Archive for the ‘ Tales From the Library ’ Category

Coming Soon to a Library Near You – Pitchapalooza!

  You’ve heard the rumors. You’ve seen the signs. Now the moment you’ve all been waiting for is here…


 People from all over migrate to wherever the famed Book Doctors are presenting to garner words of wisdom and helpful tips on how to break into the world of publishing. You may even be one of the lucky ones to give a one-minute pitch to a panel of judges at the event.

Past pitch winners have gone on to meet agents and editors and even sell their books. Gennifer Albin won during a Pitchapalooza event at a packed house at the Kansas City Public Library March 2011 and went on to sell her YA dystopian three-arc series for six figures! (The first, Crewel, is set to be released Fall 2012.) Talk about a testimony to the power of Pitchapalooza and the Book Doctors!

Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry, the Book Doctors, co-wrote The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published, which is filled with valuable information and guiding tools. Anyone who purchases a book at a Pitchapalooza event will receive a 20 minute phone consultation with Eckstut & Sterry. So even if you don’t get a chance to pitch during Pitchapalooza, you can still benefit from both the wisdom of the book and the suggestions from a one-on-one consultation.

Together with my helpful colleagues I am pleased to announce Pitchapalooza is coming to the Bridgewater Public Library, Bridgewater, NJ. It will be held on March 1, 2012, from 7-8:30pm. Registration is FREE but required and is limited to the first 80 people (the list is currently at 25). You can register HERE. Refreshments will be served.

So come with your pitch and leave with some great information on breaking into the publishing world!

Tales From the Library

As I’ve said before there are many, many patrons of the library who are kind and respectful and courteous and pleasant. But a story about somehow who comes up to the desk and offers to donate some books or settle up their 20 cent fine because “they don’t want us thinking badly about them” really don’t make for sensational stories. The stories I enjoy telling are the ones that are so ludicrous that you can’t help but laugh.

Here’s a recent favorite:

A man walks up to the circulation desk and asks that I personally check in his DVDs while he is standing there so he can make sure they are off his account. Fine. I understand that the library can make mistakes and if I have the time to acquiesce I have no problem doing so. Now, this patron always has a pile of new DVDs to be checked in which means that they will inevitably be on hold for another patron. This means that every time I check an item in it takes longer because I then have to fill out a slip of paper and send it on to the next patron. Also not a big deal, it just takes more time.

The one day that he asks me to do this however is a day that we were slammed with work. I mean lines of patrons, holds to be processed, heaps of books waiting to be checked in, etc. So I politely ask this gentleman if I could check them after I was finished helping the line of patrons so they wouldn’t have to wait as long. No, that was not okay, he said. So rather than dealing with a tirade, which he was brewing up to have, and wasting more time I checked in his items.

Once that was finished he gave me his wife’s library card to pick up her holds. I grabbed them from the hold shelf and returned to the front desk. He sorted through them and asked where such and such DVD was because it had said “In Transit” this morning and really should be there by now. I told him, still cool, calm and collected, that items “In Transit” don’t necessarily get in that same day. He said, well I just returned one that you checked in and it wasn’t due yet so can I have that back? I replied, the same DVD your wife is waiting for is one you just returned? Yes, he said, she likes to have her own copy to watch.


After I told the man that because he wanted me to check his items in, they were now promised to whatever patron is next on the list and no, he couldn’t have the DVD back. He wasn’t happy but my boss had my back and he left (somewhat) quietly.

At least it keeps life interesting! 🙂 Until next time…

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Tales From the Library

Super Librarian and the Ghosts in the Rafters

Yet another inexplicable occurrence that has left me with only one logical conclusion – ghosts are invading the library.

Here’s what happened:

For many years there was a gentleman who volunteer his time to shelve items for the library. Because these items were mostly videos and DVDs, he was dubbed with the moniker of Video Bob. Now Video Bob was elderly and got sick and, I’m sorry to say, passed away. His presence was greatly missed and our lovely staff even made a sign for one of the carts that says “In Memory of Video Bob.”

There are many patrons and staff who love the library and when they pass on they will sometimes leave a legacy of donated books or money or something to that effect. Not Video Bob, he’s decided to leave himself. I first noticed him one day a few months ago. While working at the desk I saw something moving out of the corner of my eye. Our library, which was recently renovated, has very high, contemporary ceilings complete with wrap around windows and long hanging lights. When I looked up from my work I noticed that one of these lights was swinging on its cables. Back and forth, back and forth.

