Thursday, May 11, 2006

Record Time

Well that didn't take long.

Yes, it's true gentle blog readers. There have already been complaints about me regarding my new job. My crime? Apparently I've been buying too many romance novels.

RWA should be showing up any moment to give me my medal....

I'm waiting....

The grand irony of this is that I've been very conscious of not buying too many romance novels. I got two remarks when I took this job:
  • OMG Wendy! You'll be great!
  • Don't just buy romance novels
I bit my tongue. I know, I feel dirty. I should have let Bitchy Wendy out of the trunk of my car to say, "Yeah. I'm only going to buy romance novels. I want to see how long it takes before my boss fires me. That's my idea of a good time."

The other irony is that these librarians have yet to give my boss examples of offending titles. Thus making it impossible for us to track down the order number. Thus making it equally impossible to see if I'm the one who actually ordered them! I've only been at this for two months - shit half of my very first order still hasn't come in yet.

I was told to not take this personally. But I am. Why? Besides middle child syndrome of course. These are librarians I know. I've worked with them. We've had meetings together. That, and they all know I like romance. So basically I have a glaring red target pinned to my back. It's one thing for them to say, "Wendy is buying too much science fiction." Did they say that? No. They immediately went for romance. I suspect because they knew it would piss me off.

The other thing that yanks my chain is when librarians make sweeping statements like, "Don't buy me romance because it doesn't circulate at my branch." Um, have you ever wondered why? Maybe because you have nothing new and patrons don't want to read romances from the 1980s. Or maybe because you've shoved them in a back corner and nobody can 1) find them or 2) even know they're there. Or maybe they know your branch isn't romance friendly so they avoid you like the plague. In fact, sweeping statements like that do nothing but insure I'm going to buy you stuff you don't want just out of spite. Why? Because I'll want to prove you wrong.

My motto? Everyone should have a little bit of everything whether they want it or not.

What we have here is the Us Vs. Them mentality. Administration doesn't understand what it's like at the branches (um, hello?! I do! I was doing their job 2 weeks ago!) and branches don't understand administration. Blah, blah, blah.

Frankly this kind of bullshit just irritates me. It's so counterproductive, and I suspect it's been simmering because 1) we have people on staff who have been here since The Dark Ages and 2) we've had an inadequate materials budget for the last 10 years.

So here's little ole' Wendy trying to be all "Rah, Rah! Go Team!" and instead getting smacked on the hand for buying too much romance - which I haven't. Please just shoot me now and put me out of my misery.


Ann said...

I worked with a woman was a librarian. She told me about an article she read that broke down library use by genre. She was incensed that the largest library use genre was romance. Because she had an advanced degree, but in effect, she was working for romance readers. Who, I guess are stupid and fat and totally not as smart as she.

I didn't like her that day.

Alyssa said...

Since more than half the books bought by readers are romance, they should be glad you haven't ordered 50 percent or more.

Anything less than that should be just fine.

Although I'm thinking I might need to make a field trip to some of those branches. I can't imagine anything more exciting than reading a bunch of romances from the 70s and 80s.

Jean L. Cooper said...

It's those darned "intellecktuals" again -- trying to tell us what to read. They must be tired of messing with the children's section and banning Girl Scout handbooks or Robin Hood or 'Catcher in the Rye'? sigh Hell, they should be grateful that people read at all.

I hate it when they whine but have no actual examples to back up their argument.

By the way, do public librarians complain about genealogists as much as academic librarians do? Makes me wonder why they are there if they don't want to serve the patrons.

Tara Marie said...

My motto? Everyone should have a little bit of everything whether they want it or not.

I wish my library lived by this motto. They have a very limited selection of romance, but it's part of a much larger system and I can request books from other libraries, but being the "I want it now" type I end up buying them instead.

Gari said...

Since they won't give you a "list of examples" you need to be proactive. Start keeping a copy of what you buy and then you can show your boss EXACTLY what you've ordered, for what branch, etc... Then the next time someone comes to your boss to complain the two of you will be able to address the situation. That ought to shut them up!

I'm sure you've been very conscientious about the number of romances. HEL-LO!! You were warned when you first got the job. Like you'd ignore that? That would make you stupid, and frankly, you seem too damn intelligent for that.

Keep the faith!


Kristie (J) said...

Don't they read the statsticts (my that's a hard word to spell at 6 am on a Saturday morning - think I got it wrong) on how popular romance books are? And if they aren't being checked out it probably is because the selection is so out of date. And I agree. I have no doubt you are making very concious decisions taking all tastes into condsideration and being very balance on what you are ordering!

Wendy said...

Ann - God I hate librarians like that! It goes against "everything" that is so great about the job.

Alyssa: I crunched the numbers yesterday. I've ordered 5% romance. Which means RWA ain't showing up anytime soon to give me my medal.

Ms. Librarian: Well, I tend to complain about genealogists - but only when they get mad at me when I can't move heaven and Earth. If so-and-so won't send it to us via ILL there's not a whole lot I can do for you. That said, my last job catered to genealogists - lovely people.

Gari - I know you're right, and it was finally bugging me so much yesterday that I did it. The library that was (I'm sure) bitching the loudest? I've ordered them a grand total of 3 romances. 1 of which hasn't even come in yet because it's a June book.

Along with my stats - I included "why" I ordered what I did (some of which were *shock* patron requests!). I wish it wouldn't have come to this - it makes me feel dirty - like I have to "justify" having this job. It's bad enough I was "second choice." I don't need to deal with people who have an ax to grind.

sybil said...

uh, what ever happened to if you are doing a good job....

asshats, we shall hate them, oh yes we shall

Bookseller Chick said...


I don't know if the bookstores in the area will do this for you, but it might be worth a try. Hit your local B&N/B. Daltons or Borders/Waldenbooks/Borders Express/Brentanos and ask if they have a romance expert, then ask that person how much romance they sell. Be sure to tell them why because a pissed off romance expert is more likely to give you more information. At my old store in the 'burbs one half of our fiction sells were romance (the rest were made up of scifi/fantasy, mystery, and regular fiction). At my urban store the numbers are lower, probably around a fourth (something that I could improve with the advent of some nice bookcovers) but I have a larger male readership so it makes sense. Armed with these numbers you can use them to slap down any complaining librarian.

"What? I ordered you too much romance? But I'm only trying to keep up with the demand indicated by the retail stores in your area."

Kate R said...

OH BSC, that's some sneaky way of being clever.

Our librarian got her chops busted for buying too many kids books with female leads. She asked me if I was the one who'd said something (I have misogynist boys and so when she makes recommendations I frequently say "no, no boys--he won't like it" ). It wasn't me, btw.

Megan Frampton said...

Man, Wendy, that stinks. I mean, clearly people are just being petty. Sorry you have to go through this kind of crap so soon into the job.

Maili said...

Armed with these numbers you can use them to slap down any complaining librarian.

Very impressive. Nice one.

stephanie said...

I used to work at a library where an elderly woman (she had to be 85+) came every week and checked out 10 books. All romance. It was my job to pick them for her and make sure I didn't include repeats. The woman loved to read and she was my favorite patron, so when we had to enter book orders and I knew our frowny library head would scowl at a romance order I always put it as a request by this patron. Worked like a charm.