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PEDANT (noun)

February 19th, 2013 · 84 comments

Oh boy.

To: University of Guam Library  Good Afternoon, I have spent many semesters in our wonderful campus library. I admire the dedication and hard work that the staff demonstrates in order to maintain and keep up top priority issues any students may experience. I would like to contribute what I have learned in my few years here at UOG. I frequently occupy the main floor and have come across some signs that read

(As always, just click on the image to enlarge.)

related: Volenti non fit injuria

FILED UNDER: college life · library · TL;DR

84 responses so far ↓

  • #1   H for Toy


    “Please do not make a shelf out of the books… AGAIN.”

    Feb 19, 2013 at 12:39 pm   rating: 48  small thumbs up

  • #2   JN

    Grammar PA notes always put me in a good mood.

    Feb 19, 2013 at 12:42 pm   rating: 47  small thumbs up

  • #3   Beatus Mongous

    What’s with the green lines?

    Feb 19, 2013 at 12:52 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #3.1   H for Toy

      I thought they were shadows from an open window blind. But then, I see shadows everywhere…

      Feb 19, 2013 at 1:24 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

  • #4   Amy

    Obviously this person has nothing better to do with their life. Other people have LIFES…. lol

    Feb 19, 2013 at 12:58 pm   rating: 81  small thumbs up

    • #4.1   Gem


      Feb 19, 2013 at 1:03 pm   rating: 17  small thumbs up

    • #4.2   GA Peach

      And there it goes… whizzing over Gem’s head.

      Feb 19, 2013 at 2:46 pm   rating: 132  small thumbs up

    • #4.3   Cancer

      In Super Mario Brothers I get 3 lifes, so I have lifes.

      Feb 20, 2013 at 5:59 am   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #4.4   Amy

      Over my head? Sarcasm is lost on some….

      Feb 20, 2013 at 6:16 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

  • #5   w.r.printz

    So…the signs should be reprinted?

    To be fair, the library saying “Don’t put the books back because you are too stupid to do it correctly” would be less PA and more fun…..

    Feb 19, 2013 at 12:59 pm   rating: 49  small thumbs up

    • #5.1   ces

      Libraries generally ask you not to reshelve books because they keep records of which books get used, not because they think their patrons are too stupid to do it properly.

      Feb 19, 2013 at 2:10 pm   rating: 16  small thumbs up

    • #5.2   Librarian

      No, ces, we really do think the patrons are too stupid to do it properly.

      Feb 19, 2013 at 2:56 pm   rating: 128  small thumbs up

    • #5.3   Ajax

      Yes, the writer is asking the library to resign.

      Feb 19, 2013 at 3:00 pm   rating: 34  small thumbs up

    • #5.4   JK

      I’ve worked in a public library and school library and we never took books left on reshelving carts and made any notes about their use. That’s probably done in the system when you check them out, but otherwise they just get sorted and reshelved. It’s easier than someone putting them back wrong or leaving them all over the floor, library tables, or window sill.

      PS. Incidentally, my spell check doesn’t like the word “reshelve.” It says “reshelf” is correct, so it’s probably a case of someone’s spell check run amuck on the order form when they put in for the signs.

      Feb 19, 2013 at 3:30 pm   rating: 20  small thumbs up

    • #5.5   JamiSings bang

      JK’s right. We only keep records of the books that actually leave the library. We don’t want patrons to reshelf them because 99% of the time they do it wrong.

      We’d rather them leave them in a neat pile on the table. Then we pick them up and scan them because sometimes – rarely, but sometimes – a patron happens to grab a book that is “in house missing.” Meaning a staff member went looking for it in several places, couldn’t find it, and marked it as missing in our computers. Scanning automatically takes it off the missing list.

      Feb 20, 2013 at 10:06 am   rating: 16  small thumbs up

    • #5.6   JN

      Ditto for bookstores (says the former bookstore slave).

      Feb 21, 2013 at 9:41 am   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #5.7   L

      Because sometimes people ARE too stupid to do it, at least properly, so when you go to pull a book for a hold or a patron or because YOU FREAKING WANT IT, it’s not where it supposed to be.

      Feb 21, 2013 at 5:16 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #5.8   harold

      I thought they were referring to the time honored reshelfing students do when they don’t want their classmates to use that book i.e. being dicks and hiding certain books during term-paper season.

      Feb 22, 2013 at 9:13 am   rating: 6  small thumbs up

    • #5.9   Clumber

      #5.3 Ajax –
      (choking from laughter, dude you should have 100 thumbs!)

      Dammit now my ribs reache.

      Feb 25, 2013 at 1:02 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #6   jjbooknut

    Not to mention this pearl: “… issues any students may experience”. HELLO!

    Feb 19, 2013 at 1:14 pm   rating: 10  small thumbs up

    • #6.1   Brittni

      THANK YOU! I thought I was the only one who noticed that! In a website dominated by grammar Nazis, how did this get ignored for so long?

      Feb 19, 2013 at 8:34 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

  • #7   Lola

    I find it strnge that the nore is dated the exact day that it appears here on PAN

    Feb 19, 2013 at 1:18 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #7.1   Henry

      Very strange indeed. But I believe the 19th occured ‘yesterday’ on Guam for us in the states. But still, less than 24 hrs later, it’s posted here?

      Feb 19, 2013 at 4:06 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #7.2   orogomait

      They have this thing now from computer to computer in an instant!

      Feb 20, 2013 at 4:47 am   rating: 23  small thumbs up

  • #8   Lola

    I find it strange that the note is dated the exact day that it appears here on PAN

    Feb 19, 2013 at 1:20 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

  • #9   sockpuppet

    I am in no way a fan of the Grammar Police, but in this case I have to agree….a library is the last place that should have an error like this

    Feb 19, 2013 at 1:20 pm   rating: 31  small thumbs up

    • #9.1   MariRose

      Yeah, normally I would find a letter like this annoying. In this case, however, I understand how this student feels. (S)he is paying for a university education and seeing a mistake like that all the time has to make one question the value of the education that the University of Guam provides.

      Feb 19, 2013 at 1:24 pm   rating: 21  small thumbs up

    • #9.2   squib

      I am often a member of the Grammar Police, but I’ll take “reshelf” over the obnoxiousness of this note. It seems as thought it would have been a lot easier to just tell someone that there’s a misspelling on one of the library signs, but I suppose that doesn’t come with the refreshing cloud of smug superiority that lingers for the rest of the day.

      Feb 19, 2013 at 2:01 pm   rating: 40  small thumbs up

    • #9.3   oi

      I have a weird rant. I am alone on this probably. It is such a fad to celebrate books and library these days. Books are just one of the resources for information, like an internet etc. People make such a huge deal about reading a book. I understand library and books are being replaced and that makes some people go overboard. But this thing is reading a book does not make one literate. If you are reading cheap (in quality) crap or worst yet personal interest fueled propaganda, you are becoming anti-literate actually. Celebration should be for quality reading not the tool of reading.
      Hey, ok. Rant is over. I did say it ‘s gonna be a weird rant…

      Feb 19, 2013 at 3:46 pm   rating: 7  small thumbs up

    • #9.4   Tim

      I’m pretty sure that we celebrate the reading of any books because society is under the belief that kids “no longer read”. Some people point to Harry Potter as the saving grace for books that influenced a whole generation to get back to reading.

      I’m not sure how much reading is actually dying, but I am sad to note that I know at least one person that refuses to read anything. No books, no comics, no newspapers, no magazines. It’s people like that which cause the rest of us to applaud even simple reading in others. Reading is very important for comprehension and communication growth, so it also has an impact on intelligence. Even cheap crap will help in these departments – so don’t knock those books too hard.

      On my side of the fence, I think forcing students to read books ahead of their time (i.e. “classics” that were written during their time for adults, not 14 year olds) – the sort of books you would likely espouse – is what’s helping to kill the desire for reading. Even I love to read but I wanted to die rather than read Ethan Frome.

      And that’s my rant :D

      Feb 20, 2013 at 10:56 am   rating: 32  small thumbs up

    • #9.5   notolaf the elementary school teacher

      Has it occurred to you that your acquaintance who won’t read may not be able to?

      Feb 25, 2013 at 9:48 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #10   TeeDeeAitch

    While I absolutely, completely embrace the intent, I need to point out that the author actually includes an incomplete sentence within the body of the text, in the sentence beginning, “simply because…” I know it’s probably really uncool to do this, but hey, the author is in school, right? Willingness and readiness to learn, etc.? I AM glad the sign was posted and the error identified, though. Thank you, Undergraduate (no “lowly” about it)!

    Feb 19, 2013 at 1:23 pm   rating: 16  small thumbs up

  • #11   sockpuppet

    I would like to point out that this person should be penalized for plagiarism, which seems far worse than the library’s original mistake —google “reshelf” and you will see there is an almost word-for-word post about this on grammarphobia

    Feb 19, 2013 at 1:26 pm   rating: 38  small thumbs up

  • #12   m9

    Like a re-gift, it’s a re-shelf.

    Feb 19, 2013 at 1:37 pm   rating: 8  small thumbs up

  • #13   nunavut guy

    I am going to hit you with a shelve….sorry,shelf.

    Feb 19, 2013 at 1:45 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

  • #14   Sir Puke

    Ah, to be in the halls of macadamia. I mean college, NOT.
    These are the people that should be slapped in the town square.

    Feb 19, 2013 at 1:58 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #14.1   MickeyButters bang

      I’m partial to cashews, myself.

      Feb 19, 2013 at 2:13 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

    • #14.2   Jami

      Oh thanks, Sir Puke, I now have Bulbous Bouffant stuck in my head.

      Feb 20, 2013 at 2:51 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

  • #15   pooham

    I remember being a little sad when I learned that somewhere along the line it became acceptable to use the word fishes for more than one fish.

    But I was also elated when my sister and I found a sign above a Walgreens aisle that said “Incontinents!”

    Feb 19, 2013 at 2:12 pm   rating: 10  small thumbs up

    • #15.1   H for Toy

      How about incidences? I believe the correct usage is 1 incident, 2 incidents and 3 or more incidences.

      Feb 19, 2013 at 2:24 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #15.2   Librarian

      “Fishes” is proper when referring to more than one species of fish.
      27 cod=a lot of fish
      27 cod, parrotfish & guppies=a lot of fishes

      Feb 19, 2013 at 2:59 pm   rating: 27  small thumbs up

    • #15.3   Jessi

      As Librarian points out, it didn’t become acceptable, it’s always been acceptable. “Fishes” is correct when referring to more than one kind of fish.

      Feb 20, 2013 at 1:57 am   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #15.4   KD

      “Fishes” drives me nuts every time I see it!

      Feb 20, 2013 at 7:44 am   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #15.5   Rebecca

      I know, right? Everyone knows the proper word is “fishies”.

      Feb 20, 2013 at 7:32 pm   rating: 21  small thumbs up

    • #15.6   Amy In Toronto

      I think I broke out into a mild rash the day that “disorientate” made it into an actual dictionary because a critical mass of people were unable to discern the root word and use it properly.

      Same goes for the past tense of “to lead” (led). Now I’m irritated every time I see a newspaper print a sentence that reads something like, “And he lead the people to victory!” and it’s considered grammatically sound. Bah!

      Feb 21, 2013 at 10:23 am   rating: 7  small thumbs up

  • #16   Ely North

    The library should just hire a pygmy with a blow-dart gun to fire tranquilizers into the neck of anyone who attempts to put a book back on the shelf. No need for signs. Problem solved.
    On an unrelated topic, how cool of a word is pygmy? Four letters that dip below the horizon. Pretty sweet!

    Feb 19, 2013 at 2:37 pm   rating: 36  small thumbs up

    • #16.1   pooham

      I’m infatuated with the idea of replacing most signs with pygmies with blow-dart guns and tranquilizers.

      Feb 19, 2013 at 2:50 pm   rating: 18  small thumbs up

    • #16.2   mutzali

      I’m partial to syzygy and zymurgy.

