Your Request Does Not Compute

, , , , | Right | September 14, 2018

(I work at a campus library as the receptionist. I’ve been working here about two years, but my coworker hasn’t even been here for a month.)

Patron: “Hello. Could you look up a call number for me?”

Coworker: “Of course. Let me just get online—”

Patron: *suddenly sharp* “You shouldn’t have to do that.”

Coworker: “Um…”

Patron: “You shouldn’t have to use the computer to get my call number. You should just be able to do it.”

Coworker: “I’m not sure what you mean? I could get the manager and maybe he—”

Patron: “You shouldn’t have to go get your manager. You should be able to just do it.”

Coworker: “Our entire system is online, ma’am—”

Patron: *walks away in a huff*

(Five minutes later, she came back to the desk to tell my coworker that she found the call number herself without his help. How did she do this? By looking it up online. Also, I told my coworker not to feel too bad about getting chewed out by her. I had spent fifteen minutes with her last week showing her how to print a document from Word.)

Softening Of The Contrarian Librarian

, , , , | Learning | September 13, 2018

(My school is two stories tall. There are two main stairwells, as well as a third stairwell in the library. The two main stairwells become unbearably crowded with students trying to get to their next classes, but the one in the library does not. Being an avid reader, I like to take those stairs to get to class because I can also spend a few minutes browsing for new books to read in my spare time. One day while I’m at school, my mom gets a call from the librarian.)

Librarian: “Hello, is this [My Name]’s mother?”

Mom: “Yes, this is [Mom], can I help you?”

Librarian: “Hello, Mrs. [Mom], I’m calling to ask if you’d like me to ban your daughter from the library.”

Mom: *aghast* “Ban her from the library?! What did she do?”

Librarian: “I see her wandering around the library between every single class period!”

Mom: “Is she causing a disturbance?”

Librarian: “No, she’s very quiet, but she’s here during every transition period. Sometimes she even spends her lunch period in here!”

Mom: *confused* “So, she’s skipping her classes?”

Librarian: “Well, no, she’s hasn’t been marked absent from her classes.”

Mom: *still confused* “Is she running late to her classes?”

Librarian: “No, she hasn’t been marked tardy, either.”

Mom: “Is she failing any of her classes?”

Librarian: “No, ma’am, she’s making good grades in all of her classes.”

Mom: *annoyed* “So, you mean to tell me that she’s making it to all of her classes on time, getting good grades, and quietly looking at books between her classes… and you’re asking if I want her to be banned from the library?”

Librarian: *is quiet for a few moments* “I’m sorry to have bothered you, Mrs. [Mom]. Have a nice day.” *click*

(The librarian was significantly more friendly towards me after that, recommending and reserving lots of new books for me whenever I returned the ones I’d finished, and I continued to use the library stairs without any more trouble.)

Related:
The Contrarian Librarian: Looking For Work
Re-emergence Of The Contrarian Librarian
The Inattentiveness Of The Contrarian Librarian

Jack Reacher Comes Out Of The Closet

, , , , , | Right | September 5, 2018

(I’m a librarian, working in a large city centre public library. I should also add that I’m male and reasonably conservative in dress and appearance. On this day, I’m putting together a display of books, called “Loud and Proud”, promoting LGBT authors. A middle aged male customer wanders over and takes a look.)

Customer: “‘Ere, mate, what’s all this?”

Me: “It’s a promotion we’re running to coincide with the city’s Pride parade. There have been several high profile gay and lesbian authors recently, and we’re trying to—”

Customer: “Yeah, yeah. I get that. But who are these people?”

Me: “Some you might be familiar with already. Both Jake Arnott and Sarah Waters have been adapted for television, and essentially they’re great storytellers regardless of their—”

Customer: “Yeah, sure. But my point is, where are the books for the rest of us? You know, for us normal people?”

(At this point I pause. The walls are lined with bookshelves, there are more free-standing bookshelves around the room, plus spinners, racks and more. All filled with books.)

Me: “Well, there’s plenty of other stuff to choose from…”

Customer: “Yeah, but don’t you feel a bit awkward about all of this?” *he gestures towards the one small display stand being used*

Me: “Not at all. I’m gay myself.”

