Thursday, June 16, 2005

For Johnnie

...from whom one can always count on asking questions of a certain type:

1. In a recent e-mail exchange with an pre-blog acquaintance of mine, she wrote: "I think teachers are the third-sexiest professionals, after librarians and researchers. All three categories seem so prim and proper…you just know there is something mad and erotic seething underneath." Would you agree or disagree with this assessment, in general? Why or why not?
Well, let's see, in my immediate family, there are at least 4 teachers (or former teachers) and three librarians. No researchers. Are we/they all sexy? No. Are some of us/them sexy? Yes. Actually, the former teachers are uniformly unsexy; I think the profession takes a lot out of you over time. No, I think this is a broad generalization that, like all generalizations, is somewhat true, mostly false, and silly in the extreme.

"Mad and erotic"? Yeah. I'll definitely give you mad. Erotic is also quite likely: it's all those dirty books we've read, and dirty websites we find people using.

So yeah librarians can be sexy. As can teachers and researchers. Our brains are VERY sexy.
2. Are there any public libraries that keep p0rn videos in circulation?
Depends on your definition of p0rn. But generally, no. Too much (potential) flak from the members of the community to bother with it. Well, actually, I should qualify this by saying "none that I know of." People who need their p0rn can go to one of the three video stores in town for it, anyway.
3. Have you, or any other librarian you know, been the victim of a librarian stalker?
Stalker, as in being followed home, etc.? Yes, actually, one of our staff members was stalked by a guy she knew in college. I doubt it was because she works in a library, though. Another staff member has had several reasons to call the police because of strange people in her vicinity, one of whom stole her car from the staff parking lot, but again, I doubt it had anything to do with the library.

If you mean a librarian-who-stalks, no. We're too busy to stalk and (usually) put too much faith in the whole privacy concept to consider following members of the public around. Plus, we tend to know FAR too much about said people to want to follow them around anyway!
4. What is the most dramatic thing that’s ever happened at the library in which you are employed?
Well, there was the guy who went into a diabetic coma which we only noticed when he wouldn't get up from the chair--or wake up...or move--at closing time.

Then there was the guy who fell asleep on the toilet in the men's room. Actually, he was drunk and passed out sitting there.

There was the guy in the business suit asleep (passed out?) in the bushes outside the library doors.

And the Harry-Potter-hater who verbally assaulted multiple patrons for checking out the new book when it came out a couple of years ago.

Oh, and a circling of gang members prior to an actual fight in the New Books area last fall. Apparently we are prime gang territory. Woo-hoo for us!

And that's just this building. Other libraries I've worked at brought me in touch with a woman in a $25,000 fur who refused to pay a $5 fine and told her preschooler I was the 'mean lady' who wouldn't let her check out books; the guy who was jerking himself off in the Young Adult area while I was choosing books to read when I was 15; the sad, strange guy who told me all his family and marital problems while I shelf-read at age 16; the people who won't leave and threaten to call the police on us for forcing them out of the building on cold nights; the kids left at the library at closing time; the many, many patrons over the years who have shared very personal stories because they needed help solving them: just-discovered abuse of their child, diagnoses of horrible diseases, how to get a court order against one's children, how to contact family members at Christmas after years of lost contact because the guy is an [homeless] alcoholic (as evidenced by the strong smell of Thunderbird on his break), where to go when one's spouse beats you up, again....
5. How many books are in circulation at your library, and of those books, how many have you read?
I think the usual figure is something like 10-30% of the collection is in circ at any given moment. That makes at least 15,000 items checked out at any given time. About 75% of that circ volume is books, at least that's my guess. Think about it: that's 12,000 books.

Have I read 12,000 books? No, not in my lifetime, including picture books. Sadly enough, I've probably read only about 4,000 or so books in the past 40 years, including picture books, textbooks, and "for fun" books. When I meet someone who has read 12,000 books, I will definitely be willing to bow down and kiss their uncallused feet in homage.

I have, however, touched every item added to the collection in the past 2-1/2 years, and looked at a lot of pictures in those books. ;-)
These were definitely softballs. But kind of fun.

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