Posts Tagged ‘Security Nightmares’

Giving Harry Potter a Hand…Down Under

Librarians of the World: Australia

We love our readers here at The Merry Librarian. Your stories have made us laugh, touched our hearts, and even given us the creeps a time or two. As more people discover us, we continue to develope a faithful global audience of readers. In celebration of this, Merry has decided to host our first ever “Librarians of the World” month, exclusively featuring stories from librarians outside of the United States. March of 2010 will be dedicated to those fearless librarians working down under in Australia. We are excited to celebrate Australian librarians all month long!

Thank you to those of you who’ve already submitted stories. And to our many other international readers, we hope you’ll submit your stories as well! We look forward to featuring more stories from the librarians of the world in the future!

Our first story from Down Under might make J.K. Rowling blush, we’re afraid. Nonetheless, we got a giggle out of this tale from Sydney, Australia.

I used to work in a public library in Sydney (as a library assistant).

A patron was on one of the computer pods connected to the Internet. The computer is right by the stairs and also under a surveillance camera. A male staff member walked past the patron and saw him with his hand inside his pants, and alerted security staff. Security looked at the guy via CCTV for a little while, and went upstairs to the patron and asked him to leave the library. The patron asked why, and security pointed at his pants’ zipper and said “You know why.”

When asked what he was doing on the internet, the patron replied that he was reading Harry Potter.

The patron was then banned. He attempted to come back into the library but security already knew to not let him in.

I had walked behind him in the past [prior to this event] and saw him reading lots of text on the screen in Chinese. My guess is that he was reading some steamy stories in Chinese, which somehow didn’t get blocked by the censoring software.

~“Betty” Sydney, Australia

Send us your stories at, or call or text your stories in at (216) 23M-ERRY! (216-236-3779)

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!

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!

Another Day, Another Taser

Just in case you haven’t gotten the memo, we no longer live in the cheerful, black-and-white world of “Leave It To Beaver.” The streets aren’t even clean anymore, much less safe. Where the public library was once a quiet, quaint place for study and leisurely reading, it has now become a strange mix of internet cafe/detention hall/day care/reading room/homeless shelter. Don’t get us wrong–we aren’t complaining (too much)! The library is supposed to be for everyone, and we gladly open our doors to any person who may walk through them.

But let’s face it: the whole “libraries are for everyone” thing means we get a lot of unsavory people stumbling past our desks everyday. And with them, we get a whole slew of uncomfortable situations. (It is the Merry Librarian’s humble opinion that librarians everywhere should be considered for the Nobel Peace Prize.) But the true heroes of the library are easily the library security guards. They undoubtedly see the worst. Not only do they get the porno freaks and drunks, they get the screamers, irate parents, gangsters, predators, thieves, liars, abandoned children, squatters…you name it.

And so, when this story slid across our desk, we felt it was our duty to share it with you. This is one of those rare Security Nightmare stories where the “good guy” not only prevails–he kicks butt. (Or, in this case, gets to watch that butt get tased a time or two!) We even think that good ole boy Beaver Cleaver would find some satisfaction in this one!

So it’s not easy being security at the public library.  I don’t care what anyone says.  The library lets anyone enter the building, which is great and precisely the point of the public library, but it also invites the riff-raff.  And who gets the riff-raff?  Yep, I get the riff-raff.

Amidst all the drunks and pedophiles, however, sometimes justice does prevail.  One such occasion occurred just the other day, when one of our patrons who regularly requires a great deal of my time finally ran out of luck.

He was just hangin’ out as usual, reeking of pot with bloodshot eyes and pants drooping so low I knew the print on his boxer shorts.  He was talkin’ up the underage girls in our computer lab and probably waiting for a drug deal, and this is where I came in.  I approached him as he was disrupting other patrons with his loud profanity.  I asked him politely to keep his voice down, and reminded him that he knew he couldn’t use that sort of language in the library.
As is his usual behavior, he directed some of his profanity at me.

“F*&$ you”, he says, to which I replied, “I’m going to have to ask you to leave now.”

“Let’s go outside and take care of this”, he says.

I replied, “You know the drill.  Either you leave now, or I call the police.  You choose.”

Well, he chose to continue to heckle and taunt me, and I chose to call 911.  He stood right in front of me at the desk staring me down for the next few moments before the cops arrived.  They showed up earlier than usual, which he was not expecting.  He hurriedly exited the building, but the cops saw him leaving and asked him to stop.

He refused, and the tasers were deployed.  I watched with secret glee as he was tased into a state of reasonableness.  First when he refused to stop, next when he refused to be handcuffed, and lastly when he refused to get into the cop car he was tased.  The policemen knew him by name.  They had done all this before.

After all that I filed a report, but not much else happened.  All in a days work at the public library.
It is comforting to know that sometimes the good guy does finish first…

-“Jeff” the Security Guard

Submit your stories to us at

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!

What’s New With Merry?

Merry's Book Club has arrived!

The highly-anticipated debut of Merry's Book Club is finally here! Check out reviews of books by fellow librarians and book lovers, and even purchase the titles you love through Merry's Book Store!

NEW! Call In A Story Line

Now all US readers can call or text your stories into The Merry Librarian. Call us at
(216) 23M-ERRY today!

Very Merry Fan Pages

Visit our fan page on Facebook:

Follow us on Twitter, too!

Related Links
Merry’s Book Store