Friday, September 19, 2008

Good News (say it with deep rooted sarcasm)

The quaint little hell hole I call a library is getting to be more and more fun.
I had to evict a teenager yesterday, and had to enlist the help of the police to do it. This girl is nuts.
No really - trust me, she is wired funny.
She flips out at the slightest thing. A patron asked her to be quiet one day and ended up having her life threatened. This girl goes from 0 to total insanity in 3.5 seconds. She has also threatened to punch a staff member in the face for not letting her use a computer, when no computers were available.
This was terrifying for me.
This girl has gang affiliations. This girl is one tough cookie. This girl is off her rocker and tends to be really malicious.
Also I found out that in the 80's a really horrific gang rape took place in this neighbourhood and a book was written about it. The library used to have copies of this book, and my co-worker was telling me that a lot of the accused rapists frequent the library and sometimes will ask to see if we a copy of the book because they are proud of a book being written about them.
Ummmm . . . no comment.

Friday, September 12, 2008

am I a big jerk?

At my new library we have lots of computers for the public to use.
In fact computers are probably one of the main draws for the public to the library these days.
However, most of the people in this neighbourhood refuse to get cards.
This angers me.
First it angers me that they have been tolerated and placated and given "one time uses" for the computers. This is ridiculous, especially since the policy is that if you live in the city of Toronto and wish to use the library you MUST get a library card. We have made getting a library card as easy as it legally can be. (you just have to have a piece of ID, that is all you need)
However the public here have a thing about anonymity. They don't want us to know who they are. At all. So they will refuse, argue with me, get beligerant, you name it - all in the sake of avoiding getting a library card.
To me this is just plain nonsense.
And well I am determined to make this branch a nicer place, since I was told to do that when I arrived. How is one of my approaches to this? Make them get library cards, that way we know who they are and can then take legal action if it is necessary.
So now I have the unique issue that most of these people will not get library cards. They will argue with me, I will refuse them computer use (unless it is for a good reason), and they leave. So in part the branch is quieter, but alas, we are not getting people to get library cards.
See, the other reason I want people to get library cards is a selfish reason. It is because statistics are how the library board decides wether or not we are succeding as an institution. The more people who get library cards, the better are statistics, the more funding we are guaranteed from the city. I even use this logic as one of the reason's why people should get a library card. They dont' care.
To be honest, I think that libraries could become obselete in the future. There are libraries closing in the United Kingdom, due to lack of use. I think that could very much happen here. So not only would I be out of a job, but also there would be less access to information or information portals. And I think that is very sad for everyone.
So it angers me that this population is so selfish, that there only concern is to check their email or facebook and then leave. That sustaining something positive and worthwhile is not important to them, now I know that this cause may not be everyone's cause - but then why do these people want to use the library if they don't want to support it and ensure that they can come here 20 or 30 years from now and have it still be here?
As I refuse these people internet access since they refuse to get a library card I always think to myself - "am I being a big jerk?", should I just let these people have the one time use, let them do whatever? And then I realize - that giving them the one time use changes nothing, except making my job harder. At least if they leave the library I don't have to deal with their nonsense, and maybe eventually they will get a library card.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

this is not a part of other duties as assigned

I have been at my new position for almost two weeks now and I think that I hate it.
I am sure in part some of these feelings of negativity are due to the transition (again), Monster Squad being far away in Thunder Bay, the responsibilities of being a single caregiver to three animals (one who wants way more attention than the other two) and the fact that this job kind of sucks.
And do you want to know why it sucks?
Because it is not my job.
I am a trained librarian. My job is to help people use the library, find materials, do story time with wee one's to help them develop literary skills. I help to buy books for the library, to develop the collection, maintain the collection. Part of my position is also to maintain my skills in terms of computer and literary knowledge.
Now apparently my job is to be a social worker.
And well to be perfectly honest if I wanted to be a social worker I would have gone to school to be a social worker.
This is not what I signed up for.
When I accepted this position I assumed it would be similiar to all the other services specialist positions in the system. That I would spend time on training other librarians how to do their job, that it would involve more collection development, and more detailed reference questions.
No one told me that I was going to have to deal with apathetic little bastards who want to play victim and don't actually want to use the library for its intended purpose.
Perhaps on that note I should elaborate.
We have a great deal of problem teens in this library. And this is not an overstatement. These kids are in gangs, they are into hard drugs, they don't go to school, they don't have a great deal of civility or manners. They are what I would call " a bunch of fucking assholes"
And I am not being racist. I could care less what the colour of their skin is. This is about how they treat people, not only their peers but the complete strangers around them. These kids feel that the world should take all their shit and that they never have to pay any price for it. And unfortunatly the system has confirmed this ideaology for them. The majority of these kids who are problems in the library have been arrested at least several times. Nothing happened to them, nothing came of it aside from a slap on the wrists. So now they have no fear about authority, they could care less that we want them to be quiet or leave the library. They rarely even look at you when you talk to them. They just keep doing what it is that they are doing. Which I think is incredibly rude.
Add to the mix that they have no role models, no structure, no parents around most of the time and this becomes a toxic work environment becuase of the youth. Also these kids think that they have no future, what they see around them is what they believe is going to happen to them. They see a path of least resistance and they have seemingly embraced it. They see no way out, no way of escape and so they are just going with it. Part of their attitude (in my opinion) is that they see that the rest of their lives will be like their parents and so they are trying to have a good time now at everyone else's expense.
I truly hate this attitude of being a victim, of not being able to take control of their lives and try to make a positive change and to work hard. Like the majority of society these kids are taking the path of least resistance, and well as we have seen so far this path has led us to huge social problems, environmental problems, and world peace problems.
I am egregious at the fact that my manager thinks that the library should embrace them, welcome them, try to help them, when they want nothing to do with the library aside from having internet access and a place to annoy people becuase it gives them some thrill. I am not in my career to pamper some rude youth and to take nonsense from them. I don't care how disadvantaged they are! Things were not easy for me growing up, yet I took a proactive stance at my life. I knew that I would not be their forever and I worked hard to ensure that I could go to university and that I could do more with my life than be abused by my family.
And frankly I am just waiting for these kids to start calling me homophobic names and then I will ban them. And if my manager attempts to undo these bannings I have every intention of taking her to the union and taking the library to court, as I have been told time and time again in training that the library works very hard to ensure that we have a "harassment free worlplace", but since arriving here I have see very little of that effort. In fact it seems that the majority of what is expected of me is to encourage harrassment from these kids. And well to be honest, I would just rather not.