Thursday, September 27, 2007

Caught, Part 712

Yep, it's true. The reason that you didn't win the grand prize in the adult summer reading program even though you read a lot of books and you and your friend deserved to win because your friend is having a real rough time these days and could have really used it? Me. I fucking rigged it. Boss Tweed and his Tammany Hall crooks could have learned a thing or two on stealing an election from me.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Harumph! I am offended. I go to extra effort to track down this woman's book, since she called me with slightly inaccurate information. And once I finally find the book, she tells me she doesn't actually want to put it on hold. She thinks her daughter should have it first, and launches into this long story about how her daughter might have a disease which is affected by your diet and that's why she should read this book and the daughter will call me to put a hold on the book later.... and on and on.

After two minutes of this, a patron arrived at the desk and I simply interrupted her. "Okay, well have your daughter call us and we'll put it on hold for her!" I said in my most cheerful voice. "I'll do that," the woman said. And as I opened my mouth to say "goodbye," I heard a click and the call was ended. Well! Don't act huffy with me because I didn't want to listen to your long health story! This is a library, not a doctor's office!

Turns Out

Turns out that if you turn your back on the deskslave while shouting into your cell phone he can no longer hear you. It's as though you turn on some sort of cloaking device like they have in SciFi movies. Only it's with sound.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Gosh, Thanks

Dear Strangely Helpless Man Who is Always in the Library,

Thank you so much for telling me, in detail, about the TV show you watched last night. You see, I don't watch TV myself, so I must rely on kind people like you to keep me abreast of popular culture. A lesser man would have walked away upon seeing me starting to type at the computer and pretty much ignoring you. But you soldiered on, giving me the minute details of Kid Nation and your incisive opions about the show, the kids, the people who dreamed it up and likely audience reactions. Your nuanced view enlivened my day and made it worth living, at least for the moments that I basked in your presence.

I experienced the feeling that the beaver gets when it contemplates gnawing its foot off to escape the trap's jaws.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

I can't get no respect

When I tell you that I can't help you and that you need to go to the circulation desk where they CAN help you, don't argue and plead with me. I don't make the rules. When I say I can't help you, I'm dead serious. I really cannot, even if I wanted to. When you continue to plead and argue with me, I'm going to have repeat myself and tell you to go to circulation, because apparently you didn't get it the first time, or the second time, or even the third time.

And when this happens, don't insult me by coming back to the reference desk 20 minutes later and berate me for "talking at you" instead of "talking to you." "I'm not a robot," you say. "You didn't have to keep saying over and over that I have to go to the circulation desk." Well I did have to keep saying it over and over, because you refused to give up after the first three times I told you. And I was trying very hard, by the way, to be polite about it despite your blatant refusal to listen to me. And I still remained polite as you wandered away after chastising me, though you certainly didn't earn it.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Wow, I can't believe you just said that

Cast of Characters
Patron A: Asian man in his sixties
Patron B: Young latino woman
Patron C: Middle-aged caucasian man
Patrons D-I: Random people using the library, some on computers, some browsing nearby collections.
Library Assistant: That's me. I'm a young caucasian woman, which isn't as important to the story as the races of the other characters, but I disclose it in the interest of fairness and political correctness.

In the library on a Saturday morning. The place is extremely quiet. Patrons A-C are using filtered internet terminals. They do not know each other. Patrons A and B are on terminals facing each other. Patron C is at a terminal against the wall, so his back is to them. Patrons D-I are around, but not involved. Library Assistant is at the Information Desk.

And now...for the theatre!

Act 1, Scene 1
Patron A: (approaching Library Assistant at Information Desk, points across room to Patron B, speaks in agitated tone) She is using her cell phone.
Library Assistant: Yes, actually, cell phone use is allowed here as long as the person talks in a normal voice.
Patron A: She isn't!
Library Assistant: Okay, I'll speak with her.

Act 1, Scene 2
Library Assistant: (approaches Patron B, bends down next to her, points to small sign on computer monitor regarding cell phone rules, and speaks quietly) Excuse me, but your use of the cell phone...
Patron B: (interrupts, argues loudly, and points to her computer screen. Looks at Library Assistant like she's an idiot) BUT I HAVE TO USE MY PHONE TO TALK TO THEM ABOUT MY ACCOUNT!
Library Assistant: (remains calm, emphasizes how to talk slowly and quietly) You may use your cell phone here, but you have to speak quietly, in a normal talking voice.
Patron B: (argumentatively) BUT HOW WILL THEY HEAR ME???
Library Assistant: (remains calm, continues to talk slowly and quietly, but asserts more authority) You are in a library. You must keep your voice down.

