Hold Onto Those Books, And Your Job, Part 2

, , , , , , | Working | July 17, 2021

I’m the submitter of this story and I thought some folks might enjoy a couple more examples of how lazy this librarian was.

He didn’t like fiction or religious books and would do anything to avoid adding them unless forced. He only liked to add books on subjects he enjoyed, even if they didn’t circulate well. He especially hated romance novels. I kept telling him that, as a public library, we can’t just stock what we like and it has to be well-rounded, but he wouldn’t listen. I complained to the manager at the time and she tried to say that he doesn’t have as much control over the collection as he claims.

Patrons would complain about how we weren’t adding a lot of new fiction — only what headquarters would send, nothing extra like other libraries do — and especially how we didn’t have any new romance novels. I’d tell them to tell the librarian as I wasn’t in charge of purchasing, but he’d pretend to not get these requests, even if he was standing next to me as they complained and begged for new fiction books. His excuse was always, “Well, they didn’t tell ME!”

Finally, I went behind his back and contacted someone I knew at HQ who was an expert in romance novels and which ones to buy, especially when we got multiple requests for ones that had main characters that weren’t white. She sent five bags of romance novels to our branch.

The librarian intercepted these bags and stuck them in what we came to call “the closet of no return.” It’s where he’d stick anything he didn’t want to put out until it was in there so long he could secretly discard it — mostly donations, even if the item was brand new and in demand.

The manager at the time finally started catching onto what he was doing. When he didn’t add the romance novels, despite being asked about it repeatedly, she waited until he was on vacation. Then, she grabbed all the bags and we all worked together to get them into the computers and on the shelves before he returned. When he saw all those brand new romances where there had just been a few tattered ones before, his face became white and tight with barely-suppressed rage. But he couldn’t say anything.

After that manager retired and we got the one he became BFFs with, he got worse with his laziness. He and the manager would stay all day in the office together with the door shut, doing no real work. Neither would come out except for bathroom breaks and lunch until the manager’s husband came to pick her up.

One time when the manager wasn’t there and he was in charge, he tried to force me to throw out a woman with a service dog. I kept telling him that, since he was in charge, he needed to go up and ask her, “What is your dog trained to do?” as that’s all you’re legally allowed to ask. He refused, so I went to do it, reported that it was a service dog and that we couldn’t throw her out just because he didn’t like dogs. Later, the manager told me I should’ve thrown her out, anyway, “because he told you to.”

He would give his work to the library assistant without telling her what it was he wanted her to do, i.e. handing her a list of books checked out to repair that were massively overdue by several months and just saying, “Look for these.” Instead of looking on the repair shelf to see if they were there, she was looking on the shelves. I was the one who had to inform her what the list was for, and I ended up being yelled at by my supervisor at the time for “telling someone higher up than you what to do,” though she calmed down when I told her what had really happened.

He also didn’t want to evaluate books for possible discard. At the time, I wasn’t allowed to discard a book, even if it was sopping wet and growing mold. I had to check it out to repair, write a note as to what was wrong, and hand it to him. Books that had split down the middle, pages falling out, torn-out pages, etc. — he would just check them back in and stick them on the shelf without even looking at them because he didn’t want to be bothered. I finally had to start getting tricky with him. I’d take the falling-out pages and rubberband them to the outside of the book, put the checkout slips into the split spine in such a way that they curled and tucked behind where the pages were supposed to be attached to the spine, etc. It was the only way I could get him to take the two seconds it would take to just discard the darn things.

As the lead adult librarian, he was supposed to arrange for programs for adults. For a while, he would just bring in the same old guitar player all the time until patrons started to complain. The guy wasn’t that good of a singer and it was boring having the same program over and over again. So, he finally started doing other programs, except he wouldn’t advertise them properly such as having them put into the website calendar, making fliers on time, etc. Each program he did he just advertised less and less until he was basically not advertising them at all. Then, because he had several programs in a row fail due to his lack of work, he claimed that “No adults want programming” and used his laziness as an excuse to stop having adult programs. Even when people begged him to do something, his excuse was, “No one ever shows up for them.” He never would admit it was his fault for not advertising them. 

Again, we all would’ve loved to see him get fired because his laziness made work harder on the rest of us, from having to pick up his slack to patrons complaining to us because of choices he made. But the manager at that time before his transfer was, like I said, his BFF, and again, our union sucks. They pretty much are only about raising our dues so they can give themselves raises and not about protecting workers. Going to Human Resources wouldn’t get any results, either, so we just had to put up with it until he was transferred.

Related:
Hold Onto Those Books, And Your Job

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