Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Renovation blues

My library life is crazy right now because this is my last week at West Side Library before Downtown Library reopens. I got to see it in February and it's like a completely different building! Not necessarily a great building, but different.

Three times a day I tell Downtown patrons who, like me, have relocated to West Side Branch, that the Downtown Library will be opening again on Monday. Most of these conversations are identical, but then I had this conversation with Janis:
Me: "Hi Janis!"
Janis: "Hi Emma!"
Me: "I thought you would want to know that the Downtown Library will be open again starting on Monday."
Janis: "Oh wow! That's great, Emma!...And then when will this library be closing?"
Me: "This library will stay open. You can still come here after the Downtown Library opens, if you want."
Janis: "Really!? Oh wow! I'm going to come to the Downtown Library and come to this library too, Emma!"

I think she is probably my favorite patron. Recently there was an incident where she sat down at a computer that someone else had reserved and he got kind of shirty about it, and the whole staff got very protective of Janis.

I have mixed feelings about going back to Downtown (I really like my colleagues at West Side) but if people are going to be as wound up as they are today, I am ready to leave.

A grumpy man who is some kind of Republican political organizer comes up to complain: "This computer should be doing what I tell it! Not telling me what to do!"

A man can't get into the Facebook account he just signed up for because when Facebook asked him for an email address, he just made one up instead of giving it an address he actually had access to.

A different man needs help formatting some document to print. On accidental closer examination it's something about a sexual assault case. I don't want to know.

I have to break the news to two different people that they can't get on the computer because they have too many fines. Then, someone else has an expired card. When I ask if she has a few minutes to renew it, she says "Actually, this is my mom's card. She's dead."

A man feeds a five dollar bill into the print machine for a 30-cent print job. Jackpot! Later, I come over to see that he has fed back in the remaining $4.70, but hasn't realized that every single coin has just fallen through to the coin return.

Someone puts their money for the copier into the printer's coin box. I really wish they could color-code the machines and their associated payment receptacles.

Tensions rise over who is next in line for the printer.

Woman who picked up a print job that wasn't hers: "I don't like it when I have to pay for things that aren't mine!"
Me: "I don't believe it charged you for that, ma'am."
Woman (nastily): "Well, it's happened. Several times."

And, Small Town Library is also in the midst of renovations. They recently put up a temporary wall all around the circ desk for patron protection, and circ has had to set up in a temporary station behind reference, so now I just have the exact same conversation with everyone there, too: "Are you looking for returns? Right in the bin back here! Thank you!" Not to mention all the jack-hammering.

I wonder how many renovations the average librarian survives in his or her career. I'm already at two, which seems like too many!


  1. Sounds like everyone was in a bad mood (except Janis). That makes for a hard day.

  2. It would be kind of hard to count renovations, since some are partial...but yes, I think we've all seen plenty!

  3. Nothing like the sweet music of jackhammering to really set the mood. No wonder your patrons are hostile today.