(Customer looked as if he was going to explode, eventually settling on throwing his books on the floor and storming out. I shared this story with my manager, who laughed her head off, and suggested we run another display called “100% STRAIGHT!” consisting of men’s fitness guides, SAS memoirs, and Lee Child/Andy McNab thrillers. We eventually did something along those lines, but with a less provocative title.)

Would Have Been A “Grim” Introduction To Elephant Mating

, , , , , | Working | August 15, 2018

(Due to a history of items being stolen from our library, all DVDs are kept in locked cases which are then unlocked upon checkout, and all blu-ray discs are kept under the front desk and must be inserted into their correct cases by a librarian upon checkout. A patron approaches me, accompanied by two young children, and hands me a blu-ray case.)

Patron: “Hi, I borrowed this last time, but my husband said that when he went to play it, it had the wrong disc inside.”

(I glance at the front and see that it is a popular, G-rated kids’ movie. I look inside and see that there is no title on the disc itself, but it shows a very close-up image of what appears to be an elephant’s behind — nothing graphic, though.)

Me: “Oh, no! Sorry about that. There must have been a mix-up somewhere along the line. I’ll just look up the code of the disc.”

(All items have a code, which is pasted onto both the disc and its cases, making it easy to match them up. I search the code, and my eyes widen in horror as I see the search result.)

Me: “This… is not a children’s film… I’m so sorry.”

Patron: *cheerfully* “Oh, no, that’s all fine. Don’t worry; we’d already seen the movie anyway and we were re-borrowing it. Sorry that you have to spend time chasing that up now.”

Me: “Yeah, no worries. I’ll, um, I’ll take care of it.”

(The patron leaves.)

Coworker: *seeing my frozen mask of simultaneous panic and relief* “What’s up?”

Me: “I can’t believe that just happened.”

(It turned out that whoever had taken the blu-ray disc from behind the counter had grabbed the wrong one. Instead of going home with a light-hearted kids’ film, this family had been given the MA15+ rated movie “Grimsby” by Sacha Baron Cohen. Those familiar with Borat or anything else by Sacha Baron Cohen can imagine my horror at the thought of how close those little kids had come to seeing that which can never be unseen.)

Gremlins In The Library

, , , , , , | Right | August 10, 2018

(I work the night shift at a large university library that is open 24 hours. There are only three staff members, me included, working this shift, and the library is fairly empty. In order to get into the library in the middle of the night, students have to swipe their student cards to activate the outer doors, and then are required to physically show the card to a staff member as they enter. We take turns checking cards at the door throughout the night, and it is currently my turn to do it. I’ve been sitting at the security podium by the door for about three hours already; it is required that someone remain at the door constantly in order to make sure that no non-students enter the library. As I glance up from the book I’ve been reading, I suddenly notice a small, white dog dart between two study rooms on the opposite side of the floor. Not sure at first if I’ve hallucinated it, I finally decide to radio my coworker.)

Coworker: “Is there a problem?”

Me: “Yeah… Um, you’re not going to believe this… but I think there’s a dog loose in the library.”

Coworker: *after a pause* “You let a dog into the library?”

Me: “No! Nobody’s come through the front doors in at least two hours, and I didn’t see anybody come in with a dog. I don’t know how it got in.”

(Another coworker, who has been listening in on the radio, decides to pipe in:)

Coworker #2: “You let a dog into the library?”

Me: “No! I don’t know how it got in!”

Coworker #1: “Where is it now?”

Me: “I think it’s in Study Room B.”

Coworker #2: “I’ll go check it out.”

Coworker #1: “All right. Radio back when you know what’s going on.”

(The coworker arrives a few minutes later and walks into the study room where I saw the dog enter. I hear her shout something unintelligible, and then her voice comes back on the radio)

Coworker #2: “It s*** all over the place!”

Coworker #1: *on the radio* “The dog did?”

Coworker #2: “Of course it was the dog!”

Me: “We hope it was the dog…”

Coworker #1: “All right, I’m coming down. Where is the dog now?”

