around for it at the library, since it hadn’t been checked out again, but that I couldn’t put it on the “Claimed Returned” list since it had been billed to him. I advised him to look for it at his home just in case, too. I promised to email him within the next day or so with the result. He thanked me profusely and I told him I would fix it. We happened to have a lull that evening and I let my coworker know I was going to go do a quick shelf-search. The DVD was discovered exactly where it was supposed to be, on its shelf; it had apparently just accidentally been skipped on check-in in the mad influx we’d had over the holiday. I checked it in for him to clear his account, and emailed him to let him know the good news. The next day I received an email back saying how grateful he was to me, proclaiming me and the library to be “so awesome”. It was a really nice gesture, and made me feel appreciated, which is not always a feeling you get as a public servant (fortunately my patrons are usually pretty good about that). Never fear, The Bookaneer is here to save the day!

 

Weird, but Funny:

A lady came in holding an infant, and said “Yes, I’d like to get her a library card.” “Her, who?” I asked, bewildered. “Her,” she replied, gesturing to the baby in her arms, who must have been a few months old, at best. “Oh,” I replied, “you have to be four years old to get a library card here. Sorry!” Why does your baby need  a library card? She can’t even recognize faces, much less read or watch anything. RW told me that we used to issue library cards to “unhatched” babies, even, though we changed it when we switched to Polaris in June.

 

Weird, but Cute:

I was balancing DVDs on my head across the lobby, as usual, and a little girl turned to her mother and said “Mommy, look!” “That’s cool!” said the mother to the daughter, “she could be an African!” What? I am clearly a PRINCESS. Maybe an African Princess?

 

Moment of Cute:

A kid of about 11 wearing a red fez came into the library with his mom to return some books. I said, “Hey, a fez! Fezzes are cool,” which is a reference to the popular British television show Doctor Who. He broke into a wide grin and said “Yes! You get it! Awesome!” and gave me a high five. His mother smiled and rolled her eyes, saying, “he loves that show, I don’t get it.” I winked at him and said “We Whovians always recognize our own,” which made him grin again before they wandered upstairs. I love tiny nerds-in-training!

 

Keep bookaneering!

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The Most Wonderful Day of the Year

So, I’m still recovering from the chart-breaking levels of incredibly cool that was Talk Like A Pirate Day! It really was an awesome experience, and everyone had so much fun with it. My costume was a huge hit! All of Youth Services was dressed in pirate garb, and I was shang-hai’d as soon as I got in to get my “pirate booty” from their treasure chest. I scored a skull-and-crossbones bandanna and a Jolly Roger temporary tattoo.

Sweet tat!

This is my sweet Jolly Roger tattoo. Be jealous.

Later, I picked up a couple of pirate rubber duckies, after I saw another kid with one and told KD in Youth Services that I would pay good money for them. She just let me have them! They are especially great because my bathroom at home is decorated with rubber duckies. One came home with me, and the other sits on my desk here at the library.

Ahoy, me duckies!

Pirate ducky on the left now adorns my desk, while pirate ducky on the right is at home in my bathroom.

Moments of Cute and Weird, But Funny:

I had a bunch of kids say “ARR, MATEY” to me, bedecked with eyepatches and bandannas, and they were all thrilled when I said “AVAST” back. One kid asked me why I had feathers on my hat, and I told him it was because I was the Captain of my pirate ship! He was very impressed. One adult patron asked me the name of my ship, and I replied with “The Magpie”. He then asked what year my ship sailed? I gave him a straight-faced answer of “1607.” He seemed to find that acceptable and moved on. Several people asked “why are you dressed like that?” Sometimes I answered truthfully. Sometimes I answered, “Dressed like what?” I also got to spend the day threatening patrons with walking the plank and being keelhauled unless they brought their books back on time, which is something I wish I could do all the time!

 

One of my coworkers told me that she heard an ad on the radio for free donuts for pirates from Krispy Kreme, so I stopped by on my lunch break. I walked in and the gentleman behind the counter just handed me a dozen donuts without uttering a word! I told him thanks and happy sailing, and brought back my prize to share with me librarrrry crew.

Of course, not everyone could enjoy the levity of Talk Like A Pirate Day. I had a couple patrons ask me why were celebrating criminals. I had another say that Krispy Kreme should be giving those donuts to homeless people instead of people dressed in costumes. To them I just shook my head, because they obviously don’t know how to have fun. On the other hand, one young man said I shivered his timbers! I told him to come see me at the medieval faire, where I am a performer in a singing group, and I would be able to respond to him then, since it wouldn’t be appropriate at the library. 😉

That evening, I went to my other singing group rehearsal, and as soon as I arrived, the others decided they should dress as pirates too! We had a pirate-y practice, then I took one of my mateys and we went to get MORE donuts. I took these to my favorite venue, which was having a fundraiser, and the donuts and I were welcomed with open arms. Nothing like attending a dance party dressed as a pirate!

Anyway, this year’s Talk Like A Pirate Day was beyond compare, and I’m so glad I got to share it with everyone at my favorite place.

The Bookaneer in her natural habitat

The Bookaneer in her natural habitat!

 

Keep bookaneering, mateys!

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Talk Like A Pirate Day

Avast, me bookaneers! Here’s a quick update before bed!

Tomorrow (today) is Talk Like a Pirate Day, and our library is doing some special things for it! We have a great display of pirate books in the children’s area, and the Youth Services staff are giving away pirate-related prizes to kids who participate and talk like a pirate to them. That’s the easiest way to find treasure I’ve ever seen!

What’s even better is that I asked my supervisor and he said I could dress in costume for the special day tomorrow! He mentioned I would probably be the only one in the lobby in costume, and of course I replied that it didn’t matter. This holiday was MADE for me and I plan to celebrate! I’ll be wearing a lighter version of my full pirate garb, and a hat with no feathers. Too distracting and cumbersome. (Though ye can tell by me sea-worthy bearing that I be a true captain, feathers in me cap or no!)

I’ll post a photo tomorrow of my costume, but anyone who’s local should come visit and say ahoy! September is also Library Registration Month, so come on downtown and we’ll get you signed up for a new card if it’s been awhile.

(My pirate friends and I were hoping our local Krispy Kreme was participating in the “free donuts for pirates in costumes” event, but they are not. Boo! I suggested we storm the place and commandeer the donuts, but we decided that wouldn’t be very polite.)

Keep bookaneering, mateys! Yoho!

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Welcome to Crazytown

I was thinking on Wednesday that nothing weird had happened for a few days. ‘How will I update my blog?’ I thought, despairing. Fortunately, the fine patrons of our lovely public library never fail me, and this week they DELIVERED.

A young man came in to the library to pick up his holds, he had eight CDs. He didn’t recognize one of them, and we confirmed on his account that it was supposed to be another album (CCR’s “Green River”. Good choice!) I thought maybe the slips had been swapped, but when I checked the wrong CD in, it turned out it was still checked out to someone else, despite being on our shelf! I told the guy he could come back another day when he came to pick up the rest of his holds (he had several more being shipped), and hopefully I could find it in the meantime. I looked for it on the carts in the work area, no go. Finally, I went to the shelf, and found it right where it was supposed to be, if it wasn’t supposed to be trapped for our patron. I discovered that the culprit of this comedy of errors was a coworker who retired that same day, so I guess we will let it slide. 🙂

Speaking of retiring, we had a really nice party for GY on Wednesday, who has retired after 22 years of service at the Alachua County Library Headquarters Branch. She got a sweet plaque, a lovely plant, and a nice card signed by all of us in Circulation. Her family came to the party, and some other friends who had retired already or moved to another branch. She was really happy, and when asked what she planned to do on Thursday, she said SLEEP, then READ. Good luck and enjoy retirement, GY!

Also on Wednesday, my dad came to visit! He was in town for a meeting (he works for DCF in Jacksonville) and stopped by the library afterward. He wandered around for a bit before I was able to see him, then I took him downstairs to our work area, since I had phone duty and couldn’t leave. His comment about coming to the our work space was “I’ve never been inside the guts of a library before!” I told him it was pretty much like every other office! (Of course I didn’t show him the secret room where we conduct our black library magic rituals. He’s not an initiate.) We got to chat for a bit while I trapped holds and he told me he’s going on a trip to Brooklyn in a few weeks to talk about setting up a partnership between their library and social services department like we have here in Gainesville. Apparently some of our Library Partnership Branch staff is going to be there too, and the branch be used as a model! Our Partnership branch is award-winning, and combines the services of a library with the Partnership for Strong Families, which helps families sign up for food stamps and WIC, claim unemployment weeks, and other services for those in need. He could not stop singing the praises of our library, which always makes me feel good. Libraries are awesome!

Weird, but Funny: On Friday, we got a DVD in at the desk, and when AC and I looked at the back, we discovered that someone had added notes to it. One said “How is a person to read the back of the box if stupid people cover it up?” Another, smaller note above it said “Like this” with an arrow pointing to our barcode, which was covering up part of the DVD description. Not only were these notes taped on, but they were taped to the INSIDE of the plastic covering. As I said to AC, people are never as industrious as when they are being passive-aggressive!

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Moment of Cute: On Thursday, a big “I SPY” book was checked in through the book drop. I opened it to check for condition, and I saw that someone had carefully written in a shaky print in the “This Book Belongs To” bookplate the words “All people in Gainesville”! I thought it was adorable so I didn’t erase it. Even I have room for adorableness in my black little librarian heart! Look how cute:

20120915-224837.jpg

 

 

I also had an interview on Friday for a Library Specialist position in the Adult Services department! It pays a little more and means that I would be working at the reference desk and doing programs instead of in Circulation. I should find out in a couple weeks if I got the job! Fingers crossed!

