Librarians as Doormats

Yesterday I worked 9 hours on reference, 4 in tech and 5 at the information desk at the public lib. Honestly, today my brain and nerves are shot. It’s hard to be nice for so long. I mean I like to think that I’m naturally a nice person, but after this amount of time, it’s just hard. OH and I also made about 20 scripted phone calls to let kids know that they were a winner in our summer reading program raffle. Congrats you have won a ____. It gets hard to leave voicemail after voicemail and eventually I was saying come GAIN your prize instead of claim. I don’t know if gaining a prize is even a thing? There’s got to be a better way to do this, making 100 calls, probably about 85% of them being voicemail isn’t very time efficient at an already short staffed and super busy library…But I digress..

Today hasn’t been so swell either. My patience is at about 2% and I literally almost said some rude things to a patron who didn’t understand WHY I couldn’t just make her an appointment for a passport when I already explained our procedure to leave a message on the voicemail line and she would get a call back within 24 hours. WHY would she have to wait like everybody else?  WHY wasn’t a library staff assisting her immediately with her passport application process, since it was clearly the most important? WHY Couldn’t she just butt in right now since she was being rude enough, and bypass all the polite people that actually just waited their turn to get a call back?? I almost asked her WHY didn’t she know how to inquire about things politely? WHY had nobody taught her any manners or demonstrated for her know how to talk to people she was asking help from? I think my coworker picked up on my frustration and came over to save the day. I owe her some chocolate I really do. And, of course, back to about 20 more scripted phone calls while on desk in between helping people.

Sometimes I feel that I’m just at a point of complete deflation with my patience with people. I don’t know if any sort of long vacation, or tropical drink, or good amount of awesome patrons can wash this bad taste out of my mouth. I’m pretty sure I’m just not cut out for public librarianship. I’m sick of the people who don’t help themselves. I’m sick of entitlement, and lack of manners. I’m sick of the weird creepy dudes that know my name and come in the tech center. There’s one that just walked in now, like right now. He used to come all the time to the other branch, he’s an architect who sometimes prints stuff out. I have no idea how he has a job and deals with people in the real world. Half the time he’s on the computers he’s cursing to himself, and mumbling.  He knows all the women who work here by name, and for a long time when I saw him regularly, would deal with him cursing and being continually upset because the server on his weird Russian mail order bride website would not be working. He had some girlfriend in Russia that he was sending money to, Svetlana I think really that was her name. Then another time he went on a loud tirade to me once about how he lives with his brother and his brother’s wife is a you know what and won’t let him use their computers because she thinks these weird sites he goes to are pornographic. Then proceeded to tell me all about all the fat women he sees everywhere here and how it’s disgusting and fat women are disgusting, (mind you he was talking really loudly in a quiet room and I was hoping somebody would get up and kick his ass, but it didn’t happen) then asks about my husband and if he lets me go out on my own. I just tell him my husband is large, and likes firearms. NO really, I did tell him this. Even though my husband is imaginary and if I WAS married to anybody they certainly wouldn’t like guns.

There are so many ways to live. I get that. We all have bad days. I get that. There are a billion people with a billion different upbringings, reasons why, stories, lessons, social and mental impediments, etc. But I just don’t know if I am tolerant enough or strong enough to take it much longer. I don’t like what it turns me into sometimes, and that is the scary part. I don’t get much respect from people in the public realm. It’s sad but true that most of the time I feel much like a doormat, a sad used up doormat.

On the plus side of things. Here is something I didn’t know existed. A nose aerobics basketball toy. I got to inform 5 very excited kids they will be the proud owner of these bad boys. I wish there was an extra one I could steal. I just want to watch somebody use one of these in real life.. Excuse the YES’s, this was from a snapchat..



Soapbox standing

I just got a chat question to help a student research information on the Cheesecake Factory. You know, strengths, weaknesses (SWOT stuff) and company culture and structure. I hit the usual spots, EBSCO, Hoover’s, company website for investor reports. Since it’s Friday and nothing is going on, I decide to read up on the Cheesecake Factory. I don’t spend too much time thinking about it in my normal day to day life so why not learn something.

Well, for the third year in a row, they were named one of the top 100 companies to work for by Fortune Magazine, exactly no. 98 in 2016. Well they believe that “people are their greatest resource”. That’s sweet. And apparently 97% of employees feel proud to work for this company. That’s pretty amazing.

