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!
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