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Librarians Do Not Deserve This

, , , , , , , | Right | August 2, 2022

It’s morning at the library when a young man, about college age, enters the library. He’s already agitated. At this time, our computer lab is in a state of disarray as we’re remodeling. All of the equipment has been moved upstairs, and there are numerous signs and arrows explaining this. The young man storms by all of them and approaches the front desk.

Young Man: “What happened to your computer lab? Where’s the printer? I need to make a copy!”

Coworker #1: “Our printers are temporarily on the second floor.”

The young man turns and charges upstairs. He locates the printer and then stands next to it, fiddling with his phone and pacing back and forth.

Coworker #2: “Can I help you?”

Young Man: “NO!”

[Coworker #2] decides to respect his space and walks off. Within a couple of minutes, [Coworker #3] walks by and notices the young man in an increasing state of anger.

Coworker #3: “Hello. Can I help you with anything today?”

Young Man: “I don’t need your help!”

[Coworker #3], also figuring this guy needs his space, heads off. Several more minutes pass, and the young man finally throws in the towel and storms back downstairs to the front desk.

Young Man: “Your d*** printer is broken! All I need is to print a couple of documents! Get your d*** machine to work!”

[Coworker #1] cannot leave the desk.

Coworker #1: “I’ll call someone right away to help you.”

The young man storms back upstairs again and starts pounding on his phone. The one to respond to [Coworker #1]’s call is our IT guy, so by now, no less than four people have tried to help him.

IT Guy: “I hear the printer is broken?”

The young man is so furious at this point he can hardly articulate what’s going on and what he needs. It takes [IT Guy] several minutes to get it out of him, amid increasingly severe profanity.

It turns out that this young man needs a couple of documents printed for court — which he has waited until the last minute to print, of course. He has the documents as a PDF on his phone and cannot figure out why standing next to a printer won’t cause his documents to jump from his phone to the printer right in front of him.

At one point, [IT Guy] tells this young man to calm down so he can understand what he is trying to say, which only makes the young man more ballistic. Once [IT Guy] realizes what is going on, he calmly explains to the young man that documents sent from mobile devices within our library are sent to the front desk. The young man literally bolts down the stairs at this point, leaving [IT Guy] in the dust.

The young man storms up to the front desk, arms flailing, cursing poor [Coworker #1] out in the worst tongue lashing I have heard since I started at this library. She doesn’t even get a word in. The whole confrontation only lasts thirty seconds, but I don’t think the young man even stops to breathe while ripping into her. Apparently, he assumes she intentionally sent him on a wild goose chase, but she didn’t realize he was trying to print from his phone as he didn’t mention that at all to her.

Within those thirty seconds, [IT Guy] catches up with the young man. [IT Guy] heads to the printer where the young man’s documents are waiting, but the young man storms out in a thundercloud of profanity without them.

On his way to the door, an elderly patron crosses paths with the young man.

Patron: “You should be ashamed of yourself.”

Of course, this only set the young man off even more. He literally kicked open our front doors (which are automatic for accessibility) with enough force to break them both and disappeared into the parking lot. [IT Guy] and a second patron (who was also a very large man) stuck by the doors to make sure the young man actually left.

[IT Guy] later said that he was afraid that this young man was going to go get a weapon and come back. [Patron #2] corroborated the sentiment. We were on alert for the rest of the day during my evening shift, and [Coworker #1] was given an extended break as she was so upset.

The young man was charged $1,500 to repair the doors, but the library decided not to press criminal charges. That was lucky for him because with that high of damage, it would have been a felony. We never saw him again, and he has since become infamous among staff and used in training sessions.

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