The Contrarian Librarian: Looking For Work

, , , , | Right | August 10, 2018

(My mom works at the library, working in the front where most applicants drop off their resumés for open positions.)

Mom: “Welcome to [Library]. How may I help you?”

Customer: “I’d like to apply for the open position.”

(She hands my mum her resumé, which is put with the others.)

Mom: “Anything else I can help you with today?”

Customer: “Can you help me find this book, as well?”

(She hands my mum a paper with the name of a series on it.)

Mom: “Oh, sure.” *looks it up* “This is a really good series; I think you’ll enjoy it.”

Customer: “Oh, this isn’t for me; this is for my friend. I hate reading.”

Re-emergence Of The Contrarian Librarian
The Inattentiveness Of The Contrarian Librarian
Attack Of The Contrarian Librarian

Finding That Book Is A Fantasy

, , , , | Right | August 7, 2018

(I work in a small library.)

Customer: “Where is your fantasy section?”

Me: “Are you looking for graphic novels or regular books?”

Customer: “Just show me the fantasy section.”

Me: “I’m sorry. We don’t have a separate section for fantasy; it will just be in general fiction.”

Customer: *looking exasperated* “I’m looking for a book I was reading a couple of years ago.”

Me: “Okay, I can look it up for you on the computer; what was it called?”

Customer: “I don’t know.”

Me: “Who was the author?”

Customer: “I can’t remember.”

Me: “Umm…”

Customer: “It was a fantasy book, and I’d know it if I saw the cover, so I need a fantasy section.”

Me: *thinking on my feet* “Can you give me an idea of the plot? I can ask a couple of colleagues if they can help.”

Customer: *yelling* “I don’t know. I just want to see the cover! Why don’t you have a fantasy section?”

Me: “Because this is small library run entirely by volunteers, and we don’t have space for one. Have you thought about going into the city centre library and asking there? Or looking in a bookshop?”

(The customer stomped off, muttering something about paying council tax for libraries. Don’t think she got the point about us all being unpaid volunteers.)

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Blackout: The Movie

, , , , | Right | August 1, 2018

(I work as a library page at a few different libraries around the county. The power is out throughout the city; fortunately, we are able to remain open as some of the staff have been trained to do “paper checkouts” for the books. Unfortunately, we can’t check out DVDs, as they are kept in an electronic sorting tower. We put signs up everywhere explaining this, but some patrons refuse to comprehend the problem. One man fills his basket up with DVD cases — you scan the case and the machine spits out the discs — then spends ten minutes staring at the machine.)

Me: “I’m sorry, but we can’t check out DVDs because the power is out and the machine isn’t working.”

Patron: “Can’t you just turn it back on?”

Me: “Sorry, no. The power is out.”

Patron: “Just turn on the machine and get my DVDs.”

Me: “I can’t do that, sir. The power is–“

Patron: “This is ridiculous! You should be able to get my movies! You people are way too dependent on technology these days. These things wouldn’t happen if you just had books like the old libraries did!”

Me: “Well, fortunately, we can check out books for you. The people at the front desk would be happy to help–“

Patron: “Oh, so, you have books, but no movies?”

Me: “Well, our staff is trained to check out books using a paper system. Unfortunately, the movies can’t be checked out, because they are stored in the machine, which isn’t working because the power is out.”

Patron: “Then turn it back on!”

Me: “The power is out for the whole town, sir. I’m sorry, but I can’t just turn it on.”

Patron: “You don’t have to get smart with me! I think I should talk to your supervisor.”

Me: “All right, but I’m sure she’ll tell you the same thing.”

(I get her. She reiterates what I’ve just told him.)

Patron: *angrily throwing down his basket of DVD cases* “Ridiculous! I’ll take my business somewhere else. I’m never coming back here again.” *storms out*

(I don’t think he understood that he’d have a tough time finding FREE movies anywhere else. Oh, well. His taxes still pay to keep the library in business, anyway.)

I Plead For Fifth

, , , , , , , , | Learning | July 26, 2018

At my younger sister’s elementary school, the library books were divided up by grade. Theoretically, a sound idea. Practically… not so much. My sister was a pretty advanced reader for her age, and so she wanted to read books ahead of her grade level.

The librarian refused.

My mother wrote a note giving her permission, and talked to my sister’s teacher, who spoke to the librarian in hopes of convincing her… to no avail. In her mind, third graders read third-grade books, second graders read second, so on and so forth.

The thing was, though… the librarian had control over what books my sister could take off the shelf or check out. What books she read during library time? Nothing she could do.

My third-grade little sister would very deliberately check out books from the public library that were fifth grade level or higher… and then serenely sit right in front of the fifth-grade bookshelf, reading her book without a care in the world.

I’m pretty sure she’s one of the reasons that librarian only lasted another year.

Twilight Torture

, , , , | Right | July 25, 2018

(I work in a library. A teenage regular comes up to the counter to check out “Twilight.” Normally I don’t care that anyone’s checking out “Twilight,” even though I don’t care for the book myself, but I find it weird that she’d be reading “Twilight” since it’s so different from the horror, adventure, and classic science fiction books she usually favors.)

Me: “Huh. So, what made you want to read Twilight?”

Regular: “My sister.”

Me: “Is she a fan of the books?”

Regular: “No, she hates everything that has to do with Twilight. We like real vampires in our family, like Dracula and Nosferatu, not sparkling fairies.”

Me: “But she recommended it, anyway?”

Regular: “Nope. She was making me angry, so I threatened to torture her by reading it to her, and I always carry my threats through!”

(She walked away smiling once I’d checked the book out for her. I would give anything just to be a fly on the wall during that torture session.)

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