A Conversation for The h2g2 Guild of Librarians


Post 1


Am I going completely mad? smiley - weird

If I told you that there was a fines amnesty on overdue books at your library would you still be trying to empty your wallets onto the issue desk?

Students!! smiley - yikes


Post 2

David B - Singing Librarian Owl

Our students tend not to pay off fines anyway!

I spent nearly 15 mins on the telephone this morning to someone who was disputing a fine of less that five pounds. It was exhausting... We've got to the point with some aspects of student behaviour that we really want to organise a cull. Unfortunately, we'd never be able to agree who could use the gun first. smiley - biggrin


Post 3


smiley - laugh I know that feeling. In the past we've threatened to borrow the cattle prod from the college farm.

I've got most of the students and the staff for that matter well trained when it comes to fines. smiley - winkeye They're obviously too well trained as they're still trying to hand over money.


Post 4


We had an amnesty on overdue boks a couple of times. The intention was to get folks who had books 2 years overdue to bring them back - no questions asked. Ever since then we've had people call and want to know when the next amnesty will be. They plan to keep the books until then. smiley - steam

It's not just students. People!!! smiley - cross


Post 5


We had an amnesty on overdue boks a couple of times. The intention was to get folks who had books 2 years overdue to bring them back - no questions asked. Ever since then we've had people call and want to know when the next amnesty will be. They plan to keep the books until then. smiley - steam

It's not just students. People!!! smiley - cross


Post 6


I do wonder what people think a Enquiry Assistant is. I had assumed it meant I helped people find things on the catalogue, showed them how the online resources work, tell them where the loo is, sort out fines and overdue books, that kind of thing.

Apparantly it means I am cross between an omniscient God and a gopher with the brain of a pea. Hard to imagine, really but there you go. I must know exactly which text a tutor is referring to when written down by the student's bad handwriting, dicky spelling, and habit of abbreviating words without remembering what the abbreviations stand for; and I must go and fetch books off the shelves so they can see if that is the book they want. Why can't they go and look for themselves? Because I went and got a book for their pal so-and-so last week. The fact that so-and-so is in a wheelchair and they are not does not seem to enter the equation.

Yours in a state of triple argh and not enough coffee



Post 7


smiley - coffeesmiley - coffeesmiley - coffee

Hope this helps.

At least you haven't got tutors asking you to produce a reading list for the module they've been teaching for the last couple of months.

Next he'll be asking me to write the assignment for him.... smiley - steam


Post 8


But I have had tutors asking me why certain books needed for their courses aren't in the Library.

'When did you order them?'

'Order them? Was I supposed to order them?'

Savagely crush urge to reply: 'Well, I failed my essential qualification in clairvoyancy, so I'm afraid I have to be told what new books you want.'

Smile instead. Give tutor Acquisitions email address.

Three hours later, same conversation with slightly different tutor.

smiley - wah

I wonder at which point in the PhD process all common sense is surgically removed to make more room for Bakhtin and Lacan.


Post 9


Are these problem tutors predominantly male?

At least they know what books they want……

“I’ve been teaching this module for 20 years and now I need some books to teach it from……..”

smiley - yikes The mind boggles!!!!

Then he gets all upset because the books we have that cover that area are apparently too basic for what he’s actually teaching and then he asks me to produce a reading list for his class…… smiley - huh

My biggest bug-bear atm is that none of the students here seem to have the slightest idea about how to use an index, or even books. Given that I’m covering the library on my own atm, and that we’re busy with students trying to complete assignments I’m not always able to give as much help as I’d like to.

Student “I need a book about the MMR vaccination.”
Me - smiley - erm We don’t have any books on it, but it is covered in the section about vaccinations in the Health Care textbooks.”

*off the student toddles*

*back they come*

Student – *walking out of the door* There isn’t anything there…..

Me - Hang on, I’ll show you now. *pulls textbook off shelves, uses index and finds a section on vaccinations.*

Student - Oh, thanks. How did you know that was there?


Post 10


Oh yes, the good old 'how did you know that was there?'

As in 'I can't find this book on [insert topic]'

'What's the classmark?'

Hiatus while I explain what a class mark is and student eventually realizes classmarks are written next to the titles on his reading list.

We go and look at that area of shelving. Voila, book in question.

'How did you know it was there?'

'That's what class marks are for, they tell you where the book is.'



'How do you know which class mark each book has got?'

Note I have already explained at length what a classmark is and how they are allocated.

At which point in any given conversation with a person requiring assistance is it no longer rude and unkind to tell them to b****r off?


Post 11

David B - Singing Librarian Owl

Sadly, I think it's always rude. smiley - sadface

On Monday, I had a third year student tell me that she needed to increase her allowance of inter-library loans for dissertation research.

'That's fine. Take this form, get your tutor to sign it and bring it back here.'

'But I'm on placement until February, so I won't see any of the tutors until then.'

*pause, while I try to work out how they can be here when they're apparently on placement and unable to see their tutor*

'Well, if you can't find your tutor today, you could leave the form with your departmental secretary, who could get your tutor to sign it and return it to the library.'

'OK.' *student peers at the office which joins on to mine and is disappointed to see the sign 'Bibliographical Services Librarian'* 'Where's my departmental secretary?'

'I don't know. I would imagine somewhere in the Nursing block.'


Thankfully, she left at that point, so that I could marvel at the disturbing thought of a third year student who had seemingly never been to her department before.

Or an instant classic from today:
'I knew that if you return your books late, you get a fine, but I thought it would be OK if I renewed it.'

'Did you renew it six days after it was due back?'


'Well then it was six days late.'

'But I renewed it!'

'Yes, but it was lte when I renewed it.'

'Well, you should have sent me a letter to say that renewing books late means you get a fine...'

smiley - huh

Yes, the fiction books are arranged alphabetically. No, by author. Yes, including Charles Dickens. Yes, including Great Expectations. No, we treat it the same as the other fiction books.

No, we don't keep music books in a different order to the books on other subjects.

Sorry, the photocopier isn't working. It has a No in Srrvice sign on it. And it's switched off. Sorry, it won't work if I switch it on, I'm afraid you'll have to queue up for one of the other photocopiers. You need this photocopied for your class in five minutes? *fight urge to scream 'you ought to be better organised you stupid man!'*

You'll get used to it, Agapanthus!



Post 12


smiley - rofl Very true!

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