Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Comfy Chair!

I just got back from a trip to California with a monster cold, so my head feels cloudy like I'm Sissy Spacek mixed with Kevin Spacey, working at Spacely Sprockets. I've spent the day away from Libraryland soothing my head with tv, tea, and tissues. I usually get kind of pissy when I'm sick, but my weekend was so fun that I am feeling ok about not feeling ok.

My trip started with an upgrade to first class on the plane. Now I know I've thus far tried to maintain some semblance of classiness on this blog, but I admit I have never flown first class. I'm a librarian, not Mia Thermopolis. It was so interesting. For those of you that haven't had your first-class cherry popped (there's that classiness again), I'll tell you about it. It's not just about the comfy chair. There's so much more to it than that. As you probably already know, you get to board before everyone else. This helps you feel sexily arrogant like Steff in Pretty in Pink. When you get on, there's a dude in a black turtleneck who takes your bags and hangs up your coat, which is kind of nice, but he does it in such a pursed-lips way that you feel like you should challenge him to a snooty contest. A snoot off. Before the flight starts, another flight attendant comes along and asks you BY NAME what your drink order is. So instead of the rolling cart thingy, she has a pad of paper and takes your order. Aren't I like Robin Leach telling you all this? Aren't you so impressed with it? Then, (drumroll please), you get TWO packages of trail mix. That's right, I said two. You don't even have to ask. When I was handed my ration, I almost started to give one of my packages back, thinking it was a mistake. How gauche. Along with this comes your beverage, which is served to you in an actual glass. As in made out of glass. That extra money is looking so worth it now, isn't it? Oh, I was making clinky-clink sounds with my ice and everything. Then, after the trail mix course, you get to the main event. Hot nuts. Don't you just love that? I was loving it, and not because it sounds dirty. Ok, not entirely because of that. You get a cup of mixed nuts that have been heated up to simulate the roasting process. So there you are, nibbling the hot nuts and sipping out of your glass glass. The riff raff in the back doesn't have any idea what they're missing.

This was how I spent the two hours as I went back to Cali. On the way home I had to return to coach, feverish, sick and squished into the small seats. Lost my privilege like Dudley Moore in Arthur Two. Back to the world where cups are plastic and nuts are cold.

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl

Friday, January 27, 2006

Looky Loo

Sitting at the reference desk at a public library is sort of opposite from working in a cubicle. Instead of being cordoned off from those around you in a little grey box (are cubicles always grey? They are in the movies, where I get most of my information about the world), your workspace is right out there in front of anyone who happens by. People can see your computer screen, which means no looking at embarrassing websites. And I'm not talking about porn, I'm talking about fansites with clues on figuring out "Lost." No kicking your shoes off or taking a power nap, unless you're really ballsy. You're right out there. Spotlight on you. Hello gorgeous!

Yesterday a little girl came by during a quiet moment at the reference desk. She was maybe five years old. She sat in the chair across from me at the desk, and just looked at me. I did each of my various opening bits for little kids. These include "Hi," "Do you have a question?", "Would you like a sticker?", "Would you like to find some books to take home?" She cheerfully gave me the shut-down on each of my attempts. Her mom strolled up after a minute and said "She just wants to watch you type, and any other work that you're doing, if that's ok." So that was it. For about five minutes, I silently worked at my computer and this little girl watched me like a tv. Librarian performance art. I'm sure she was thinking about how my actions portrayed the postmodern decline of the Industrial Age. Or that my outfit looked fly except for the ugly staff badge I have to wear. Perhaps she was concerned about the ergonomics of my chair. I guess I will never know. After a few minutes, she climbed off the chair and was on her way. Not as riveting as Tinky Winky, apparently. Maybe had I showed her I could sign like Koko the gorilla, I could've held her attention and maybe even drawn a crowd that included Betty White, Robin Williams, and Tippi Hedren. If Koko can entertain, so can I, people.

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

To Sir With Love

When I was in library school, I found something that changed the course of my career. I found a mentor. An awesome, ridiculously talented librarian who's been in the biz for over twenty years and has managed to stay current and excited about being a librarian. He took a liking to me and went out of his way to show me the ropes when he really didn't have to. It was like he was Clint Eastwood and I was Hilary Swank, except he isn't gruff and crusty, and I do not look like a vulcan. And there was no boxing. And I don't want him to try and kill me. Ok, forget the Clint Eastwood thing. My mentor taught me a bunch of stuff and inspired me, is what I was going for there.

It all happened when I did an internship during library school, and because so many of my classmates were doing internships, I thought that we were all having these great mentor relationships where knowledge was being passed down from master to apprentice and we were all learning secret tricks of the trade and having someone be the wind beneath our wings and alla that. It was only later that I realized how lucky I was, that it was just luck and serendipity and that I should thank my Lucky Charms, purple horseshoes and all, for that experience.

Now that I work in a library, I see just how many opportunities we all have, as a profession, to mentor library students. And I'm sorry to say that it just doesn't happen a lot of the time. I know that we're all incredibly stretched for time. Plastic Man should've been a librarian for all the stretching we do. But I know what a profound difference that one mentor made in my career, so I wish I saw it more. There is a part of me that thinks (especially compared to the mentor I had): who the hell am I to teach someone else how to do this racket? I'm a baby librarian. How can I honestly look an MLS student in the eye and say "listen to my wisdom, Grasshopper"? But my plea to all of you librarians reading this is to go ahead and do it. Ok, maybe not a plea, exactly. A prompt. A suggestion. Befriend your interns. Be encouraging. Give them interview tips. I know it feels weird since you may not have that ten or twenty years of experience, but you still have something to give them. You have the job, don't you? So you must know something. Well, maybe you do, maybe you don't. I guess I shouldn't assume. But just do something mentor-y for an MLS student. I don't know, yell "HOO-AHH! at them Al Pacino style. Tell them to wax on, wax off. Something.

All I know is, I think I owe just as much of my librarian education to my mentor as I do to library school, and all he did was talk to me a bunch about what he does, what he thinks, and conveyed a sense of confidence in me and my abilities that I started to believe in. If this cool librarian thinks I am worth his time, that does a lot. I would stand up on my desk and say "Oh captain, my captain" for that experience. Well, maybe, depending on the shoes I was wearing. At any rate, mentor someone. It'll make someone feel all Clairol and "I'm worth it."

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl

Monday, January 23, 2006

Cool it now

There are many things that I wish I could put on my resume as a professional librarian; things that reflect skills that are essential to why I kick ass at work every day. One of those is that I have de-escalatory talents. I am a de-escalator. This does not mean that you can step on me and be whisked down to the MAC counter at Nordstrom. Chances are I am already there anyway. All it means is that I have a way of de-escalating high tension situations. This skill hasn't been tested on anything truly dangerous or anything. If Samuel Jackson takes some hostages, you should still call Kevin Spacey to get them out. But I can, at least usually, diffuse a situation where someone starts to work themselves into a spinny Tasmanian Devil tantrum over their fines, their computer problems, their frustration with our catalog, or whatever it is. This is a skill that any librarian that works with the public or in any form of customer service will develop over time, if they realize how much easier it makes things run. But recently I just recognized that I already had this skill developed, way before library school, and it would have been nice to have tooted my own horn about it before now. It's one of my skeels that pays the beels.

I realized this about myself Friday night, at a party I threw for Nordic Boy's birthday. I rented a private room at a club, where we had a bunch of people come to eat, drink, and play pool. That's right, no velvet rope for this librarian. At the beginning of the night, a few minutes before people started arriving, a drunk, fratty-looking dude stumbled into the room. He decided to give me and two of my friends some lip about something, and as soon as he started, I went into librarian mode. I meet the person's eyes, am not intimidated, and radiate my calm-down-it's-all-good-just-back-it-up power rays. And the dude talked himself out of his slurry huff, put his dander down, and backed out of the room and out of our grills. Come to think of it, my friends were giving it to him too. It was a three-pronged attack. After the incident, I realized it didn't jar me at all. Because I do this at work almost daily. And I don't know where I learned it.

Maybe it comes from having three siblings in my house when growing up and being smaller than all of them. Nothing will teach you how to de-escalate a situation like three people twice your size that are looking for an excuse to kick your ass, or at least sit on you and let one rip. Maybe it's from going to a high school with its share of rough and shady characters, two of which were my friends A. and J., girls that got into fist fights regularly when shown the slightest bit of disrespect. After they got into a tussle at a club one night in 11th grade which resulted in A. tackling some girl off of a dancing platform (ah, my classy past) and breaking her arm, my powers of de-escalation got kicked up even higher in order to help us all avoid future similar situations. Or maybe it was working retail in a mall that sold bridal accessories and dealing with that customer who ordered a BEADED cloth mailbox that would hold wedding cards but got a SILK, NON-BEADED one instead. She put her head down on the counter and cried her eyes out over that one, and it was up to me to calm her down. And I channeled my powers and got it done, no problem. "Missy got somethin to say I ride down the block and de-escalate, bling bling all in your face..." Missy Elliot was talking about librarians, not Escalades, I swear.