      Feb 19, 2013 at 3:07 pm   rating: 7  small thumbs up

    • #16.3   Nunavut Guy

      Uh OH!!! Someone used the”P” word.

      Feb 19, 2013 at 8:13 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #16.4   JamiSings bang

      We could use them for patrons who fuss when they’re not allowed a third reservation for the computers!

      Seriously, some of them get really psycho about it. We’ve even had to call the police on them.

      Feb 20, 2013 at 9:58 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #17   Captain Hampton

    It would be more effective and fun to take a red pen to every offending sign.

    Feb 19, 2013 at 2:37 pm   rating: 10  small thumbs up

    • #17.1   Jessi

      That’s what I do at work, haha!

      Feb 20, 2013 at 1:59 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #18   mutzali

    Big sign in the faculty office at my sons’ high school (yes, I have two sons, so “sons’ ” is correct):

    Are you an alumni of Del Mar?

    I’ve complained, but the sign’s been there for four years so far.

    Feb 19, 2013 at 3:10 pm   rating: 12  small thumbs up

    • #18.1   Mel

      My undergrad university does this, too – their alumni magazine is full of singular “alumni”. The classics department flips out about this every now and then. The next issue will use “alumnus/a”, instead, then everyone forgets about it and, “an alumni” makes a comeback.

      Feb 20, 2013 at 6:40 am   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #18.2   Lythande

      My roommate’s college has it on T-shirts. :/ That’s when I decided I didn’t want to attend said college.

      Feb 24, 2013 at 10:07 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #19   Shelfin' Fool

    Pretty sure the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th ed.), the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed), Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged and the Oxford English Dictionary don’t have “alook” as a word either. Perhaps you should reshelf this letter up your a33.

    Feb 19, 2013 at 3:33 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

  • #20   Bookstore Owner

    It is Re-shelf. There is there the other form of shelf that the undergrad does not take into account. As in when something has a shelf life or you buy something off the shelf. To re-shelf is to put it back on the long piece of wood known as a shelf.

    Feb 19, 2013 at 4:07 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

  • #21   Joe Blow

    I’m confused — you won’t find “reshelve” in multiple dictionaries, but you will find it in a different one. So we should use “reshelve”?!

    Feb 19, 2013 at 4:21 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

  • #22   wkj

    Irregardless, we should not use ‘reshelve’.

    Feb 19, 2013 at 4:43 pm   rating: 15  small thumbs up

    • #22.1   juju_skittles

      Why not? It’s a perfectly promulent word.

      Feb 19, 2013 at 5:24 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #22.2   jerquee

      *cromulent, since we’re being super picky ;-)

      Feb 19, 2013 at 10:55 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #22.3   pooham

      wkj, try to ovoid making such wreckless comments.

      Feb 20, 2013 at 12:15 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #22.4   Jami

      Let’s ask Rufus Sewell what words we should use. His word is law!

      Feb 20, 2013 at 2:53 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

  • #23   Ashes

    Are we allowed to post links for pain-in-the-ass pendants here?

    Here’s hoping:

    Feb 19, 2013 at 4:58 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #23.1   Lara

      Pendants or pedants?

      Feb 21, 2013 at 11:34 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

  • #24   danny b

    Usually I don’t like grammar nazis, but I think a library should use proper grammar in their communications. Like someone else said I wonder if it was a result of spell check. Also since one of the official languages of Guam is Chamorro ,the other being English, and there is also a large Filipino population there, who could speak primarily Tagalog, if it was an incorrect translation on the original notes part.

    Feb 19, 2013 at 6:26 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #24.1   Kou

      That’s not impossible, but generally it’s all pretty standard (albeit sometimes regional) American English in Guam– especially at UOG, and especially in the library and archives.

      Feb 19, 2013 at 11:07 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #25   SS

    Back at my university, it used to drive me nuts that *every* parent open-house weekend there would be a piece of paper taped to the front of the administration building door stating “Get You Student IDs Here”. What a great advertisement about the quality of education that your child is receiving. One weekend they were also having entertainment for the parents. The next sign inside the door had the word “Cariacaturist” [sic] with an arrow pointing to the location of the entertainment.

