Unfiltered Story #137086

, , , | Unfiltered | January 21, 2019

ME: University Library.

[Silence.]

ME: Hello?

[Silence.]

STRANGE VOICE: Um, yes, hello?

ME: Yes? Can I help you?

VOICE: I don’t know. Did you call me?

ME: Um, no, no, I didn’t.

[Silence.]

[Click.]

Maisy, Maisy, Give Me Your Answer Do

, , , | Right | January 19, 2019

(I’m a systems and technology librarian. It’s during lunch breaks, so we are low on staff, and I’m the only librarian not at lunch. One of the clerks calls me over to the phone with the description, “Secret librarian business; she won’t tell me what she needs.”)

Me: “Hello. [My Name] speaking. How may I help you?”

Customer: “Are you a librarian?”

Me: “Yes, I am. How can I help you today?”

Customer: “What kind of librarian?”

Me: “Systems and technology.”

Customer: “You’re the wrong librarian.”

Me: “Unfortunately, everyone else is at lunch, so I’ll see if I can help you, and if it turns out that I can’t I will get someone to contact you back.”

Customer: “Are you sure that you are a librarian?”

Me: “Yes.”

Customer: “I used to volunteer at the library in the seventies, and I have never heard of a systems and technology librarian before; that doesn’t sound real.”

Me: “It is a more modern position; with the growing use of technology in libraries, it has become a need.”

Customer: “Because I would rather speak to the children’s librarian.”

Me: “She is at lunch, like I said. Give me a try, and if I’m out of my league, I will get her to call you.”

Customer: “Promise?”

Me: “I promise.”

Customer: “Who writes the Maisy books?”

Me: “Lucy Cousins.”

Customer: “HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT?”

Me: “I have a three-year-old.”

Customer: “I’m going to need that confirmed by the children’s librarian; she will need to contact me before three pm, at [number]. It’s really inconvenient that she’s unavailable. The world just doesn’t stop for lunch.”

I’m Going To Have To Gingerly Refuse

, , | Right | January 16, 2019

(I work at the front desk at a public library, but I’ve recently been trained to work on the information desk. Basically, the difference is that staff at the information desk will help you find books, and then you check them out at the front desk. Our library is known to have a lot of entitled patrons who think our jobs are to do everything for them, and they pick on new staff. A middle-aged woman approaches me at the information desk one afternoon.)

Woman: “I want some information on the ginger root!”

Me: “Okay, do you want a cookbook about using ginger in food? Or maybe health benefits of herbs?”

Woman: “Yeah, health and therapeutic uses of ginger!”

(This isn’t the weirdest thing I’ve been asked to look up, so I look in our collection and after a while, I find literally only ONE book that is specifically about therapeutic uses of ginger. While I’m searching, she is clear about being impatient, tapping her nails loudly on the desk and asking what’s taking me so long. The book I found is not at our library, so I offer to order it in for her.)

Woman: *getting angrier and angrier* “No, no, I don’t want a book! I want information!”

Me: *thinking I’ve misunderstood* “I’m sorry, I’m not sure I understand. Do you just want to look up some information on one of our computers?”

Woman: “Yes! I want information about the ginger root!”

Me: *now understanding, and trying to be polite as possible* “Ma’am, you’re more than welcome to log onto one of our computers and look up information about ginger. If you’d like me to sit down with you and help, I can, but otherwise, I need to stay at this desk and help the other patrons. What would you like me to do?”

(The woman stares at me for a few moments and looks like she wants to say something, but she ends up saying, “Well, never mind!” and making a huge fuss about putting on her coat, grabbing her purse, and marching out of the library. My coworker on the desk has witnessed the whole thing.)

Coworker: “Did she actually just ask if you could spoon-feed her information off the Internet?”

(Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first time she had come in and pulled a similar stunt. Staff know her by face and name now, and know not to just give in and do everything for her.)

Three Million French Doctors

, , | Right | January 16, 2019

(As a public librarian, I often receive phone calls from patrons who don’t own a computer and want me to look up a phone number or a business address. I don’t mind taking these calls, but there are a few patrons who abuse the system. This one takes place less than ten minutes before we close.)

Patron: “I wanted you to see if you could find a doctor named [Doctor].”

Me: “Okay, could you spell his last name for me?”

Patron: “Oh, I don’t know how it’s spelled. Just try it; that should work.”

(I immediately see the difficulty in this, as the name she has given me is French-based and I, unfortunately, am from out of state and therefore unable to guess how that might possibly be spelled. I give it a try, anyway.)

Patron: “Isn’t there a list of doctors in [State] you could look at?”

Me: “Ma’am, even if there was such a thing, there are thousands of doctors in this state, and the list would be quite unwieldy.”

Patron: “Well, couldn’t you search by letter?”

Me: “Ma’am, there is no list like that. Every practice lists the doctors in its employ and nothing more. Do you have the name of his practice?”

Patron: “Just try searching by his name and the state. That should be enough.”

(I am losing patience at this point. Not only has it been a long day that left me with a headache, but the library closes in five minutes and I want to go home. I am beginning to suspect that not only does she not own a computer, but that she has never used one before.)

Me: “Okay, ma’am, when I type in the name you gave me — without an exact spelling — I get over three million results to sift through. Are you sure you don’t know how his name is spelled?”

Patron: “No! He’s the son of a woman I lost touch with after a hurricane twelve years ago. I don’t know where she went, but I know he has to be here. Did you put in the name of our state?”

Me: “Okay. When I put in the state name, I get over one million results.”

(The patron laughs loudly and derisively in my ear. When she speaks, her tone is both amused and patronizing, as though a small child just told her the moon is actually Jupiter.)

Patron: “Well, that sounds like BS, but okay. Thank you for all your help. I’ll just try a different way that might get me results.”

Me: “Goodnight.”

(I was more than happy to end that phone call.)

Unfiltered Story #136365

, , | Unfiltered | January 12, 2019

(Our library is divided into two sections. The upstairs has all the technology, movies, and all adult material; the basement has the staff room and an extensive kids section, including an entire room devoted to picture books. People tend to work upstairs or downstairs, not both.)

(I was alone downstairs on this day, so the children’s area was unattended while I took my lunch break– timed so I’d be back before school got out. On my return, I hand up my coat, turn around, and stop short.)

Me: Ma’am? Is that… a dog?
Woman: *kneeling on the floor* Yes, of course! Isn’t it a gorgeous day outside?
Me: Ma’am… there are no dogs allowed in the library.
Dog: *darts forward a few paces, teeth bared; I can see now it’s on an extendable leash*
Woman: *eyes widening* Really? No dogs?
Me: No. No dogs. Please take him outside immediately. Woman: Not even small ones?

By this point, her husband has come over and scooped the dog up. I feel free to enter the picture book room, and see a small child, maybe three years old, trailing a toddler-leash, ‘building’ with our preschool-sized chairs.

Me: No. Not even small ones. Please take him outside.
Woman: Can’t I just pick out a few books first?
Me: You may, but one of you needs to take the dog outside first.

It takes a while, but I get the husband to take the dog outside. The woman seems astonished that we wouldn’t let her dog in. Apparently the dozens of signs about ‘No food or drink’, ‘No unsupervised children’, and dozens of rhyming posters about book care and safety don’t cover that!

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