Saturday, January 14, 2006

They Start Early

Before I could even get the doors open this morning, a "gentleman" was literally beating them down. I made him wait an extra few minutes and then proceeded to unlock them.

"Good Morning," I said in my cheeriest angry voice. "Please don't do that to the doors. You could break them."

He huffs loudly, but I guess decides that I'm not the best target for his discontent. When I return to the desk, he is registering his complaint with one of the girls at the desk. His method of attack: find the weakest link, and sink your teeth in. If he picks on the lowest man on the totem pole, nothing changes and he doesn't have to worry about having nothing to complain about. I come in in the middle of his ambuscade.

"You opened the doors late. And it's cold out there!"

Interesting, since I'm the one who opened the doors, and this poor soul was down here the whole time. Under the intense pressure, I'm rather proud of her counterattack.

"I'm sorry sir, but we can't control the weather."

Way to go! That stunned him to silence.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Tax season is upon us again. Tax season for libraries is like Christmas in the retail world. I look forward to re-meeting those particularly special members of our community who want to know, "Where the 10W-40 forms be?"

"Well, sir . . . here at the "Lie-berry" . . ."

Today a gentleman approached the desk to inquiry this very quandary. We are currently in the process of installing new shelving and moving sections, so the tax forms have been temporarily moved to an inconspicuous spot. While normally I would point and say, "They are over there . . . where it says TAX FORMS." (Light bulb goes off.) Since I'm not even completely sure where exactly the forms are, I offer to take him there.

"Why don't they put the forms at the front of the library so I can just take it and leave?"

In my nicest BITTERLIBRARIAN voice (because I'm feeling particularly generous today) I say, "Well, we want you to come into the library. We hope you'll see something you like and check it out."

I've obviously offended him. He responds, "Well, that ain't happening."

Because he can't read?

"You should just move the tax forms to the front."

You can see what's coming.

I reply (say it with me): "Well, that aint' happening."

Monday, January 09, 2006

A HARD Days Night

I have pondered long and hard over whether or not to publish the following story. Some truths are better left unsaid. However, in favor of "advocating for the victimized librarian" and as a subsequent warning to all librarians for any future occurrences, the committee for deciding all things RIGHT and WRONG has reached its final decision. Seeing as how leaving this story untold may cause more damage than telling it.

It was my unhappy duty about a week ago to be the official Librarian-In-Charge when one of our frequent internet users decided to cross that delicate line between appropriate and inappropriate viewing of the female form. I approached him and informed him that he was not permitted to view that kind of material at the library. Of course he argued that since our filter hadn't blocked it, he thought it was okay. In my nicest angry voice I told him that this assumption was incorrect. This particular individual had been kicked off our computers before (fortunately not while I was in charge), and so, this time, I told him, he was banned from library computers for a month, not just the rest of the day.

Not the most exhilarating part of my job, but, fine . . . it was over with anyway. And I wouldn't have to worry about him for another month.

Now you'd think that after being kicked off, and made a spectacle of in front of other internet users, that he would have some kind of shame? I kid you not, he came in WITH HIS WIFE not even two days later! He did not come anywhere near the computers, but "browsed" the stacks, while she perused email.

But WAIT . . . it gets even better!

That same evening, after working the late shift, I stopped at the grocery store (literally on the same block as the library) on my way home to buy baby food. Of course they can't sell these tiny jars in bulk. So I have to buy a kazillion miniscule jars that are a pain to carry and each have to be scanned individually. There are only two check-out lanes open at this lonely hour. The express lane is blocked by a woman with a Y2K supply of food. I head to the other lane. Just as I am putting my kazillion baby food jars on the grocery treadmill, I realize that the clerk is none other than Porn Guy!

Small world!

He was embarrassed enough not to look at me while scanning my kazillion jars. But he's not embarrassed enough to cease re-entering a building where the entire staff knows his "secret" and watches his activity like a paranoid mom at the playground?

Maybe someone can help me out with this one . . .

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Is a Ferret a State Animal?

Second graders at our local elementary school are required to do a project on an animal (apparently this also includes reptiles, birds, and insects) native to our state. As loosely as this "teacher" defines "animal," the project still continues to befuddle parents every year.

"I need a book on a State Animal. Can you show me where the State Animal books are?"

"I can show you where the animal books are . . . it will be up to you to determine whether or not they are from this state."

. . . seeing as how just telling you which animals are State Animals would be doing the project for you.


However, one grandma's solution takes the cake of all State Animal stories. After telling her several times that I wouldn't be able to determine for her which animals were state animals, she finally agreed to let me take her to the animal books, her grandson in tow. I gave her a brief tour of the area: fish, mammals, birds, bugs. And then I left her there.

Fifteen minutes later she returns to the desk and asks:

"Would a ferret be considered a State Animal? People keep ferrets as pets. Would that count?"

After I had left her in the 590's with the animal books, somehow she migrated to the 630's (an entire two stacks over) to the pet books!

"The only person who can make that determination is the teacher. So you'd have to ask her."

"But do you think it would count?"

Are people really so brain dead that they are unable to make a simple common sense determination for a second grade school project? And why is she doing the project in the first place? Why doesn't she let him make the decision? How much is he really learning at this rate?

It's not in my job description to do someone else's homework, or think for someone who refuses to use their own brain. If the public wants me to think for them, then I should, by right, also get to vote for them! Go tax levy!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

To Whom Am I Speaking?

Some people will leap to any extreme to avoid paying the library their rightful money. Why do you think we need public levees passed all the time?

Today our director received a call from a woman who had a book that was long overdue. The director explained to her that she needed to return the book and pay the overdue fine, or pay for the book, to avoid being sent to the library’s collection agency.

“Well . . . my other personality “Sue” checked that book out. I don’t know where it is . . . I won’t be able to find it until “Sue” comes back.”

It's a good thing I'm here to step in at this point.

Bitter Librarian: That’s fine, ma’am . . . Becky, Pat, Bonnie . . . whomever I’m speaking to. Just let “Sue” know that this is going to effect her credit.