Friday, November 2, 2012

This all happened in two and a half hours at the library.

Is there a map of [two nearby cities] that I can check out? No…we call another public library, they don’t have it either and she won’t use anything that’s been printed off the internet or photocopied. I ask her if I can get her directions to somewhere specific but no, she is house-shopping. Eventually after perusing the reference maps and checking out irrelevant maps, she decides she will be fine and leaves.

Where can I vote?

Phone call: I have several questions about early voting. How long is the line there? If I don’t have my ID can I still vote? How can I get to the library from here?

Which branch is this? Oh, that explains a lot.

The printer is super-messed up and the patron who it benefitted by printing a zillion copies of her document for free is mad for some reason.

The new flood insurance maps—We have them at the other branch that starts with the same letter as our name, but not here.

Mom and 7-or-8-year old daughter. Daughter whispers ‘Can you ask her?” but mom says “No, you ask her.” Where is the ‘Junior Professional’ section?

Group (with ipad...): Do you need a library card to get on the computers?

Gentlemanly old guy: May I leave these right here? My card’s out in my car.

Gentlemanly old guy comes back with his card.

Do you have books on ancestry here? (No, because it turned out what he wanted was historical documents, not genealogy research strategies.)

Extra computer time.

Bored. Fiddle with all the displays. Think about trying to steal phone calls from the children’s desk using the ‘call pickup’ function.

A loud, repetitive squeaking noise (like from a squeaky toy) coming from over near the front door. I thought it was a dog but it’s a small child, whose shoes make that noise every time she takes a step. Who would buy that for their child!? My boss, who has teenage children, shakes her head and says "A rookie mistake."

Then, over in Children's:

Walk please! (This is how every shift in children's starts. And ends. And is in the middle.)

Get one of those patrons who has built up a major store of questions before coming to the desk. Do we have computer classes? How can he register for them? His father wants to learn to drive, do we have instructional DVDs? This was kind of a failure from my perspective because A) I defied library policy by keeping silent about the fact that he intended to sign himself up for the computer class and then send his dad (not a resident) in his place, and B) I couldn’t find good instructional DVDs. I referred him to my boss.

I can’t find this book. That’s because it is in young adult, and we are in children’s.

Do you have any recommendations for a three-year-old boy? Suggest Mo Willems’s books about Elephant.

Books about presidents. Anyone in particular? Mitt Romney. (Shudder.) Well, there aren’t any books about him yet. Would you like one about someone else, or about presidents in general? Someone else. Who? I don’t know. Well, people who were president just a little while ago or a long time ago? A little while. How about George W. Bush, he was the last president before Obama. Yes!

Busiest time in Children’s ever:
Lewis and Clark.
Davy Crocket.
Geronimo Stilton book that we can’t find ANYWHERE.
Super Mario.
Boxcar Children.
Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Fairy Chronicles series. Times two when another little girl sees them.
New ‘Olivia’ books.
Robin Hood DVD.
Power Rangers.
Scardey Squirrel—there is a movie!
Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Roderick Rules. The movie.

Highlight: Cute little boy who is fulfilling the quota/limit of four books and two movies set by his dad. He asks for a couple of movies which are checked out. On a hunch I ask him if he has seen Ben Ten Alien Force. At first he said he had seen all of them, but he wanted to see one again, but he didn’t know what it was called. He described it and I found it for him, and he was thrilled!

Mom: He doesn’t want to share.
Little girl: Why?
Mom: No quiere compartir.
Little girl: Why?

Lowlight: A very small girl is holding an Elephant and Pig book, standing near the desk, and crying. I ask her if I can help her, what’s wrong, etc. She just cries. I ask her if her mom or dad is here and her mom, who is three feet away, says “I’m right here.” But she makes no attempt to talk to or comfort her daughter. I eventually figure out that the girl will answer yes or no questions.
Me: Is something wrong?
Girl, in tiny voice: Yes.
Is something wrong with your book?
Can you tell me what happened to it?
Girl, now bursting into tears: I was writing!
Me: Did you write in it by accident?
Girl, wailing: Yes!
I explained to her that we understood that it was just an accident and that no one at the library was mad at her. I thanked her for telling me and told her that she did the very best thing by bringing the book to me instead of just putting it back, because we could fix it and make it as good as new. Then I found her a new book to read and traded it to her for the damaged book (which turned out to be barely damaged). Her mom was right there the whole time and she didn’t do anything!

“I survived” series. But then the girl is called away by her mom and never comes back.

‘Where is the poetry section?” Secretly wants two specific books and one specific author. Then when we get to the shelf it turns out she wants a specific book by the specific author, but doesn’t know the name. And she won’t come back to the desk to look for it with me, she just wants to look on the shelf.

Place holds on the entire Mermaid Melody series for one of my favorite regulars.

Her number three fan wants to know, where is the teen librarian?

Thanksgiving books?

Demanding poetry lady: How do I get on a computer?

She leaves her bag over by the desk and I bring it to her at the computer—I don’t want to be here when she comes back claiming someone stole it or something.

The cute little girl who accidentally wrote in Elephant Broke His Trunk!  is playing with the electric pencil sharpener. "We have one of these. But when I put my finger in it, blood." Well, be careful then! Let's be done now. This time Mom intervenes.


  1. Oh those secretive patrons (Secretly wants two specific books and one specific author...). Is your children's department particularly fun to run in?

  2. I don't think our children's area is excpetionally good for running, although we do have one or two pretty long straightaways. I think it's more about the clientele (and the inherent appeal of peering through the stacks and chasing each other) than the layout.