Book This One Under Lost Cause

, , , , | Right | January 15, 2020

(I’m a library director in a small town. Our library collection is joined up with many other libraries in our area, and we will regularly send our books to other locations for people to pick up. One day, I get a call from another library; their patron has borrowed one of our books and claims she returned it, but it’s not marked “returned” in the system. The other library asks me to make sure it didn’t somehow end up back at our library without being scanned in. I check, but it’s definitely not there. I tell the other library to renew it and ask the patron to keep looking, because usually when patrons think they returned something they find it a few weeks later under the passenger seat or whatever. A little while later the patron calls me, very annoyed.)

Patron: “I need to speak to someone about [Book] and someone who can actually help!”

Me: *already annoyed with her huffy tone* “Well, ma’am, I can help. What seems to be the problem?”

Patron: “I returned [Book] weeks ago and it’s still on my account! The stupid people at my library say it’s not there, so I thought I would have you look for it.”

Me: *even more annoyed at the insult to my friends at the other library* “Well, ma’am, I actually spoke to the staff at your library earlier today, and we have both looked for it and have not been able to find it.”

Patron: “Well, it’s those darn computers! They don’t scan right!”

(I take a moment to try to figure out what that has to do with anything, no luck.)

Me: “The computers have nothing to do with it at this point, ma’am; the physical book can’t be found at either library.”

Patron: *scoffs* “Well, what happens now?”

Me: “I have asked your library to renew the book, so you won’t be charged any fines while we all continue to look for the book. I recommend you look around your home and your car one more time, just to be sure.”

Patron: “I’m not looking anymore; I returned it! There must be something else that can be done!”

Me: “Did you have a suggestion?”

Patron: “Take the book off my account!”

Me: “I can’t take the book off your account until someone finds it.”

Patron: “Well, it’s not here so I don’t know what you want me to do!”

Me: *done with this conversation* “Well, it’s not here, so I don’t know what you want me to do.”

(She hung up on me. No one’s found the book yet, so guess who got charged a lost book fee?)

1 Thumbs
487