Fun times today at work with the safety orientation. It was all “lift with your legs,” “don’t lean off stepladders,” “tell people when you open trap doors behind them,” and “you can’t do an effective eyewash in a regular tap because it will be too cold for your eye over 20 minutes.” Plus there was a trunk monkey and horror stories of wading pool supervisors being set upon by feral 11-year-olds.
Of course paying much attention to that was kind of hard since management announced the dreaded library staff restructuring via email this morning. Between now and October all of the part-time packages are getting reposted in a grand ol’ free-for-all. Nobody gets to keep their current packages of hours/days. Everybody then reapplies for the new restructured (ie fewer guaranteed hours) packages across the board. So there’s no way in fuck I’ll be getting 17-28.5 hours/week anymore. I’ve heard that jobs downtown tend to get fewer applicants so I might be able to stay downtown, though I might be reassigned to a branch (ideally someplace close to home).
But there’s also the little fact that not only am I basically the most recent LSA3 to start working downtown, I haven’t worked enough hours as an LSA3 to be guaranteed a position as a 3. In the reapplication process I still count as a page. So as I understand it, I could conceivably end up being busted back down to bookstacker. Unless I get up to 800 hours (or whatever the seniority number is) before the reorganization happens, in which case I would have to get an LSA3 position, though it will undoubtedly be fewer hours than I get now. A coworker said he thinks they’ll need all the warm bodies they can get in the LSA3 positions so I probably don’t need to worry.
It’s good that the idea winter will return gives me more angst than this whole job-in-flux issue, isn’t it? I think it’s the proper perspective. I mean, this’ll work out fine; I’ll come out of this mess with a job and a bit less money but the snow will always return, vindictive and jealous of my petty victories in the frolicsome days.
Yesterday there was a huge (huge) pile of geeks using some of our rooms for a Silverlight vs Flash throwdown (organizer’s words). They had like a million pizzas to bring in. We had to open the emergency exit to the skywalk for them so the forklift could get through. The downside for the rest of the library was that everyone could smell the pizza. More than a few patrons went mad with the aroma. Of course they were patrons who rarely eat anyway, so twas to be expected. The saddest part of the evening was when all the geeks were leaving and so many of them were carrying pizza boxes with them. I’d harboured a smidge of hope that even a couple of hundred geeks couldn’t eat a million pizzas in just under three hours, and that surely there would be some leftovers for us hardworking staff who unlocked their doors and let them steal our mac adapters. But no. All the pizzas marched out the door. A coworker made a comment about how sometimes it was like we’d never been fed, how badly we wanted the leftovers of fragrantly delicious things. Well I hadn’t been fed yet that day. Their organizer gave us a leftover sixpack of diet coke. I took one home and saved it till tonight. It still tastes like ashes in my mouth, despite being about two-thirds whisky.
Today no one had food. Not even three weeks past due chocolate chip-pecan cookies like we sometimes get. Those come from a patron and no one never exactly knows why or wherefrom.
Tonight I debated the significance of using “no problem” as opposed to “your welcome” with a couple of pages on my way to drop off the cash. One of the pages was the not entirely sharp one I know I’ve mentioned and the other was a bright 19-year-old who was very nice about trying to include him in conversation, asking about least favourite words. She said she hated the word “moist” which is a fairly usual view, the internet tells me. He doesn’t like the word “were.” I felt bad pressing on that in the elevator with my: “You mean you don’t like the idea that things existed in the past, in groups? As individuals they’d be okay? Or is it the past you have issue with?” Of course that went over his head, and was probably just putting me in some sort of jerkass dick display. He followed up with “And what does ‘at’ mean anyway?” I managed to refrain from snideness.
I’m done paging. It was an uneventful final shift downtown. By the time I left I think most of the pages I’d ever spoken more than three words to knew I was done. And that is something I have no problem with people saying congratulations about.
Next week I get to delve into the world of actually answering people’s questions and having to know how to work the photocopier and such. Craziness may ensue (at the very least I’ll have more stuff to blog about).
Thursday was my second-last shift as a page and the library was closed due to a water main break or something. So my book-stacking time was very peaceful. Friday will be my last page shift (and I think the library will be open) then I start the new job on Tuesday.
At the library yesterday a young woman came up to me while I was shelving and asked if I’d be able to go get some Asians to be quiet. I think she only specified their race so I’d easily be able to see who to shush, but still. Happily, shushing people isn’t my job so I could send her to the reference desk.
Tomorrow I’ve got another Reference/Reader’s Advisory test in the morning. This one is for Children’s and Young Adult positions. Good thing I spent the whole day searching Amazon’s “Customers who liked this also bought…” listings for Rowling, Blyton and Westerfeld books. I would love so much for Scott Westerfeld to show up on this test. He’s pretty new though, only the last few years, but his YA scifi stuff is supposed to be great.
