Friday, November 16, 2012

Don't talk to strangers (this is why)

Colleague has me check a patron’s PIN—it matches the one the patron thought he had, but the patron was trying to enter it into the Internet Explorer web address bar, so predictably it didn’t do anything.

Do you need some help with the copier, sir?
I’m trying to see if it’s a fax machine.

Is there a way I can get more time on the computer?

Fax man, shown the real machine, says ‘It says it sent, so thank you!’

How can I find out where the latest Consumer Reports with flat screen TVs is?

Incoherent complaint about a website from one of those patrons who thinks all of the internet is controlled/run by us. Turns out they have been given bad instructions, will have to call the people who run their online class.

The Beginner’s Goodbye.

Observe the Consumer Reports man helping two other patrons with the copier. Awesome.

Walk please!

Guy who asked about computer time (who I was NOT helpful to because we just changed our system and this was my first ten minutes with it) says “thanks for all your help!” and is completely sincere.

Coworker comes to report that the TV is still broken and they have called facilities to help them figure out how to cut the power to it.

Are you who I bother for change?

A very polite man wants help with label templates in Microsoft Word, but the process snowballs out of control, beginning with him saying “Word Perfect,” continuing on to him getting a library card so he can get on the wireless network, etc. etc.

Template guy is trying to enter his password into the keyword search box on the main page of a catalog-only computer. I redirect him to a regular public computer.

I tried to place a hold from home but ‘it’ wouldn’t let me.

Guy calls, confused about his hold on Bones—it is set to go to another branch but he actually wants it to come here. Since I saw that exact title less than 2 hours ago I rashly tell him that things are taken care of without checking the shelf, and then I can’t find it ANYWHERE. Now I’m in dread that he’ll come in and find out because he said he’d come in and get it today.

How many CDs can you have checked out at a time?

Can I hold these? Not until you get a card…Come back after that and we’ll do it (he never comes back).

Help the label guy for about a zillion hours. How do I save this, what is its name, how can I find it again, how can I print, how do I make it bigger and move it over there? His labels are for “Corporate Shakes” and he struggles with the spelling of ‘corporate’—‘copirate’ is my favorite alternative.

Can I print from here? And do you have Excel?

Which library card do I use, the one for this city or the one for [neighboring city]?

The color printer says it is on ‘pause.’

The Bones guy arrives but it still hasn’t turned up. And it turns out he has left his baby outside in a bike carrier while he comes in to ask. My coworker does a really good job not quite shouting at him. (Later one of our…eccentric regulars comes up to ask if everything is all right and to commiserate with us about how alarming that was. You know you’re doing something wrong when the library regulars are concerned about your behavior.)

Someone at the other branch calls over and asks me to pull a hold—he is coming right over to get it.

Mom, to son leaving the library: Don’t talk to strangers!
Son: I’m not!

I need help to print. Well you release your print job from this computer here…I thought you just put your money in the machine.

Label guy is still here! I teach him the concept of backing up your files.

I want to know if you have any other books by this person (Eyone Williams).

Do you need help finding your hold? Well, did you get a call that it was here? Let me check where you are on the list…Is it the audiobook of Fifty Shades of Grey? You’re number 60 on the list, sir.

Can you help me? I’m trying to save my resume to a USB drive.

They told me you had this book in your 983 section. It’s a history of Chile. Can you help me find it?

Do you have the holy books of different religions here? (Wants the Bhagavad Gita but doesn’t want to stop talking on his cell phone long enough for me to explain where it is.)

The Death Cure by James Dashner.

Do we have to have our card to check out books? Can you look it up by phone number or something?

Walk please! Walk please! Walk please!


  1. When I went to sign up for a library card in my new neighborhood, part of the explanation I got about how the hold system works there was that I shouldn't bother putting a hold on "Fifty Shades of Grey" because the waiting list was over 200 people long.

    I reassured her that I wasn't planning to.

    Oh also: Emma, do you know how I can get alerts if you comment back on this website?

    1. A) Good for your for signing up for a library card!
      B) Bad for the library people for making assumptions about what people read!

      I looked into the whole reply alerts thing and as far as I can tell your only option is to click the 'subscribe by email' link down in the bottom right corner by the box where you would add a new comment (right of the 'publish' button) but this alerts you to all comments on that blog entry, not just replies to your own. Apparently Wordpress has a better comment-reply feature than Blogger does. Dang. Ironically, I didn't do a good job doing my research before picking out a blogging website.