What was the scariest thing that ever happened to you at your library job?

It is time to air some dirty laundry :basket:. What was one scary moment you had in your library career?

  • Did you hit the delete key on the production server instead of training?
  • Did you drop an expensive server part while walking down the stairs?
  • Did you pull the emergency alarm shutting down the whole server room?
  • Did you see a :ghost: while working late one night rewiring the network closet?

Share a life lesson you learned from an “oh :poop: moment” in your career.

Once there was an item record in our system that had a non-printable character in the barcode. It caused the record to be inaccessible to the client and it would crash the desktop client.

To fix that problem, I got the bright idea to update the item barcode field via SQL. After all, it was such a simple SQL query. So simple, in fact, that I forgot to include the WHERE statement, which meant I was updating ALL 1 million items in the system to the SAME barcode!

I realized my mistake after it took more than 2 seconds for the SQL job to run. I quit the job as quickly as I could. Thankfully to perform the update the SQL engine needed an exclusive lock on the table. Because it was during the day and that table was so busy, I was able to quit the process before it could do anything.

Lesson learned? Ask yourself three times if a SQL statement has the word UPDATE or DELETE in it to make sure there is a WHERE as part of the statement. Or I use the SQL edit mode: How to quickly edit values in table in SQL Server Management Studio? - Stack Overflow

I almost wish there were a spellcheck system for SQL code that would flag any update statement as “misspelled” unless you had a WHERE clause. Until then, I just try to slow down and take a breath before I execute anything but a SELECT statement in SQL.

The real answer is having a patron OD in the parking lot, but that’s a pure bummer so let’s go for something else.

My first library job was in a pretty small town where we had a number of patrons of the “you can’t discard items paid for with my taxes variety”. So when it came time to discard items we would have to work late so that under the cover of night we could go on a stealth mission to toss our discards into the dumpster behind the donut shop down the road. In hindsight this was all ridiculous but at the time it sure felt like taking part in a sting operation.

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I have two similar stories, @jmgold but for the sake of this exercise…Back 18 years ago when I was the Millennium ILS coordinator someone requested that I delete a list of 500 bibs and all of their attached records. The person sent along the list name and number but had also used the same name for a different list output. This second list had over 8,000 bibs records in it and was the one mistakenly deleted. Had I ensured the name of the list and the list number matched I wouldn’t have made an $8,000 mistake that only III could resolve. Lesson learned.

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