If there’s only one thing I’ve learned while working at the library, it’s…

Hey Friends!

This week, I thought I’d dive back into the bottomless pit of, “did you learn that in library school?”. If you’ve missed any previous posts on the series, be sure to check them out:
Only this time around, I’d shake things up and asked YOU the librarians for input. I reached out on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to ask: What’s the one thing you’ve learned working in a library you didn’t think you’d learn?

 

Boy, did y’alls answer range. You did not disappoint! Let’s get right into it, shall we?

 

fire

Forged in the fires of the front desk

Some of you went for the more technical route:

Don’t be afraid to use the Delete button.

-Elke

Avoid teen projects involving glitter if you want to stay on good terms with the custodial staff.

-Susan
Truth

Old people: Don’t know how to print, but do know how to use a stapler. College students: vice versa.

-Janis

How to pull paper out of a copier without getting covered in toner.

-Susan

A few responses were a bit more library related:

Reading is hard. Particularly signage or directions.

-Andrea

We hate fines more than you do.

-Nicole

That even with a careful, precise system for keeping track of books, you will still have a surprising amount of books inexplicably go missing.

-Caroline
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How to smile, nod, and say “I don’t think that’s an actual thing, but I’ll look.”

-Howie

What the teacher ACTUALLY assigned and what you are TOLD that the teacher assigned, are rarely the same.

-Janice

Some of you went straight into the gross stuff:

The bathroom will *always* smell.

-Jamie

If it looks like poop, it probably is!

-Brandi
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If it’s wet and not yours, don’t touch it.

-Shannon

Do not reach into anything you can’t see into.

-Jennifer

People can make a bathroom out of any piece of furniture.

-Ryan
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Some of y’all were just random and made me wonder:

How to spell “Stiefvater.”

-Nic

Toddlers are stronger than you think.

-Susan

When you say “there’s more than one way to skin a cat”, and they proceed to tell you the three ways to skin a cat.

-Iliea
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Don’t use powdered spill cleaner (the stuff that soaks up biohazards!), on carpets. Ever. Just use paper towels to soak up the liquid, and wipe with lots of cleaner.

-Katie

How to type without a keyboard. Desperate times, man.

-Marion

Learning which schools give you the best swag for showing up on Career Day.

-Murphy

A few responses were a bit more philosophical:

A little kindness goes a long way.

-Hillary

Most of the things I screw up, I can fix. But only if I remember to slow down for a minute, take a deep breath, and think.

-Nicole

ALWAYS ask. Doesn’t matter what it is.

-Lindsey

Compassion and respect are the keys to authentic connection.

-Sara

 And finally, my personal favorite:

The hidden first question in any patron interaction is, “Is this person’s need informational or emotional?” Knowing the answer will save you a ton of grief.

-Karl

Which ones did you like? Which ones didn’t you like? Let me know in the comment below! If you’d like to have your name featured, be sure to follow on social media!

 

Until next time,

Justin Brash, Brash Librarian

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Need Help This Valentine’s Day?

Hey Friends!

It’s that time of year when flowers, chocolate, and anything red is triple the price. If you’ve been thinking about what to get the librarian or bookworm in your life, look no further! If you’ve got Amazon Prime and 2 day shipping, then I’ve got some last minute ideas for you!

love me6

Don’t let your S/O feel this way!

 

A Portable Massager

Whether your darling is a librarian, office assistant, construction worker or a human being in general, they will appreciate a heated massage pad that can work their neck, shoulders, back will help them forget this Valentines Day falls on a Wednesday. Grab one for them here, or grab one for yourself. (Judgment-free zone here.)

 

Librarian T-shirts

Let’s be honest – if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance your other half is a librarian or loves libraries. Why not give them a sweet shirt that indulges them and makes them feel that hardcore-nerdy-cool? Pick one up for them. Heck, even I might pick one up.

 

Chocolate Flowers

Valentine's Day Red Sweetheart Roses Solid Milk Chocolate Bouquet (12 Pcs)

That’s right. Chocolate AND flowers, combined into one awesome package! I think my favorite thing about this gift is that you get a dozen roses for less than $20. You can buy this one-stop shopping here before they sell out!

 

A Library Card Pouch

 

out of print

Guys! Does your lady love books and need something to help her purse stay organized? This little baby has a 4.5/5 average review! Reviewers have said it’s great for makeup, ID and credit cards, samples, phone/earbud cables, or maybe even…your library card? THAT’S SO META. Available in white and yellow, get yours here.

