ASSOCIATES (vol. 9, no. 2, November 2002) -

*Library Life:
A Column Of Eclectic Rantings*


Katie Buller Kintner
Communications Library
University of Illinois-Urbana

I could rant about a lot this month, oh yes I could.

For starters, I could rant about getting sick for the umpteenth time this year and really being sick, not just faking it. By rights I should have a pile of sick leave right now, ready for a nice extended vacation at some far-future date, not used all up by being SICK of all things! I havenít been on the job here long enough to build up any kind of good sick leave reserve, so I canít afford to be sick. What gives? My stupid inconvenient illnesses have coincided with a co-workerís vacation days the last three times so that I HAD to go in for at least a few hours to get caught up, then go home and collapse. Not fair!

I could also rant on about the Supreme Court, internet porn and libraries. I feel filthy. Every time I mention that I work in a library, I feel like I ought to be ashamed even though I work in an academic library, not a public library. Why should I feel that? Does working in a library make me a porn industry czar? There are no internet filters in existence that could possibly screen out all disreputable content and still be useful to library patrons. Iím already telling patrons they canít read their email or do word processing. What the heck is the difference if I also have to tell them that they canít visit chat rooms or ogle porn? I do not envy public library workers who are in this situation. At least in our little library, we only have to patrol four computers. I canít imagine what it would be like to have to keep an eye on banks and banks of them being used by children.

Add rant no. 3--heat in the library could make a major rant. It has been hotter than Hades in the summertime in this library and weíre just a teeny departmental library. We canít open the windows because if we do, the bugs, squirrels and pigeons will get in because we have no screens. Oh yeah, right, this library is in a temperature/climate-controlled buildingÖNOT.

Library thieves--a BIG rant could come here. Someone actually came behind the desk when the student attendant was shelving and stole an item out of the two-hour reserves. Others who were probably in that thiefís class kept coming in and asking for it. That rotten thief got a lot of people behind on their coursework due to the fact that the resource they needed was missing. One evening a few days after it disappeared, one of our student assistants heard something fall in the outside bookdrop, then heard someone running away. It was our book being returned and the thief was too shamefaced to do it in person.

Rantorama no. 5 would be a minor rant but something that bothers me just the same. Iím 52 years old and have over twenty years experience in libraries. I donít ask for instant respect but I do ask for the courtesy of assuming that I have a certain amount of basic knowledge about libraries. On the other hand, I also would like to be properly trained when I start a new job. Please donít assume I know how things are done HERE because believe me, they donít do them the same here as anywhere else Iíve worked. Three out of the last four jobs Iíve held have required me to basically train myself either out of a manual (when I was very lucky) or running around asking questions every time I had to do something new. One of my priorities now when I start a new job is to write a manual for it when I have gathered enough knowledge to do so. At least the next person in the position wonít have to start from nothing like I did.

One additionally tiny little rant could be added here. No. 6 would be this claim I keep hearing on a certain university campus: "weíre the third largest library system". That claim and a buck will get you coffee at McDonaldís. Will the third largest library system please stop buying/accepting/keeping everything ever written and get the books off the floor so I can stop tripping over them, nearly breaking my leg TWICE? Thank you.

So I could rant on about a lot of stuff this monthÖbut I wonít. Instead Iím going to wish everyone a very safe and happy holiday season with best wishes for peace. Then Iím going home and make myself a big old hot buttered rum, put on my snuggy slippers and watch "Xena: Warrior Princess". It always makes me feel better.

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