Posts Tagged ‘conversations’
In honor of Father’s Day, we wanted to reprise this incredible story sent in from Colorado. “Tough Love From a Tough Dad” was one of our most popular stories, an continues to be one of Merry’s favorites! Happy Father’s Day to all the great dads out there!
I work at a small library in an area of town that tends to house the lower-economic demographic. It is not unusual for things to be stolen from our library on a regular basis–most frequently our DVDs. One day, I was at the reference desk when a man came in with a young, teenage boy. The man looked pretty haggard. He had tattoos everywhere (even a cross between his eyebrows! Ouch!) and lots of piercings. He looked like he’d had a pretty hard life. When he came up to the desk, he set a very tall pile of DVDs in front of me–at least 20 DVDs.
“I found these in my son’s room,” he said. “He didn’t check them out. He stole them.”
I didn’t quite know how to respond, so I (rather stupidly) said, “Oh. Okay. So none of them are checked out?”
“No, ma’am,” he answered. Then he knelt down on the ground so that he was eye to eye with me. His son knelt beside him, looking deeply humiliated and angry.
“Listen,” the man said quietly. “I spent the first ten years of my boy’s life in prison. I screwed up a lot when I was younger, and I’m not proud of the man I was.” He put his arm around his son. “I want so much more for my boy than I had. I want him to be a man of integrity. So I brought him with me today because I wanted him to be accountable for what he’d done. Son, do you have anything to say?”
The boy looked at the floor and mumbled an apology at me.
I thought things would end there, but I was wrong. The dad continued talking.
“I am really proud of my son, ma’am. You need to know that. I love him so much more than anything in the world. He’s a great kid. A really great kid. I just feel bad that I was such a bad example to him. He has made some decisions lately that reflect how much I failed him, and I regret that. But I love him. I want him to be a better man than me.”
He then looked at his son, who had tears in his eyes, and said, “I love you, son. I love you.”
Then, the boy who had looked so tough and stubborn when he’d walked in, put his head on his dad’s shoulder and cried like a child. His dad held him, and wiped away a few of his own tears.
It was the most powerful thing I’ve ever seen. I, too, had teared up and had to fight to keep my voice steady as I thanked them both for their honesty. I told the boy that he was welcome to come back and get a library card when he was ready, and I returned all of the DVDs. They left, and I have never seen either of them again…but I will never forget them.
-“Diane” from Colorado
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This Story of the Week is officially one of our all-time favorites. When this one was submitted, Merry laughed out loud–and received a few glares from patrons. Stories like this one are the reason The Merry Librarian exists…and why she’s so merry! Hopefully you’ll enjoy it as much as we did…
I sympathize with the librarian in “Lost in Translation” who was asked to translate Mayan hieroglyphics into Egyptian hieroglyphics and so forth. My previous organization produced a commemorative poster of Gerardus Mercator (1512 – 1594), the famous cartographer, and it included an old woodcut with a Latin inscription surrounding the image. A woman called up our public inquiries center and asked for a translation of the Latin. Her telephone call was referred to me in the library.
Since we had produced the poster, I went ahead and–after a great deal of difficulty, an old Latin dictionary and some schoolboy church Latin–I was able to call her back and say the inscription more or less said, “Here is the great Mercator, in his study, surrounded by all his instruments.”
The woman was obviously heart broken and began sobbing.
When I asked her why she was upset, she stated that she thought it was a coded message from Mercator to her, through all the centuries. She was so disappointed that it wasn’t a love note addressed specifically to her from the famous man. She knew he loved her.
Cue the theme from the old Twilight Zone TV series.
Well, I ruined her day. But she sure made mine!
Send us your stories at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Sadly, we have very little to post for you today. The fact of the matter is…we’ve run out of stories! At least, we’ve run out of your stories. Luckily, Merry is not just a pretty face…she spends most of her days behind the desk at her own library. So here are a few strange encounters from Merry herself.
Hurry and send in your stories today! As you can tell, we need your submissions!
A few weeks ago a young woman came up to my desk and said,
“Excuse me, but where are the, like, umm…the normal books? You know, the books normal people read?”
I was a little confused, since I work at a public library and we have all types of books and patrons.
“Do you mean fiction books–like novels, mysteries, and that sort of thing–or non-fiction books–like biographies? Or something else?”
She stared at me for a moment. “I mean, like, you know. The normal books.”
Ah, yes. Very helpful.
“Well,” I said, feeling a bit ill-equipped for this one, “I would be happy to show you to our fiction section. We also have a section of New Books, where you might find the more recent NY Times best-sellers.”
“Yes! That’s what I want! The normal books on the NY Times list.”
I led her to our New Book section and couldn’t help but chuckle as I walked away. Who knew the NY Times best-seller list was just for “normal” people?
My library district recently underwent a major change in technology. Instead of using the bar-code system, we are now proudly using RFID technology in all of our material. The change has been great–but it was certainly not easy to implement.
In order to accomplish this daunting task, branches throughout our district closed on a rolling basis for one week at a time. As it happens, our branch was closed during tax week. Though this would be a slight inconvenience to our patrons, it was absolutely necessary for our successful conversion to the new system, and had been planned, advertised and prepared for for many, many months.
About two days before the closure was to take affect, a well-meaning patron approached me at the desk.
“I see you’re going to be closed next week,” he said, holding up one of our flyers.
“Yes,we are. We are converting our collection to a new technology.”
“Don’t you think the timing is bad? Could I suggest you wait until after tax week? It will be very hard for people to get their taxes done if you’re closed.”
“Well, sir,” I said, “we’ve been planning this closure for a long time now, and have advertised it to the best of our abilities. Every other branch will be open during the week, so you are welcome to use one of the other locations.”
He shook his head. “I’d rather use this one. I don’t understand how you can prioritize library things over tax day.”
“You are welcome to use our computers now to do your taxes if you’d like,” I suggested.
He laughed. “Are you kidding? I never do my taxes until tax day! That’s why I can’t believe you won’t reschedule this RFID thing.”
The conversation continued in this fashion for a few more minutes before he finally realized that he couldn’t talk me (and subsequently the library district…because I’m that powerful…) into rescheduling our district-wide closure calendar to suit his needs. Ah, well. The library can only go so far, I guess.
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