Declaration Of Independently Sourced

| CT, USA | Crazy Requests, Extra Stupid, History

(I’m upstairs at the reference desk, fielding calls and helping patrons.)

Me: “Hello, this is [Library] Reference. Can I help you?”

Patron: “Where can I find the Declaration of Independence?”

Me: “Like the text?”

Patron: “No, like the real thing.”

Me: “Um, we don’t have the real thing, but we have a few copies of the text if that’s something you’re interested in getting? It’s all the same words, I promise.”

Patron: “But, like, do you have the actual paper?”

Me: “No, we don’t have the actual paper.”

Patron: “Where would I get that?”

Me: “In Washington.”

Patron: “Oh.” *hangs up*

The Twilight Of Our Literacy, Part 15

| White House, TN, USA | Books & Reading

(I’m working the register at the local library. We have a program where we help aspiring writers get their names out there by printing previews of the first few chapters of their book for local review before they send it to major publishers. One of said aspiring writers is talking with some people about his book, a long and detailed story with a vampire and werewolf as dual protagonists. Comparisons with Twilight have been drawn by several people, and he calmly explains the (myriad) differences, usually ending with a blunt jab about Twilight being “ploddingly written garbage.”)

Writer: “I’ve spent a lot of time building up this world with a bunch of traditional mythos. There aren’t just vampires and werewolves, but many other mythological creatures from all over the world.”

(Another customer comes up and begins speaking to him with a paperback preview of the first few chapters.)

Customer: “Oh, my god, this book is such a Twilight rip-off, and it’s such a bad rip-off, too! And your character is all wrong. He’s supposed to be broody and dark and hate what he is and that he can’t control it. Yours loves being a vampire and drinks blood like a drunk drinks wine!”

Writer: “You know, there are more types of vampires than just the one from Twilight. And quite honestly, Twilight—”

Customer: “Is the best thing ever! Honestly, the reason I’ve never heard of vampires before Twilight is because the old ones are all STUPID!”

(The woman throws the paperback on the ground and stomps off, the writer’s face is deadpan but I can see his eyes glaring a hole into the woman’s head. He looks to the guy he was speaking to and gives an exasperated sigh.)

Writer: “And that’s why I want people to help me get my book published.”

(The customer agrees with him and buys the preview the woman just threw down, he came back a few weeks later to return it, extremely satisfied and waiting on the final product.)

Related:
The Twilight Of Our Literacy, Part 14
The Twilight Of Our Literacy, Part 13
The Twilight Of Our Literacy, Part 12

Needs To Get His Fax Straight

| WA, USA | Criminal & Illegal, Technology

(We are a small library without a public fax machine. We have a private business fax machine for office use only. We still get spam faxes because the number is publicly listed.)

Me: “Well, I was going to send the weekly report to accounting but something is coming in on the fax.”

Coworker: “Ooooh, is it another offer for a discount trip to Bermuda?”

Me: “It’s some financial thing. Man, it’s eight pages long. Woah. This is someone’s debt consolidation paperwork.”

Coworker: “What? Is it for someone who works here?”

Me: “No… but they apparently live in town.”

(I attempt to call the customer multiple times as a courtesy, but their voice-mail inbox is full. They show up the next day anyway.)

Customer: “Hi. So, uh you should have some papers for me?”

Me: “Did you have your financial institution use the library’s fax line?”

Customer: “No, it was their idea. They say they do that for a lot of customers.”

Me: “Ok. You need to explain to them that isn’t appropriate. Our fax machine is for library business only. I actually thought your fax was spam at first because we weren’t expecting anything. It could have been shredded. It’s also not very secure. We have volunteers and maintenance staff coming and going all the time and we don’t guard the fax machine because we don’t normally receive sensitive documents. We had to look over these papers just to figure out what they were and there is information on here that we did not need to know about you, like your social security number. We couldn’t reach you to warn you either. If you had contacted us first we could have told you not to use our fax.”

Customer: “Oh… so, like, does that mean I can’t send my paperwork back through you guys?”

Me: “You may not. There is a pay-fax machine at the copy shop across town. Please inform the company not to use our fax again. Any other paperwork that is sent will be shredded.”

(The customer shrugged and left. I’m still not sure I got through to them. At the very least I know never do business with that debt consolidation company!)

Damaged Beyond My Despair

| IA, USA | Bad Behavior, Crazy Requests

(A library patron returns a DVD with the case so scraped and bent that it can’t be put through the unlocking machine.)

Librarian: “And there’s a $6.75 fine on your card.”

Patron: “What? Why?”

Librarian: “Your DVD case was damaged and will have to be replaced.”

Patron: “You people didn’t unlock it before we left. I gave it to my son, and he tried his best to get it loose. He only used a butter knife.”

Librarian: “I’m sorry we didn’t unlock it. When that happens, you need to bring it back to us, not try to pry it open.”

Patron: “We didn’t even get to watch it, so I don’t see why we should have to pay for it.”

Librarian: “The case is so badly damaged that it’s no longer usable.”

Patron: “How is that damage? It was only a butter knife!”

Literally Scream For More Ice Cream

| Canada | Bad Behavior, Family & Kids, Food & Drink

(At the library I volunteer for, we have a “Reading Event” in the summer for the kids. My job is to hand out one ice cream to each child. Throughout the course of the day, one of the younger boys decides to hang around me to keep me “company.” Another kid comes up to me.)

Me: *hands ice cream to kid* “Enjoy and have a great summer!”

Child: *nods his head, then reaches to grab another ice cream from my cooler*

Me: *I tug the cooler away from him* “Sorry, but it’s only one-per-person.”

Child: “That’s not fair!” *the child begins to stomp his feet on the ground and basically throw a fit*

(At this point a woman I can only assume is the boy’s mother rushes over.)

Woman: “What on Earth do you think you’re doing to my son!”

Me: *trying to stay calm* “Nothing, ma’am! I was just telling him he could only have one ice cream!”

Woman: “Nonsense! He’s my baby and he deserves as many as he wants!”

Me: “Miss, please, I can’t give him more than one ice cream; it’s one of the rules!”

Woman: “But—”

(At this point the younger boy hanging around me decides to pipe up:)

Younger Boy: “SHE SAID ‘ONE-PER-PERSON!’ NOW GET LOST!”

(Both the woman, the child, and I all stared at the younger boy in shock. The lady began to look sheepish and dragged her son out of the library. And without saying anything, I handed the unopened ice cream the kid left behind in their haste to leave, to my favorite “little helper.”)

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