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Context Counts

, , , , , | Learning | November 15, 2023

I’m a school librarian. Each class visits me once a week. When class is done, I instruct them how to line up.

Me: “When Mr. [My Name] calls your number, go to the door. One, two, three…”

Student: “Four, five, six!”

Me: “Let me count, please. Four, five, six…”

Student: “Seven, eight, nine!”

Me: “Please stop counting; that’s my job. Seven, eight, nine…”

Student: “Ten, eleven, twelve!”

Me: “How many times do I have to tell you, [Student]? You don’t count! You don’t count!”

I looked up to see his teacher standing in the door, looking concerned.

Shakespearean Toilet Humor

, , , , , | Right | November 10, 2023

I used to work in a library. In the pre-Internet days, I would often be called upon by parents hoping to get their children ahead of required reading at school.

Patron: “My daughter is doing a Shakespeare this semester. You know, the ‘double bubble, toilet trouble’ one.”

Me: “You mean ‘double, double toil and trouble’? That’s Macbeth.”

Patron: “No, it’s ‘toilet trouble’.”

Me: “I’m pretty sure it’s ‘double, double toil and trouble’, but anyway, if it’s Macbeth they’re reading, then I can show you our copies.”

I took them over to our Shakespeare section, and they grabbed the complete works instead of just “Macbeth”.

Patron: “I’ll get all of them just in case you’re wrong about it being Macbeth. You don’t even know the words to the song.”

I just nodded and helped them loan out their book. I then told my manager about the interaction during our break.

Manager: “Well, I can understand. Every time I’m cleaning my toilet, I’m saying, ‘Out, d***ed spot! Out, I say!'”

The First Book Should Be: Everybody Poops!

, , , , | Right | November 9, 2023

A mother with two children comes into my library. The girl is six and the boy is maybe three. The girl hands over the form we distribute to the nearby schools for children to take home to their parents.

Girl: “I’d like a library card, please.”

Me: “Are you getting your own card today? Congratulations! That’s the best thing you will ever have.”

Mom: “It really is. I still remember when I got my first one; it was the best day of my life.”

The girl is understandably excited, and we chat a bit while I enter her details into the system and prepare her card. Meanwhile, the little boy suddenly gets a look of intense concentration on his face. A moment later, a certain smell starts to spread.

Boy: *Proudly* “I pooped!”

Me: “Yeah, buddy, you sure did.”

Mom: “Sweetheart, you’re supposed to tell me when you need to poop, remember?”

Me: *To the girl* “Do you want to know which question I get asked the most? Listen very carefully now.”

Mom: *Sighs* “Where is your public bathroom?” 

The mother took the boy to the bathroom while I finished up with the little girl, and she ran off to find books. I love children.

And Now This Book Finally Has A Friend!

, , , , , , | Working | November 7, 2023

This happened when I was studying history and ethnology at the University of Iceland in 2011 or 2012. We had gotten some sort of task that demanded that we go to the university library to find different books to study to deal with the task.

Off I went and borrowed different books, some new and some quite old.

After I got back to my apartment and started reading, I quickly noticed that one of the books was not possible to read. Almost all the pages were still uncut!

For those who might not know, books — especially back in the day — used to be made up of double or more folded sheets of paper. After the binding was done, the pages would be physically cut on the edges in order to make it possible to read them. That’s why quite many old books might have some rough edges on them.

This book was at least fifty years old, yellow from age, and clearly not something the library had gotten recently — but I was apparently the very first one to actually open and read this book since it had been placed on the shelf.

In theory, I could just have cut the pages myself and the library would never have known the difference, but I decided to go back and show them at the library. None of the librarians had ever witnessed anything like this before, but it most definitely did amuse us.

Never Underestimate A Librarian

, , , , , , , | Friendly | CREDIT: Livy5000 | November 5, 2023

I learned long ago how to study effectively for tests. I was in college and needed to study for an upcoming test, so I was in the local library at a single table. I had everything spread out and color-coded with colored pens, pencils, markers, and highlighters. I was absorbed by what I was doing.

A sweet, adorable little girl came up to me.

Girl: *Politely* “Could I use some of your paper and colored pencils, please?”

Me: “No, sorry. I’m using them.”

She smiled and nodded and went back to her mom. I was about to go back to studying when her mom appeared by my side looking angry as h***.

Mom: “Either let my daughter use your things or put them them away!”

Her daughter looked miserable and embarrassed. I felt really sorry for her. I just stared at the woman in complete surprise at the sheer entitlement. I had heard stories of similar people but thought that it was exaggerated.

Me: “Leave me alone and go away.”

Mom: “You are being disrespectful to your elder!”

Me: *Rolling my eyes* “B****, I am at least a few years older than you!”

She started screaming, which brought the librarian over. Y’all, I have never seen this woman be tough. I thought she was a pushover; she was so sweet and treated everyone like they were her babies. She was like the grandma everyone wanted.

But now, she went from sweet grandma to raging bada**. She scared me worse than the time I got mock-charged by a mama bear.

Librarian: “What did I tell you about coming here again?! Your daughter is welcome to come here! You are not! You have been banned from here for harassing everyone! Get out now!”

I’m pretty sure my eyes were popping out of my face. I was definitely slack-jawed. The entitled mom was backing up pretty fast.

Then, in a split second, [Librarian] went from raging bada** back to sweet elderly grandma. She gave the little girl a hug and a kiss on her forehead, and then she came over to me to see if I was okay and grinned at my shocked face.

Librarian: “I always let people think that I’m too sweet to be tough. The surprise is effective.”

I nodded and started packing up my things.

Me: “I’ll never be able to refocus on my studies after that!”