 

Keep bookaneering!

 

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Bizarre Tales from the Library

Here we are, as promised, and I got another bizarre tale yesterday that will round this set of stories out to three, which is the best number, of course.

Story One:

This one is from my supervisor. He said he received a phone call from a woman saying that she’d checked out a book for her elderly mother. While reading the book, her mother unfortunately passed away. She had been enjoying the book so much, though, that her family decided to send the book with her into the afterlife, put the book in the casket, and buried her with it. Is your jaw on the floor yet? Mine was, too! My supervisor told me that the woman said, “I guess I owe you something for the book, huh?” Really? At least she offered to pay for it. I was so baffled that I was struck speechless (which is a feat!) Have they never heard of the saying “You can’t take it with you?” Do they adhere to the Ancient Egyptian belief that what goes in your tomb goes with you to the spirit world? Is she going to read the book to God? Utterly bizarre.

Story Two:

A woman came in to see if she had any holds to pick up. She didn’t have anything ready, but when I took a closer look I saw that one of her items had been on hold since April of 2009. Yes, that is 2009. My coworker AC and I started an investigation to find the book in question. We discovered that the book was checked out to an internal account that we haven’t even used at the library in over a year. The book has been checked out for THREE YEARS. So where is it? I went to the shelf, to see if it could have been put back without getting checked in and just hadn’t been checked out in all that time. No luck. We talked to JW, the supervisor, and she said that all the books still checked out to that account need to be marked “Missing/Lost” and withdrawn, since when we switched to Polaris the account was searched and what’s left could not be found. (She said it was originally over 300, and is now down to about 60. So that’s good!) We sent an email to Tech Services to see if another copy can be purchased for this poor woman who’s been waiting to read this book for over three years. I hope she still wants it!

Story Three:

Starting with the switch to Polaris, we decided to make our security measures a little stronger. We now require either a library card or photo ID in order to check-out or pick up holds. Doesn’t seem too stringent, right? There are some complainers however, including Mr. P, (whom I don’t actually know at all) who came to pick up some holds yesterday. He started grumbling when I asked for his ID, and I joked, “Well, you know how we like to follow the rules at the library!” He said “Oh I know” and informed me that he believes the Nazi-socialist movement must have been started by librarians because we need to check on people even if they’ve been coming to the library for ten years and then muttered something about Big Brother and keeping tabs on people as he wandered off with his books. Yes, you are correct, the library is a place where we keep tabs on all our citizens and we have a giant database dedicated to our Nazi-socialist movement. You figured it out. What?

Bonus Mini-saga:

The main staircase in the lobby that leads up to our adult and teen area is currently being tiled, which means it’s been closed off all week and patrons need to use the elevators to get to the third floor. This combined with the rearranging of the collections has caused a panic amongst our patrons, who are, to say the least, resistant to change. We’ve received looks of confusion, despair, rage, and everything in between. We’ve been asked if the whole upstairs is closed. We’ve been asked how to get up to the next floor. We’ve had angry accusations that the elevators aren’t working, when they were actually just pushing the wrong button. (The children’s area is the first floor, making the lobby floor two, and the adult/reference/teen area floor three. Most people push ‘2’ and don’t go anywhere.) One man today became agitated and began shouting. A few patrons have chosen not to use the elevators and walked back out the front door. And the worst part? When I got to work on Tuesday at 12:30pm, the stairs were blocked off with hand-written signs that said “PLEASE USE ELEVATOR’S”. I almost cried. That kind of grammar abuse is just unacceptable at the library! But then I sat down, opened Word, and made new signs to replace them. One of the guys who was doing the tile said they were great and wanted extra for when they close off the children’s stairs. We’re hoping they’ll be done with it by next week, so we can all return to our normal lives without the sounds of people cutting tile interrupting our nice, peaceful library (haha).

Double Bonus! Moments of Cute:

A woman came in to pick up her hold, and she was VERY excited about it. I went to fetch it, and noticed it was a children’s book, called Superheroes: The Adventures of Max and Pinky. She said that it’s for her son, and they’ve read the first two in the Max and Pinky series and he can’t wait to read this one too! Her plan was to put it under his pillow and surprise him with it at bedtime. Adorable!

Another lady came in yesterday to pick up her hold, and it was a BIG BOOK called The LEGO Ideas Book: Unlock Your Imagination. She said her five-year-old grandson had been anxiously waiting for it. She said she’d never seen anyone so enthusiastic about something. I hope he builds something awesome!