Well, it was probably a draft you say. Maybe the vents were making it move you say. Normally I would agree with you except for a couple of odd things – one, the lights only began to swing after Video Bob had left this world, two, whenever it happens it is only ONE light at a time and I’ve seen different ones move on different days and three, the force that the light is swinging looks like someone is hanging on it and pumping back and forth making it arc wildly. They move so fast that several patrons have come up to us and asked if they were safe because it looks like the light may snap the cables it’s hanging from.

While I do think I have a very healthy imagination from all my years of reading, all these are true facts sans embellishment. And while I haven’t seen Video Bob chilling on the stacks reading a novel, I do think his presence lives on at our library.

Thus concludes this week’s Tales From the Library!

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Tales From the Library

People are funny.

Every time I think I’ve seen everything, some unique individual wows me with their creativity.

This past week my supervisor let me know that from now on any time we see a handwritten note on a CD or DVD label we are to give it to someone to create a new label. For example, through the course of borrowing a disc might go missing or the insert to a CD case. Most times after the issue is resolved but the item in questionable is lost, the circulation staff will make a note on the label that such and such is missing. This new policy however will do away with that method.

Why? Because a patron noticed that we wrote on the labels and when she lost a CD in the set she borrowed she wrote “1 CD missing” on the label before she returned it!

Clever, clever patron.

The lengths people will go to as to not accrue a fine. Amazing.

Tales from the Library

While I do tend to find the most bizarre and irresponsible stories to share with you, there are also wonderful stories as well. Most people who come through the library are kind and friendly and appreciate the library and all the resources we provide. They’re just not quite as fun to write about. 🙂

Here’s a fun story that made me smile:

A little boy about four or five came into the library with his grandmother. The grandmother was there to pick up a DVD that the little boy had been waiting for. Problem was, the item was on her granddaughter’s library card and she was in school. Because of NJ privacy laws pertaining to library accounts, we need either the card or the child in order to access the account and as the grandmother had neither we were unable to check out the DVD to her.

When the grandmother, who was very understanding, relayed this information to her grandson, he looked at her in all seriousness and said, “Well, I guess we have to pick her up early today then.”

Enjoy your Thursday! 😀

Tales From the Library

Tales From the Library presents:

The Case of the Bad Liar

Starring: Me as the Library Superhero

Bad Guy as the Big Fat Liar

and Book as the Innocent Bystander

It was a dark and stormy day

It started out like any other day

My day had been going well until Big Fat Liar showed up, then it got even better.

I was at the circulation desk, minding my own business (okay, not really, but what kind of Library Superhero would I be if I said I was bored and looking for a rumble?), when in walked Big Fat Liar, although I didn’t know it at the time. He sidles up to the desk (as any good villain would) and asks if I can demands that I renew his three books. I politely oblige. At the final book a pop-up message appears telling me that there is supposed to be a CD included inside the back cover. I, being the diligent librarian that I am, flip open the back cover only to discover that – EGAD! – there is NO CD! Horrors. I proceed to inquire if the CD is perhaps still at home waiting to be returned upon its new due date. No, Big Fat Liar says, there was no CD in the book when I checked it out. Hmmmm…Well, I said, there’s a message on the item letting our staff know that there is a CD and thus it wouldn’t have been checked out sans this important element. Oh, said Big Fat Liar. Yes, he said, there was a CD, but it was broken and there was NO WAY he was going to stick that thing in his CD player so he just (DRAMATIC PAUSE) – threw it away. !!!! Yes, folks, he just threw it away, because that’s just what you do when you want to GET RID OF THE EVIDENCE.


I told him he could pay for it when he returns his items (like he’s ever coming back!) and put a message on his account – because that’s just how librarians roll. Bad ass, I know.

I was just happy that this time an adult lied straight to my face, he at least didn’t have his kids with him.

Until next time! 🙂

Tales From the Library

It’s time again for more Tales From the Library!

In our exciting episode this week, a young heroine saves the day (again) and a crisis is averted.

I love it when things go missing at the library. Not to toot my own horn (why do people say that? one, someone always follows that statement with exactly what they said they weren’t going to do and two, it sounds kinda dirty), but I believe one of my super abilities is to find missing books at the library. I’m like one of those drug sniffing dogs except I find books instead of crack and I don’t sit or bark when I’ve located the item in question. Yesterday, a colleague was trying for a while to find a missing hold for a patron. Frustrated, and aware of my special talents, she asked me to lend an extra set of eyes. Our hold shelves are probably about six shelves high and wrap around the back of the circulation area, so there are several hundred holds at any given time. I walked over to an area and pulled out the hold! It was a W shelved with the S’s and totally hidden among the other holds. After my colleague got over her shock and awe, she told me I had planted it there just to seem special.  🙂

If only I could market these abilities somehow…

This has been another episode of Tales From the Library! Tune in next week for the Case of the Bad Liar.