I didn’t page at all tonight. Just LSAing at the returns desk mostly. I checked in a lot of books and the time went much more slowly than normal. But it was probably a good thing because my legs are killing me from throwing myself around the frisbee field trying to maim friends and acquaintances on Saturday. I wasn’t really up for a lot of squats and such today. Plus I get paid a bunch more to LSA than page I think. A bunch being some number I’m not quite sure of.
Last week though, when I was cleaning up on the fourth floor I found a heap of the following books left behind by the same person:
So what was going on in that guy’s life? (He wasn’t one of the homeless regulars, if that makes a difference.)
I ruined a patron’s day this afternoon. The ten minute warning had been sounded: “If you would like to check out any library material please proceed to the checkout desk on the main floor at this time.” I was cleaning up in Children’s, which can be the worst part of the library to clean. All those tiny spined books plus little brains who don’t understand about putting things where they belong can add up to unholy messes, but today it was fine. Except for the giant stack of books next to a backpack on one of the tables.
I’d been in Children’s for about an hour and a half shelf-reading and then cleaning up and this stack of books had been sitting there unattended. The rest of the section was quiet so as I’d pass by, there they’d be, beckoning me to load them up onto the cart and take them away. But I held off. “Someone probably wants you. Probably the same someone whose backpack is right there.” So I left to put away the rest of the cart, back in the circulation workroom. But it was Sunday and quiet and there wasn’t much to do in there.
Once the warning had gone off I came back to Children’s and the stack was still there. All right, well, they won’t even be able to check out all those books now. There’s just not enough time to physically scan them. They must not want them. So I loaded up and took them away.
My tragic mistake was forgetting where I’d finished in my earlier shelf-reading so I had to go back to Children’s one last time to check. And now there was a man and woman accosting one of the other, less experienced pages about what could have happened to their books. Not even thinking, I told them I’d cleaned them up. You know, because the library was closing and there weren’t any people left in the Children’s section to tell me not to take them. The woman whined and complained. Or it felt like she was going to, so I said I’d go see what I could find. “Louis Riel? Henry Hudson? Some Aboriginal Resources? That kind of stuff?” She nodded and I went back to find them.
Now it had been a gigantic stack and we were now reaching 4:58. I grabbed an armful of books that might have been the right ones and went back out to them. “This is what I could find.” I was very polite. “Is that all? But there were so many more” the woman whined. She tried raising her eyebrows in an attempt to be cute or something, but she didn’t know I’d been in China having rabid students try to gouge extra points out of me; her cuteness found no purchase. “This is what I’ve got and we close in a minute and a half. That’s all I can do.”
Her boyfriend complimented my Diesel Sweeties R2D2 Tshirt and I thanked him. And then I left before she realized that all the checkout people were already gone.
At work today I was sort of a team leader for the Shelf Hauling squadron. Jeff explained what he wanted done on Thursday and there were four pages to do all this crap. I hate leading. I mean, I hate the actual process of me saying “Here’s what you need to do” even though I know what the person needs to do. If I had my way I’d just pick a task from a list and do it leaving the rest of the people to figure out their own thing. But I was sort of nominally in charge so I thought some direction was needed. Bah I say.
I think I’m going to finish reading Samuel R. Delany’s The Fall of the Towers tonight. It’s a novel in three volumes that’s been kind of odd. The first part didn’t grab me much at all, but then the second part I just tore through because I felt like I finally got what he was talking about. The third part is going back to the more “Green of cicadas. Lightning burst. The city’s sand smooths to the horizon.” style of writing which I am less than completely enamoured with.
I’ve been put in charge of a massive “moving shit around” campaign at work this Sunday. Taking surplus shelves from one area to the second floor, counting the good shelves on the fourth and bringing them down to the second, taking bookends from the cage to the back room. This is what I get for not staring blankly at the boss last week when he was getting us to cart similar stuff around.
Today marks one year of working at the liberry. When I started I’d hoped I would be done being a page by May (07). Twas not to be. I kind of go in spurts of really disliking it (mostly when my thoughts start straying towards the future) and realizing how much worse a job I could have. I still wish I had a job that didn’t waste the hell out of whatever talents I possess (and one that would allow me to save a bit of money), but at least I’m not outside in the cold.
My passport came back today, loaded for panda. I’m good to go for China in March. All that’s left is my request for leave. And I’m keeping in mind that this is exactly the same situation I thought I would be in back on October 30th or whenever the day before I saw the Cairo posting was. Then it feels a little less like I’m a horrible failure at life.
Dude, I’m going to China for a month, that’s pretty cool.