So if you have powers of de-escalation, if you can diffuse high emotions by silently willing someone into Serenity Now, consider librarianship. Your powers will be flexed daily.

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Claiming Lewis Skolnick

I am not a nerd.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. I'm just not one.

Maybe this is like Dick Nixon stating that he wasn't a crook, but just hear me out on this one. Over the past few years, I have noticed a trend. People who are clearly not nerds proclaiming their nerdiness. They are conflating the notion of being smart with being a nerd. Or knowing minute facts about a particular subject with being a nerd. Or being technologically savvy with being a nerd. Or spending their professional life in academic pursuits with being a nerd. This is not nerdiness people. We're diluting the idea of what a nerd is down to meaninglessness and taking away from those who can rightfully claim the moniker.

Librarians are especially fond of being loud and proud about their nerdom. The reasoning goes like this: "Librarians are smart and often fastidious. Nerds are smart and often fastidious. Librarians are nerds. I am a librarian. Thus, I am a nerd." Nah-uh. Basil Rathbone would smack you silly with his tweed deerstalker for that argument.

I was at a swanky bar the other night with a group of young, hot, gussied up librarians and there it was again. Someone knew an obscure-ish fact. "God! Librarians are such a bunch of nerds! Look at us busting out with crazy facts like that! Who would do that? Only us! NERDS!" This followed by hearty, satisfied agreement and raised vodka martinis all around. Let me tell you something, ladies. Nerds do not hang out at exclusive, pretty-people establishments on a weeknight, wearing Franco Sarto boots and garnering lusty looks from passersby. That is not what a nerd is. There are TWO criteria for being a nerd. Off-the-charts brainy, yes. The other half of this is severe social awkwardness. It's a chocolate-and-peanut-butter situation. You've gotta have both to call it a Reese's.

So why do we do this? I have a few theories. One is that perhaps, in our dark and distant pasts, we were indeed a textbook nerd. Yes, people, I'm talking about high school. I realize that there is a virtual army of hot adults who were once metal-mouthed, , head-gear-having, shy, misunderstood social misfits. This is why some of us treat the nerdy teens that come to the library with a misty, nostalgic eye. Yes, I've seen you do it. But you've blossomed. That's not you! You're hot now, and those nerdy teens look at you and think that perhaps someday, they can grow up to be that cool librarian too.

My other theory is that librarians claim nerdiness because they are wanting to reclaim the word. Why does "nerd" have to have a negative connotation? Being the smart, quirky kid isn't a bad thing! Let's show the world how cool intelligence wins out over superficialities like shiny hair and a J-Lo shelf butt! Didn't Napoleon D. get a standing ovation for his weird-o dance and prove he was the coolest of all? Didn't Urkel win the heart of Laura? Yes, that is all true. But you can't claim it if you're not all in. Nerds pay the social price for their art. If you're bouncing through your life being all hot and gee-your-hair-smells-terrific, you're not taking the good with the bad. You reap the benefits of calling yourself a nerd (look how incredibly genius I am) without having to eat the downside. So all you're doing is making real nerds hate you. It's like the bony girls who are constantly harping on how fat they are. Non-Skeletor girls want to tear them a new one.

Third theory: librarians tend to have a bit of a rebellious streak. We identify with the underdog, the downtrodden, the misfits. And nerds are our perfect champion cause. They love the library. They love us. They are misfits that hang out in our place of business. We love them, we stand up for them. Fight the power! But that doesn't mean we are one of them. (For the record, it doesn't mean we AREN'T one of them either. There are nerdy librarians for sure. Just not as many as we claim). So feeling rebellious against the power of Paris-Hilton-culture isn't enough to make you a nerd. James Dean wasn't a nerd. Johnny Rotten isn't either. Joan Jett, nope. Sorry.

Good old Merriam-Webster put it like this: "an unstylish, unattractive, or socially inept person; especially : one slavishly devoted to intellectual or academic pursuits."

