March 19, 2018

why i hate the scanner in the circulation room next to the information desk | Not Dead Yet

(a poem and a library rant, with apologies to e.e. cummings and poets everywhere, and dedicated to all library colleagues who may ever have experienced a twinge of technostress)

oh how i hate this scanner!
right foul machine it is,
one only has to breathe on it and it goes on the fritz!

the unsuspecting patrons
approach it with delight
secure in the belief that it will scan their tomes just right

and it’s a green solution—no tree will be cut dead—
no paper will be used at all, a USB instead.

once they insert the USB into its “golf-ball” drive
they try to make the scanner scan (to let those nice trees thrive)

but first they must card swipe the beast to make it know they’re there
and beast does not cooperate—the screen just stares and stares
no notice does it take of swipe or swiper (or of swears)

the beast just sits and does nothing
thus causing us all woe
to me the patron comes and i reboot it till it goes

and lo—it works—
it scans again, for just a while, you see
and then it doesn’t go—again,
and back they come to me.

so off i trot, keyboard in hand to reboot it again
till once again, with cheery glee,
the patron scans and scans.

but then, again, the card swipe dies—
this beast is thoroughly cursed,
and i just hope the reboot will again get past the worst

for if the scanner ever truly goes kerplotz and lies there dead
i’ll face my patrons and desk time with ever-growing dread.

they’ve come to count upon the beast
as anyone can see
and if it truly doesn’t work
i’ll be inclined to flee.

so that is why, my reader dear,
although it’s good to trees
this scanner, once my friend, became
a total foe to me.

Read eReviews, where Cheryl LaGuardia and Bonnie Swoger look under the hood of the latest library databases and often offer free database trials

Cheryl LaGuardia About Cheryl LaGuardia

Cheryl LaGuardia always wanted to be a librarian, and has been one for more years than she's going to admit. She cracked open her first CPU to install a CD-ROM card in the mid-1980s, pioneered e-resource reviewing for Library Journal in the early '90s (picture calico bonnets and prairie schooners on the web...), won the Louis Shores / Oryx Press Award for Professional Reviewing, and has been working for truth, justice, and better electronic library resources ever since. Reach her at, where she's a Research Librarian at Harvard University.



  1. Very nice. I know the feelings expressed in the lovely poem.