But really, the more I think about it, look at their website, and reports, the more I hate it. I just do. I avoid chain joints like this at all costs. The interior looks like it is some sad version of a hotel room, or office. Something inside me tells me that this is where empty men and women in suits take the co-workers they have affairs with while on business conferences away from their significant others. These places have no soul. They get their money by serving food that is overinflated with calories, sodium and fats. Also probably some super sugary drink menu and obviously overindulgent sugar laden desserts. Do you really have to use the word factory in the name? This makes me picture some sort of conveyor belt type situation. OK, maybe I’ve only been there once and I’m being unfair. But honestly, if somebody took me out to the Cheesecake Factory I would probably never go out with them again. These places sell you garbage and call it food. It’s heartless, sad, food disguised by good marketing and ploys to trick the consumer into spending their money. WHY aren’t the nutrition facts easily available online? After searching the menu they are nowhere to be found, thought this was a law now. Anyways. They are probably a great company. Great company meaning that they are making money, and doing it at a decent enough rate to keep pumping this crap out and into your lap and your inner thighs.

I know that places are trying to do better, and trying to think about their consumers, and sustainability, etc. Which is good, people are becoming more conscious. But, things won’t change until people start demanding them to. The food industry sells you convenient, delicious “food” packed with salt, sugar and fat basically to the point that it’s really not even food anymore. Companies spend millions (billions?) of dollars in factories trying to scientifically manufacture a “bliss point” for the consumer with the perfect amount of sugar to light up all your pleasure sensors and get you hooked. It’s all about money for them. Money, no matter what the detriment to the consumer. I read this really great book about the whole food industry bit, check it out, it’s pretty interesting. Especially when you actually really get a look into the motives of these companies. I’m sure they will have it at your local lib. It’s called Salt, Sugar, Fat by Michael Moss, link below for more info.

By no means am I somebody to be on an all organic vegan diet. Nor am I in any kind of Victoria’s Secret swimsuit model shape. I like beer, and bacon, and yeah I just ate a pack of peanut M&M’s like 20 minutes ago. But, I was never educated about this, when I was younger I ate nothing but fast food and for a while had to reel it back when I realized that the salad I was ordering actually had more than 1200 calories and more than 3 days’ worth of sodium. How does that even happen? How does this all fit into these dishes, I have no idea. How did we let this get so far that people are now poisoning themselves slowly with the very thing that is supposed to be sustaining their lives? It’s crooked, and backwards, and maybe just a small portion of what’s wrong in this world. But I was just thinking about it. Since I was researching it anyways. So sorry if I offended any Cheesecake Factory lovers out there, it’s not a specific attack, just a general rant I guess. There’s something bigger at hand here, and it always riles me up.


I’m not supposed to catalog anymore today, so I’m sitting in a near empty tech center, with a swinging outdoor concert in the veranda. I just gave the two people in here an extra half hour over their allotted two hours, because they are nice, and there’s nobody in here, and who fucking cares about these rules really? There is 21 computers and nobody is using 19 of them.

I think I have a hard time enforcing rules, it’s one of the major problems I think I have with the public side as a librarian. Some of them are just silly. I know why we have them, but I also think they are meant to be bent at times, and can definitely be situational. I don’t argue with people about most things. And I really don’t care what they are doing or why they are here. I think they should be able to have all the access they need to the information and tools we have. WHY can’t we all just act like courteous people anyways? I overheard a man last week yelling at my co-worker because he wanted her to reserve the newspaper for him, like put it on hold for him when for he got in. He was upset because other people take the newspaper and then don’t read it or hold on to it too long, and we should save it especially for him so this wouldn’t happen. THIS seems like a problem of humanity and NOT the library workers who make peanuts at the desk. Is it our fault that people don’t know how to share like civilized human beings? Not really. And how is HIS reading of the paper is more important than anybody elses who wants to read it.

It’s one of those days when nothing is where it should be, people are impatient, the schedule is messed up and you find yourself swimming alone on desk through a sea of strangely needy library patrons flagging you down and expecting you to help them WHILE you are assisting somebody else, asking several part questions one after another until you feel the burn of the eyes of the next four people crowding (yes crowding, no lines here!) around the desk waiting for you to find them a book (which won’t be where it’s supposed to be anyways) without even attempting to first help themselves. Did I mention running into a swinging library gate and getting a massive bruise causing you to basically cry in front of a patron? Sigh.

This world is full of people and we all need something. Including me. I need some whiskey, and possibly some restorative yoga and perhaps a cookie.