Yes, I just quoted the dictionary. Call me a nerd if you wish. I just won't answer to it.

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Purple Persuasion

I am in love with movies. All kinds of movies. From black and white silents and onwards. When I read that essay by Sherman Alexie where he talks about loving movies more than books, I was feeling that, yo. I get movies from the library, and from the chain video store, and the cool independent movie wearhouse, and from Netflix. All at the same time. I have no excuses for this, it's just who I am. That's the preface to this entry. I confess- I'm a librarian who's more filmish than bookish.

We went to the chain conglomerate-y video palace to get some flicks for last night (and I don't usually use the word "flicks" but I thought I would try it to convey our jaunty mood). Because we had both cried our eyes out the night before at "Brokeback Mountain," we wanted to go a little on the lighter side of Sears. Ok, a lot lighter. We went with "40-Year-Old-Virgin." We grabbed a Dr. Pepper out of the snack area (Nordic Boy's favorite beverage, can you believe that?) and took it up to the counter with the movie. All I can say to describe the woman behind the counter is that she always has these scary, super strong looking, I-could-kill-you, dark purple four-inch fingernails. All I can think of when I look at them is that they're like Deathstrike's blade-hands in the second X-Men movie. She looked at us cheerfully, held up the Dr. Pepper and said "Would you like to get two of these for the price of two?" We both paused. Nordic Boy gave her his patented Russell Crowe stare, which looks kind of sultry but actually conveys mild confusion. "Don't you mean two for the price of one?" he said. "No. Two-for-two. Would you like two-for-two?" She seems completely at ease with this exchange. Again, there was a pause. I chimed in next. "Is there some discount if we buy two?" She seemed kind of unimpressed with us, and said "I'm just saying that you can get two-for-two. Do you want two-for-two?" Simultaneously, defeated, we both said "No. Thanks."

So this got me thinking. Could this be a new marketing strategy that we can steal for use in the library? The Stating-the-Obvious-As-If-It's-A-Special" model? When strolling the stacks, we could approach patrons and say: "would you like to get a book for your personal use for three weeks absolutely FREE?" or we could have the folks at circulation say "would you like to have the option of paying two dollars in fines or just a couple of bucks?" or we could say "we're having a special today; unlimited reference questions answered right at this desk, while you wait!"

I think it could work. And Deathstrike fingernails for all staff members.

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl

Friday, January 13, 2006

Would you be mine?

I am a huge proponent of neighborliness. Mr. Rogers taught me well. Being a good neighbor like State Farm is a great thing. Almost as pleasurable as being in Good Hands. The pinnacle of my own personal neighbor-satisfaction was a few years ago, when BFF Biology Girl lived down the street with Baby Jenny (not really a baby, but really a Jenny), and Neighbor J and B lived right next door. We called our building The Commune, because it was all about the open-door-policy. It was like all those sitcoms where all your friends are right there all the time and you traipse in and out of each others' apartments, unlocked doors and all. Friends and Seinfeld and alla that. Neighbor J and I would talk on the phone, and when we'd laugh really hard we could hear each other through the wall as well as through the phone. I'd flip channels and if a really good Doris Day movie came on (as if there could be a bad Doris Day movie), I'd knock on the wall and Neighbor J and B would come right over, Red Rover, and Biology Girl would walk over within 10 minutes. We'd all eat ice cream in the yard on summer nights. As Edith and Archie would say: "those were the daaaaaaays."

Lately, I've been in a bit of a neighbor dry spell. All my neighbor pals have moved away, but Neighbor J and B will always be Neighbors Emeritus. Now, to the left of us, we've got Meatman. No, this is not anything as interesting as a porn star. We call him Meatman because he grills a big slab o' meat on his front balcony EVERY DAY. Rain or shine. Winter or summer. He also has two sons. One named Hunter and the other named Gunner. Meaty names. (Biology Girl was quick to point out that had Gunner been born a girl, she may have been named Gatherer). To the right of us we have Scittish and Scaredy. A cool looking couple about my age, who I thought maybe had friendship potential. But every time Nordic Boy (my paramour) or I would approach them for a friendly neighborhood "hello," they looked at us like we were Chucky and Bride of Chucky, mumbled "hi," looked down, and scurried inside. And trust me, Nordic Boy and I are not scary people. I chalk it up to my blinding beauty. It's like looking into the sun.

