Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Another old refgrunt

A quiet hour or two on the YS desk. I pick up a call from adult reference about ESL classes. No, we don’t offer any classes at the library, but we do have a program on weekend afternoons where you can come practice your small talk.

Place a hold for a woman who doesn’t speak much English. You’ll get a telephone call when it comes in, ma’am.

You’re really not supposed to sit up there…

Teen girl: Do you have any books about fish? I mean, not books about fish. Like, story books. There were ones I used to read as a little kid.
Me: Were they Rainbow Fish books, by any chance? Those are the most famous ones I can think of.
Girl: Oh yeah!
I show her where they are so she can show them to her little brother. Super-cute.

A grandma (?) asks for books featuring a series of characters from cartoons, mostly educational ones, for her grandson. Can you believe that either Barney the Dinosaur books don’t exist or that they do and we don’t own them? We don’t have much in the way of Barney, Elmo, or Mickey Mouse but I find a couple of books featuring Sesame Street characters other than Elmo, plus a Dora the Explorer. Grandma wants Grandson to thank me for the books, but he’s sulking about the absence of Elmo so he won’t. I’m trapped for a minute or two as she repeatedly orders him to say ‘thank you’ and he stares at her in stony silence. She even hands the books back to me, but when I finally say that I’ll put the books at the information desk in case she wants them she takes them even though the grandson hasn’t caved.

Do I have to have a reservation to use a computer? (A common misconception)

I check on my pet display. There’s only one hole but I switch some of the other items out to give new titles a chance.

Do you have a pen I can borrow, ma’am?...This one doesn’t work.

I put more pens out in the tub. We have a huge bag that were donated but they don’t work right away. You have to pre-scribble with them before putting them out or half the patrons will come back and say they don’t work. (Not the case with the last lady—her pen was indeed broken.)

Excuse me,(all the patrons are so polite today!)  is it possible for me to use my own computer here? Yes, we have wifi. This is the username and password to use.

One of my favorite regulars turns in a lost card.

I can’t find the book I have on hold. I got a call this morning. (Also very polite, even though it was a Bill O’Reilly book.)

Guy wants to get on ‘an internet computer.’ I explain how but then he doesn’t know what phone number we have on file for him because he hasn’t used the card in a long time. I offer to check but neither his card number nor name is in the system at all! I send him to my poor, poor friend at customer service.

Same guy comes back. Customer service fixed his problem but he forgot to check his phone number with them.

A hold for Geronimo Stilton books.

NOW it’s busy in children’s.

How old are you? Do you love to read? Is that why you have a job at the library?...Do you always bring a sweater because you’re always cold?...Do you know the movie The Hunger Games? Did you know there’s a book? Where did you buy it, Walmart?...Do you wear tennis shoes?

Books on mermaids. With good pictures. I use Google in aid of this and the little girl says suspiciously, “you’re using the Google?”

Do you have any more books like this?

Books on pirates.

I don’t have my library card but I really want these books is there ANYTHING you can do? She’s a sweet kid and a regular and they’re not massively in demand books so I agree to hold them overnight at the desk for her.

Books on building stuff out of Legos for an adorable small boy. Then I update his family’s telephone number. Turns out they live in my same apartment complex.

Coworker: I sent those boys over here because I was on the phone.
Me: What boys?
Coworker: [Big sigh] They didn’t come over here!?

A series called “The Genius Files.” The newest one is checked out, so I place a hold.

Move back over to the Adult desk.

I’m learning that “walk please!” is more effective when you reinforce it with “thank you!” if the kid stops running. Should have had more faith.

Restart a frozen catalog computer.

Show some kids how to release more than one print job at a time.

Older lady patron: Is your mom a reader?
Me: Yes she is!
Lady, proffering Calling Invisible Women by Jeanne Ray: Tell her to read this book!
(Consider yourself told, Mom.)

The printer isn’t working! Oh wait, never mind, it did now.

Help one of our nicest regulars with PowerPoint.

Needs help with the printer, but won’t ask. Had to be intrusive that time as a line was forming behind him.

Are there any computers available?

Do you work here? (I HATE being asked this. No, I just sit behind this desk with a badge around my neck to try to trick people.) Where are the legal aid people?

GED study guides in Spanish.

Help with the printer.

May I borrow a pen? (Seriously, is there something in the water today? SO polite!)

Is there a way I can save something so I can refer to it later? You can email it to yourself! How do I do that? Let me show you.

Chat briefly with one of our chattiest regulars about antibiotics.

Someone RETURNS a pen. This is starting to creep me out.

Step back over to YS to cover for a coworker on break.

A patron on the phone who wants to know if the library has tutors. I tell her about what we DO have. Many follow-up questions.

Warn loud, running kids in the children’s area.

Accept returned crayons.

Questions about the bookmark contest.

Do you have any crayons?

How do I get what I’m printing off the printer?

More printer trouble.

Check to see how long the hold list for the new Avengers movie is.

Do you have any new books?
Yes, we have a lot of new books! Are you interested in a particular kind?
“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” (Not new)

I just have a small question. I was walking in in the lobby and I passed a sign that said, we can help you prepare for college. I mean, is that true? How do you do that?

Did someone turn in a wallet? Not here, maybe at customer service? Oh, thank goodness. Coworker: She didn’t even open it to see if her money was still there. She must be more trusting than I am.


  1. I just love these. Can't decide if my favorite question is "Do you wear tennis shoes?" or "Are you using the Google?"

  2. I think if you'd heard the tone of voice she used when she asked, "You're using the Google?" it would have been your favorite.