No one will notice anyway

At the department meeting yesterday we were informed that because the library building now incorporates more that just the library, we are looking at changing the name. Which is great since they just spent a bunch on designing a new logo.

Personally I can’t figure out why we’d need to change the name. All of the departments are library related and, one would hope, that if you’re told that one of the new departments is in the library your response isn’t going to be “Can’t be there! They only have books!”

Actually, knowing the students here… scratch that. Yeah, we might need a name change.

So I suggested a few.

The Pen Lending Depot.


The building with the books and several other things

Libraries and Things

That building you still haven’t been in despite having been here for several years.


Somehow I don’t think they’re seriously considering my suggestions.


Published in: on June 7, 2012 at 6:38 pm  Comments (2)  

Ask a silly question

“I’d like to renew my book.”

“Is the yellow book-band still on the book?”


“Is there a ‘No Renewals’ stamp on it?”

“A what?”

“Is there a stamp on the book-band, under the due date, that says ‘No Renewals’?”


“Then, I’m sorry, I won’t be able to renew that book for you.”

“Why not!?”


Published in: on December 8, 2011 at 5:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

You’re making the classic literature section cry

I work in a university library. It’s six floors of books on any number of subjects. There is a massive classic literature section filled with some of the finest works ever penned by mankind. There are books that are over 200 years old. There are works that will be known around the world well after you have gone. There are books that have shaped the minds of men and women for generations. And if, by some chance, we don’t have what you’re looking for, we can order it for you.

In short, there is no end to the brilliance at your disposal.

So now, can someone PLEASE explain to me why in this place that I have described to you, there is a basket of some of the cheapest, drivel filled, not-fit-for-kindling, drugstore romance novels in the damn breakĀ  room? Even more mind-boggling, why are they being regularly read?

It’s things like this that make me certain I should become a hermit. Being around this kind of stupidity is giving me a headache.

-Late Fines.

Published in: on December 6, 2011 at 7:18 pm  Comments (1)  

21 Things I’ve learned about libraries (in no particular order)

21. The library seems like a great place to work until you work there. Once you actually work there you end up writing stuff like this.

20. the people who work the circulation counter and who shelve the books at your library don’t get paid enough to put up with your bullshit.

19. There is no where shelvers hate shelving more than the DVDs almost entirely because patrons are impatient assholes.

18. People seem to honestly believe that “I just need it for a sec” will make a book appear & that we file by colour & picture on the cover.

17. People are liars & cheapskates. I’ve had people blatantly lie to me nearly every single work day & I’ve been yelled at for a $0.10 fine.

16. If you think paper money and coins are dirty, you should probably never touch a library book again.

15. In my time working in libraries, there have been 4 condoms, any number of porn mags and 1 pair of underpants found in the stacks.

14. Shelving books is boring. Shelf reading is worse. Both will lead to games like “find the most unintentionally dirty book title”.

13. There is a segment of the population that will go through any from 20-30 romance novels A WEEK. Every. Single. Week. Seriously.

12. If your library carries a copy of the Kama Sutra, just do yourself a favour and don’t touch it. Just trust me on this one.

11. The staff will make up nicknames for the more notable regulars. None of them are flattering.

10. Most librarians are not hot. In fact most are middle aged, grumpy and down right terrifying. Not all, mind you. But a lot of them.

9. You DO NOT want to know what condition some books come back in or how easy it is to tell what some people’s fetishes are.

8. People will actually go out of their way to avoid reading signs. Any sign. Even if it’s written in 2ft high letters, WILL BE IGNORED.

7. There is more than one system of filing. Dewey being the most common in public libraries. Universities also use Library of Congress.

6. Libraries attract crazy people like Comic Con attracts nerds. This is a constant.

5. Also, despite seeming like the kind of place that would be super organized, they are often super disorganized. It’s a constant annoyance.

4. Despite what we are lead to believe, libraries are generally fairly noisy. That’s just the reality of it. Try not to let it worry you.

3. Nothing is quite like the smell or feel of a 200 year old book. It has a quality that cannot be matched by anything and I love that.

2. Libraries are dusty. Book dust will make just about anyone who’s around enough stuffy nosed.

1. Libraries are very dry. I have never in my life used as much hand lotion or had my nose subjected to such dryness as I do here.

Published in: on April 14, 2011 at 8:53 pm  Comments (2)  


To start, I’ve been sick most of the week. Like “stay at home” sick, not just “I don’t feel good” sick, so my patience is reasonably limited. I am taking this in to account.

I am about read to hit someone today. It has been one steady parade of stupid questions, general ignorance and bad manners from the word go. Frankly, I just don’t have the energy for it.

The entire class of ENGG students showed up at once. None of whom knew ANYTHING about what they needed or where to find it. If you’ve never had to deal with engineering students (especially in large groups) count yourself lucky.

“I’m looking for some books.”

uh huh.

“They’re supposed to be set aside.”

On reserve?


Which class?

“Uhhhh… engineering.”

There’s a few things on reserve, which did you need?

“I don’t know.”


“I should go look it up.”


Two minutes later, he’s back.

“I need *** and *** and ***.”

Those items aren’t on reserve.

“But they’re supposed to be on a separate cart.”

No, they aren’t. These are the reserve items, those are not part of them. They are not on reserve. You’ll need to find the call number and go look for them upstairs. They aren’t back here.

“Oh. Okay.”

He leaves. And comes back. Two minutes later. This time with the names written down.

“I need these.”

These aren’t on reserve. They’re on the shelves upstairs. You need to find the call number and go look for them yourself.

“Oh… where do I find the call number?”

::Facepalm:: Online, when you look up the names of the book. Under that it will say “call number”.

Would you believe I actually shortened this conversation for your sake? This was the worst of the lot but I had roughly the same conversation with the rest of the class as they filed up to the desk, one by one.

It’s been one of those days.

One of those days where I’d like a stiff drink and something to hit these people with.

-Late Fines.

Published in: on September 24, 2010 at 7:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

On leaving the nest

It’s the beginning of the new school year which means the return of one of my favourite groups of people. No, not the new students. But you’re close.

Their parents.

The new school year inevitably brings out these special people who haven’t quite figured out that the largish, hairy, verbally capable, diaper-less creature they are towing along behind them is not, in fact, a toddler with a pituitary problem but an ADULT.

And so we are faced time and time again by the same situation.

A group, normally of three (mother, father and child) approach the desk. One or the other parent (usually the father for some reason) will approach the desk while the other two stand back, the child of the group staring sheepishly at the floor.

“Hello. This (pointing) is my son/daughter and he/she is just starting school.”

At this point the other parent of the group will normally shove the child in the direction of the desk.

“We need to know what he/she is going to need before he/she starts classes.”

They will often turn to the child and say something stupid along the lines of “Well ask the lady what you need.” The child may or may not glance up from the floor and mumble something that sounds shockingly like what their parent just finished saying, I suppose to ensure I understood if I should, let’s say, not understand English but am fluent in Mumble.

All three will then conclude this performance by staring at me expectantly.

(I’d like to add that this happens with such frequency and consistency that I have wondered if it might not be part of some larger performance piece that is all rehearsed in advance.)

Now, it is my job to answer sincerely and to try and stifle my condescension as best I can. Some days that is easier said than done.

“Well first, sir/madam, they can start by leaving you at home. They might follow that up by putting on their big kid pants and come back again when they realize that this is an institution for adults.

“You see, unlike their first day of kindergarten, parents need not trot their young around asking all of the tough questions like “where do I need to start?” for them because they are, as you might have picked up by now, a fucking adult. By this point they should be perfectly capable of conversing on their own and if they are not, short of some kind of disability, I would be seriously questioning your ability to parent anything more than a houseplant.

“I would also expect that they will need to understand that you will not be able to come to every class with them to hold their hand, to make sure they understand everything in every class, to ensure that their assignments are both understood and completed in a timely fashion, to find each and every research item for them and. most importantly of all, that none of the staff have the time, the patience or the interest to do any of those things for them in your absence.

“And finally, they will seriously need to pull the cotton out of their mouths, learn to make eye contact, grow a spine and learn to speak up. No one here is likely to stop and ensure that they are comprehending everything and, let me assure you, NO ONE likes a mumbler.

“If your child can find it in themselves to reach all of these lofty goals, they MIGHT stand a chance here. If not, I suggest you save a lot of money and everyone a great deal of time and effort and leave now.

“Thank you for stopping by and if the universe has any sense of justice at all, I will never, ever see you again.”

-Late Fines

Published in: on September 3, 2010 at 4:29 pm  Comments (3)  

You might be mistaken

“I looked on the floor but there are no books with a four digit all number.”

I look at the piece of paper she’s pushing at me. HM 1116.

“It stops after the three digit numbers.”

Okay first, that is bullshit. Second, this is after the same patron came to the desk earlier and asked me to go find the books for her because “she doesn’t know how” (also bullshit and, I might add, not my problem).

HM section does, for the record, go past four digit call numbers. ALL of the sections go past four digit call numbers. You are so full of shit, which wouldn’t even be half so annoying if you weren’t standing here lying to me, being lazy and expecting me to go do your work for you.

Oh, I get it. You thought that you were smarter than me, right? You thought I wouldn’t figure it out, is that it? It’s okay, I’ve only been working in libraries for almost a decade. Someday maybe I’ll work out the system enough to thwart your evil plans. But not today. Because I must be that dumb.

Here’s a heads up, sweetie – THIS IS UNIVERSITY. You are an adult now. No one gives a shit if you succeed or fail, because you are now responsible for yourself.

Now get the hell away from my counter and stop wasting my time.

-Late Fines

Published in: on August 28, 2010 at 11:48 pm  Comments (4)  

For the record

We’ve recently gotten new copies in the library. They’re easy to use, have a pretty good menu of options and best of all, for our cheap, greedy patrons – for the time being, they are free.

The free part seems to be confusing a lot of people. They either think we’re lying or they’re sightly annoyed. Either way, it’s quickly replaced by taking advantage of the situation. So for the weeks since they’ve arrived and until printing services gets their shit together, I will continue to find stacks of hundreds of copies of the EXACT SAME PAGE, see people plugging their USB drives in to the copiers, hitting print and walking away and (my personal favourite) printing off entire text books.

It’s oh so much FUN.

Now, as I said, the copiers are fairly easy to use. I was shown basic “how-to” kind of stuff, but really I know about as much as anyone else using them. I’m bad with photo copiers. Place paper in copier, hit copy, done. Beyond that, I have no idea nor do I care.

So when people come to ask questions about the copiers, I honestly don’t know what they’re expecting. I work at a goddamn library, not Kinkos. Figure it out.

“I can’t figure out how to work your copiers.”

Now, this came from a faculty member this morning. You’re a professor and you’re telling me you CAN’T work a photo copier? Okay. Well first off, you don’t need that cop-eze card any more. The copying is free right now. Second, it’s a photo copier.

“I looked at the instructions and they don’t make any sense at all.”

Yes they do, I’ve read them too. You strike me as someone who has given up before they’ve even tried. But I agree to come and take a look.

Remember how I said that I don’t actually know any more about the copiers than any one else. I know how to clear a paper jam and refill the trays. That’s it.

So I look. I read icon labels. I press some buttons that might work. I test a page.

It worked.

“I don’t know what I would have done without your help.”

Here’s a thought, you would have tried doing exactly what I just did. It all would have worked out in the end. Especially now when the copying is free and you can keep pissing around until you figure it out. Stop coming to bother me to do things for you that you’re perfectly capable of doing yourself. I’m not here to hold your hand through everything.

You’re faculty and as so many in your position like to remind me, that means that you’re supposed to be all knowing and all wise while I’m just a library assistant.

Next time, just refer to this:

Published in: on August 27, 2010 at 3:59 pm  Comments (3)  

That’s a first

“Good afternoon, *** library.”

“Is there a charge for using the library?”

“I’m sorry?”

“Is there a charge for using the library? I thought I was free.”

“It is free.”

“Then why is there a charge on my account? I got a letter saying I owe $15.”

“May I ask what the letter says?”

“It says it’s a fines and fees notice and that I owe $15.”

“So you have overdue fines?”

“What do you mean? I thought you said it’s free!”

“Yes, ma’am, the library services are free but when items are returned after the date due they are subject to library fines.”

“I didn’t know that! How much are they?”

“They are normally between $0.50 and $1 per day.”

*huff, grumble, swear* “Well I’ll just have to come down to the library then!”

“Have a nice day.”
-Late Fines.
Published in: on April 8, 2010 at 7:49 pm  Comments (6)  

Now you know

The vast majority of you will likely never end up standing across the counter from me and chance are good that the very few who do will likely never know that it’s me. Chances are good, however, that you will end up across the counter from someone like me and trust me, in a job like mine you entertain yourself any way you can.

Here are a few things you should know.

- I am judging you based on the items you take out. Harshly. I was worse when I worked at the public library. Academic libraries, fortunately, don’t normally handle a lot of romance novels.

- If you go to the library on a regular basis, they probably have a nickname for you. It’s probably nothing flattering.

- “No problem” usually means “You’ve been a giant pain in the ass”.

- I don’t really care why you want the book. I’m just here to sign it out for you. Actually, that goes for pretty much any information beyond your card number.

- Coming up to the counter talking on your cell phone, tossing your card at me or ignoring me all together makes me want to hit you. You can expect the minimum of service I can give you if you pull that kind of shit.

- People at the checkout counter earn a fraction of what Reference Librarians earn. When you come to the checkout counter and ask reference questions you will a) annoy the person you’re asking and/or b) be directed to the reference desk. You could save us all a lot of time by just going there in the first place and making them work for that money.

- We’ve all heard every excuse anyone has ever come up with for why they shouldn’t have late fines. We are also not stupid. So either own up and just pay the damn thing or at least try to be entertaining. Some of us have blogs to write and you’re providing us material.

That’s really just the tip of the iceberg but more than enough for now.

-Late Fines.

Published in: on April 3, 2010 at 8:25 pm  Comments (4)  

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