Posts Tagged ‘mean patrons’

True Stories from a Book Drop Near You

Book drops. It seems simple, doesn’t it? A name like “book drop” doesn’t leave much room for mystery…you’d think.

A recent poll of librarians has proven otherwise, however. Across the nation, patrons of public libraries have confused a book drop with trash receptacles, a donation box, urinals, chicken coops… The list goes on and on.

While we may never understand how or why this confusion occurs, we do know that the result of patron confusion–though sometimes disturbing–is frequently amusing. So, until the government provides libraries with several billion dollars to launch an education campaign on proper book drop use, we have taken it upon ourselves to provide you with this useful list of book drop dos and don’ts–all based on the true stories that have been sent in from around the world.

1. Situation: You work at a library in the city of Las Vegas, NV. As you approach the book drop, you hear the sound of squawking and scratching.

Don’t…Assume you’re crazy. You may be miles from the nearest farm, but there actually are chickens in your book drop…complete with food and water. Hey, it happens.

Do… Tell your coworkers to fire up the bar-be-que, baby!

2. Situation: Upon opening the book drop, you are pummeled by the stench of garbage. And on top of the rubbish heap in your book drop? A used maxi pad.

Don’t…Toss your cookies into the book drop. You’d only have to clean that up, too.

Do…Consider dumping the contents of the book drop into the yard of your most obnoxious patron. While you daydream about this, fetch your rubber gloves and trash bag, and hope that the old saying, “what goes around, comes around” is true.

3. Situation: Under all of the returned books, you find a photo album with a note scribbled across the front: “My best return.” You open it and discover it’s a wedding album…with the head of the groom cut out of every picture.

Don’t… Display the album on your library’s “recommended reading” table.

Do…Hand a picture of the bride to your single coworker and say, “Hey, this hottie’s single.”

4. Situation: Every book you pull out of the book drop has a Breath Right strip stuck to it.

Don’t… Put your “Reduce Reuse Recycle” mantra into practice.

Do… Use hand sanitizer to strip the strips. That stuff works like a charm in so many sticky situations!

5. Situation: Mixed in with the regular DVDs in the book drop is a DVD of hardcore porn…with instructional diagrams stuck to the front cover.

Don’t… Shout across the library to your coworker, “Dude! That video you wanted came in!”

Do… Use copious amounts of hand sanitizer after you toss this special find into the trash.

6. Situation: Because the book drop at your library is both ancient and enormous, you are forced to crawl inside of it in order to get to the books in the back corner that have fallen out of the cart. While you are inside, a patron deposits his lunch leftovers–including an unfinished soda and partially eaten sandwich–into the book drop. You emerge, covered in turkey and Diet Coke, and face the culprit.

Don’t…Expect an apology. It’s your fault anyway. You were the one on all fours inside the large receptacle marked “BOOK DROP.” Clearly you had it coming.

Do… Give the patron a big hug and thank him for his generosity.

And our all time favorite find in a book drop is…

7. Situation: The police are called after a 13-year-old boy sets off motion sensors when he “falls” through the book drop slot and into the library after hours.

Don’t…Forget to take a picture of this memorable event!

Do…Consider setting up raccoon traps inside the library. Hey, if a teenage boy can get in, who knows what other wildlife is wandering the stacks at night!

This is a picture of the book drop the 13-yr old "fell" through from the outside...

This is a picture of the book drop the 13-yr old "fell" through from the outside...

...and this is the book drop from the inside. How did the kid fit?!

...and this is the book drop from the inside. How did the kid fit?!

More fun surprises found in book drops include…

* baggies of doggie poo

* car keys (how did the patron drive home…?)

* Black widow spider

* a birth certificate

* money (our favorite!)

* pay check

* the flowers the library had just planted

Send in your stories at submit@merrylibrarian.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 submit@merrylibrarian.com!

Rebel Librarians? Yes, please!

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!

…pause…

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!

Librarian: …

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 submit@merrylibrarian.com.


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?”

Hmmmmm……”

-“Darcie” from Colorado Springs, CO

Submit your stories to us at: submit@merrylibrarian.com!

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