Tales From the Library

It’s been another glorious week at the library. Ever since school’s been back in session the chaos has diminished and the craziness has died down a bit.

This, however, doesn’t mean that there aren’t still crazy people coming in every day. Although these interesting people aren’t always fun to deal with, they always make for a good story.

And the #1 Crazy Person at the Library Award goes to….(drum roll, please)….

Book Sale Lady!

(clap, clap, clap, clap!)

Yesterday, it was fifteen minutes before closing time and I went to our book sale area to turn off the light. (There are several patrons who enjoy perusing said book sale until the very last minute and bringing their multitude of books up to the circulation desk for us to count. This is typically followed by them proceeding to count out their dimes, nickels and pennies only to find they don’t have enough money and have to choose some items to part ways with. The process leaves us closing late and not as pleasant as when we first started work. Hence, the early book sale closing.)

I shut off the light and pushed gently ushered the last occupant out letting her know that the book sale was officially closed for the day, but that she was more than welcome to stop back again tomorrow.

Her response? “Ok! My son is on his honeymoon making a baby for me!”

Didn’t see that one coming, huh? Yeah, me neither.

What can you say to that?

This has been another episode of Tales From the Library! Tune in next week for more dastardly deeds and the Library Goddess that has to rescue everyone…

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Tales From the Library

I wore two new hats as a librarian this week:

Animal Rescuer:

A tiny, tiny snapping turtle – this thing was the size of a quarter – showed up on the library doorstep the other day, lost and afraid. Ok, I don’t really know if he/she was afraid, but looked nervous! Fortunately, a co-worker saw the little guy before it was stepped on and called me over. I picked it up and I was instantly surrounded by a cluster of librarians inquiring about my new friend. A rescue posse was quickly formed. The turtle was consequently put in a small dish and walked down to a nearby creek to live another happy turtle day.

Bank Teller:

A twelve year old and his grandmother walk up to the circulation desk. The grandmother nudges her grandson and kind of sidles away without looking at me. The boy waves a hundred dollar bill at me and asks if we could give him smaller bills for it. I check the drawer to see if we have any change and another librarian says we should probably check with our boss first. She laughs and says – No, we’re a library, not a bank! I tell the kid and he and the grandma go about their business. Good thing too – later I learn that there had been several fake hundreds being pawned off at various stores around the area!

Okay, not really. That would have been a much better ending, but reality is not always that exciting. 🙂

Until next time!

Tales from the Library

And now it’s time for…TALES FROM THE LIBRARY!

I understand that a lot of how people react and interact with others at the library is circumstantial. Maybe your cat just passed on to feline heaven, or your brood of twelve children is especially rowdy today, or you just got yet another speeding ticket. But there’s a certain decorum that is expected when one enters a library. It is, after all, a hallowed place of peace for those seeking both refuge and a certain hopeful degree of enlightenment. But for those of you who have had a particular bad day or are at their wits end and forget those key rules of etiquette when visited your library, I have compiled a list. I call it:

Runner Sami’s Top Ten Non-Negotiable Rules of Library Etiquette

1. Never, ever put your child on the circulation desk (or any desk for that matter). This leads to (sadly, I say this from experience): being sneezed, coughed, spit and snotted upon, not to mention those parents who seem to have forgotten what a loaded diaper smells like before plopped said diaper disguised as a child on the desk.

2. When your partner/child/septuagenarian grandmother is across the library, please don’t scream at them to come over because you’re checking out.

3. When the first, second, and last calls are being made warning you that the library is closing, please heed these calls. There’s no reason fifty people should be lined up with piles of books/DVDs/CDs when the lights are dimmed because the librarians are going home.

4. Always check inside your books for pictures, checks, cash, thermometers, baseball cards, and toilet paper BEFORE you return them to the library.

5. Stop taking covered hardback books to the beach. Please.

6. Get chance for the copier/printer before coming to the library, so you won’t have to ask us every time if we can break your hundred.

7. There’s no need to scream and pitch a fit at your librarian. Despite what you seem to believe, we are NOT out to get you for twenty cents. We have much more important things to do then plot ways we can piss you off and ruin your important life.

8. Gum is best chewed quietly in a closed mouth. Chomping does nothing to expedite the checking out process.

9. For the love of all that is decent in this world, please don’t put fifty items on hold then wait for them to expire before coming in to get them only to put them back on hold.

And finally,

10. Under no circumstances should you send your six-year-old child to inquire about the fines on your card. Shame, shame on you!

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