Archive for December, 2009

2009, Over and Out

In this final week of 2009, we thought we’d gear up for 2010 with a few more chuckles from the reference desk. Nothing says “Happy New Year” like ignorance, accents and a quirky ex-con. 🙂 Thanks for a great 2009! We’ll see you next year with even more outrageous stories (and a few new goodies!) from The Merry Librarian!

As the media librarian in a four-year University in the metro Detroit area, I frequently dealt with English majors who were seeking adaptations of works of literature on video.  My favorite transaction was with one student who was looking for an adaptation of “Oedipus Rex.”  We had two versions, I explained.  One was done in modern dress from the Tyrone Guthrie Theatre and the other was done in the classical style with a Greek chorus.  After a minute’s hesitation, the student asked for the modern version because she “didn’t want to listen to the musical version.”  Keeping a straight face with some difficulty, I explained that a Greek chorus didn’t actually sing.

~”Bethany” Detroit, MI

Last month a young man of about 13-15 years old came up to our reference desk.
“Where are the whores?”
“Where are the whores?  You know . . . like Goosebumps?
Do you mean horror?
“Yeah!  Whores!”
At this point, everyone cracked up including the child’s shocked parental figure.
Ya gotta love an East Texas accent 🙂

~”Brendan” Houston, TX

A weathered man with dreads walks up to the desk and starts rooting through the golf pencil supply. He picks up each pencil and holds it up to the light; he considers it and then returns it to the box. He then begins to sharpen one pencil at a time, with the very loud pencil sharpener at the reference desk.

I say, “Finding what you need?”

He says, “This is just like jail!” and leaves without a pencil.

~ “Jamie”

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Songs for the Season: Library Carols!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Merry Librarian!

Have you ever had a bad day at the library, and wished it could be brightened by song? Well, Merry happens to know a gifted lyricist who has turned three bad-day-at-the-library stories into hilarious songs set to the tunes of popular holiday music. We encourage you to sing along with us as we celebrate the season with these fun new library carols! (The lyrics were composed by Jennifer Stafford. For more information on our talented friend, check out her website here!)

“Johnny the College Student”

The Story…

“I worked at a community college library in the USA. I was helping a male patron in his twenties at the stand-up reference computer terminal with rushing students walking past us between classes.

A woman walked by us and told my male patron in a loud voice, “You’d better go and see “so and so” because she’s pregnant and she says the baby is yours”.

I don’t think the guy batted an eyelash, but it did disrupt our reference conversation. There is no distinction these days between public and private conversations.” ~“Jacqueline”

The song…

“Johnny, the College Student”

(To the tune of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”)

Johnny the college student
Had a kind of wild night,
And when he was in public
All his secrets came to light.
All of the other patrons
Ignored us as they walked on by,
None of them knew poor Johnny
Was about to be “that guy.”
Then that busy afternoon
A lady came to say,
“Johnny with your past so bad,
You’re about to be a dad!”
Then how poor Johnny grimaced
As a blush crept to my face,
Johnny the college student,
The library is not the place!


“I Hate Books!”

The Story…

Yesterday at the library the machines failed us. The computers were down most of the day. Ignorant, I arrived for the evening shift I passed some giddy day shift people. They laughed at me as they left. “Get ready for a nightmare,” one said. Once inside I see that there are towers of vertically stacked books, on armies of trucks. I find out the only thing worse than the library not being able to check in books all day, is the moment when you can check everything in after such a glitch.

We start checking in movies, cds, books transforming vertical stacks to the more processed and evolved horizontal stacks. The phone is ringing, people have noticed their books haven’t been checked in. “Are you going to charge me?” “Are you open Veteran’s Day?” “Have you seen my laptop charger?” People stick their heads in the book slots to describe the horror of how the automated handling system has mistreated them. The automated machine flays books and gets jammed in its unrestrained joy to be online again.

As I check in books I come across a children’s book called “I Hate Books!” I read the title aloud, and I feel great joy. I find the louder I say it, the happier I feel. I hold it up to a coworker and say “Look Joe! I Hate Books!” Joe says, “I Hate Books!” Uma joins us in the “I Hate Books!” chorus. There are so many ways to say it. I like really emphasizing the Aaaaa sound. It can be said staccato like pent up rage boiling over, or whispered like a dark secret.

A librarian walks by and sees the fitful giggling and can just feel our delight. She comments, “You guys are always having such fun in circulation.”

Yes. Yes we are. ~“Jasmine”

The Song…

“I Hate Books”

(To the tune of “Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!”)

The computerized check-in failed us,
All books flew in and nailed us,
It’s just as bad as it looks…
I hate books! I hate books! I hate books!
I see books piled to the ceiling,
And I have a sinking feeling.
And the patrons all think we’re crooks.
I hate books! I hate books! I hate books!
When we finally make it work,
Then it jams and the books start to shred.
And I want to tell this pesky jerk
That slot is for books, not your head!
At the height of our frustration
They say it’s fun in circulation
It’s not as fun as it looks–
I hate books! I hate books! I hate books!

 “Walnut Bashing”

The Story…

The children’s librarian has a line of people waiting for help. Things are rather hectic, children scrambling about, various people talking, normal chaos that is the children’s section of the Cupertino library. A series of loud noises catches the librarian’s attention and she sees that it is a woman banging the stapler on the desk. A longer take reveals that it is a woman trying to crack open a walnut with the library’s stapler. ~“Joyce”

The Song…

“Walnut Bashing”

(To the tune of “Ding Dong Merrily on High”)

Who brings walnuts in their purse?
We think someone should smack her!
When things couldn’t get much worse,
Our stapler’s a nutcracker!
There’s shells in circulation.
There’s no sane explanation.

Thank you, Jennifer, for your fabulous lyrical contributions to The Merry Librarian!

We wish you all a very joyful holiday season!

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When You Ask a Kid A Question…You’re Gonna Get an Answer!

Kids may say the darnedest things, but sometimes, librarians ask the silliest questions! Such is the case with this week’s story. All of us who have worked with children or performed story times know that even the most innocent question on our part can lead to an embarrassingly honest answer from an eager-to-please kiddo. There is just no avoiding situations like this one…unless, of course, you choose to stick to adult reference. Then again, as evidenced by November’s theme, adult reference has its share of embarrassing moments. Guess there’s just no avoiding a little humiliation in the public library!

My favorite “story time” experience was when I had donned a number of animal tails, affixed them to the back of a pair of sweat pants, and pulled each one out at the appropriate time as I read a variety of animal “tales.”  In what can only be called an Art Linkletter moment, I paused, tried to cover the fact that I was having difficulty turning a page, and asked the children if people have tails……
Bad call, story lady……never ask a question you don’t know the answer to…..
One especially adorable, anxious to please, precocious four year old jumped up and said, excitedly, “No, but I have a penis!”
Mom was mortified, all other mom’s were trying their best not to laugh out loud, and I learned to move on, very, very quickly!
~”Wanda” from Wisconsin


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