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    Heed The Words Of Wisdom

    | WA, USA | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Technology

    (Our libraries offer self-checkout stations in addition to staff-assisted checkout. The self-check consists of a touch-screen monitor and barcode scanner. Using the scanner can take some practice. If it doesn’t get the entire item barcode an error message appears on the monitor. There are also several other error messages a customer can get regarding late fees, exceeding the checkout limit, etc. Because the monitors face customers and not the staff, we don’t know what error someone has unless we run around the counter to look. Some customers aren’t great at articulating which error message they’ve received or for asking for assistance at all.)

    Customer: *scans an item* “There. Are. Words.”

    Me: “I’m sorry? Did you get an err—”

    Customer: “THERE ARE WORDS ON THE SCREEN!”

    Me: “Let’s take a look. It’s asking you to tap the ‘OK’ button and scan the item again because it misread the barcode.”

    Customer: *she jabs at the screen and re-scans the item aggressively*

    Me: “Yay, it worked!”

    Customer: *grunts and walks away*

    Coworker: “If she couldn’t handle reading the screen, how will she manage with the book she’s checked out?”

    An Attention Deficit Disorder

    | PA, USA | Bad Behavior, Criminal/Illegal

    (A patron grabs a pair of our headphones, puts them in her purse, and starts walking away.)

    Me: “Ma’am, you can’t take our headphones away from the computer area.”

    Patron: “Oh. I didn’t think you were paying attention, so I just took them. Is that okay?”

    Me: “…no. No, it isn’t.”

    Ask A Silly Question…

    | MO, USA | Awesome Workers, Bizarre, Books & Reading

    (I am in charge of our text service at the library where I work. We had a patron for a time who delighted in pranking us with odd or silly questions. We generally handle such instances in a very professional manner, but one evening when the patron texted in, I decided it was time to fight back.)

    Patron: “How do I get to the library?”

    Me: “The same way you get to Carnegie Hall: practice, practice, practice.”

    Patron: “Is there any way I can practice watching the live NFL draft in the library?”

    Me: “Nope. So sorry. Try [Local Bar].”

    Patron: “But I have a final test tomorrow.”

    Me: “Then [Local Bar] probably isn’t a great idea.”

    Patron: “Thank you for your generous advice.”

    Me: “Always thrilled to be of service.”

    Patron: “I accidentally whispered on the quiet floor of the library. What are the repercussions?”

    Me: “Death. There is no alternative. But on the bright side, your folks will probably get a hefty life insurance payout.”

    Patron: “Unfortunately no one has yet insured my life. However if you are interested I can arrange for payments.”

    Me: “Oh, that’s very sad. Maybe they don’t love you. You deserve parents who will put a price on your life.”

    Patron: “Touché, library person!”

    Me: *bows; exeunt stage left*

    All Men Must Serve

    | NY, USA | Awesome Customers, Books & Reading, Geeks Rule, Language & Words

    (I am the librarian.)

    Patron: “Do you have any books on Japanese architecture? I play the game Minecraft and we’re building Westeros. You know, Game of Thrones? Part of it is going to be Japanese themed.”

    Librarian: “I think we do. Let me look…” *searches the catalog* “Yup, there are some e-books you can get by clicking the links here, or there should be a couple upstairs. Are you able to find things by call number?”

    Patron: “Yeah, I should be able to find it. Thanks!”

    Librarian: “You’re welcome! Valar Morghulis!”

    Patron: “Yeah.” *starts to walk away, but stops suddenly and turns around* “Wait, did you just…”

    Librarian: “Yeah, I really did.”

    Patron: “That’s awesome! Valar Dohaeris!”

    Not Happy About The Bright Future

    | KY, USA | Books & Reading, Technology

    (Finishing just this year, our branch underwent a three-year-long, multi-million dollar renovation. It was much needed as the original building was from the 1970s and no longer met building safety codes. We have received nothing but compliments on the updates until…)

    Woman #1: “Oh, my god! This is horrible!”

    Woman #2: “Isn’t it?”

    Woman #1: “Why is it so bright? Where are the dark corners for me to hide? Where’s the history? There’s no history here! I want my exposed brick! I want the busts back on the tables! Where are the busts?”

    Coworker: *to me* “Have we ever had busts on the table?”

    Me: “Not that I’m aware of.”

    Woman #1: “My taxes are not paying for this! This is awful!”

    (Woman #1 storms out with Woman #2. Neither actually looked at the books.)

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