Scittish and Scaredy have recently moved. We've got new neighbors. They've invited us over for dessert. Could it be neighborly meow meow neighborhood time again, meow?

Stay tuned.
Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Ice Ice Baby

It's mid-way through January, and I'm starting my annual freak out. The reason is simple: I'm cold. I've been cold since the end of October and it's starting to make me want to put on my crazypants. This happens to me every year and I'm about to cry ice cubes like that penguin from Hoboken in the Bugs Bunny cartoon.

I've also started asking myself: why did I get into a profession that invariably has cold, drafty buildings? Libraries are not warm places. There is a reason why librarians are especially fond of cardigans and have coffee breath, and that's because we're all trying to keep warm. (Not that I have fallen prey to the Cardigan Monster. Honey, please.) I know cool, dry air is good for the books, blah blah blah. At this point, screw the damn books, I'm FROZEN. I want to come in from the blustery winter day and be warm. Is that too damn much to ask????? (Calm down, Librarian Girl, calm down).

Ok, so I can't entirely blame libraries. I am what they call cold-blooded. I'm not happy unless it is 70 degrees or higher. 65 degrees means pants-every-day weather, and I am a skirt kind of girl. In high school, my friends used to sing that Paula Abdul song when they saw me coming: "she's a cold-hearted sna-ake, look into her eyes..." and I would grin and chatter my teeth to the beat. I have made life-changing decisions, like moving across the country away from everything I knew and loved, based on getting away from the friggin' cold. I blame my genetic code; I am a mere one-generation away from living in a tropical paradise, and my body is pissed off at being brought to the great American tundra. I know I'm whining right now, but I can't help it. I'm Joel Fleishmann stuck in Cicely, and I'm starting to lose it.

So let me just get it all out of my system, and maybe I'll feel better. The library is drafty, with outside winds bursting through the door and right onto us reference penguins, keeping us looking easy-breezy-beautiful for the public. The reference desktop is made from some Flinstones-like stone slab that actually looks sleek and fancy (thumbs up) but makes me go all Dr. Zhivago whenever I have to touch it. 50% of the time the furnace is all messed up, so it often blows icy air through the vents instead of warmth. And top that all off with a generous helping of angry, cold-crazed patrons that come up to yell at us about turning up the heat and you've got a recipe for Cool Whip topping over iceberg lettuce.

I don't care- I'm not breaking down and donning a holiday knit sweater or crushed velvet Renaissance-Fair pants. Will not happen. I'll just work myself into a froth about how cold I am and my irrational igloo-rage will keep me warm.

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl

Monday, January 09, 2006

Not reference questions

Make note. The following are not reference questions. I'm not saying you can't say them. They're just not reference questions.

1. Where are you from? (Derivatives: Are you American? Are you [insert exotic ethnicity here]?
2. You speak English very well.
3. Your knowledge of American culture is impressive.
4. Were you born here?
5. Are you married?
6. Are you a student librarian?
7. Are you from Iraq? (although similar to #1, this one is so special it gets its own number).
8. I just want you to know I am totally against the war.
9. Are you Muslim?
10. I totally have a thing for librarians.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Granny got carded

Remember the days when not being carded in a bar was a scrumptious event? I dated this guy when we were both 19, and he had this mature look about him, and he never got carded. I was rabidly jealous of him. It turned me Bunsen-Honeydew-green.

Well, those days are over. The scales have tipped. Now it's a toss-up: sometimes I'll get carded and sometimes I won't. And I realized that I'm on the Flo Jo fast track to never-being-carded-land and not feeling too excited about the trip.

Don't get me wrong, I am still a sweet young thang. I play "Oh My" by Tweet regularly and sing the "buttery brown" part extra loud. But I had two rounds of Will I Be Carded in the past three days, and they were so different, I can tell I am in a unique position. Equal parts Mrs. Robinson and Elaine. What day of my life will these two parts be EXACTLY 50-50? I think it was this week.

Scenario One: I meet a friend at a bar/restaurant for lunch two days ago. Before seating us, the hostess says "You want to sit in the bar? You better have your ID with you, girls!" followed by a booming Vincent Price laugh to indicate that she was SO kidding. Her glaring subtext was "Grandma Moses and Aunt Bee here are so far past 21 that they need their bifocals to see it!" My friend and I laughed politely.

