Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Just say NO to hand dryers

When it comes to women's bathrooms, I do know more than my boss, who is a man. Interestingly I rarely disagree with him about facilities - because he's usually right and I'm usually wrong. But when it comes to women's bathrooms - I am the expert.

He is excited about the hand dryers he put in the women's bathroom in the new Gleason Library. I know, it's open 24 hours and accumulation of paper trash will be a problem, BUT....

What is wrong with hand dryers?:

  1. It takes way longer to dry your hands using a dryer than it does using paper towels, even those cheap, non-absorbent brown towels that we use.

  2. If and when your hands are ever do DRY, they are also chapped from the heat.

  3. Need to brush your teeth? Need to splash water on your face after a plane ride? How does the hand dryer work with that?? Not. No amount of toilet paper, folded or crumpled, can dry you.

Just say NO to hand dryers in women's bathrooms.

Monday, October 29, 2007

My Greatest Accomplishment Last Year

I know I should probably have on my list of accomplishments for last year things like - established a wiki for class, answered reference questions via facebook, revolutionized the way graduate students are tracking new research by demonstrating RSS feeds.
But no.

Really, my greatest accomplishment (with most of the credit to Isabel) was getting shelves installed on the back of stall doors in the women's bathroom. I do not have to provide one more word of explanation to any women reading this blog. Purse hanging around your neck? Bookbag on the icky bathroom floor? Sound all too familiar?

Why is it an "accomplishment"? Because it took many, many conversations to explain why I needed a shelf in the women's stalls. And once I had convinced someone to order them - we had to show them where to install them. The facilities guy was completely baffled as to what the shelves were for.....

It really is a mars and venus thing.... Next, can we do anything about the super-tight toilet rolls? I am NOT a gerbil.
To see more posts about bathrooms, check out Bathroom Blogfest!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Things You Can Check Out

We check out a lot of things at our circulation desk in addition to books. Some have been suggested by students -- earplugs and headphones. Staff have suggested the others in response to complaints from students -- laptop locks, study lamps, extension cords, and power strips. The lamps were our solution to not great lighting. The extension cords are our interim solution to not enough outlets for laptops. Overall it's been a good way to be responsive to student comments.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Office in the Stacks?

Diane just asked about creating an office in the stacks for herself. Wow. What an amazing idea. Wouldn't that be the ultimate in outreach for faculty and students looking for Math books??? Students always come up to her and ask her for help when she's in the stacks weeding, etc. I wonder if she is actually sitting at a DESK, would they still feel comfortable asking her for help? Hmmmm.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


I just had a woman come by the desk asking how she can send a note to library administration. We chatted and it turned out that she had been studying by a man who scared her. Of course, I told her to always let us know immediately, we will always call security immediately, etc. etc. But afterwards I mostly felt terribly discouraged. Her original solution was to send me an email hours or even days afterward the incident? How afraid do women have to be before they feel justified in saying something?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Once You've Been to the City, You Can Never Go Back

We briefly had to put notebooks with old chemistry exams on reserve yesterday. (The chemistry server went down the day before a big test.) The "solution" lasted about 2 hours. The students had to wait for the notebooks. It took too long. They were not happy. Mid afternoon, one the students in the class who had saved an electronic version, simply emailed the file to the entire class. And that was the end of revisiting the era of paper reserves.

It has always been my humble opinion that the same thing would happen if we ever lost access to an electronic journal and had to use the print version. I don't think people would bother at ALL with the print, but would simply wait, for as long as it took, for the electronic version to return.

You can't go back.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sometimes Wikipedia Rocks

I just had a student come to the desk with a whole page of citations she wanted to find. Sigh. I thought this is going to take forever. It turned out that each citation had a DOI and PMID number - both of which are super easy to resolve. And where did she get such a lovely list of relevant references? WIKIPEDIA of course....

Friday, October 12, 2007

I will NOT give you my social security number

Just got off the phone with a lovely woman in university health services. (I am going to get registered for a respirator so I can clean mold off of books, but that's another story.). Her first question - "what is your social security number?" She was shocked when I refused to give it to her - their system "requires" it. Wait a minute. We still have systems that require social security numbers???? I DO NOT GIVE OUT MY SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER. Geez.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Exam Tomorrow

Q. How do you know for SURE that there is a major exam tomorrow?

A. There is a big bag of chips on every study table.

Not just food. Not just a regular bag of chips. There has to be an enormous, family-size bag of chips.

Curious. I have never, ever seen students coming into the library with one of these bags. Where do they come from??

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Things Change

When we had students take pictures of the things they carried with them everyday - none of them included a laptop. But almost two years have passed and I think things have changed. I am seeing more and more students with laptops in the library, even during the day. Yesterday at 2:30, I did a quick check and there were 14 students with laptops. And yes, all the public computers were in use too....

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

We're Making Progress

These are the days when I really miss Isabel. She was great at coordinating all these facilities things. We're making progress towards getting two new security gates and a self check machine installed. Every day, one more step forward. Today one of the gates and the self check equipment was delivered and taken up to the third floor. I can't wait until it's all installed and we can finally open the gate to the new BME/Optics Building! I feel like this has been on my "to do" list forever!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Housing Reservations for ALA Midwinter

opened today.

At 10:20, two of the hotels were already gone.

My credit card hung for 15 minutes. Amy's has hung for an hour.

It's not 11:40 and the site seems to be completely down.

It's days like these that make me wonder why I still pay my dues!