 

Himalayan Salt Candle Holders

Himalayan salt is all the rage right now, and for good reason. According to Buzzfeed, they’re anti-bacterial, purify the air, taste delicious (so say the Amazon reviewers), and just plain look cool. This set comes in a 2-pack, so you can give something to your loved one that says “Let’s be healthier, happier, and lick chunks of salt together!”

 

A Color-Changing Kitty Night Light

For the crazy cat person librarian in your life, look no further than this adorable rave kitty that will delight and entertain. Some reviewers take them to parties and sleepovers, because they put the “crazy” in “crazy cat person”

 

Marshmallow Cereal

Do you have someone that loves Lucky Charms and wishes it was just the charms? Then pick up a bag and surprise them! If nothing else, you’ll get an A for originality.

 

A Silver Rose

For the person in your life who’s ever complained, “I don’t want flowers, they always just die!”, try getting them a silver-plated rose that lasts forever. If you need the glass dome so you can get all Beauty & The Beast on them, you can get that here.

Now hurry up while there’s still time!

no love

Don’t let this happen you.

Do you have any special gifts you’d recommend? What are you getting your loved one this year? Let me know in the comments below or on FacebookTwitter and Instagram and I hope you have a great V-Day!

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian

 

 

 

 

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The Brash Librarian Returns

Hello again, my friends.

This might be the longest hiatus I’ve ever taken, but for good reason. For most of you who have been following me, you know that I took a break from my usual posts here to focus on my finance class. Long story short, I took finance twice in undergrad, failed both times, and had to take two finance classes for my MBA program. The one thing that kept me from getting a minor in business came back nearly a decade later to haunt me. With hard work, dedication, literal blood, sweat and tears (especially tears), I conquered both classes. With an A.

That’s right, I exorcised those demons with two A’s.

THE POWER OF SPREAD SHEETS

But I didn’t do it alone. I had help, and lots of it. I had a professor who cared more than any professor I’ve seen at this college. This man would literally give up his nights for us. Study group from 8-9pm? He kept going until we ran out of questions around 11:45. By study group, I mean online web chat. Think Skype, but with 10 kids who were blundering in the dark and a professor who shared his screen and walked us through the methods to the madness. Needed help via email? He was quick on the draw, none of this “wait 3 business days to reply back” nonsense. Had a problem? He worked with us tirelessly. Banging your head on a problem? Don’t worry, he’s banged his head on it, too. If you’re an MBA student at A&M WT and you need to take finance, look no further than Dr. Ammerman. I have unparalleled respect for this man. If you’re reading this, thank you for all your help.

After gaining about 15 pounds, drinking enough coffee to fuel the Colombian economy, alienating family and friends, and giving up most social time, I was ready for a break. Some serious sleep, Netflix, laundry, working out, and general mental health was needed.

How I felt entering December.

 

I gave some serious thought to my resolutions for 2018. Sure, I could do the “I’m gonna work out more” or another “I’m gonna write more for Brash Librarian“, but this year feels a little different. Between work, school, family and friends, I’ve decided to do more for myself and for those around me. With that in mind, I came up with some fairly simple but powerful resolutions to try.

Resolution 1: Consult with Mr. Spock

I recently stumbled upon an interesting way of using Star Trek to keep oneself calm, as described below:

A nifty tip for dealing with invasive irrational thoughts.

Pretend Spock is standing by your shoulder telling you it’s “illogical” or something.

Getting invasive thoughts that everyone you know secretly hates you? Spock is there to be all, “That is statistically improbable, Captain. Several of your friends have told you many times that they enjoy your company.”

Paranoid that you’re going to hit by a car every time you walk by a road? Spock is walking beside you, calmly explaining that, “You are most likely not going to be hit by a car. You’re walking on the sidewalk, and there are no cars in sight.”

Is someone not messaging you back right away, and part of you is terrified that they’re dead in a ditch somewhere? Spock is there to be all, “Captain, your friend is currently at work. They are probably helping a customer, not dead.”

Seriously, I spend a lot of time now pretending that Spock is blandly telling me why all of my irrational, invasive, and paranoid thoughts probably aren’t true.

“Spock, someone is watching me.”

“Captain, you are alone in your apartment, Everything is fine.”

I thought it felt a little silly at first mentally asking for Mr. Spock’s opinion, but taking a moment to analyze a situation has been very effective – along with making me feel like a Captain. After trying it for the first few weeks of 2018, I have to say it’s very helpful, calming, and dare I say…

logical

How most of my self convos end now.

