ASSOCIATES (vol. 9, no. 1, July 2002) -

*Library Life:
A Column Of Eclectic Rantings*


Katie Kintner
Communications Library
University of Illinois-Urbana

Itís that time of year again. The end of the fiscal year always brings a bit of a palpitation to many a library administratorís heart. There are funds left over and if they arenít used, the library budget will be cut next year. Mercy me, what to do, what to do?

The Catalog of Ridiculous Things is here to help you with many fabulous suggestions about how to get rid that pesky money in a hurry. We all know there are plenty of useful items out there that every library needs, so get out your departmental charge cards and letís go shopping!

For the Circulation Desk:

Keep those most unruly patrons under control with our handy CoRT Patron Strapdowns! These rough canvas beauties fit most work tables and are completely washable. The colors are blue, green and 1970s-carpet hash brown. Available for technical services tables, too.

That food, soda pop or coffee wonít be hidden for long as patrons pass through our CoRT Contraband Detector. Installed at the main door, our Detector instantly alerts library staff to the fact that contraband has entered the facility. A video screen pops up and our patented Videlibrarian sternly admonishes the patron to leave all food and beverage outside. Also available with an optional handheld detector wand and our Airport Special Package even has a private area for cavity searches. The Videlibrarianís face is available in traditional bun and granny glasses or our special Dorothy Hamill haircut and tortoise shell reading glasses on a chain. CoRT is not responsible for any subsequent illness or injury resulting from the use of the CoRT Contraband Detector.

The CoRT Circulation System is just the thing for tracking down the reticent patron who believes that checking a book out of the library is the same as buying it. The CoRT Circulation System automatically keeps track of lost or overdue items with its patented NNAD (Nice, Nasty, Attack Dog) patron record and correspondence system. For the especially stubborn patron, we also feature the optional Patron Prod.

Tired of replacing vandalized periodical pages? Try CoRTís patented Electronic Scissors Repeller! This new wireless technology automatically detects scissors in use and gives the user a nice 2000-volt shock. For those patrons who prefer tearing to cutting, our Repeller can also sense the sound of pages being ripped. CoRT is not responsible for the injuries of library staff installing and using the Electronic Scissors Repeller.

For Technical Services:

CoRTís brand new Catalogerís Muff silences the irritating rumblings coming out of the Cataloging section. Available individually or can be ordered as an option to the Patron Strapdown or in Stealth mode.

For misunderstood Catalogers, try our Mumbler Clarifier. Catalogersí grunts, whistles, sighs and expressions of regret will automatically be translated into agreeable phrases of your choice such as "you look nice today," "do I owe you money?" or "would you mind if I left early?" Our Trek model is also available for your resident alien catalogers. For an extra fee, you can add CoRTís music option featuring big bands, jazz or light classical.

Missed periodical issues are just a bad memory with CoRTís subscription service. We handle all titles in every discipline. You can work with our operators and design your own system for encouraging apathetic publishers to send you every issue without fail. The following options are available: telephone threats, paste-up letters, automatic spamming, dark figures waiting outside the door at night, snakes in their car or our Godfather Racehorse option. Just call our 800 number and ask for Snake.

Got a problem with a vendor? Did they send the wrong book again? Or maybe they charged you twice for the same material! Not a problem with our CoRT Vendor Service. Call our Vendor Service manager Vinnie (or meet him in a dark alley) and vendors will no longer be a problem. See our missed periodical issues service for available options.

Disappearing supplies are a problem with every library. Sticky fingered patrons and staff alike can kiss their free ride goodbye as CoRT introduces our brand new supply inventory system. Based on the French Guillotine, it will make supply inventory tracking a breeze. Optional finger disposer available.


With the current budgetary crises, itís difficult to attract and keep quality library staff. CoRT comes to the rescue with RoboLibrarian. Based on our popular Videlibrarian (seen in our Contraband Detector), the RoboLibrarian can be programmed for every library need. Short-handed at the Reference Desk? RoboLibrarian knows the answers to every reference question. Or she can make one up faster than a human librarian. Need help with the shelving backup? RoboLibrarianís shelver mode can sort books by call number, size, color and popularity. No one checked it out lately? RoboLibrarian can toss it without guilt!

RoboLibrarian can be programmed with the most useful phrases used in librarianship, such as "Iím going to a meeting," "can you make it a little bit smaller," "weíre running out of money," "I have a project for you," "great job!" and everyoneís favorite "Iím going to ALA and wonít be back until next week." Available options include security mode, gum chipper, insecticide sprayer and a mute button.

The Catalog of Ridiculous Things is always looking for great new product ideas for future issues. If you have an idea you would like to see featured, contact our CEO Katie Kintner at Weíll do lunch. Trust me.

About Us | Subscribe | Editors | Submit | Current Issue | Archives | Home