|Something is wrong here.
Reading in a library?
You get some different patrons in the academic library. For one thing, there are few children, except during the summer when the various junior high and high school camps terrorize the campus. Even most of them know better than to eat the books, though I did have one student ask me where the “C” section was, since he was doing a report on the Civil War.
Regular users are once again in the computer lab – although most of the computers are downstairs in the Reference area. There is one small pod of four computers up in the Special Collections area. There is a student who routinely comes with his pals and camps at the computers for a few hours. My officemate and I like to call them “Beevis and friends” because they laugh like them. Heh heh, heh heh heh, heh heh. What’s sad is that they are probably too young to get the reference.
Ancient Librarian Technology
Speaking of “Electric Youth” we also get college students doing work for their classes. As part of their Speech classes, they are forced to use the Microfilm machines to look up their birthdays in the newspapers. You know, back in old . . . 1992??? WTF? If you weren’t feeling old already, these students look at these machines like they came out of the 1800s, and comment on how “old school” they are. You must show them how they function, over and over and over, until you can slip a reel of microfilm in that dumb machine and repeat the instructions even in your sleep. Of course they can’t figure it out by themselves, and you don’t want them to try, seeing as how they can’t figure out where the Microfilm room is (big sign over door saying MICROFILM). They usually mistake the office I share with my coworker for this room, just because it’s basically an enormous storage room with two desks. And lots of stacked up newspapers. One student asked me if it was the Washington Post. Yes, yes, of course, the north Texas division.
After this assignment, they will never use the machines again. Most likely, they won’t even make it back to our area, because not only do they have to enter a library, they have to go up the stairs and all the way across the building to get to us. It’s a relatively safe place. But of course college students are not the main ones wanting Special Collections services. Here again come the very old. These people come from Timbuktu, show up at about fifteen minutes till closing, and want some esoteric detail about a family member who might have gone to this school in 1922. Or maybe 1940. And it might not even be this school, or even this town. But you look anyway. They will probably need access to the monstrous bound newspapers with just a hint of mold that crumble at your touch, and of course they will want copies. This is done down in the scanning room, or “cave” as I like to call it. For quite a while we dealt with a rather finicky big mama scanner that sometimes worked wonderfully and other times just showed a white screen to screw with us. It could take half an hour to get a single scan. Now we have a new big mama scanner that doesn’t show a white screen, but does decide for you how to do certain scans. The new printers and copiers are in league with it. I suspect a takeover soon.
|Sweet Old Library Patron|
Another patron is the rich and/or influential patron that gave lots of money to the library, or perhaps is related to someone who did. Often these people are old, so they have two things going for them. They give a lot, and they’re sweet and harmless and elderly, so they get away with anything. Many of them are on the Friends of the Library board. If they plan a luncheon, they can change the time of the luncheon, the day, what is served, how many people are coming, how the room is arranged, and anything else that strikes their fancy on a whim, sometimes multiple times, up until the actual date, if it ever occurs. If they have something of “value” they may donate it, but you have to keep it just so, and be sure to have it right where they can see it whenever they visit, etc. I so want to live to be old so that I can be a pain-in-the-ass and people will still think I’m cute as a button! That sounds awesome.
So that’s my evil plan. Live long enough to get old and annoying, retire, and become a Library Regular. I will have so many questions to ask those helpful librarians!