Library Briefs

Stapler Blues

We go through a lot of staplers at the reference desk.  We've always made one available for the public on a table by our two photocopiers, along with a tape dispenser, a 3-hole punch and an electric pencil sharpener.  If a stapler is not stolen, it will be used and abused until it does not work .  We had two staplers  most recently, secured by light chains.  One was stolen anyway, and the other now jams so often that it is a nuisance.

SE, shopping around for a sturdy, securable stapler, reported:

Hi All
In attempts to find a theft- proof stapler, I found out that everyone else is trying to find one, too. Not very surprisingly, most comments are from librarians.  Here are some suggestions I've read by said librarians:

Count the number of times people ask where the stapler is and put that in the Ref statistics.

Apply for a stapler grant every year.

Below is my favorite--

Meet Alice, the library's newest stapler
September 21, 2010
By Matt Bailey and Ann Zawistoski
Alice is our newest stapler. She is the latest in a long line of previously-unnamed compatriots who valiantly gave their lives in the noble service of holding your papers together. They endured-until they could endure no more-horrific slamming, pounding, whomping, and jamming, multiple painful staple extractions, and the unrealistic expectations of those who thought a mere office desk stapler could bite through a fifty-page stack of reserve readings.
But now things will be a little different. Alice (who claims she is guaranteed jam-free, but we'll see about that) will help us keep track of how many staplers we go through in a year. Like a tropical storm or hurricane, Alice's name indicates that she is the first of her kind for the year. If-saints preserve us-she falls in the line of duty, she will be replaced by Bert. If Bert falls, then Claudia. And so forth.  We hope Claudia will get to stay in her snug, warm closet until well into 2011. But if spring rolls around and we're already up to Xavier, Yolanda, or Zigmund, you'll know that this academic year has been...STAPLERGEDDON!!!

Bin of Forgotten Lives

I saw this assortment of discarded biographies in a recycling bin on entering the library this morning.  Evidently, the Friends of the Library volunteers had decided they would not sell in the Friends Shop.

Lonesome Highway

I love the dust jacket on this mystery novel set in Arizona.  Every bookmobile librarian will know the feeling.  Unfortunately, the one in this story is murdered.  Every bookmobiler also knows what it is like to be on his own and far from help should danger arise.


The S****y Dance

Sorry, I can't help it.  One of the great MTV music videos.

A couple of funny comments from YouTube:

"Ya know, that dance isn't as safe as they say it is."

"So many hats... I feel so misled."


Song About A Horse

This song, Whistle, by Gail Steiger, performed on A Prairie Home Companion this last Saturday, has stayed with me.  A ranch has been sold, and the new owner's nephew asks a departing cowboy to tell him what he needs to know.  "He said he'd penciled in the whole day."


The Hunger

I had a dream a few nights ago.  I was trying to buy cigarettes at a drugstore.  I tried to buy a pack of Camel Lights, (my old brand), but was unable to make it happen.  I was finally able to buy a pack of Turkish Special cigarettes.  But when I tried to smoke one, it swelled up and became hollowed out and unusable.  Oh my...

I haven't thought of Turkish Specials in a long time.  I used to treat myself to them occasionally.  When?  I can't remember.  It must have been when I lived somewhere with a real tobacconist's shop.  Austin, New Orleans?

I always preferred Camels for their spicy Turkish tobacco, but Turkish Specials were even more Turkish, by an order of magnitude, very strong, stinking with nicotine, with none of the aromatic mildness of the Balkan Sobranies.

I haven't had a smoke since last May, eight months ago. I still take four 4mg nicotine lozenges a day.  I found myself looking online for somewhere to order a box of Turkish Specials, until I got hold of myself.

At the library's staff entrance, I passed KG, and told her how good her cigarette smelled.  Had I quit, she asked?  Yes, I confessed, (who else would tell someone that her cigarette smelled good?).


Left Behind: What They Read

Andrew D. Scrimgeour, dean of libraries at Drew University, writes in the NYT Book Review about inventorying and removing the libraries of deceased scholars, in Handled With Care.
One of the little-known roles of the academic librarian is bereavement counseling: assisting families with the disposition of books when the deceased have not specified a plan for them. Most relatives know these books were the lifeblood of their owners and so of intellectual value if not great monetary worth. But they remain clueless about how to handle them responsibly. Some call used-book shops. Some call the Salvation Army. Others call a university library.
He sees it as his duty to "perform last rites".  His description of how he approaches and handles these orphaned libraries reveals the soul of a true book lover.

What Scrimgeour does not say, and I respect him for keeping our secret, is that very few of these books will be saved: either by being cataloged for his school library or by being sold to book collectors.  Most will be trashed.

By virtue of our reputation as guardians of the printed word, we must do what lay persons, God bless them, cannot bring themselves to do.  With a practiced eye, we judge books to be worthless and destroy them.

We went to Mass on New Year's Eve, the Vigil of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, aka the Feast of the Circumcision.

R. slept very late this morning, her last chance.  We both go back to work Wednesday, she to the grueling run-up to the legislative session in March.

R. worked remotely on some legislative bills while I washed a couple of loads of laundry and made leek and potato soup.

I had a ham & cheese sandwich for lunch.  R. made herself a cheeseburger.

We went to Walgreen's to get cash for the housemaid, who is coming tomorrow, and to get some ointment for R.'s skin rash.

R. took Claudius out, and a little while later I heard her calling me.  Claudius had chased another cat across the neighbors' yard.  We found him and put him inside.  Claudius was so proud of his triumph!  He reclined on the living-room rug and groomed himself.

We took a walk around the neighborhood.  We had thought to have a big New Year's Day supper; pork chops, sweet potatoes and kale; but after our late lunch we decided to have the soup with bread.

We watched Rick Steves touring little countries of Europe,  Vatican City, Monaco, etc., and then the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra's New Year's concert, hosted by Julie Andrews.  The concert ended at 9:30, and I left for my hour of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at our church's chapel at 10.