My super cool friend DR came in today! She told me that she’s enjoying school (her mom home-schools her and she’s in eighth grade) and they come to the library on Fridays because she has fencing beforehand. I asked if she stabbed anyone today and she said she fights with sabers, so it’s more like beheading. I high-fived her. She is a totally great kid and I’m so glad she likes reading so much (she got another armful of books today)!

It took a long time to get this post together because I was working on it during my breaks today, but it’s done! I hope you enjoy it, and keep bookaneering!

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Even Pirates Need Vacations

This past weekend was Labor Day, where we honor the hard workers everywhere by not working at all! I was lucky enough to get a three-day weekend (thanks, government job with union benefits!) and traveled with my dad to the northern part of the South for a good old-fashioned family reunion.

We left Saturday morning, and headed toward Norfolk, Virginia for our first stop at my dad’s aunt and uncle’s house. I slept a lot of the way up, including when we passed “South of the Border”, a tourist attraction between South and North Carolina. We’ve never stopped there, but the billboards for it start about 160 miles south, and have silly sayings like “You never sausage a place! (You’re always a wiener at Pedro’s!)” Most of our trip consisted of singing loudly to the radio and jamming with air instruments, telling each other bad jokes, and reading the weird billboards.

Around 3:30pm, we “tuned in” to the Florida football game via the ESPN gamecast feature on dad’s smartphone. I get my passion for Florida sports mostly from my dad (he is also an alum) and I was in charge of reporting the play-by-play as he drove. There were a lot of agonizing moments as we waited for the page to refresh (not much 3G in the wilderness of North Carolina) and we made it to Virginia just in time to catch the fourth quarter. Aunt J watched us in amazement as we alternated between cheers and despair as the game ended and Florida squeaked out a win. Then we had a delicious dinner of chicken penne with veggies and watched more football until it was time for bed. In the morning we went for a run, and then out to brunch with Aunt J and Uncle G, and J’s daughter T and her husband C. Tragically, I left my beloved firm pillow at Aunt J’s, and it was not discovered missing until we were well on the way to North Carolina and the big reunion party. She did say she will mail it to me, for which I am eternally grateful! Thanks, Aunt J!

Sunday was the day of the reunion. We headed down into North Carolina and the Currituck Sound, to a house on the water that’s called “The Cottage”.

You Are Here

A map of where we were, complete with “You Are Here” sticker.

I haven’t been to visit this side of my family in about 14 years, and many I had never met, so I was a little nervous. However, everyone was incredibly welcoming and we all had a really great time telling stories, looking at old photos, eating awesome food and swimming and boating in the sound. Aunt B told me that she reads my blog and thinks it’s funny (Hi, B!) and my second cousin (?) M may come down for the 5K I’m running in November! I also bonded with some of the younger generation there, though we couldn’t quite figure out how we were related. We settled on the idea that I am their cousin-aunt and they are my cousin-nieces, because they are my father’s cousin’s daughter’s step-daughters. (confusing!) There were about fifty people in all, and we got a lot of photos that I can’t wait to see. Dad and I were the only ones there from our branch of the family, so we hammed it up a bit and took some silly pictures.

We stayed that night at the Cottage, then in the morning had a truly outstanding breakfast of homemade biscuits with sausage gravy and strawberry preserves. Then we hit the road to drive back to Florida.

The Cottage

The Cottage, featuring “Wild Dog” Cafe

On the way back I fell asleep again for the middle of the trip, including the way back through South of the Border (someday, Pedro!). There were a few great highlights though, including passing by a high school in Camden County, NC, that has a sign on their football field that said “Welcome to the SWAMP” (A little taste of home!) The school’s mascot, however, was the Bruins? Dad and I then scared ourselves with the idea of swamp-bears. Horrifying. In Elizabeth City, NC, we passed a billboard for a pizza place called “Itza Boutza Pizza”, which Dad found a lot funnier than I did. Dad also kept trying to come up with alternate definitions for “bookaneer”, like “when you schedule time for someone to listen to you, you book-an-ear”. Very funny, Dad. *eye-roll* I told him my favorite pirate joke: “What’s a pirate’s favorite movie rating? PG Thirrrteeeen” (Thanks for that goes to my old friend RO) I’ve got jokes too!

The trip was very relaxing, and it was nice to get away from the internet for a few days (though I did miss you, bookaneers!) Of course, getting back into the swing of things at the library today was lots of fun, since we were closed for Labor Day we had what seemed like three times the usual number of book drops and returns. It was a madhouse all day and the afternoon flew by. My favorite kind of day at the library!

Next time: bizarre tales, as promised, as well as some cute. Now I will leave you with an awesome picture of a beautiful place.

Sunrise over the Currituck Sound

Sunrise over the Currituck Sound. Gorgeous.

Keep bookaneering!

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