Archive for October, 2009

The Break Room

OMG… there is always food in our break room. Either it’s leftovers from a holiday or it’s leftovers from a program the night before or it’s “Surprise! I went to Dunkin’ Donuts today!”

Today, the break room table is loaded with mini-pretzels (from the Pretzel Factory), four different sauces, and a blueberry coffee cake. There are only five of us working today (Fridays are short staffed because of Saturday); that’s a lot of food for five people. I’ve gained weight just looking at all those carbohydrates.

On Monday, I predict we’ll have lots and lots of candy… post Halloween.

But what about the infamous refrigerator? Now, there’s a door I rarely want to open. Who knows what might be lurking in there! Green fuzzies crawling out of re-used margarine containers or a spilled container of home-made soup? I took a peek today and there were all kinds of wrapped up items in blue bags. Mysterious packages are always trouble in a staff refrigerator!

While we’re talking appliances, how about the break room sink? Now there’s a breeding ground for all kinds of critters. Even after the many signs we have put up, dishes end up sitting in the sink and on the adjoining counters. (People really believe they’ll remember they left that pot to “soak.”) This must be universal problem since I checked on the web and you can actually buy signs or t-shirts that show or say things like: Clean Up After Yourself, Your Mother Doesn’t Work Here. Or this:
clean-up after yourself or this: The maid-quit

And how about the disappearing silverware? I mean, really, why would anyone want a mismatched spoon or fork? But somehow, as the days go by, the spoons and forks and knives walk away.

Our break room is so small that a person sitting at the table has to move for someone who wants to get into the refrigerator or use the microwave. And of course, we only have one outlet in there so the coffee pot, microwave, toaster oven, and a 4-drink soda machine cannot be used at the same time.

It always makes me wonder who designs these rooms? Probably the same guy who designs public restroom stalls for women!!!

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IMVU

Our computers have filtering software on them and generally, the only ones that come up blocked in a normal day are the Juvi computers. They disallow images from those unpopular sites like Facebook and MySpace. LOL.

But those PC’s are right by the info desk so it’s not that big a deal. We simply type in a code word and the person is off and running.

But now we have IMVU. For the uninitiated, this is the latest chat platform for teens … it’s “talking” avatars.

After a year in Second Life, I’m somewhat familiar with the idea, but this one has caught me off guard. Currently, the application is blocked by our filtering software so we’re unblocking the crazy site about 25 times a day… if not more. The teens love it.

So what is the draw? Sexy avatars!

It’s funny because Second Life had these skinny hotties all along. And there is a Second Life just for teens. But SL is a bandwidth hog while IMVU is relatively lite. And it’s easy and quick.

So what can you do? Well, create an identity with a special name, play dress up … change clothes, chat–of course, create a “home” and even add a furniture. You can invite your friends to get their own avatars.

As you move around or do things, you collect credits… not sure what I’ll be doing with those, but I’m sure it’s to buy things. I have been through the tutorial and I have already learned how to move my avatar’s space around and I tried some of the pre-loaded moves like “yay” and “bored” etc. I also had a conversation with a “stranger” who was quite helpful and helped me navigate the space. Thanks Dpmase!

So, a little text … an avatar … and it’s 3D chat. Second Life folks said 3D Web would be where everything is heading and I’m thinking they were not wrong. Get ready.

If you want to find me… I’m Maijara…. ;~) www.imvu.com

Pawn Shops and the Library

Ok, I seem to be on a roll about theft and the library.

We have had our DVDs and other audio-visual materials out for the public without lock for some time. We still have security (we are an RFID system) so all of our discs have RFID doughnuts. Naturally, here and there, we find the stripped off doughnuts inside books, under bookshelves and in the restroom waste basket. No surprise there.

But last week, we had the latest wrinkle in theft at the the library, when the local pawn shop called us after an “honest” customer of theirs returned to the pawn shop announcing that all of the DVDs he had just purchased were from the library. Sure enough, they still had our hand written barcodes on the discs and the items were all showing in our branch as “checked in.”

Our thief is not the brightest bulb: first of all, he/she steals them from the local library and then pawns them at a shop around the corner; secondly, he/she gives a real name and address (though bogus) to the pawn shop; and thirdly, he/she has an account at the library and just recently “reserved a book” that generated a pick up notice. Now, really, will he/she actually come and pick up this book?

Out of 53 DVDs (alphabetically R-Z), we have recovered 30 or so. But now, the question is whether the first half of the alphabet has been pawned at a different shop. We’ll see. We’ll be doing an inventory this week with one of our volunteers.

So fun. So irritating. So exasperating!

Theft and the Library

It’s a strange feeling to have the police in the library.

I don’t mean our security… we do have a security guard from an agency every other day and then, on the off days, we have an officer hanging out from our local station up the street. And I guess it’s a good thing although it does seem like the really weird stuff happens when there is no security at all.

The other day we had a patron who reported that her cell phone was stolen in the library and she wanted to make a report. That process took over an hour and a half. Gad!

In the end, the officer came, took the report, we called her company and cancelled her minutes. During the course of our “investigation” we tried calling the cell phone a few times and surprise, the person answered.

I was shocked, I didn’t know what to say. I ended up saying something goofy like, “Excuse me, but this phone belongs to someone at the library…. please bring it back.” Click.

I called the number again, but this time the phone was busy. About ten minutes later, one of the librarians came into my office and said, “You won’t believe it, but the person who stole the cell phone just called and asked if we had just called her and what we wanted. Go figure.

The policeman was there by then and we called her yet again! Yep, she answered. The policeman identified himself and told the girl she was using stolen property and… click.

She did not answer again.

The next day we watched the surveillance footage, but really, who can tell if a person is copping a small cell phone from off the floor? So, patron loses cell phone, kid gets cell phone with blocked minutes.

Ebay gains a customer.