Tuesday, November 29, 2005

How Do These People Find Me?

I’m at the Check-Out Desk and Strange Man approaches with a stack of CDs and DVDs.

He says, “I wanna check these out.”

“No problem, do you have your library card with you today?”

“No, can ya look it up?”

“Sure, what's your phone number?”

He gets a little quiet. “I ain't got no phone, don't want the government know'n where I am.”

Trying to ignore the comment. “OK, what is your last name?”

He asks for a piece of paper. Writes his name down and passes it across the desk to me.

“Umm, you don't seem to be in the computer, is there any other name you go by?”

He’s offended. “I ain't in the computer. I don't want the government know'n where I am.”

“I see, but you can't borrow items from the library without a card. Would you like to get a card?”

“No, I don't wannna be in the computer. My old lady is though.”

“Do you have her card?”

He produces the card. I start putting the CDs and DVDs in the boxes.

“You know,” he says, “CDs are almost extinct.”

Wait for it.

“No, I didn't realize,” I say.

“Yep, they aren't going to be makin' um too much longer.”

Wait for it.

“You know what the government's gonna do, don't ya?”

I look up briefly, but decide to say nothing.

“Were all gonna be implanted with chips that play music and movies in our brains. That's why I don't want the government know’n where I am.” His eyes go WIDE while relaying this information.

And . . . there it is.

He continues, “My old lady though, she don't mind.”

“It is lucky then that she lets you use her library card. Of course, if the government has her address, they already know where you are.”

He shouts: “WHAT???”

By this time I have cased and check out all of his items.

“Here are your items, have a good day!”

“YOU MEAN THEY KNOW WHERE I AM? I'VE GOTTA GET OUT OF HERE!” He drops the DVDs and CDs on the floor and runs out of the library.

The BITTER LIBRARIAN strikes again!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Got Library Card?

When purchasing something with a credit card, who would dream of trying to get out of the store without the card? Why do people think they can use the library without a library card? What is the point in issuing cards, if no one is required to use them?

Sulky Girl walks up to the Check Out Desk and places a stack of books on the counter. She stares at me behind bored and sulky eyes. She is not amused.

I wait for a moment out of general politeness. For whatever reason, most people don't remember that they actually are in a library and need a library card to check out. Generally, they just shove their books across the table and expect the computer to automatically register their unique presence.

"I need your library card," I say in my nicest librarian voice.

She is still not amused, and possibly even more bored.

"I don't have it."


"Do you have photo ID?"


Pause. I wait a little longer this time. At this point the person usually scrambles to find some form of miscellaneous identification for my perusal. There is no movement. She has obviously not read the script.

"Well, I need your card or ID to check you out."

It is obvious by this point she has neither, nor does she have any intention of having either. She continues to gaze at me oddly as if to say, "Just where am I? Is this some kind of Twilight Zone Library, where I need ID to check out?"

She left without any books . . . still rather puzzled.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Stinky Pants

I think some people don't see library workers (and maybe other public employees) as "real" people.

A small boy obviously in diapers is running around while his mother is checking out library materials. Continuously, she repeats to him, "You stink. You stink."

So instead of helping the kid out, and taking him to the bathroom so he can acquire some clean underpants, she picks him up and plops him down on the counter . . . with his stinky-pants 12 inches from my face!

She was right about one thing . . . he did stink!

Who are these parents?

Some People Make You Go Hmmm . . .

A man comes up to the information desk holding a book. There is a black & white photograph on the cover.

He asks, “Do you have a color copier? I want a copy of this picture in color.”

Te . . . he . . . he . . .

“No, sir. We don’t have a color copier.”

The BITTER LIBRARIAN strikes again!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Got Password?

Part i

Computer questions are always the best. Mostly because I know so little about computers, and, what’s worse, the general public knows even less.

A woman (we’ll call her Yahoo Woman) comes up to the information desk and asks me for help getting on her email. I don’t have time for this. And it’s actually not my job. But I concede since it will be faster for me to type in the web address for her than explain why I can’t help her. Little do I know . . . I was wrong.

“What kind of email do you have?”

Blank stare.

“What is your email address?”


I type in www.aol.com into the web address box. The page comes up.

I say, “Type in your username here. And your password here.”

“User name?”

“Your email address.”

She types YahooWoman@aol.com.

“What’s my password?”

Blank stare.

“I can’t give you your password.”

“Well, I don’t know what it is. Last time they got me on without my password.”

I assured her there was nothing I could do for her.

Part ii

I am the only librarian present for the day. So I take my lunch in “the back” while still being “on the desk.” My co-worker informs me someone has a question. As I come out, I see (you guessed it) Yahoo Woman, who says (and I quote):

“Oh . . . it’s you.”

Regardless of this greeting, I proceed to explain in my nicest librarian voice everything I have illustrated above, which I will not intrude upon you to repeat, dear reader, as I felt intruded upon to have to repeat it to her.

She continued to sit at the computer for about an hour before she finally left. I guess she didn’t believe me . . . most don’t.