Coworker #2: “Not in Study Room B. But he’s been here. He left his mark.”

Me: “I haven’t seen him come back this way, either.”

(My coworkers lock up Study Room B to be cleaned, and then do a sweep of the floor. They can’t find the dog, but they do find more of its feces scattered around the library, mostly in study rooms. Finally, they radio back to me.)

Coworker #1: “You’re sure this is a dog?”

Me: “You think a person is doing this?”

Coworker #1: “I guess not. It’s just…”

(He pauses.)

Me: “Just what?”

Coworker #2: “There’s a lot of s***, [My Name]. So much s***. It’s everywhere. This dog knows what he’s doing.”

(I try not to laugh as my coworkers frantically continue their search. Just as I’m about to radio in for an update, a white blur passes in my periphery, and I turn to see the dog darting beneath the wide central staircase, which is just a few yards from my post by the door.)

Me: *radioing* “Guys! He just went under the stairs! Do you want me to go try to grab him?”

Coworker #1: “No! Stay by the door. You need to watch for students. Just stay where you are; we’re coming to you!”

(They both come bolting down the stairs, and as they turn to duck under the steps to look for the dog, the dog darts back out the other side and goes running for an open study room opposite the stairs.)

Coworker #2: “No! Not in there! That’s one of the only rooms he hasn’t gotten yet!”

(I get up from my post to help give chase, but as [Coworker #1] passes me, he motions for me to sit back down. Begrudgingly, I obey. They chase the dog into the empty study room… and then back out again. They chase him around the floor for several minutes before the dog hops up the stairs and heads to the second floor. My coworkers frantically follow.)

Coworker #2: *on the radio again* “[My Name], watch the stairs. If he comes back your way, you ditch the doors and grab him. It’s time we put an end to this.”

(I suddenly hear someone shouting from the second floor. Concerned, I radio in to ask if everything is okay.)

Coworker #2: “The dog just blasted feces all over the Help Desk. I think there’s something wrong with this dog!”

(At that moment, I see a student swipe his card at the outer doors and enter the library. He walks up to me and shows me his card, as usual, then looks around.)

Student: “Hey, have you seen a little white dog in here?”

Me: “Yes! We’ve been trying to catch him for an hour. Is he yours?”

Student: “Yeah, I dropped him off.”

Me: “You… what?”

Student: “I said I dropped him off. Is he ready to leave?”

(I’m too dumbfounded for a moment to answer, and the student then turns to face the library and begins shouting.)

Student: “Gizmo! Gizmo, c’mere! C’mere, boy!”

(To my astonishment, the dog casually appears at the top of the stairs and makes his way down toward his owner. My coworkers follow, running at first, until they see that the dog is being beckoned by his owner. They slowly head toward us, visibly distraught by the entire experience, as the owner picks up his dog.)

Student: “Hey, Gizmo! Time to go!”

Coworker #1: “Hey, wait a minute!”

Student: “Oh, yeah? What’s up?”

Coworker #1: “That’s your dog?”

Student: “Yes.”

Coworker #1: “You can’t bring a dog into the library.”

Student: “I didn’t. I dropped him off.”

Coworker #1: “Well, he caused a huge disruption and damaged several of our study rooms. We’ve had to close them and they’ll need to be hosed down.”

Student: “I’m sorry. I didn’t think he’d be a problem.”

Coworker #2: “Well, he was! He defecated all over the library.”

Student: “Yeah, I’m sorry about that. But what do you want me to do?”

([Coworker #1], not quite sure how to handle this situation, ultimately decides to take the student’s information in case he may be asked to help pay for the cleaning that will be required. Still seemingly oblivious to the huge disruption that’s been caused by him and his dog, the student leaves, and my coworkers and I stand back for a moment to collect ourselves.)

Coworker #2: “Well, that was different.”

Coworker #1: “What is wrong with people? Did he think this was a doggy daycare or something?”

Me: “Honestly, I’m more concerned about what was wrong with that dog.”

Coworker #2: “Maybe he fed it after midnight.”

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