While I was sitting at the desk one day this week, an older gentleman patron walked up and said,
Brian, can I ask you a question? It's kind of personal.
Whoa-boy, I can only imagine where this is going. But of course I said sure.
Where do you get your hair cut?
Okay, now we're in my wheelhouse: I get asked for fashion and grooming advice all the time!
Anyway, he and I proceeded to have a nice exchange about local barbers and the advantageous way our hair style lends itself easily to do-it-yourselfers. I actually received Wahl clippers a few Christmases ago, and have been cutting my own hair ever since.
The patron was delighted to hear this - he has been too, but felt guilty about it. He was worried he wasn't doing a good enough job, and so had recently gone to a real barber. But he was shocked at how high the price was since the last time he went, and basically, I think, was looking for someone to tell him it was okay to cut his own hair. We also compared notes on clipper comb numbers and which is the best to use (I use #2 on the sides and #1 on the top).
I've been mostly bald since my twenties, and this is the bright side of having the same hair pattern as older guys: they are one more segment of patrons I can relate to through shared personal experience.
And although he complimented me on how nice my hair looked before he left, this interaction did remind me to put "cut hair" on my weekend to-do list.
My library's long-time Assistant Director retired at the end of last year, and I am taking over that role. This means two things:
My library is hiring a Head of Reference - if you're interested, check it out. It's fun.
Second, since I'll no longer be a reference desk librarian, this blog will certainly change.
For whatever it's worth, I'm going to try to keep writing new posts here whenever I come across something people might find interesting. My desk hours are going to change drastically, so the Reference Question of the Week posts will be less frequent. Which is too bad, but we'll see what happens. I've done almost one of those a week for over nine years - wow.
I'm a little nervous about change. I'm sure things will be fine after all the transition, but not spending most of my time covering a service desk will certainly be an adjustment.
This was actually a reference question I asked myself, but it's sort of summery so maybe relevant to other people - and, hopefully, helpful.
I was outside playing one day a few weeks ago and ended up with pine sap on my favorite pair of shorts. That's the worst because I don't like going shopping, and I thought that sap meant pretty much the end of clothes.
I was sad, so I put them aside in the hopes that the sap would just evaporate naturally. I came across them last week, and was able to determine that sap doesn't naturally evaporate out of shorts.
Since no laundry experts were around to ask, it occurred to me search online for "remove sap from clothes" to see if the internet had any ideas. I figured they did, but also figured it involved vinegar - which seems like the magical cure for almost anything, but is too bad because I can't stand the smell of vinegar.
So, with the optimism appropriate to any new trip on the internet, I started clicking links.
There was no shortage of tips and old school remedies, as you might suspect. The consensus seemed to be rubbing (or soaking) the spot of sap in anything from laundry detergent to cooking oil to WD-40 (surprisingly, vinegar was not mentioned).
Most of the options were either things I didn't have, like nail polish, or didn't actually trust, like peanut butter. But one that kept coming up - hand sanitizer - sounded interesting.
I don't have any at home (because, you know, super-bacteria), but it seems to be everywhere else so it was worth a try. I was especially swayed by this guy's video:
My shorts are cotton, but if it works so magically on his, why not mine, right?
And holy cow, it worked! Mine took three applications - my guess is because it was a big blob that had soaked through the cotton (and I had already washed and dried them) - but it worked. In just a couple minutes, it was as if the sap was never there. I don't know where it went, but it went away.
Besides the magic, it must be the alcohol in the hand sanitizer breaking down the sap, but I couldn't be happier to be able to wear my favorite shorts again stain-free.
Terry Pratchett died this week, and I, like many people, were saddened.
I came to the Discworld books later in my life, sort of by accident (which is the best way to come across books like the Discworld books), and to say I liked them is an understatement. It was more like the worlds and characters had just been waiting for me and were happy to have me turn up.
It wasn't until later that I realized I had already read some Pratchett, without knowing it. His book, Good Omens, co-written with Neil Gaiman, was another I had inadvertently come to on my own, on the shelf in an independent book shop in Yellow Springs, Ohio. I can't say it changed my life, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, and was also introduced to Neil Gaiman that way. I somehow missed the introduction to Terry Pratchett, but since I got there in the end, I suppose it is okay.
Perhaps because of this, but perhaps also just because they are similar and the connection is logical, I have always linked Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman in my head.
So when I came across the following line while reading Neil Gaiman's Trigger Warning today (specifically in the story, The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury), I couldn't help but be reminded of Terry Pratchett's death:
I sometimes imagine I would like my ashes to be scattered in a library. But then the librarians would just have to come in early the next morning to sweep them up again, before the people got there.
Very appropriate on many levels, but it also seems that there is hardly a tribute fitting enough for such a creative and prolific writer as Terry Pratchett.
I saw this photo and immediately though, "hey, that's what it's like to be a male librarian":
Of course it's not entirely true - I always see other guys at library conferences and things (especially tech-oriented library conferences). And I know I enjoy my job as much as any princess with a balloon. But it is not at all uncommon for me to go to meetings with reference librarians in the region and be the only guy in the room.
In fact, I thought that would be a good title for my memoirs: The Only Guy in the Room.