Friday, November 7, 2014

To Marietta By Way of Macon . . ., or:
Little Things Can Make a Librarian Happy

So yeah, I'm a little proud of myself.  Yesterday was one of those days with nothing big on the calendar, so I'm taking care of desk business and being pretty much "on call" for anybody who needs something in the library -- computer help, copier help, checking out, finding a book, the usual.
Near the end of the day, a fellow came in, sent by JH teacher Tom Painting, to get the novel Bee Season by Myla Goldberg.   We own the book, I've read it and it's supposed to be in and on the shelf.  But -- every librarian's horror story -- it's not there!  We can't find it!  A customer might have to go away empty-handed -- NOOOOOOOO!

As it turns out, the fellow is a visiting teacher and friend of Tom, and he wanted to read the first couple of pages of the novel to Tom's writing students today in class. Knowing that, I start to think. How can we get hold of just the opening passages of the novel?  Google Books? Nah, too recent.  Maybe, just maybe, has a "Look Inside" feature for this one.  So I go to my computer and check.  Yes, they do on the paperback edition -- but for some reason, it wasn't apparent on my screen. I checked to see if the Kindle version offered a downloadable sample.  SCORE!  There it was.  Can I somehow send it to Tom?

Not so easy.  Tom doesn't exactly love technology, and while he has an iPad, he's not fond of it.    Alternate next step, send the sample to my iPad.  Alas, you can't print previews, either from the site or from the Kindle Reader sample file. Think think think.  Screen shot!  From the sample (usually the first chapter or so) displayed in the Kindle Reader app on my iPad, I took screen shots of the first two pages.  Now just to print them, and we're done.

Not so fast . . .  The Handiprint service that's supposed to allow iPads to print to the library laserjet hasn't been working this week, even after some troubleshooting and reboots.   I have to tell the students to email from the iPad to their FirstClass email and print from a iMac workstation.  I had to do the same thing.   Wait wait wait for the email to go from the Photos app through my  Yahoo email account, out into the 'internets,' where a simple file transfer from Atlanta to Atlanta could conceivably be routed through Pittsburg or San Diego, and into my school FirstClass email. 

Finally the emails arrive in my inbox, and I print out the .png photo files on the library printer.  Success!  Two sheets of paper and a mission accomplished.

And that's how I ended up metaphorically travelling from Atlanta to Marietta (normally a straightforward mission, 20 miles straight up I-75) via Macon, Savannah, Columbus, Albany and possibly even Birmingham.

Kind of geeky, maybe, but it sure did feel good to send that customer away with exactly what he needed when he walked in.

No comments: