Get Her A Book On How Libraries Work

, , , , | | Learning | July 14, 2019

(During my school holidays, I work for a while in the library of a combined elementary and middle school. This particular school is very near the town’s library. Our books and theirs are all clearly labelled with the respective institution names. However, we frequently get students returning the town library’s books to us and vice versa. The school’s policy is to not help them to return it to the town library, so that they will learn not to make this mistake. I’m used to it, as they’re kids, and they usually get it after a simple explanation. And then, you get this:)

Parent: “My son got a call from the library saying they still owe books, but he returned them all last week!”

(The school does not call to chase for books; we have a more relaxed policy and don’t even fine for overdue books. The mention of the call is enough for me, but most customers aren’t satisfied until you actually show them the record.)

Me: “Okay, let me check the system.” *pulls up the record* “Ma’am, the system shows that he doesn’t have any books on loan.”

Parent: “Yes, they’re from the town library.”

Me: “Oh, in that case, you need to call them to check with them.”

Parent: “But he returned it! I was waiting downstairs; he said he was going to run to the library and drop them in the book drop.” *points to our book drop*

Me: “He returned the town library’s books here?”

Parent: “Yes! So, why are there still books on his account?!”

Me: “Ma’am, our system is different from the town library’s system. He cannot return their books here, or vice-versa.”

Parent: “Yes, he can! My son said he can!”

Me: “Sorry, ma’am, he may put the books into our book drop, but if we scan it, it won’t be found in our system record. We will see that it’s not one of ours and put it aside for the student to come back to collect it.”

Parent: “Why didn’t you inform us?”

Me: “We do not have any record of which student borrowed the book.”

Parent: “But he borrowed it; it should show his name!”

Me: *patiently* “But our system is different from the town library’s; it will not show the name of the person who borrowed it.”

(The parent keeps this up for some time. I’m trying my best to explain it patiently, but she doesn’t get it. The elementary school students understand this better than she does! I end up using the dumbed-down parallel I give to the younger students.)

Me: “It’s just like if you go [Famous Fast Food Chain]; you cannot buy a [Rival Chain’s Signature Burger] because they are different stores.”

Parent: “You must have the book on the shelf. You can check the shelf and see that he did return it!”

(I check the cupboard where we keep the town library’s books that have ended up in our book-drop, but we do not have the title that the parent mentioned.)

Me: “Sorry, ma’am, we don’t have it. Are you sure he returned it here?”

Parent: “Yes, he did. Why won’t you believe me?” *points insistently at our book-drop* “I’ll get him to come and prove it!”

Me: “Okay, you can ask him to come by.”

(Would you believe it, some days later, the parent comes back again. This time, she has complained to the school office, who apparently was finally able to get through to her that our library systems are different.)

Parent: “My son returned the town library’s books here. Do you have them?”

Me: *checking to see if they have been found over the last few days* “Yes, here you go.”

Parent: “The person who called me said there’s a fine for overdue books.”

Me: “You’ll have to check with the town library, as [School]’s library does not implement a fine for late returns.”

Parent: “But it’s not fair! We shouldn’t have to pay a fine!”

Me: “Sorry, I have no control over that.” 

(I have a feeling I know what’s coming. Sure enough, she delivers.)

Parent: “No, I shouldn’t have to pay! My son returned it here!” *points petulantly to our book drop* “How can you charge me when I returned it here?!”

Me: *facepalm* 

(I mean, I can excuse a kid for not being able to tell the difference, but this is an adult in her forties!)

Rich People Be Ballin’

, , , , , , | | Right | July 12, 2019

I work in a public library. A man approaches the counter to check out some movies. At the time, anyone who owes $5 or more is blocked from checking out, and this fellow owes $6. I inform him of this and tell him if he can bring his bill down to $4.99, he can check out. I’ve found this an effective way to get people to pay most or all of their fine, even our most stubborn “I shouldn’t have late fees at all” patrons.

The man is perfectly pleasant and agrees to pay. He then proceeds to not only pull the waistband of his shorts away from his body, but the waistband of his boxer shorts underneath, as well. He then rifles around in his underwear a bit and proceeds to give me six damp dollar bills.

I can’t refuse the money, so I reluctantly take it and check his items out to him. As soon as he’s gone, I get a can of disinfectant spray, hit “NO SALE” on the cash register, and take out his boxer-short money to spray down, informing a confused coworker what just happened. I also use a LOT of hand sanitizer and make sure the dollar bills are kept separate from the others.

Honestly, I’ll take boob money over ball-sack money any day! Unless she’s lactating, of course.

So Many Different Levels Of WTF?

, , , , , , , | | Right | June 21, 2019

(It’s a humdrum day at the information desk. No one’s bothered to ask me anything so far, and I’m wondering what to do when my shift is finished. Suddenly, I hear this come from the computer area.)

Customer: “F***!”

(I walk over to the person who cussed and try to politely get his attention.)

Me: “Sir, I’m sorry to bother you, but I’m afraid you can’t talk like that in the library. It’s against the rules.”

(His reaction? The guy stands straight up, gets exactly two inches from my face — to the point where our noses almost touch — and growls.)

Customer: “I’m the son of a black panther, you f****** honky! I’ve been shot twice, stabbed twice, and I’ll be more than happy to do the same to you if you don’t f*** off and leave me alone! We cool, white boy?!”

Me: *not intimidated in the least* “Sir, regardless, if you continue to talk like that, there will be consequences.”

Customer: “Yeah, we cool. F*** off.” *sits back down*

(Naturally, this is the part where I sneak off where he can’t hear me and call 911. When the officers arrive — they send four, since he made a credible death threat — this is what happens next:)

Officer: “Sir, is it true that you threatened to kill this man?”

Customer: “Aww, c’mon, man! I’m not Donald Trump!”

(The kicker? Despite being banned for a year, he tried to come back no more than a week later! I saw him on the children’s floor, no less! When the cops escorted him out, again, he gave the same excuse/alibi.)

Some Of These Books Are Trash

, , , , | | Right | June 19, 2019

Like many libraries, ours has an outdoor book-drop where people can turn in their library books after hours or if they’re in too much of a hurry to come inside. It’s not uncommon for patrons with overdue items to insist they’ve put their books and movies in the outdoor book-drop, though we empty the drop several times a day to ensure items don’t accrue fines.

One elderly gentleman calls us to ask why two books are still showing up on his account when he knows for a fact that he put them in our outdoor book-drop a week ago. We search the shelves and the drop for the missing books but come up empty. We ask the man again when he turned in the books.

“Last week,” he says, “in the book-drop in front of the library.”

Cue expressions of horror from all of us. Our outdoor book-drop is located on the side of the building. What’s in front of the library… is a trash can.

We check the trash can to be safe, but it has since been emptied by the janitorial crew and the books are long gone. I feel bad for the gentleman accidentally throwing away library books, but at the same time, don’t most people recognize a trash can when they see one?

He REALLY Wants That Book

, , , , , , | | Working | June 14, 2019

I was walking past the reception desk in my local library and overheard one of the librarians actually on the phone, calling my wife at home, asking her to let me know that a book I had reserved was ready to pick up.

The look on his face when two seconds later I turned up at the desk and said, “I hear you have a book for me?” was priceless.

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