Resolution 2: Replace “I’m sorry” with “Thank you”

Being in Texas, so far away from most of my friends and family in Florida, I sometimes find myself apologizing. I’m sorry I don’t text more, I’m sorry I didn’t answer your call the other night, I’m sorry we haven’t Skyped this week, I’m sorry we haven’t played games or had a Netflix binge together lately, I’m sorry for many things. Then I came across this on my Facebook the other day:

thank you

I’ve seen this posting before, but it didn’t resonate with me at the time like it does now. To all those I’m sorry I haven’t talked to as much as I should have – Mom, Dad, Bill, Alex, Dylan, Ashley, Nigel, Caitlin, freaking everyone – thank you for being such loving and amazing people.

 

Resolution 3: More Fun Stuff

More polls, more guest stars, more stuff from fans and collaborators. I started this site with a “me, me, me” mentality, and I know I need to share and partner up more. While I don’t like playing second banana to anyone, it’s not so much fun if you’re the only banana.

 

That’s all for today, guys. Hopefully, this semester won’t be as difficult…

 

I suppose we’ll see! In the meantime, make sure to follow me on on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to catch all the exclusive stuff as it comes out!

 

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian

 

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Brash and Back in Action

HELLOOOOOOO, FRIENDS!!!

What an exciting time it has been these past few weeks. As director Michael Bay or actor Simon Pegg might say, “a no-holds-barred, adrenaline-fueled thrill ride”.

La-dee-da, hum bum WHOA TAKE COVER

When we last we left in our intrepid Brash chronicles, I announced that I would be taking a break from writing to focus on my Finance class. There was a great deal of blood, sweat, and tears, but I finished the class with an A! When I first started, I was hoping to escape with a B- but came away with a 95. It was at great cost, but worth it. I isolated myself from friends, family, hardly didn’t speak to anyone, just studied almost non-stop like a machine. It also helped having a really great teacher who was there for any questions I had, helped me work on what I was weakest at, and just helped me believe in myself. (If you’re reading this, Dr. Wang – thank you.)

So, what did I do to celebrate? Some food, some drink, some merriment, some relaxing…

And then signed up for my second finance class.

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I know, right?

I wish finance were over, believe me, but I need two finance classes to get my MBA. It’s gonna suck taking them back to back, but what’s the alternative? Forget all of it, take a year later and have to relearn it all? Nah, I’ll just suffer through it. I won’t get as many posts out as I’d like, but I can still get plenty of content on through on FacebookTwitter and Instagram when time allows. If you haven’t, you’re missing out on great tips like how to protect yourself from the Equifax data breach. If you haven’t heard about it, click here to see if you’ve been affected by the incident.

Great! Well, it looks like I’m ready to start class agai–

HI, MY NAME’S HARVEY! LET ME GIVE YOU A HURRICANE HUG!

Nice to meet you too, 10 trillion gallons of water.

Thankfully, my apartment and car didn’t flood! Our library got a little water, but nothing serious. We were closed the last weekend of August, and saw a whole lotta water! Fortunately, we’ve had FEMA workers in our library helping people file papers and get their lives back together. Our library has decided to waive any fines for books damaged in the hurricane and any late fees. Because libraries are people, too!

With the water slowly leaving the roads and things returning to normal, I can resume my to-do list:

  • Beat round 2 of Finance
  • Finish the backlog of laundry
  • Catch up on season 7 of The Walking Dead (bout time, Netflix)
  • Clean my car (because I can’t clean it out in the pouring rain)
  • Eat all the junk hurricane food we saved up
  • Get back to running and losing weight (I regret that previous one)
  • Write Brash Librarian posts (working on that now!)

My Florida friends were checking on me all the time, and were all very happy that I was okay. We had power and internet the whole time, so things were okay for the most part. The worst part came when my Florida friends were–

HI!!! I’M IRMA!!! YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY IN FLORIDA LOOKED LONELY, SO I’LL GIVE THEM A HURRICANE HUG, TOO!

apocalypse

Hurricanes are emotionally needy creatures.

Everyone I know of turned out okay though! My sister had her second baby right before Irma hit, so they stayed in the hospital. My mom lost power for about two days but was otherwise alright, and most of my friends were okay. My friend Caitlin had some power lines and a fence torn down by a neighbor’s tree – thankfully, the tree landed in her pool instead of her house! Some friends still don’t have power, but the majority of them are back to normal.

So what’s the overall current score?