    Feb 19, 2013 at 10:44 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

  • #26   Kou

    I did a short stint at UOG and I came in all excited for some kind of unique Marianas complaint to chuckle at. Like a demand that the librarians somehow do something about the stray dogs that follow people around, or insist that they be provided a better place to study because the fish people caught in the reef to keep in the only rooms with wifi are all dying and it smells really bad but we can’t clean it because the lionfish are still alive and we’re afraid to put our hands in the water to clean it. But no, it’s a scolding from a grammar stickler.

    People really are the same everywhere.

    Feb 19, 2013 at 11:03 pm   rating: 9  small thumbs up

  • #27   guadalisa

    I’m curious. How, exactly, does one end up at UOG?

    Feb 20, 2013 at 9:11 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

    • #27.1   Wait..what?

      By boat

      Feb 20, 2013 at 9:53 am   rating: 9  small thumbs up

    • #27.2   redheadwglasses

      They make a huge paper airpline made of the rejection letters from real universities. ; )

      Feb 20, 2013 at 12:09 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #27.3   Dana

      My thoughts exactly ! I thought it was some obscure US University – but no – it is on a tiny island in the middle of no-where !

      Feb 20, 2013 at 4:10 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

    • #27.4   Kou

      Keep in mind people actually live on all those islands out there! There aren’t a lot of universities in the Pacific, pretty much anyone in Micronesia at least is more likely to end up there than anywhere else.

      But UOG has a library/archive of texts unlike any other for the history of that region, which includes a lot of areas of interest for a lot of people. The atomic bombs dropped on Japan were launched from the Marianas, for example. When I was there, a group of Spanish scholars were there to do research on Spanish colonial history. There’s also a lot of academic ecological interest in Guam specifically because of the brown tree snake disaster.

      Feb 20, 2013 at 9:38 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

  • #28   lowly me

    Did lowly undergraduate write, “come across come signs”

    Feb 20, 2013 at 11:48 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #29   Kim

    I got my BA at UOG and I have to admit that those signs in the library always drove me nuts.

    Feb 20, 2013 at 12:23 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #30   bob loblaw

    Using shelf like re-shelf is like changing impact to impacting (i.e. making it a verb, along the lines of the extremely odious medalled as in ‘the Olympic athlete medalled’).

    So the complainant is goddamn correct, and the correct word is re-shelve because shelve is a verb and shelf is a noun.

    Feb 20, 2013 at 1:12 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

  • #31   Frankenstien

    Microsoft word doesn’t accept “reshelve” as properly spelled word, so I think it’s reshelf. To shelve is a verb, but I do believe that you are to reshelf a book as once again shelve it. The library is correct on this one.

    Feb 21, 2013 at 4:35 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

    • #31.1   Lara

      On the other hand, let’s not use Microsoft Word as the final authority on grammar.

      Feb 21, 2013 at 11:37 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

    • #31.2   Bram

      I bet Microsoft Word doesn’t accept “Frankenstien” as a properly spelled word. Any takers?

      Feb 22, 2013 at 3:04 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #32   DC

    Did anyone else picture Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory when reading this note?

    Feb 22, 2013 at 10:16 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #33   MissDragonMage bang

    As a former library volunteer, I understand the pain that both the ‘lowly undergrad’ and the library go through. Yes, the signs drove me nuts. However, the fact that he did his research and the note was written very nicely (by way of notes) shows that he truly cares. Undergrads typically don’t have a life (undergrad myself).

    Libraries ask you not to reshelve books due to A) they want to keep records of what books are being used and B) people are stupid and don’t reshelve them correctly, especially when you get into the non fiction. Even I have made the mistake, and I used to volunteer and knew where every book in the library went.

    Feb 26, 2013 at 11:12 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #34   shepd

    I didn’t know green bar came back in style. Bonus hipster points for the fact it’s no longer for printers!

    Mar 6, 2013 at 1:49 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #35   katie k

    As an English teacher with a background in linguistics, I feel I can say with confidence: This person is a dick.

    Mar 18, 2013 at 10:45 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up


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