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  • August Theme Of The Month: Best. Customer. Ever!

    This Customer Is A Time Bomb

    | IL, USA | Books & Reading, Crazy Requests

    (My patron is a young boy of about seven or eight. He is using the online card catalog and looks stumped.)

    Me: “Can I help you find something?”

    Patron: “I want a book on how to build a nuclear bomb.”

    Me: “Uh… I don’t think we’re going to have anything like that in our collection.”

    Patron: “Well, how can I learn to make one, then?”

    Me: “I would suggest a PhD in physics.”

    Patron: “Oh! Here’s one!” *shows me a catalog record for a book called “How to Build a Nuclear Bomb”*

    Me: “Oh, see, actually that book is about the global economics, politics, and resources that would…” *noticing patron’s blank stare* “You know what? Yeah, I can get you that book.”

    (A couple of weeks later, the young patron comes in to check out his reserve.)

    Patron: “Uh… I don’t think this is what I want. It doesn’t have any nuclear bomb plan in it, or anything.”

    Me: “Yes, well, like I said before, we won’t have anything like that here.”

    Patron: “Oh, well, I found a can of gas in the garage, and I have some matches. Do you think I could do something with that?”

    Me: “Uh… stay in school?”

    Harry Potter And The Amazon Woman

    | ID, USA | Awesome Customers, Family & Kids, Geeks Rule

    (I work reference desk at a public library. My desk is right next to the “New Books” display, and among the new books is a copy of “The Secret History of Wonder Woman.” The dust jacket shows Wonder Woman in the process of changing from her alter ego to her superhero form, so she still has her glasses and jacket on, but is also wearing her iconic leotard and crown. A mom and her children are walking by the display when one spots the book.)

    Child: “Mom, look! It’s Harry Potter Wonder Woman!”

    (I’m also a geek in my off-time, so I’m tempted to cosplay that at my next convention now…)

    The Land Of The Free To Be Who You Are

    | NY, USA | Bigotry, Books & Reading, Family & Kids

    (Because of the recent ruling of same-sex marriage in America, for our book display, we put up a rainbow flag along with books featuring gay protagonists. This happens on the day we have story time.)

    Woman: *angrily* “Excuse me!”

    Coworker: “Yes, can I help you?

    Woman: *points to our display* “I can’t believe you put something like this up! There are CHILDREN around!”

    (Our display shows no pornographic material. My coworker, who is bi-sexual, is stunned into silence and is unable to say anything. This is when I step in.)

    Me: “Oh, my gosh, ma’am, you’re right! How can I be so inconsiderate?”

    Woman: *smiles smugly*

    Me: *I grab one of the books on display and swap it out with a children’s book featuring gay parents* “There! Now there’s something for everyone!”

    (The woman didn’t understand for a few seconds. When she realized what the book was about, she sneered and muttered about going to a different library. She left and my coworker was laughing so hard, tears were streaming down her face.)

    At Least It Rules Out ‘Twilight’

    | ID, USA | Books & Reading, Crazy Requests

    (I work at the reference desk, and I often help patrons find books. The following exchange happens one morning:)

    Patron: “Hi, I’m looking to see if you have a book.”

    Me: “I can help you, then! Can you give me the name of the book?”

    Patron: “I don’t remember it.”

    Me: “Well, do you remember the author’s name?”

    Patron: “No… but it was about vampires and it had the word ‘blood” in the title.”

    Me: “…That doesn’t narrow it down nearly as much as you think it does.”

    Every Day The Same Old Storytime

    | NC, USA | Bad Behavior, Books & Reading, Family & Kids

    (I’m the manager of a small public library. Every Saturday morning, we hold a program for infants and young toddlers where our children’s librarian leads everyone in simple songs and nursery rhymes, then reads a very simple book. The babies are so engaged that they rarely cry, and they usually laugh, which even I think is the most adorable thing in the world. My coworker (who is a pro) and I are working the circulation desk when this happens. A woman storms up to my coworker as the program is beginning.)

    Woman: *clearly annoyed, waving at the babies and parents* “How long is this going to be going on?”

    Coworker: “Story time lasts about 30 minutes.”

    Woman: *sputters* “How often do you do this?”

    Coworker: “Every Saturday at 11 am.”

    Woman: “Well, you should really post a sign about it! In bold type!”

    (Note: There is such a sign, literally in bold type, 80 pt. font, four feet to her right on our “Events” bulletin board. There are two other copies of the same sign elsewhere in the building, in addition to the program being advertised on our website and the local paper’s events calendar. My coworker is naturally polite, though, and just stares at her as she stalks off.  She sits back down at the computer where she’s been working and huffs loudly for several minutes while the children’s librarian and parents sing “Jack Be Nimble” and “The Grand Old Duke of York.” Two minutes later, she’s back in front of my coworker.)

    Woman: “They’re not even reading stories! They’re singing!”

    (The group is currently singing ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat.’)

    Coworker: “Yes…”

    Woman: “Singing!”

    Coworker: “Yes…”

    Woman: “You let BABIES in the library? BABIES!”

    Coworker: “Yes.”

    (She threw her hands up in the air, made a sound of disbelief, and stomped off again. She was lucky she got my incredibly chill coworker and not me, who would have pointed out the sign beside her and tried to give her a lecture about the importance of helping children get an early start in developing pre-literacy skills like syllable recognition.)

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