  • Justin: 1, Harvey: 0
  • Justin: 1, Finance: 2 (I dropped out twice, and beat it once!)
  • Florida friends and family: 1, Irma: 0

That’s all I have this week, friends! Next week, I have my first exam and my library will be doing inventory, so another post might have to wait until October I’ll try to check in weekly with some quick and fun posts and surveys, this new Finance class isn’t going easy on me. Just know that I’m here for you, just as everyone has been for me. Stay safe in this season of 500-year storms!

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian

 

 

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Taking a Short Break

Hey Friends!

If there’s one thing I don’t like admitting, it’s that I can’t handle everything at once…and math is not my strongest suit.

As most of you know, I’m in the MBA program at A&M, and I’m taking one of my toughest classes yet: Finance. I once took it in undergrad, and it beat me up so much that I had to drop out. After much research and patience, I think I found the right professor and the right semester to take it. Even with all that…the class is still getting extremely tough. I thought taking it in a 6 week summer class would be like ripping off a band-aid, but it’s more like ripping off a finger at this point.

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Visual representation of me and Finance.

I certainly didn’t want you guys to worry about why posts weren’t coming out, so I’m giving you all a heads-up that there might not be any posts for the next 5 weeks or so while I combat this numbers monster. I really wanted to follow up on how Amazon Prime Day went last week, but that’s just gonna have to wait. I’ll still try to keep y’all entertained on FacebookTwitter and Instagram when I have a spare moment or two!

Don’t worry, I’ll let you know how the class goes.

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian

 

 

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Amazon Prime Day is Back…and it might be good this time?

Hey Friends!

This week, I’m revisiting two of my favorite passions: research and shopping. Couple these together, and you have a Scrooge McDuck librarian who scours the internets for the best deals. This week, we’ll see if Amazon Prime Day delivers those deals.

“I’m lost, Justin. What the heck is Prime Day?”

For those who don’t know, Amazon debuted what they call Prime Day for Prime members two years ago (read more here). It was supposed to be a day to celebrate Prime memberships and say thanks by giving members exclusives deals with all kinds of great deals. However, the deals were…bad. How bad? Here’s a recap:

What did Twitter say?

(View the full recap here)

It was so bad, I didn’t even write about it last year. I wrote a few recommendations about what they should do in the future, and it seems they’ve listened. Did they actually listen? They might have.

  • I asked for notifications for when deals go live, and the app/website do that now.
  • I asked to give more previews instead of keeping us in suspense, and they did it for the most part.

I don’t know what else is in store, we’ll find out when Prime Day actually gets here.

One thing they’ve really upped their game on this year? THE GIVEAWAYS. They’ve been doing giveaways for the past 10 days or so, all products you’d actually want. One a scale of “check them out if I have time” to “keep my eyes glued”, I’m at “set alarms for every major one”. Ya dang right, I want a Nintendo Switch and Macbook!

I already missed a shot at a free Playstation 4 by MERE SECONDS, I ain’t making that mistake again.

Yes, these deals are still going on. Enter for free stuff while you still can!

Did I mention that these are just the giveaways offered by Amazon? There’s literally thousands of giveaways – of course, many of these are offered by people or companies that want you to follow them on Twitter/Facebook/etc to be eligible, but if the product’s worth it to you…

Will the deals actually turn out to be worth it? After 2 years of nothing to show, maybe Amazon is hoping third time’s the charm. I’m not holding my breath, I’ll patiently wait for Black Friday and snag my stuff at 60% off. If you want a TV, get it in the first 20 days of January (that’s when every retailer is trying to make room for new TVs just in time for the Superbowl)

If you asked my mom, she’d tell you “Justin will squeeze a penny until a nickel falls out”. I guess we’ll see how many nickels Amazon can squeeze out of me tomorrow.

What I do with all those savings, you ask?

Are you looking forward to any deals? Any good giveaways you’re interested in? Feel free to let me know in the comments below or on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian

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Finals, TLA, and other stuff that kept me from writing.

Hey Friends!

By Thor’s hammer, it’s been a long time. I’ve been drowning in so much stuff, that I haven’t posted in a month. I’m pretty sure that’s a record for me. (And one I’d rather not try to break.)

So, let’s try to catch y’all up on life recently.

RFID is finally coming into place.

As you guys might remember, we underwent our RFID tagging during inventory last September. Many tears, lots of insanity, it was something we’d prefer to never do again. The whole point of RFID is to get us ready for self-check stations that were coming in October…and then got pushed to December…then January…then February…you get the idea.

900-years

This is how old I felt waiting for all this stuff.

