The Wi-Fi Isn’t The Issue

, , , , | Right | March 30, 2020

(A woman comes into the library with her own laptop to use our Wi-Fi. As she’s signing in, she calls me over and points to a line in our user agreement.)

Woman: “What’s this mean?”

Me: “That’s just a notification that our Wi-Fi network is public and we can’t guarantee that it’s 100% secure.”

Woman: “Not secure? What’s that mean? They can steal my identity?!”

Me: “Any information sent over Wi-Fi is potentially vulnerable. So, if you send personal information or financial information, it could possibly be compromised.”

Woman: “That’s insane! Why don’t you have secure Wi-Fi? I’ve had my identity stolen twice, and this is unacceptable. I need to work online!”

Me: “To be clear, we’re no less secure than any standard Wi-Fi network in your house or another public place. We just need to let you know we can’t guarantee security.”

Woman: “That’s crazy! I’ve had my identity stolen twice. I need to be careful!”

Me: “I understand. If you absolutely need to send information online, why don’t you use one of our public terminals? Wired networks are a little more secure than wireless.”

Woman: “Are they secure, though? I had my identity stolen twice! I need them to be secure!”

Me: “They are about as secure as you are going to find. As I say, we can’t 100 % guarantee it, but it’s fairly unlikely anyone would be pulling your information from a wired library network.” 

Woman: “But I need to be careful! I don’t want my identity stolen again…”

(I finally manage to explain to her that if she absolutely needs to send personal information online, there is going to be some risk, but she can minimize it. She gets on a library terminal and works for a while. Then, I see her get up, fish a pack of cigarettes out of her purse, and begin to walk out — leaving her email account logged in and her purse, phone, and laptop on the table.) 

Me: “Ma’am! We don’t recommend that you leave your personal items—”

Woman: “Don’t be silly; this is a library! What’s going to happen?”

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Be Amazed They Can Read In The First Place

, , , , | Right | March 19, 2020

(The library where I work has a separate section for books that can only be borrowed overnight. No matter what time you borrow these books, they have to be back the next weekday at 11:00 am. Therefore, a lot of people want to return the books before they leave the library. As this section closes before the rest of the building, we get a lot of people asking how they can return the books. We do have a sign explaining, but nobody ever reads it. This happens as we are closing.)

Customer: “Hi, this is Short Loan, but I need to return it.”

Manager: “Sorry, I have just closed the Short Loan area down; you can just drop it in the book box.”

Customer: “No, it is Short Loan.”

Me: “That’s fine. If you put it in the box, then it will be returned in the morning.”

(The customer looks around, confused. The book box is actually just before you get to the entrance turnstiles, and for some reason, this causes people confusion.)

Manager: “It is just here.” *points to the book box which she is standing next to* “Walk out the exit and come round.”

Customer: “Oh, okay.”

(The customer walks as if going towards the exit, but instead opens the door into the Short Loan section and walks in.)

Me: *starts to chase him* “Excuse me, sir…”

Manager: “Leave him. [Other Manager] is in there turning stuff off and he will sort the book out.”

(A few minutes later, the customer walks back out.)

Me: “Excuse me, sir, but just so you know you should have put your box in the book box. That section is closed.”

Customer: “No, it’s open. I have just been in there. I just had to return a Short Loan book, you see.”

Me: “No, it is actually closed. In the future, you should just put your book in the book box.”

Customer: “Oh. You mean putting it in there is like returning it?”

Me: “…”

(The customer tried to walk out of the locked entrance door and had to be directed toward the exit.)

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In A Hurry To Be A Jerk

, , , , | Learning | March 4, 2020

(I work in a university library. Most patrons are students and teachers from our university but students from other universities can access the library, as well. They just need to register and pay a small fee the first time they do. I just finished adding a student from another university into our database. He has been kind of rude so far, but nothing too bad.)

Student: “So, how can I access Wi-Fi?”

(I explain how to access Wi-Fi and then I add the following.)

Me: “Unfortunately, since I just added you to the database, you won’t be able to access Wi-Fi immediately; it can take up to a couple of hours. In the meantime, you can use the library computers. There are plenty of them.”

(The student does not look convinced at all.)

Student: “Are you sure about that? I really want to access Wi-Fi on my personal computer.”

Me: “Yes, I’m sure. Our system needs to update with your information first, and it can take a couple of hours.”

Student: “Well, maybe I should contact your IT department to ask them, instead.”

Me: “No, you don’t need to bother them with that; they won’t be able to speed it up for you. If you still can’t access Wi-Fi in 24 hours, then you can contact them.”

(He still doesn’t look convinced. One of my colleagues swings by the desk to grab something he forgot. The student suddenly stops looking at me and looks at him, instead.)

