Summer is winding down and the children have gone feral.
August 6, 2009 4:10 PM   Subscribe

Miss Information. The desperate life of a tormented library clerk.
posted by The Card Cheat (24 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Pronoiac at 4:14 PM on August 6, 2009 [15 favorites]

Oh, excellent- working in a library for years gives me a very similar perspective to the beleaguered Miss Information.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 4:14 PM on August 6, 2009

the annoyed librarian is a fun read. her clones? not so much.
posted by the aloha at 4:16 PM on August 6, 2009

Miss Information doesn't have to read books; she simply stares the book down until she gets the information she wants.
posted by netbros at 4:21 PM on August 6, 2009

Awakened doesn't like it when blogs are written in the third person.
posted by Awakened at 4:28 PM on August 6, 2009 [2 favorites]

I think the third person is a reference to the Miss Manners column, which is written in the third person.
posted by jedicus at 4:31 PM on August 6, 2009

Ugh. I'm really not a fan of this whole, "libraries would be great except for those pesky library patrons" thing. There's such a fine line between sardonic humor and ... this. Miss Information just makes librarians look bad, I'm afraid.
posted by booknerd at 4:34 PM on August 6, 2009 [4 favorites]

Is she tattooed?
posted by fixedgear at 4:36 PM on August 6, 2009

I think the third person is a reference to the Miss Manners column

I was thinking Moses Malone.
posted by rokusan at 4:40 PM on August 6, 2009

"libraries would be great except for those pesky library patrons" thing.

See also: any blog by any restaurant/cafe employee.
posted by rokusan at 4:41 PM on August 6, 2009

She doesn't want that job? I'll take it. I can be there by 9 AM tomorrow.
posted by scratch at 5:15 PM on August 6, 2009 [4 favorites]

Oh come on people, it's funny.

The woman on the phone began the conversation by asking why the man at the call centre had transferred her to Miss Information’s branch instead of the branch she wanted. Miss Information has a couple of ideas. First she thinks it is entirely possible that Call Centre Man made a mistake. A second possibility is that Miss Information has unknowingly done something to irritate Call Centre Man and he is going to transfer all the really annoying people to her in order to slowly drive her mad. Great plan, buddy.

Y'all are just that kind of library patron who could overthink a library fine for a book about a plate of beans.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 6:21 PM on August 6, 2009

I laughed, because I have heard it before and it's nice to know I'm not the only one. It's a little library humor, blowing off steam. You think *that's* going to make librarians look bad? Have I got a concept for you! It's called the state running out of money, and all of the local branches closing, and patrons blaming the librarians!
posted by librarylis at 7:42 PM on August 6, 2009

I was hoping to see something witty written by jessamyn. :-)
posted by garnetgirl at 8:23 PM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

I liked this:
Another guy took his brand new library card over to a catalogue terminal and inserted it into the disk drive. “I thought it was like a bank machine,” he whined.
People really do this.

The more I work with technology, the more I become convinced that WebTV wasn't such a horrible idea, just something badly implemented. The ideal computer for many people would consist of a monitor, some speakers, and (here's the good part), the innovative Pleading Interface.

No keyboard, no mouse. No slots for anything, or plugs in the front. Just the monitor and speakers, rising from a squat, near featureless ziggurat of injection-molded plastic, with a single LED to let you know it is on, glowing like a baleful eye. No typing or clicking. The Pleading Interface merely recognizes the postulant as they caper and dance, bow and scrape for the machine's delight, then snivel out their request. "Please please please, show me the headlines from CNN!" Meanwhile, the operating system silently judges you and decides for what features you might be ready. Until you generate some competence at basic tasks, do not even dream of asking for a search engine.

Perhaps a few practice sessions wherein you evade various phishing scams before you are allowed email. A spelling test before a laser keyboard is projected onto a flat surface for those users who desperately wish to type.

This may seem cruel, but given how people react to computers, I think Pleading is not a horrible idea. So many people behave in a manner which suggests that features and technological wizardry previously hidden from them would be unveiled if only the machine knew how very, very critical it was for them to have this book tomorrow because the paper is due Tuesday. They want a website which would only load if the site knew how important they are. The Pleading Interface constantly samples the atmosphere for the scent of sweat, and looks over waveforms for stress in the user's voice.

The computer might become Pissed Off. An attendant (in robes, natch) enters the semi-private booth. "No, it isn't going to do that for you. You weren't deferential enough. You've been too demanding. You've angered the machine. You could have asked for the book earlier, and you've done this too many times. It has your scent now. Go, and leave your fines behind. Perhaps that will placate it."
posted by adipocere at 11:33 PM on August 6, 2009 [9 favorites]

I used to work in a library as a shelver (they would tell me off for telling patrons where to find books instead of sending them to the counter where the 'proper librarians' were, and wouldn't train me to use the terminals as I was a temp; I eventually left to go and work for the BBC) and the worst problem we had were patrons who smelled. Not just BO, but a mixture of BO, urine and stale alcohol that meant it was difficult to shelve in the same aisle as their seating place. We couldn't do anything about it, even when we spoke to the (entirely sympathetic) senior staff, as they said that they were customers like everyone else and we couldn't ask them to leave because they smelled.

We had a (possibly) Aspergers man who would come in and spread a stack of travel guides around him, reading them out loud to himself and then giving us random facts from them each time one of us walked past, but never taking one out, and another woman who would open all the art books at pictures of medieval Madonna and Child plates and stack them up on the table open while cackling to herself, but neither of these was as much of a pain to the shelver as the smelly man.
posted by mippy at 3:11 AM on August 7, 2009

Do all librarians misunderstand who libraries were built for, or just the ones who write blogs? /snark

I am very biased against librarians, all present company excluded because being a mefite exonerates you. :-)
posted by IvoShandor at 3:55 AM on August 7, 2009

OK, that was mean.
posted by IvoShandor at 3:57 AM on August 7, 2009

I didn't get a chance to pour over the whole thing, but from browsing the entries of the last few months, I'm sort of in love with her character. Maybe I just like crabby, bookish people too much.
posted by majick at 6:07 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

I still swear by the best-named LJ community ever. [NSFW] Maybe not such a big distinction, but whatev.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:46 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

The writing in the third person schtick was annoying but it's growing on me. And, in general, I'm a big fan of blogs complaining about customers/patrons.
posted by deborah at 11:33 AM on August 7, 2009

After reading a bit more, there's a certain hapless Canadianness that wore away some of that initial charm. Perhaps it's just more of a crush, now. But it's an honest crush for sure.
posted by majick at 1:13 PM on August 7, 2009

there's a certain hapless Canadianness

*ahem I believe it's "Canadienne".
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:21 PM on August 7, 2009

"Librarian"=person who has a graduate degree in Librarianship. Library clerks don't have those degrees, and aren't called librarians. In other words, not everyone who works in a library is a librarian. In fact, most aren't. This isn't to say that library clerks don't work as hard - they usually have to deal with more crap on a daily basis. It's not an easy job. Kind of like retail, but with better hours (maybe) and you get to be around books.
posted by infodiva at 9:20 PM on August 8, 2009

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