Monday, December 19, 2005

One-Stop-Shopping at the Library

Early this afternoon, a confused, but younger, looking gentleman approaches the checkout desk and asks:

"Do you have any construction paper?"

Well . . . we have a BUDGET for that. We use MONEY to pay for it. And I don't think our Youth Librarian would be very happy about us just GIVING it away to any SCHMOE who asked for it.

While we're on the topic:

The library does not stock office or school supplies for use by the general public. Please do not ask to use our glue, paper, pens, or pencils. All of these things cost MONEY, and seeing as how we are a non-profit business and would like to stay that way, we will not be doling free handouts to the general public. We do not sell computer floppy discs or stamps. Please visit your nearest Walgreens or grocery store for these items.

By the way, the answer to the above question (about construction paper) is:

Yes, we have stacks of construction paper in the back. We have it in many different colors. If you are really that eager to use our construction paper, feel free to sign up for our preschool storytime.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Let's Talk About Donations

I’m not sure exactly when or how it strikes most people. Maybe they get the suggestion from their mom, are attempting to be more like Martha Stewart, or have encountered some other soul who has decided to bestow their old, ugly, unusable books upon us.

If an individual is so determined to get rid of their books, enveloped in cobwebs from sitting in their garage for a few years, what in God’s name makes them think anyone else would want them?

For the record, we, the public library, do not want every book your grandmother ever owned upon the event of her death. We do not want back issues of National Geographic, TIME, or any other magazine dating back to 1960. We do not want encyclopedia sets that are five years old, no matter how good their condition is. In fact, we don’t even want new books or best-sellers, we have a budget for that. If you want to help us out, if you’re really that desperate to give back to your community . . . RETURN YOUR LIBRARY MATERIALS ONTIME and pay your overdue fines.

This is public warning and fair notice: if you cannot throw away your own trash, the public library will do it for you, however, at the expense of cheating the staff time it uses from actual library services.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Pet Peeves

One of my biggest daily annoyances is when someone calls me on the phone, asks to renew thier books, and when I ask for their library card number they reply:

"The number on the back?"

No, the number on the FRONT! THERE IS NO NUMBER ON THE FRONT! The card is only a 2 inch x 3 inch piece of plastic! How many places are there to hide a "secret number"?

Monday, December 12, 2005

Recommended Reading

There are times I ponder . . . why do there need to be so MANY books published on Kennedy . . . the Pope . . . etc? It makes me wonder how many aspects of these titles have been missed.

Here are two titles that don't exist, but should:

Chicken Soup for John Kennedy's Soul (& and those who can't get enough of him)

Chicken Soup for the Pope's Soul: A New Edition for a New Pope

Friday, December 09, 2005

A Word About Overdue Fines

I received a call from a gentleman (he was anything but). He had two Chilton’s repair manuals checked out since 2002.

“What do I have to do to take care of this?” he asks me.

“First, you need to return the books, then you need to pay the fine under $25 to avoid collections.”

“How much is the fine?”

“If you return the books the overdue fines will be the price of the books, if you don’t return them you will be charged the price of the books plus a processing fee for each book. By returning the books, you avoid the processing fee.”

“Well . . . is there anything I can do about that . . . because I just forgot to return them.”

You don’t think you should have to pay the overdue charge because you forgot? . . . Because everyone else who pays the overdue charge . . . well, they just did it on purpose.

“I can set up a payment plan for you,” I tell him. “But that’s all I can do for you.”

After a long silence he hangs up.

The Library Tickles the Taste Buds

A mother comes in with her two sons. Both under the age of five.

“I’m really sorry,” she says, “But my son took a bite out of this book.”

She holds up a toddler board book with a bite-size semi-circle missing from the top . . . the bite went all the way through the book.

I couldn’t resist asking her, “Did he at least enjoy it?”