Once it finally arrived, things started crashing, computers were going offline, our branch was half-functioning for a week, and other glitches in the Matrix that made things wonky.

Thankfully, everything started coming together, things got un-crashed, and we started opening self-check machines to the public. If you’ve been in public libraries for any amount of time, you know that people don’t embrace change well. To quote a mentor, “If you move the salt shaker one inch to the left, everybody loses their minds“…boy, were they right. While some people liked how they work, many people didn’t appreciate the new-fangled technology. I mean, REALLY didn’t appreciate it. On a scale of 1 to “never coming back here”, they cranked it up to 11: Dropping their books on the counter, telling us “if we can’t have a person check us out, then we’ll go another library”, and then walk out telling staff that these machines will replace them. Did I mention some people don’t like change?

no love

That’s pretty much how it felt.

I went home for vacation.

In the longest vacation I’ve taken in at least five years, I spent two weeks going down to visit family and friends in Florida It was a very bittersweet vacation, as I also went down to help my parents pack up their house to move. They’ve been in that house since I was a teenager, filled with years of laughter, joy, sadness, and everything that comes with over a decade of memories.

I drove from Houston to Florida to help my parents pack up and move. We moved into that house when I was 17, and I’ve watched my bedroom become my brother’s room, then a utility room, and so on. I got to take home some pretty awesome stuff! Items ranged from, “Holy moly, I haven’t seen that in forever! Sure, I’ll take that with me” to, “Hey Justin, are you suuure you don’t need another bowl/pot/pan/bag/lamp/family heirloom/sweater/book/movie/thing nobody else wants or has room for?”

I was so happy I got to hang out with so many of my friends – Jessie, Megz, Grant, Kayla, Drew, Stephanie, and a dozen more – especially before some of them left town as well. My best friend Dylan is moving to DC to up his lawyer game, and my friend Cree is moving to LA to chase her modeling/acting/writing careers. (Don’t let them take your spark, girl!)

Then I went to Tampa and saw even more friends and family! I got to see Caitlin, Jovon, my sister Ashley and plenty more. If you don’t remember Ashley from my post about her Etsy shop, she’s still going strong – which I recommend you check out!

I went to TLA in San Antonio!

I went to sessions, I met some great people – Gerrye, Micki, Alan, I’m looking at you…Oh, Alan! We talked about a few directors that we both know, but I forgot to ask if you knew Lisa Brasher. That’s my mom! (Small world, right?)

I also made a new friend named Cory who I’ve become good friends with, but I’ll get to back to that.

I had finals. UGH.

In between sessions and the exhibit hall, I was writing my final papers. While advanced macro-economic theory was very interesting and helped me better understand how global economies work, I now feel like every little thing I read in the news looks like the beginning of an economic crash.

You know how a first year med student gets a headache and now wonders if they have a brain tumor? It’s like that, but with money.

I had my birthday!

Yaaaay…I’m kidding, I’m really excited, but still feel like I can do more and be more. I’m sure everyone feels like that, but still! At least I can tell people I’m on the wrong side of 30 now. :p

Renovations started.

So pretty much my entire area got gutted to become our New Book area and we got moved to a new part of the library. We’re getting a totally sweet desk when all is said and done, but that means temporary desks and tables until that comes in. My team feels like a family without a home…but like Gloria Gaynor, we will survive.

RFID Gets a Friend

I’ll be covering this more in a future post, but we’ve looking for a book sorter unit. We’ve already started automating the check-out process, so it makes sense that we do the same to the check-in process.

Lyngsoe.jpg

Just an idea of what a sorter unit looks like.

While we had decided between two different vendors and were trying to make up our minds, and that’s when I met my new friend Cory at TLA. See? I told you to get back to that.

“So who is Cory and what does that have to do with RFID?”

Well, annoying nasal voice in my head, Cory is the President of Lyngsoe, a company that produces the kind of book sorters units we’ve been looking for. A few emails and phone calls later, Cory and his team came to visit our library and demo their unit. I’ll be going further in-depth on this in another post, but Cliffnotes version: we liked it so much, we had their demo unit installed before summer reading started. We’ll get a brand spanking new one after the summer crowd has died down a little and we can install it without inconveniencing patrons.

So, talk to me, people! Does your library do RFID yet? If not, are you considering it? I’m thinking about writing a crash-course guide to RFID installations – “All the things I wish I’d known/done before RFID” or something of the sort…comments? Questions? Suggestions? Let me know!

Don’t forget you can follow these RFID adventures on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram as well!

Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian

 

 

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