Friday, September 28, 2012

Hmmm...where are they?

"Can you tell me where the true books are?"

At first, I just looked at her, confusion probably scattered across my face.  Because this was the non-fiction/reference area, so everything is true.  Okay, maybe not everything, since we do have some author's stories, like Chaucer, London and a few others up in the 800s, but everything else is true.  That's what makes non-fiction non-fiction.

So, I asked her what she meant.

She clarified, saying that she wanted the crime books on murder.

With a smile, I was able to show her where our true-crime section is.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Current Reads

Print: Dance With Dragons by George RR Martin
Audio: Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Two of my favorite authors.  I started reading George RR Martin's a Song of Fire and Ice when A Game of Thrones first came out.  I admit, the black horse on the cover and the white wolf (Jon and Ghost) are what drew me in to begin with.  Then, it was the plot.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Harder Questions

I love getting the harder questions.  For example, they'll know part of the title, but not the author.  Or, they'll think they have the right author name, but aren't even close.

Today, I got to dig up several movies for a patron.  Those were easy, since she had the titles and the production company.

The hard one came later.  She came up with a request for a book she'd checked out and recently returned.  It had a certain word in the title.  I found it and made her day, since it was checked in!

The really fun ones are "an encyclopedia of criminals published in the early 1930s".  Ones that are that obscure I don't always find, but I do my best.  I'll utilize all of my resources, from blogs, to google and to rare book websites (and, of course, Amazon).  80% of the time I can find what they're looking for.

Usually, just googling it gives me what I want.  If not, then I'll move on to Amazon.  If not Amazon, then I usually have to take down their information to call them back to search for it more thoroughly.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


We get quite a few people doing homework in here.  Most of them are helped by us finding books for them, for stuff like book reports.  Others need a print source but we don't have any or enough up-to-date information in book format.

Which is when I introduce them to our databases.  If it was printed in a journal or magazine, online or otherwise, it counts as a print source.  And we have access not only to our databases, but to the Michigan Electronic Library's databases, which are even more extensive than our own.

And even better, is what some of those databases hold.  One is my favorite.  It's called the 'Learning Express Library' and it's amazing.  Those GED books that grow legs and walk out?  I don't worry about them anymore. 

Because the LEL covers that.  If you create an acount, it's got tests.  It's got e-books.  It's got courses.  And not a handful, either.  Not only does it have GED, but it also has SAT prep.  ACT prep.  Civil-service tests.  And that's just a few in the dozens of specialized categories.

Another one of my favorites is Mango.  Mango is an online language database.  Basically, you can learn a new language learning it.  It has courses, lessons and a handy translator tool.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Hardest Request

Today, I got one of the hardest types of request.  The request for information without enough background information.

This person wanted to know what cemetery and plot two relatives were buried in.  He didn't know the date of deaths.  He didn't know the year of death.

What he did know was the names of the people.  And where they lived and possibly died.

Unfortunately, neither I nor my supervisor could find any information on them.  They didn't die in our county, so they're not in our Social Security Index (SSI).  If they had been, it would have listed (at the least) the cemetery where they were buried.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

If it were a snake...

One of the things I'm best at is finding books.  That are already on the shelf.  In numerical (DDC) order.  By author.

When a patron requests a book (at the counter), I look it up on my fancy-schmancy catalog.  I'll write down the call number, author and title for them.  So it might look like this:

616.89 Clark
   How to tell if you have diabetes

Then, I'll tell them that it's 'half-way back to the right', or wherever in the stacks it's located.  80% of the time, they'll find it just fine.

The other 20, though, they'll come back up and tell me that they couldn't find it.  I'll check the record and see when it came back.  If it's been back for more than a week, it's either on the shelf or 'missing'.  If it's less than a week, it's a gamble if it's downstairs waiting to be shelved, or on the shelf.

So I'll write down the info about the book on a slip for me, and I'll slide out from behind my desk and go hunting.  Usually, it's right where it belongs.  Exactly where it should be.

Patrons (adults and children) just aren't taught how to use the DDC (Dewey Decimal Classification), so a lot of them just don't know how it works.  And I can understand that.  Usually, once I show/find the book, they'll browse that section, and hopefully figure out how the system works.

It's actually really easy, and even before I became a librarian, I had many call numbers memorized.  True crime, ghosts and animals were my go-to sections at my small-town library.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Always helpful

Today, I helped a woman several different times.  And I really enjoy making someone's day by helping them, and I made her day.  She needed several different things, including tax forms from past years (several copies), help printing an obituary and help saving an e-mail draft.

At the reference desk today, we got to hear a few complaints about a patron who was talking to himself in the back, near the windows.  When co-worker and I checked him out, he was not only doing that, but also pointing in a sweeping, grand gesture outside.  What he was talking about, and who he was talking to, we have no idea.  But we couldn't see anyone.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Overdrive & E-readers

Overdrive is a library loan of e-books and audiobooks.  Most libraries in my area have it, and a lot of patrons have e-readers to use it.  You can use it on a regular computer, but most people use either a dedicated e-reader, a tablet or a smartphone.

There are many, many different types.  Kindles, Nooks, iPads and Android tablets being the most popular.  As for the easiest to use, I'd have to say a Kindle Fire (the Amazon Tablet) or an Android device (either tablet or smartphone).  Nooks have to be hooked up to a computer to use Overdrive.  iPads are also pretty easy, but it doesn't get easier than the Kindle Fire, since you don't have to download anything to use it.

With an Android, you can either download the Overdrive app, or the Kindle app.  Either work.  With the iPad, I think you can only have the Overdrive app.  I'm not sure if you can get the Kindle app for it, but I wouldn't be surprised if you could.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A few questions

But nothing too out of the ordinary.  Today, I mostly ordered new material for my section, and fixed/separated damaged materials.

A patron came in and requested a book that his brother had read.  He couldn't remember the title, or the author.  Just that it had to do with two local schools.  My searches brought up nothing.  Co-workers searches came up with nothing.

Finally, he called his brother and got the title.  It was a title we were passingly familiar with (it had to do with local history), but we hadn't thought ot it since it was a biography.  Luckily, we had it on the shelf.