Posts Tagged ‘librarian’

Biting Tongues

Usually the Merry Librarian features stories about how patrons treat librarians or library facilities. This week, however, we have a small example of the shocking way patrons often treat one another. Isn’t the library supposed to be a happy place? After all, free access to literature and information should make everyone happy. We think so anyway…

The Story of the Week this week is from Colorado Springs, Colorado.

“WOW…some people amaze me.  Prepare to be a little bit appalled.

A mother and son came in today to use the computers. When he presented his library card, it showed that an item was never returned from 2004.  I’m going to say that it is likely he has NO IDEA where the card is.  He was being charged for the item, a fine that was $11, so he was unable to use the computer until he paid for the item.

While I was explaining this to them, a lady behind them loudly GASPED.  Meanwhile, I found a solution for the mother and son so they could get their work done.

The gasper was next in line, and she needed a library card.  She asked me, very loudly (the mother and son were less than 10 feet away), “Why don’t they just pay the fine?!?!?”

Well…there are a myriad of reasons…usually they don’t have the cash with them…so I just shrugged, smiled, and went about giving her a library card.

She then sneered in their direction and said, “SCUM!”

DANG!!  Really?  Do you have to call patrons names while you are at my desk?  I have no judgement against someone who elects to not pay a fine.  In this case the card was blocked, so it’s not like they are trying to swindle the library!  Who knows the circumstances…but it isn’t really any of my business anyway.

The mother returned to line after she got her son set-up on the computer.  Now she was behind “Gasp-y.”  Knowing this, Gasp-y decided to say, “I had a library card a long time ago, but I don’t know if I’m in your system.  I rarely had fines, and when I did I always paid them.  But I most certainly never kept a book!”

I just smiled and said, “Oh…things happen, ya know?  I have fines all the time and sometimes I misplace an item I’ve checked out…I’ve paid many fines and replacement costs over the years…it happens…”

In case the mother was listening, I desperately wanted to reduce any embarrassment this passive aggressive library saint might create!

I completed giving “Gasp-y” her library card, and she asked me, “Where can I find your Christian non-fiction?”


-“Darcie” from Colorado Springs, CO

Submit your stories to us at:!

Lost in Translation

After a long silence, the Merry Librarian is back in business! As a celebration of our grand re-opening, we are featuring a story from Fountain, CO as our Story of the Week. This one proves to be yet another example of patron expectations for a librarian’s abilities. As bizarre requests go, this one is definitely a strange need for information. And we’re just curious…why is it that when a patron needs something complicated and bizarre, they always want it within 24 hours? Just curious.

“Here’s a situation I ran into yesterday that I thought you might find amusing…it falls under the “librarians should know everything about everything” assumption that much of the general public seems to have. A man walked into our branch yesterday and asked me the following questions:

“If something were translated from English into Mayan hieroglyphics into Egyptian hieroglyphics, would someone from Iran who speaks Hebrew be able to understand it?”

Umm…I’m thinking not.

“Well, then, could you translate it for me so they could understand it?”

…Why yes, of course I happen to be fluent in ALL those languages. (I am a librarian, after all.)

“Well, do you have a book that translates Mayan hieroglyphics into Egyptian hieroglyphics into Hebrew?”

I’m thinking not…but I’ll check anyway just to appease you…Nope, just as I suspected. Nothing.

“Why don’t you have any books that do that?”

I don’t think there is a book anywhere that does that.

“Well, what can you do? I need it done tonight.”

…Luckily, I it was close to the end of my shift and I was able to pass this patron along to my unsuspecting coworkers…who had no idea what they were walking into and may not be very happy next time they see me…”

– “Julia” from Fountain, CO

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The Sacred Code

It is a little known fact, but librarians share in a Sacred Code. This Code is the ultimate standard of our kind: the torch we carry in the long, dark night of Librarianism. We hold it proudly, brandishing it with humility and absolute devotion. It is the Code that shapes our behavior and defines our very being.

This Code has been known by no outsider–until now.

“I declare myself a Librarian, and swear myself to this Sacred Code. I acknowledge that I am but a humble servant of society, and forfeit my identity and rights as an individual. I willingly lay down my right to personal space. I accept that I shall henceforth be a surrogate mother to all patrons: I shall clean up their messes, their puke, their children’s puke, and re-shelve all of their carelessly tossed books. I shall silently tolerate their screaming fits when they fail to read signs about Internet usage limits, fines, and behavioral expectations. I will cater to their every need: from, “Will you set up my email account for me?” to “I need help with my taxes,” to “I just can’t understand why my husband left me!” I will follow their children around, cleaning up trails of toys, chewed books, urine and bubblegum. I will assist the man who speaks only to my chest; I will converse with the woman whose breath is foul enough to kill kittens. I will smile when they scream, smile when curse, smile when they are demanding and irrational. I am a Librarian: I am all things to all people. By this Code I do swear.”

Despite the fact that this Code has never before been published for public perusal, the patrons of libraries far and wide seem to have a sixth sense for the Code, and willingly oblige librarians with constant opportunities to fulfill their pledge to it. The stories on this site are just a few examples of patron expectations…and of the Librarians of The Code.

Keep submitting your stories to us at:

As always, thanks for all the fish!

~The Merry Librarian

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