Act 1, Scene 3 (And this is where it starts to get weird.)
Patron C: (Turns around from using his computer against the wall, addresses Library Assistant) Thanks for that. (Looks at Patron B) You see, you're in AMERICA, not MEXICO.
Library Assistant (shocked, but responds immediately, out of anger): That is entirely inappropriate and I could KICK YOU OUT for that.
Patron C: (Turns back to his computer): Okay, sure.
Library Assistant returns to her desk; considers kicking both of them out.

[a mere ten seconds pass]

Act 2, Scene 1
Patron B gets up and leaves library, talking louder than ever on her cell phone, in an attempt to aggravate Library Assistant and prove some kind of point.

[three seconds pass]

Act 2, Scene 2
Patron C (gets up, stands in middle of open area at top of stairs, shouts for all to hear) WELL, I GUESS THIS IS THE AGE OF INAPPROPRIATENESS, ISN'T IT?! (stomps down the stairs and out the door).
Library Assistant: (Does not look up to acknowledge Patron C. Would have kicked him out if he hadn't left on his own at that point. Looks around at Patrons D-I and they all act like all is normal. Thinks to self.) Holy crap, did that just happen?

The End

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Things I don't know...

I don't know your yahoo id. I don't know your yahoo password. I realize that I'm an idiot for not knowing these things and for misunderstanding your request for a new password as you hand me your library card. I think it was an honest mistake to assume (yes I know what assuming does) that you meant your library password and library acccount since you never mentioned yahoo in our initial conversation. It is not my job to get your yahoo id or password. These are personal information that I would rather not know. Sorry. Glad that when I stood behind you and you typed in what your thought were your username and password and they worked you thanked me. NOT. YOU ARE WELCOME.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Just Remember

When you don't follow the directions and you accidentally make a photocopy of the inside of the copier lid rather than printing off the dreadfully important thing you printed from the internet computer, print, please proceed to the reference desk and treat the person at the desk like the printer is broken and that this person broke it. Wave the sheet of paper about, demanding to know what the problem is. GET THE DIME BACK. It's critically important to GET THE EFFING DIME BACK. After all, it's a dime. When the meek employee shows you where you went wrong while paying for your print with a shiny, new library dime, show no remorse for your bad behavior. Continue glowering.

Saturday, September 8, 2007


If you come to the library to take a computer class, it is only polite to turn off your cell phone during the class. It is especially impolite to answer the cell phone and proceed to talk on said phone for a few minutes during the class. Rude.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

New Library Rule

If a car alarm is going for more than 5 minutes in the parking lot, staff may go out into the parking lot and smash the sh*t out of the offending vehicle with ALA-approved baseball bats. Make that 2 minutes.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Busy Busy

Not strictly a reference issue, but this is what the book return looked like after the Labor Day holiday.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

I'm Quite Certain

A mom and daughter came up to the desk. Mom all cheerful, dispirited kid looking like she was being dragged by a leash. Chipper Mom wanted to "finish up" the Summer Reading program for the daughter. She had documentary evidence of her daughter's studiousness in the form of a piece of loose leaf paper with book titles on it. I compliment the daughter's efforts and talk about the number of books read. A short silence follows. Mom, somewhat less perky now, wants to know about getting her child's prize. Only we don't have one for her. Not only is the program over, but we gave out the prizes at the beginning. No, I am told, there is a prize for her daughter. She knows this. I ask if she had gotten the prize at the beginning. She drags a positive response from the now virtually catatonic child in the form of a nearly imperceptible nod and an eye roll. I try to explain that the prize came first and perhaps they signed up at a neighboring community which has the prize at the end, but am cut off by a dismissive wave of the hand. "I know where we signed up," I am informed. There were a few fairly meaningless gimme sort of things which I mention, things that could hardly be considered prizes. These are dismissed, too. She is getting impatient and the daughter's ability to stand upright is clearly compromised as she slumps over the counter. I think this is the moment where people ask to talk to a supervisor. I promise her that I have been here all summer and there is nothing more to be had.
Changing tack, she asks to see the form that the kids fill out. Did I say ask? I meant demanded. She slowly reads through it, saying that she is quite certain that the kid is owed something. I'm starting to think that the kid may have a pretty good tactic for dealing with the Mom who is quite possibly insane. I want to put my head on the desk, maybe do some eye rolling which is a skill I used to have and deployed to great effect as an adolescent. The close reading continues. I wish I'd had that level of focus in Liberry School--I might have finished some of those articles I was supposed to read. I consider an impromptu prize award of things on the desk. "My mistake, madame! I forgot that your daughter wins a pair of scissors, a blue highlighter and a bottle of Purell!" I mentally inventory the money in my pockets. Maybe they would leave if I give them the seven dollars I think I have.
In the end, though, she finds no evidence of a promise of prize. She knows she is wrong, but she still hates me, so she leaves with scarcely a word to me, and her daughter stumbles after her, jerked along by her invisible leash.