Student: “Hey, how do I access Wi-Fi immediately?”

Me: “I just explained that to you.”

(The student ignores me. My colleague clearly heard the last bit of our conversation.)

Colleague: “It seems my colleague already answered you.”

Student: “Yeah, but I thought maybe you would know better.”

Colleague: *coldly* “My colleague is just as competent as I am. If she already answered you, then I won’t say the same thing she did.”

Student: “But…”

Colleague: “No buts; you already got your answer.”

(The student then left without saying anything more. My colleague was pissed on my behalf and I’m grateful that he defended me.)

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You Want Batman? Because That’s How You Get Batman

, , , , , | Learning | March 1, 2020

We happen to have bats hanging out in the attics of many of our older campus buildings. Many students aren’t aware of this, but if a person is quiet and patient, they can watch bats fly from behind some of the older buildings. Our library, in particular, has a problem and there are signs on doors, in the elevator, stairwell, etc., to not touch bats and inform staff if one is spotted flying around. Only the third floor is a quiet space; all other floors have community areas for groups to collaborate in and talk. 

One night, I’m up on the second floor with a bud when we notice squeaking after a while. It’s not bothersome and we figure it’s either bats or the A/C is janky. Whatever, the building is old. A group of athletic underclassmen, however, decide they want to know for sure. At first, it’s just one or two coming over and looking at a window. Even I get up and briefly look closer. I recognize the sound, figure it’s not worth my time or health to bother with, and walk away. 

My bud and I are tolerably amused as the investigations are becoming more common and with bigger numbers. They’re impressively quiet.

Eventually, some of them even begin trying to jump to reach the ceiling and dislodge a panel. They can touch it but not dislodge it. I figure that’s enough.

“Hey, man, you know those are probably bats.”

This, of course, just wins some “Oh, cool, I’ve never seen a bat before” looks and their efforts increase for a moment. 

“Do you also know bats are known for carrying rabies?”

“Oh, s***, man. Really?”


I know that bats are not significantly more likely to carry rabies than other mammals, but this stopped the investigations for the night. We did tell the staff.

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They Are A Pain Up The Back-Entrance

, , , | Right | February 25, 2020

I work as a floor clerk in a public library. There is one public entrance at the front of the building and one smaller staff entrance in the back. Obviously, only staff can use the staff entrance, and you can only get in with a door fob from the outside. It’s clearly marked with a “STAFF ONLY” sign smack in the middle of the door, but that doesn’t stop people from trying to use it. There is a back parking lot for employees, but there’s no concrete rule that it’s for employees only, so patrons park back there and try to use the staff door.

This happens when I’m near the back entrance moving carts from floor to floor. It’s been raining all day, but not pouring hard, which means we’re fairly busy once school hours are over.

Apparently, the front parking lot is full, and some people are parking in the back, trying to use the staff entrance. I’m near the back door when a young woman, an older woman (maybe a grandmother) and a small child approach it, and she grabs the door handle, completely bypassing the sign. It doesn’t even jiggle since it’s locked electronically. She looks at me and knocks on the door, raising her other hand up in an “Uh, hellloooo?” fashion.

Groaning internally, I open the door a crack to tell her she can’t come in. She tries to step past me, but I block her from getting through.

“Uh, excuse me? Can we go in, please?”

“I’m sorry, but this is a staff entrance. The public entrance is around the front.”

“But the parking lot is full! I had to park back here!”

“I’m sorry to hear that, but this entrance is for library employees only. If I let you in, everyone else will want me to let them in, as well. Only employees can unlock the door for that reason.”

“It’s pouring rain and I have a young child here! Please let us in?”

It’s not pouring by any means. I’ve worked here for five years at this point, and our “go above and beyond” policies are getting more and more ridiculous, to the point where entitled people just get whatever they ask for in almost any situation. Some staff have let patrons through the staff door if they are bullied enough, and since I’m considered to be senior staff among the clerks, I don’t give in to stupidity like this. So, I tell her, still politely, to please use the front entrance.

“But I parked back here!”

“I’m sorry for the inconvenience, but you’ll have to walk around to the front.”

I closed the door, which locked automatically. She didn’t move and just stared at me as I turned away. She knocked at the door again. I pointed toward the sign. She knocked on it again, harder when I turned around and walked away this time.

I knew she was going to go to the front counter to complain, so I walked over and talked to my supervisor just as she came in. My supervisor listened to her complain very loudly about me, and about how she and her kid were soaked now, but my supervisor just told her it was a staff entrance and we don’t let people use that door. She didn’t like that and stomped away further into the library with the grandmother and kid in tow, who hadn’t said a single word in this exchange to us. I was told I didn’t do anything wrong and was left at that.

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