Saturday, October 31, 2015

I just got out of jail... something patrons say to me a lot, as in:

"Not to get all personal, but I just got out of jail and they had the test waiting for me. But I failed the first time, so now I'm studying to take it again in September. So that's why I need the basic math books."

Friday, October 30, 2015


After going to an fantastic talk at a conference earlier this week that featured the problem 'patrons mostly ask questions with fast, easy answers, so they aren't aware we can answer more difficult questions as well', we actually had some pretty challenging reference questions this afternoon, like "What kind of bird is this in this Youtube video I'm watching?", "How can I find out who the owner of a business used to be?", and a very complicated attempt to connect to the wireless network which involved reading many forum posts and messing with a patron's wireless card settings ("Don't tell anyone I touched your computer, okay?").

Oh wait, I just eavesdropped the checkout desk clerk asking over the radio, "Security, any reason why the fire truck is here?" This is more what I expect from Friday afternoon!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


This afternoon, Barney and Seamus spotted the man who peed in the stairwell a couple of weeks ago and confronted him. Not only did he deny everything despite video evidence--he was wearing the same outfit as in the security footage. The most plausible explanation was that he was blackout drunk when he did the deed and genuinely doesn't remember.

Fortunately (for us), you can still be banned from library premises for things you were too drunk to remember doing.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Bad books

Today I was trying to fill a couple of displays of books in genres that I don't normally read. In the course of turning to the internet for assistance, I discovered a podcast called Worst Bestsellers. Here's how the podcast seems to work:
1. They mock a bestselling book
2. They suggest better, lesser-known alternatives to the book
3. They suggest which candy you should eat while reading the book

Not only am I looking forward to checking out some of these episodes when I'm not at work, I think recording our own version could make a pretty good library program.

Friday, October 9, 2015

"Zip" code

My boss's mom calls. When she tries to read an ebook she has checked out, all the body text shows up as totally blank--header and footer only. Yikes.

Coworker to patron who is struggling to use the stapler (yes, the stapler): Can I help you with that?

Patron who neither me nor my coworker helped: Thank you!

One of our regular callers (always very rude an impatient) calls for some information about the Houston Texans. He wants the address, and says, "And what's the so-called zip code?"

As soon as I pick up the phone to talk to him, the other line rings and my coworker has to get that one. When I hear her say, "I am seeing someone by that name here in town, but not in El Paso, Texas...oh, I thought you said she was in El Paso" I think I probably got the better deal.

High-level librarian from the admin office comes to talk to me about a little presentation I'm doing for our staff development day. I think we're done when I go off to help someone but later I see she has hung around to ask one of us to call security--she just saw three men go into the two-stall men's bathroom. I haven't heard the outcome of this yet but I am giving 70:30 odds on empty bottles of booze versus drug paraphernalia.

All phones today. Another regular caller wants the addresses of the San Francisco Police Department and a (supposedly) well-known preacher, and then also asks if we have a book called Lord, Let Me Give You A Million Dollars. Not a huge surprise, we don't.

I shouldn't have decided to do a refgrunt today, because of course it is waaaaay too busy.

Spend lots of time with a man needing to fill out a State of Michigan form. This always takes a long time, but in this case it is form tracking his caregiving activities for his brother, and also, he doesn't really read, so it's basically impossible. His wife/girlfriend is there and clearly has a better grasp of both reading and computing. She also seems to be itching to do it for him but for some reason restrains herself.

Help two women apply for a job at Dollar General, fails when it turns out they need an email address, which they have but don't know the password to. They are really nice but smell so heavily of smoke it is hard to breathe while working with them. Then when I tell them we are open on weekends, they say, "Oh, are you going to be here?"

When I finally make it to the desk, coworker says, "I need your help trying to track down a poem that might or might not exist." Again, despite how busy I am, I think I'm getting the long end of the stick.

Another of our odd regulars wants me to print out this picture of a 1999 Popular Mechanics cover for him. Apparently we did this before, but he lost it. I wimp out and don't take up the issue of copyright.

Number for a local plastic surgeon (more phones!).

Security guard comes to give us a printout of a security camera photo of a patron suspected to be stalking children at another branch. I recognize him--that guy comes in here all the time! Oh no.

One of our rare phone patrons who is actually nice, just wants the phone number for a local bank.

Man with a book from the staff picks display: Can these be checked out, or do you have to read them here?

Computer 24 has a virus.

How do I start this quiz on my computer?

More phone number calls. I really wish people would use phone books.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

First email of the morning

"We found a tooth in a Ziploc baggie by the self checkout machines. If no one claims soon we will discard."

Friday, October 2, 2015

Bringing your own

Mr. Timmons, one of the regulars I like, brought me and my coworker suckers 'in thanks for your hard work.' He said, "They're from the bank. All the branches have them. Except the downtown one. There you have to bring you own candy. Which I usually do."

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Why the cleaning staff is underpaid

Two different patrons have used the stairwell as a bathroom this week. Two. In one week.

Come on, universe, I really need a heartwarming patron story like the man getting his first view of his grandchild tonight.