Sunday, December 04, 2005


So I had to work yesterday (Saturday). I had to go to a Craft Fair in a very tiny town. The Library there was having a table display, so they had me out to do a display with my laptop and digital projector, to be able to show people how to use our OPAC and Online databases. I had done this once before, about a month ago in another small town that is only about 20 km away from this small town. The difference being that a month ago, M. went with me to provide technical support, that being the first time I was out. This time, I was on my own.

I was late. I thought I had left myself plenty of time to get there, but first of all, I realized I'd forgotten our screen. Can't have a digital display without a screen. So back I went. I was only a block away when I realized, but it still takes time to unlock the doors and disarm the security system and then do it all over again. But, I still thought I had plenty of time. Then I got on to some of those secondary highways, which never get plowed, and they were covered with snow and ice. Plus I had to drive through a provincial park, which is always infested with deer. So, by the time I get there, it is after 10 am. I was supposed to be there at 9:30 to set up, and then the fair started at 10. Ooops.

Then, I start getting everything set up. I get the projector, laptop and screen all set up. Turn it on, and ... nothing. The computer is not displaying with the digital projector. No problem. M. and I ran into this problem before, and we figured it out. I do all of the things that I think I'm supposed to do. Still nothing. I fiddle for half and hour and it still DOES NOT WORK. I am looking more incompetent by the minute. The librarian who has come with her fancy computer stuff and is supposed to be promoting E-Library Services cannot make the computer screen display with the digital projector. I finally give up. I take down the screen and projector and just have the laptop there.

Honestly, all is not lost. I still brought lots of display items, I have several people come up and say that they didn't know the library had DVDs. I have two door prize books, and that goes over well. I even have a couple of people come up and ask me to look for books online for them. I give away lots of bookmarks and fridge magnets. So not horrible, but I still can't help thinking that I have made a mess of the day. Then, a woman comes up who looks vaguely familiar. She starts asking me about Gateway. "Can I check the status of a loan through Gateway?" she asks. "No," I reply, "that's not an option right now. You'd have to do it through the InterLibrary Loan system. You should ask your librarian." As soon as the words are out of my mouth, I realize that her questions have been very knowledgeable. Much more knowledgeable than a member of the public. Could she be a librarian? I quickly try to cover my faux pas: "You know, you'd have to talk to M. at Headquarters". She nods, understanding. Oh God, if she knows what I mean by "M. at Headquarters", then she must be a librarian. I have just told a librarian to go ask a librarian. Brilliant. I feel terrible, although I only met all of the branch librarians at a workshop day two months ago and have not seen most of them since, but still I feel bad. When I leave I still do not remember who she is or which branch she works at. "Bye Violette [well, not Violette, but my real name]", she says. I smile and wave feeling like an idiot.

So that was my day. Can we say incompetence!?

Does anyone else have days like that?


Ash said...

Sending you an *e-hug*. :) I had a day like that last week. I was at the big managers meeting at system headquarters and I hadn't even had my first shift at my branch library yet. One of the other managers there likes to test people - which I knew. So, I got grilled. I was sitting close to him at lunch and he was having a conversation with one of the guest speakers. Everytime she asked him anything about libraries or our services or anything...he'd say, "well 'Ash' is a recent graduate and a new librarian, let's see what she has to say..." Joy. I got through it, but it was nerve-wracking because I knew he was trying to see if I actually knew anything. Yeah, I haven't been at school or a job in over four months and, since graduating, I've given birth and had my mind turned to mush being a new and scatterbrained mother...of course I can explain why it is important for smaller public libraries to join consortia....kill me now please. Anyway, I so empathize. Have a cup of hot chocolate and keep on'll get better!

librarychik said...

Oh my gosh, that really sucks when good ol' technology lets you down. It doesn't help that circumstances interfered with you getting there, which surely upsets the balance anyway.

Sounds to me like you recovered just fine. I am sure the 'knowledgable' librarian remembers what it is like to be the new kid on block.

Since you worked on Sat do you get monday off at least?

Violette said...

Well, good news is that there appears to be a faulty cable connecting the digital projector to the laptop. In other words, I am not an idiot.

No, I did not get today off. It was our monthly staff meeting, plus our staff Christmas lunch, so I kind of had to be here. Besides, I'm supposed to be banking time for Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Yo V. Don't feel bad; everyone has days that go terribly and make them feel like grade A goats. It's what keeps us human. Chances are that other librarian will forget all about the encounter, and if not, she will understand; everyone has things come out of their mouths they wish they could take back. XOX you're a rockin' librarian; much love.