Archive for October, 2009
Library patrons are, by nature, very delicate clientele. They enter our doors with all kinds of requests and needs, but we, being the stodgy librarians we all are, sometimes forget that they are to be treated with absolute sensitivity. Sometimes, we blunder. We inadvertently step on someone’s toes with cold-hearted requests such as, “Please use headphones when listening to your death metal music on your laptop,” or “We’d appreciate it if you’d leave your flask of whiskey at home next time.” And we may slip up occasionally and ask difficult and alarming questions, such as, “What’s the title of the book you’re looking for?”. But hey, we’re only human…right?
Librarian: What can I do for you?
Patron: Can you check to see if a book is in your library?
Librarian: Sure! What book are you looking for?
Patron: I knew you were going to ask that! I just had it…and when you asked me that I forgot it right away!
Librarian: Oops…sorry about that, is there anything you know about the book that I can possibly use to find the title?
Patron: No! You shouldn’t have said anything!
Conclusion: She remembered the title had “wind” in it, and it was by the same author as Misty. “Something about A Winded Friend.” It was King of the Wind. In spite of my terrible faux pas of making her spontaneously forget titles by talking to her, I was able to deduce the appropriate title and provide her with the book she was seeking.
Another thing librarians sometimes forget is the simple fact that we are, above all else, librarians. Therefore, we must live up to the stereotype of too-tight buns, wool skirts, grandma shoes, and beaded glasses chains. Under no circumstances are we allowed to vary from this appearance: if we did, patrons might not recognize us, or may confuse us for things such as bartenders, nannies, or psychologists. We owe it to our patrons to minimize confusion about our professions. Oh, we also owe it to them to have the answers to everything…
Today I was working at the library and this is the jewelry I was wearing: Two “permanent” earrings in each ear, one empty piercing in each ear lobe (sometimes I forget to put my “fancy” earrings in…or maybe I just don’t want to!), and one nostril screw on the right side of my nose.
So a patron was seeking assistance from me. She wanted me to provide her with an internet directory, much like a telephone directory, that listed websites for specific companies. When I tried to explain to her that, to my knowledge, this doesn’t exist because the contents could change on a daily basis, she couldn’t believe that a print version of the internet was not available! So she gave me specific terms to search, which I did to please her, and then she said:
“I don’t know why someone would bother wearing an earring in their nose, if they aren’t going to put them in their ears where they belong!”
I calmly responded (and I’m totally not lying):
“The book your looking for does not exist and it is a waste of time to continue to search for one. My choice of jewelry is not any of your business. Is there something else I can do for you today, or are we finished here?”
She made me show her the computer books…..
We’re glad these stories were sent in so we could share them with librarians everywhere who may have inadvertently forgotten their rightful place in the universe as quiet, unfashionable folk whose sole purpose is to serve the masses. We hope you find these stories as helpful as we did!
Do these stories remind you of something that happened to you while working in a library? Send them in! Your story could be published on our site…and may even receive the honor of being featured as a Story of the Week!
Attention! The Merry Librarian is looking for stories to feature in an upcoming theme-based series. If you have any true stories about weddings or wedding photography taking place in your library, send them in! Your story could be published on our site! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just in case you haven’t gotten the memo, we no longer live in the cheerful, black-and-white world of “Leave It To Beaver.” The streets aren’t even clean anymore, much less safe. Where the public library was once a quiet, quaint place for study and leisurely reading, it has now become a strange mix of internet cafe/detention hall/day care/reading room/homeless shelter. Don’t get us wrong–we aren’t complaining (too much)! The library is supposed to be for everyone, and we gladly open our doors to any person who may walk through them.
But let’s face it: the whole “libraries are for everyone” thing means we get a lot of unsavory people stumbling past our desks everyday. And with them, we get a whole slew of uncomfortable situations. (It is the Merry Librarian’s humble opinion that librarians everywhere should be considered for the Nobel Peace Prize.) But the true heroes of the library are easily the library security guards. They undoubtedly see the worst. Not only do they get the porno freaks and drunks, they get the screamers, irate parents, gangsters, predators, thieves, liars, abandoned children, squatters…you name it.
And so, when this story slid across our desk, we felt it was our duty to share it with you. This is one of those rare Security Nightmare stories where the “good guy” not only prevails–he kicks butt. (Or, in this case, gets to watch that butt get tased a time or two!) We even think that good ole boy Beaver Cleaver would find some satisfaction in this one!
So it’s not easy being security at the public library. I don’t care what anyone says. The library lets anyone enter the building, which is great and precisely the point of the public library, but it also invites the riff-raff. And who gets the riff-raff? Yep, I get the riff-raff.
Amidst all the drunks and pedophiles, however, sometimes justice does prevail. One such occasion occurred just the other day, when one of our patrons who regularly requires a great deal of my time finally ran out of luck.
He was just hangin’ out as usual, reeking of pot with bloodshot eyes and pants drooping so low I knew the print on his boxer shorts. He was talkin’ up the underage girls in our computer lab and probably waiting for a drug deal, and this is where I came in. I approached him as he was disrupting other patrons with his loud profanity. I asked him politely to keep his voice down, and reminded him that he knew he couldn’t use that sort of language in the library.
As is his usual behavior, he directed some of his profanity at me.
“F*&$ you”, he says, to which I replied, “I’m going to have to ask you to leave now.”
“Let’s go outside and take care of this”, he says.
I replied, “You know the drill. Either you leave now, or I call the police. You choose.”
Well, he chose to continue to heckle and taunt me, and I chose to call 911. He stood right in front of me at the desk staring me down for the next few moments before the cops arrived. They showed up earlier than usual, which he was not expecting. He hurriedly exited the building, but the cops saw him leaving and asked him to stop.
He refused, and the tasers were deployed. I watched with secret glee as he was tased into a state of reasonableness. First when he refused to stop, next when he refused to be handcuffed, and lastly when he refused to get into the cop car he was tased. The policemen knew him by name. They had done all this before.
After all that I filed a report, but not much else happened. All in a days work at the public library.
It is comforting to know that sometimes the good guy does finish first…
-”Jeff” the Security Guard
Submit your stories to us at email@example.com
Attention! The Merry Librarian is looking for stories to feature in an upcoming theme-based series. If you have any true stories about weddings or wedding photography taking place in your library, send them in! Your story could be published on our site! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!