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To Give Credit Where Credit Is Due, Part 5

, , , , | Right | May 13, 2022

A regular library patron comes up to the desk and waves a magazine at us.

Patron: “I need to copy four pages out of this.”

Me: “Okay, the public copier is right over there.”

Patron: “I have forty cents credit at this library. I owed sixty cents for printing last week, and I paid with a dollar, so now I have credit.”

I look at my coworker. Our money system for computer print-outs is literally run out of an Altoids tin, and the copier is coin-operated separately. We don’t track patrons’ payments once they’ve paid.

However, we both know that this particular patron is a bit difficult, so my coworker gives me a shrug to say, “Whatever.”

Me: “Okay, we don’t have a credit system, but I can help you with the copier this time.”

I take forty cents out of the Altoids tin, drop it in the photocopier coin slot, and then photocopy the pages the patron wants, though normally it’s supposed to be self-serve.

Me: “All right. Here you go. Also, for future reference, we have no way of tracking credit. If you want your change, you can just take it when we offer it.”

Patron: “Well, I paid with a dollar. It wasn’t even my dollar; some man just gave it to me downstairs. So, I paid with that, and I told the lady at the desk to keep the change for someone else who needs it. That’s my credit.”

Me: “Okay, well… we have no way to track that.”

Patron: “It’s my credit.”

Me: “I understand what you’re saying, but we don’t track credit. In the future, you can just take your change and keep it with you for next time.”

Patron: “Look, I have two nursing degrees, so I’m not stupid. You don’t have to keep repeating that. I’m not dumb!”

Me: “Okay.”

Patron: “You know what? I’m going to take my copies somewhere else next time since you can’t even treat grown-ups with respect! I’ll go to [Office Supply Chain] and give them my business!”

Me: “Okay.”

Patron: “No respect! I have two degrees!”

Related:
To Give Credit Where Credit Is Due, Part 4
To Give Credit Where Credit Is Due, Part 3
To Give Credit Where Credit Is Due, Part 2
To Give Credit Where Credit Is Due

Why Libraries Should Outlive Us All

, , , , , , | Right | May 10, 2022

I have been a librarian for over thirty years. We are a relatively big library in our town, and one of the more conveniently located libraries — right across from a middle school, by a major store, and near a dog park. But when the health crisis hit, we went from being in person to being only pick up in the car. Our state considered us essential. People for the most part were understanding about it, though we did have some interesting people. The absolute best patron, though, was one who remembered our names.

She would drive up, and when we came out, she would always have a smile and try and make conversation. This girl would constantly check out ten to twenty books every week and return them promptly every Monday. The odd thing was that the books were all over the place; some days it would be mysteries and sometimes it would be classics or nonfiction.

When we finally opened back up, she was there that Monday afternoon with a big plate of cookies and donuts from the local bakery with a card letting us know how much she appreciated us, especially since she knew that we had a lot of work to get out all her books. I finally asked her if she was reading all those books, because honestly, we were always curious.

Customer: *Laughing* “I read some of them, but I didn’t want the library to go under during this, so I figured if I could get as many books as I could checked out, they would see that this was a necessary thing.”

I admit my eyes were a little teary. And now, nearly six months after we have fully opened, she still checks out that many every week.

She’s Going To Grow Up Into A Real Treat

, , , , | Right | May 8, 2022

I work in a library. We had a patron who allowed her eight-year-old child to run roughshod and unsupervised all over our library. The girl left nasty, profanity-laden notes for my staff to find. We warned the mother multiple times that her daughter needed to remain by her side while in the library.

One day, one of my staff, who suffered a disfiguring injury to her hand some years ago, received a note from this child making fun of her hand. The girl also made some snarky comments to my employee’s face.

My employee handed me the note. I was so furious, I saw red. I confronted the mother and showed her the note.

Me: “You need to take your daughter and leave.”

I consulted with my trustees and we agreed to ban them both for a month.

The mother came back in and tried to argue with me.

Mother: “My daughter is just a baby! It isn’t right for a public library to ban us!”

Me: “It is totally unacceptable for your daughter to harass my staff with her comments and notes.”

The mother actually looked me in the eye and said:

Mother: “What my daughter did wasn’t harassment!”

Me: “You and I have very different ideas of what harassment is.”

She left and didn’t come back for a long time. I’ve barely seen them since.

CSI Has A Lot To Answer For

, , , , | Right | May 3, 2022

A patron hurries up to our helpdesk with a CD in her hand.

Patron: “I was told you could help me. I have a video from my security camera, and I need to get a license plate of a car that destroyed my mailbox.”

Me: “That’s not a service we normally provide, but let me get you set up on one of our computers, and let’s see what we can do.

I get her set up and logged in, and we play the video from her CD. The resolution is TERRIBLE, and we can barely make out the make of the car, let alone the license plate.

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, I can’t help you with this.”

Patron: “Can’t you zoom and enhance?”

Me: “Pardon me?”

Patron: “Zoom and enhance! Like they do on CSI.”

Me: “Ma’am, that’s a TV show. It isn’t real.”

Patron: “You’re just being lazy! They can see things off of eyeballs! This should be easy!”

She’s referring to a much-ridiculed scene from the show where the characters zoom into an eyeball on camera and can see a crime being committed from the eyeball reflection.

Me: “Ma’am, I know what you’re referring to, but it’s made up for TV. That stuff isn’t possible with your camera. Your resolution is just too low.”

Patron: “Then show me how to be more resolute! Push the button to make more resolution!”

Me: “Sorry, ma’am, that’s impossible.”

Patron: “Is it because the shot doesn’t have any eyeballs?”

Logged Off From Reality

, , | Right | May 2, 2022

A woman walks into the library and waves her phone in my face.

Patron: “I need to print a document from my email.”

Me: “No problem. Do you have a library card with us?”

Patron: “Yes.”

Me: “Excellent. Then you can use one of our computers to log onto your email and—”

Patron: “I don’t want to log onto your computer.”

I look around. The library is virtually empty. All but one of our computers are free.

Me: “Okay? Unfortunately, we have no way to connect your phone to our printer, so that’s the only way we are able to print anything for you.”

Patron: “But I need to print this!”

Me: “And like I said, if you’ll just log onto one of our computers—”

Patron: “I don’t want to log onto your computer!”

Me: “May I ask why not? I’ll be happy to help you if—”

Patron: *Waving phone ever more vigorously* “I need to print this!”

Me: “And like I said, it’s technically impossible for us to print from your phone, so I’m afraid the only way you can print it is from our computers.”

Patron:I don’t want to log onto your computer!

Me: “Again, we can’t print from your phone, but I’ll be happy to help show you how to print from the computer.”

Patron:No! I need to print this!

And so on and so forth with little to no variation, until she finally stormed out of the library without the printout she needed so badly that she’d rather spend five minutes arguing than two minutes in front of a computer.