Scenario Two: Before seeing a play last night, the Neighbors and I went to dinner. The waiter asked to see my ID, and I was just a little too excited to show it to him. I'm dangerously close to being an ID hussy, showing it all around. He looked at my birthdate and said "oh! you're older than I am!" which took away from my rejoicing a little bit, but he followed up with "you've got such a young face." Nice save, my son.

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl

Friday, January 06, 2006

Say what?

Recently, a reader of this blog from Australia described my blog as being "piss-take." Not knowing what this phrase was, I looked it up (shocking behavior for a librarian, I know).

A piss-take is British\Australian slang, meaning to mock, or make something look silly.

I'm really relieved. I was afraid it was related to a spit take.

Library Confidential

I've got some big secrets, and they mostly end up in my "requests" queue on my personal library account.

Now don't go getting all Rummy Rumsfeld on me or anything. I'm not talking about getting books about how to make a bomb out of jello salad, carob chips, and O'Doul's, Macgyver-style. My secrets are much more sordid, and as a librarian and a staff person, they are right out there for all my co-workers to see.

The patrons at my branch get to have self-pick-up on their requests. This means that they can order whatever items they want from the public library's extensive Prince-of-Darkness collection (get behind me, Harry Potter), and come to the library where they can pick it up without the help of a clerk, go to Self-Checkout, and then spread their hoary wings and fly away with a harpsichord strummy sound like Agnes Moorhead always got in Bewitched.

This is not how it works when you actually work at the library, however. As the requests come in, the clerks scan them and if they recognize your name, they just put the item right in your inbox in the staff mailroom. No Self-Checkout for us! So there, right there, RIGHT THERE, are all my unmentionables for all my co-workers to see. My Vagina Monologues book, right next to my Little House on the Prairie series DVD, adjacent to Mimi getting Emancipated. This is worse than letting Anthony Michael Hall show his geeky friends my skivvies. There's nothing like the moment where I go up to my box (there's always, always someone else there too) and nonchalantly gather up my Solid Gold Dancers workout DVD (ok, I'm making up that example- I actually own that one) to put into my sophisticated Matt & Nat bag to take home. Priceless.

So you never know what us brainy, hipster librarians are using the library for. Unless you're one of my co-workers.

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl

Thursday, January 05, 2006

2005 Miscellany

Highlights and Lowlights of 2005

My first full year of being a librarian. All my colleagues keep asking me what my "5 Year Plan" is. The only 5-year-plan I have is to plot how I can get a good deal on an Alice Temperley outfit-- does that count? I'm thinking of adopting the answer that Madonna gave to Dick Clark on American Bandstand. "What's next for you?" "To rule the world."

My gray hair used to just grow in near my right temple, leaving me petrified that I was going to have a skunk stripe, a la Cruella De Ville. 2005 brought grays to my left side. Bye, Cruella. Hello, Bride of Frankenstein. I love you, Clairol.

I found myself a heartbeat away from telling a group of teen girls in the library to "simmer down." I was on the precipice of becoming glasses-on-a-chain-library-lady. Fortunately, I can get shushing results without crossing that line. At least for 2005.

I spent a weekend with my two oldest friends in Chicago. I brought along my high school journal to read aloud to them. Typical exchange went like this:
Me: (from the journal) "...he's so hot! I wish I could jump his bones!"
Them: (one squeezing my arm, the other clapping her hands, both shouting proudly) "AND YOU DID! YOU DID!"
This is emblematic of why I love them.

My two BFFs and I did some guestimating and figured we've spent a total of around 20 full days talking on the phone to each other in 2005. I swear to god I'm not 15. Really.

I still feel like the new kid at the ref desk, not in terms of ability, just in terms of seniority. I thought I would get over that after one year, but compared to the other librarians who have been around for 20-35 years, I'm going to be the baby for a while.

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Librarian Fashionista Dependencies

They say the first step is admitting you have a problem. I have a problem. It's co-shopping. It's like crack. I'm like a fancily-dressed Tyrone Biggums.

There are two forms of co-shopping that I have identified so far. The first is Supportive Shopping. I did a whole mess of that this past Monday. Neighbor J just got a new job and needed fabulous new work clothes. So I went along to be supportive, right? I may as well have been a Cross-Your-Heart for all the supporting I was doing that day. No matter that I already have a closet full of luscious duds. No matter that the girlies working at the three-story Anthropologie have more snoot than Mr. Belvedere (probably because they need to eat a sandwich, yo). Supportive shopping is not great for the pocketbook, but it's so damn gooood. Might-make-you-impotent kind of good. Seriously, it's good. Try it, you'll like it.

