Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Why I Advocate for Homeschooling

Ms. Chip-On-Her-Shoulder is a teacher who comes to our library weekly. Teachers are easily identifiable because they are the only ones to check out 50 books about Thomas Jefferson at one time (and see nothing wrong with that).

So Ms. Chip-On-Her-Shoulder comes into the library slashing our thick, musty air with her delightfully raised nostril. After roust-a-bouting for 20 minutes, she approaches the desk, and asks if she can buy our Orlando Bloom READ poster, "in case we ever wanted to get rid of it." In the picture he is topless and strategically holds a copy of The Lord of the Rings in front of himself, cradlingng it like a moist towel. Okay . . . he's not really topless, but that's how I'll always see him.

Yeah, sure. Let me just take it down for you. It only takes AN ACT OF CONGRESS for us to obtain a treasure like a $15 poster for our little ol' library. In fact, why pay for it at all? Just take it for free!

I explain to her that she can get her own poster, with a celebrity of her choice, on the American Library Association's website.

Pause.

"Well," she says with her nose in the air, "I don't do computers."

An elementary school teacher who "doesn't do computers"? No wonder kids would rather have Lincoln's 1980 biography than use a biography database, which the library PAYS for with MONEY.

And believe me, those databases cost a hell of a lot more than a damn Orlando Bloom poster. (And don't ever touch my Orlando Bloom, lady!)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Lawyers . . .

An older woman, not quite ancient, but definitely a “senior” member of our fair community, comes up to the Information Desk and asks for a “living will.”

“They told me I could get the form for a living will here.”

I’m not sure who this “they” is, but “they” must think the public library is nothing but a warehouse for storing miscellaneous forms. If we really had as many forms as “they” say we do, there would not be any room for books, computers, staff personnel, air, etc.

So I give her the book of personal legal forms. This, of course, is a reference book. I explain this.

“You won’t be able to check this out. It is a reference book. You’ll have to Xerox the form you want.”

Then my partner in crime chimes in, “Then you’ll have to type it up. It’s no good unless you type it up. You can’t just fill in the blanks.”

It’s just proof that ALL reference librarians have a sadistic streak.

“I have to type it?”

“Well, you have to Xerox it first. You can’t take it home.”

“Well,” she says holding up the book, “what’s the point of this?”

I guess she was under the impression that the books only value was that it saved her from having to type her living will. I know I never have any problem creating a legal document from my very own superior librarian memory . . . (WHAT?)

She continues to ask more questions about the document, to which my partner dances in and out of as gracefully as she can behind a computer and a desk, until finally I say,

“We can’t answer those questions.”

“Why not?”

Hmmmmmm . . . There are so many great answers to this question. That’s another blog entirely.

“Because I’m not a lawyer. You’re welcome to sit there and look at it, and use it in the library.”

So she sits, and sits, and sits. She’s there so long that the urge to talk about her to my partner in crime starts to dissipate before she’s gone. Damn her!

After leafing through the book for almost 20 minutes, she replies,

“You almost need a lawyer to read all this.”

I never will get tired of this job.