A Library Of Unreasonable Requests

, , , , | Right | August 22, 2017

(You would be amazed at just how many people come to the library expecting a full range of services that don’t fall in our scope of expertise, and then get mad when we tell them we can’t do it. My guess is that because we’re free, and the services they want aren’t, they think they can circumvent us.)

Customer: *with a strong Eastern European accent* “I want get computer.”

Me: “Okay, sure. Just scan your library card at that machine and one should be assigned to you in 0-10 minutes.”

Customer: “No, I want get computer and then I want you help me with visa.”

Me: “…I’m sorry?”

Customer: “I bringing friends to America and I want to make sure their visas are right.” *takes out a 30-page document* “Here. I want you to look at each page to make sure it done right.”

(For the record, we’re not supposed to hold anyone’s hand while they work on a project, both because we don’t have time, and because we’re not necessarily qualified. I quickly flip through the document anyway, in the hopes it will convince him to leave.)

Me: “It looks good to me, sir.”

Customer: “No… I want you come with me and help me with visa all way!”

Me: “We’re not immigration attorneys, sir. And we’re not supposed to give that kind of time.”

Customer: “So that’s it?! You won’t help?!”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but that’s the best I can tell you.”

Customer: “Where your supervisor?! I want talk your supervisor!”

Me: “He’s on the third floor, but I don’t think he’ll tell you anything different.”

(He stomped off angrily. I paged my boss to let him know he’s coming. I never heard back from my boss or the customer, so I can only assume he told the customer the same thing. Pro-tip: A library is a place to gain public information about anything, or a place to get your books. It is not a law office, a medical clinic, a bar, a brothel, a homeless shelter, a public bathhouse, a public storage facility, or a free daycare service. Please do not treat us like one.)

Has Been Volunteering That Information

, , , , , | Right | August 9, 2017

(I live very close to a library and often go there to help out. The librarians all know and respect me. I am however, quite young.)

Librarian: “Hello, [My Name].”

Me: “Hello! Anything you need done today?”

Librarian: “Could you shelve the books?”

(I start shelving the books — a whole cart full — when this particular patron comes in.)

Patron: *looking at me* “You know, you really shouldn’t be messing with their books. They work hard to shelve them!”

Me: “I am shelving them. I volunteer here.”

Patron: “No, you don’t! You’re too young to be working here!”

Me: “I don’t work here. I volunteer here.”

(The patron keeps badgering me, so I ignore her and keep working. When I’m almost done with the cart, she comes back.)

Patron: “Why are you still messing with the books? You don’t work here!”

Me: “Fine! Ask me anything about this library; I’ll answer correctly.”

Patron: “How much for printing?”

Me: “A black and white page is 25 cents, a color text page is one dollar, and a color image is two dollars.”

Patron: “Anyone can do that.” *seeing a librarian come out of the back room* “Miss! Did you know this girl has been messing up your books for the past hour?”

Librarian: “[My Name]? No, she was shelving them. She volunteers here.”

Patron: *taken aback* “Well, I bet she shelved them wrong.”

Librarian: *doing a quick run through* “Nope. They are all here. [My Name], how about a cookie?”

(I march myself into the back room, get a cookie, and eat it in front of the awestruck patron.)

Patron: *huffs and angrily stomps out of the library*

Me: “By the way, those books are due back in two weeks!”

Law Student Breaking The Law

, | Toronto, ON, Canada | Learning | July 31, 2017

(We have roughly 40 libraries on campus, and all students can use the services at any of them. At our school’s libraries we lend out tablets for a two-day period, and laptops for six hours. The tablets may leave the library; the laptops are never allowed to leave. We keep your student ID as collateral until the laptop is returned. This library is across the street from the law school’s library, so we get a lot of law students borrowing the equipment, which is usually fine, until this Saturday…)

Law Student: “Can I borrow a tablet?”

Coworker: “I am sorry, we are out of tablets. You may have better luck at the other libraries on campus.”

Law Student: “Well, can I borrow a laptop? I want to take it to the law library.”

Coworker: “I am sorry, sir, but the laptops are not allowed to leave this library. You are free to use it here.”

Law Student: “Well, what if I just use it outside this library door? Can I do that?”

Coworker: “Well, no, they are not allowed to leave the library, period.”

Law Student: “Know what? Fine. I will borrow it and stay here.”

(My coworker goes over the policy with the law student, who has to sign to state he understands it must stay in the library and be back within six hours. Towards the end of the day, the coworker walks around the library, and realizes the student is nowhere to be seen. He is so upset with this patron that he leaves the library, walks across the street to the law library, and finds him.)

Coworker: “I need the laptop back now. I made it clear it wasn’t to leave, and now this is theft.”

Law Student: “What are you talking about? You said I could borrow it for two days! I was going to return it on Monday.”

Coworker: “That is not true and you know that. You signed an agreement that states you understand the laptop can’t leave, and it had to be back within six hours. I need it back now!”

Law Student: “Not until you return my student ID to me.”

Coworker: “Laptop first, then the ID.”

(This went on for a while, until the student finally handed the laptop over. He never did come back for his ID, but he emailed our supervisor insisting that they mail it across the street to the law school. My coworker got chastised for leaving the library unattended, but otherwise handled it better than I would have. We had never had this happen before!)

There’s Nothing To Resume

| USA | Working | July 29, 2017

(I work at the public library, and the patrons sometimes need help with the computers, printing, making copies, etc. I’m called over to help a college-aged girl print out her resume when I look at the screen and notices it’s only two lines: the girl’s name and university.)

Girl: “So, can I print this out now?”

Me: *with some hesitation* “Are you sure you don’t want to add anything else to it? Have you had any work experience?”

Girl: “No, just my degree.”

Me: “How about volunteer experience? Leadership positions?”

Girl: *blank stare*

(I tried again with a few other suggestions, figuring anything was better than the current two-line resume. Each time she just stared and asked if she should print it out now. Finally, I gave up. The kicker? That resume was going to be attached to a job application… for a position at the library.)

Not Doing Too Much Thinking Upstairs

| Silver Spring, MD, USA | Right | July 18, 2017

(I work at a library with five floors. The fourth floor is for adults, and the fifth floor is for children. Kids being kids, it sometimes gets noisy, especially after school lets out, but most of our patrons take this in stride. One homeless dude I call ‘wannabe-scot-guy’ because of this green cap he wears on his head is not so accommodating.)

Wannabe-Scot-Guy: “You know, you guys really should consider moving this floor upstairs.”

Me: “Okay… and why would that be, sir?”

Wannabe-Scot-Guy: “It gets annoying, hearing the kids screaming from upstairs. I mean, we’re adults; we deserve better than this.”

Me: “Uh… well, I guess I could forward that to my boss, but I don’t think there’s a lot we can do about that, sir. I apologize.”

Wannabe-Scot-Guy: *sighs* Fine. But you really should tell the kids to pipe down sometime. Thought you ought to know.”

(Of course, having dealt with too many other overprivileged adult patrons that day, what I really wanted to tell him was ‘Yes, sir. I agree completely. I will be very careful to tell my boss we should close this library for 10 weeks and spend more than $30,000 of taxpayer money just so you can hear the kids scream at you from below instead.’ But my job security is pretty low as it is.)

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