Next is Personal Shopper shopping. This is when your friends ask you (because you're such a fashionista librarian-- oops, wait, that's me) to help them break out of their rut and help them choose an outfit. No wonder Carson Kressley is always so damn chipper. Dressing someone is fun. Almost as fun as undressing someone. It's like lifesize Barbie playtime (the dressing someone, not the undressing-- don't be disgusting). I'm starting to be convinced that this is my true calling. Screw this librarian racket, I need to be dressing people. Personal Shopper shopping has the added bonus of not making me broke. The downside is that it can easily lead to Supportive Shopping. It's a gateway drug.

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Why Meetings Suck

Who the hell was the person who created corporate meetings? That dude was one boring mo-fo. I'm not really even supposed to be part of the "corporate" model, but that florescent-lighting meeting format is not just for the suits any more. Even the granola-munching, blue hair having, free-stuff-giving, slightly Pinko library crowd is getting their Powerpoint on. How did this happen?

I spent my first day back in Libraryland after the holidays at a five hour meeting. At first glance, you might think that the problem lies in the fact that it was five frigging hours. Ok, you may have a point. You may also think that once you have a group of well-read, well-researched, opinionated smartypants librarians in a room, it's not surprising that the scene starts to resemble a room full of Brainy Smurfs, each lecturing the next. Ok, another point well taken. Still, to me, it's more about the way in which we spent those five hours that makes my eyes glaze over from the overuse of the phrase "deliverables and outcomes" and my nostrils dry up from the dry-erase marker dust. It's all those meeting-accoutrements that make it a big old snoozefest.

All this Gareth and David Brent stuff doesn't belong in Libraryland, people. Let's blaze a new trail. There is a smaller group of us that meet regularly, and we always go to a coffee shop to chat it up. No giant Post-Its. No badge required to scan yourself into the room. No process-mapping (whatever the hell that is). I promise you, there is a direct correlation between ass-numbing chairs and mind-numbing meetings. I know what's going on here-- this stuff is creeping into places it doesn't belong. My marine biologist friend has these meetings. My theatre friends have these meetings. My designer friends have these meetings. My construction friends have these meetings. These places are not Wall Street and I'll be damned if I'm Charlie Sheen. Do you want to be Charlie Sheen? I didn't think so.

Go to a coffee shop, kick your feet up, be creative. Gray walls are not good for the soul.

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl

Sunday, January 01, 2006

New Year 2006

Ok, party people, it was New Year's Rockin' Eve. Dick's dropping his ball in Times Square and we're all invited to watch. I know what I said in my last entry, but New Year's was a bit less low-key. The big midnight moment inspires me to put a little more effort in. I got gussied up in some finery, got my hair did, and prepared to whoop it up. I showed up at a party at the Neighbors' abode where Neighbor J and B had put out a spread complete with a retro relish tray and a gigantic jug of Canadian Club whiskey donated to the party by the elderly couple across the street, who apparently think us young hipsters roll like Deano, Sammy, and Blue Eyes.

In a party of folks who range from closer-than-family to never-met-you-before and everywhere in between, a funny thing happens at the stroke of midnight. As we count down the seconds, the power of New Year's tradition unites us all in anticipation. We all know what to do-- we count and wait for the fireworks display outside of the Neighbors' window as we stand in the dimmed room. When we get to "Zero!" we all yell "Happy New Year!" and those of us with some arm-candy get a smooch to bring in the year. As soon as that moment is over, the unison of action breaks apart and we all start stumbling around like the Borg after Picard and Data kill the Queen. Admit it- you don't know the protocol here. Do you give a warm, unselfconsious hug to the dude you just met tonight that happens to be standing next to you? Do you stick your hand out for the handshake (a favorite amongst the boys) only to be met with open arms a la Steve Perry? Do you stand awkwardly and try to not make eye contact with those that you find unhuggable? Do you go for the platonic kiss on the cheek and risk missing and landing your liplock on someone's ear? It's like the end of a first date with an entire party full of people.

Here's what I say. Lube up your tonsils with some Canadian Club and pucker up your chops. Spread it around like Peter Lawford at the Sands. It's New Year's. Ring a ding ding.

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl