The Book Of Moanin

, , | Right | April 4, 2019

(I work at a small, local library. We share books with roughly 100 other libraries throughout the state, so if we don’t have something at our location, we can have it sent in from another library. Most customers are understanding and happy to be able to get their books within a few days. One day, a mother comes in asking about a picture book I’ve never heard of.)

Me: “Oh, that sounds fun! Let’s see… We don’t have it, but we can order it from another location.”

Customer: “Every time my son wants a book, you have to order it.”

(I expect her to request the book but she just stares at me expectantly.)

Customer: “So, what’s the problem?”

Me: “What problem?”

Customer: “Why aren’t the books here? Why do I have to wait three or four days to get them?”

Me: “Um, well, there are millions of books in the world, and you can see how small we are. It would be impossible to stock every book.”

Customer: “Then what’s the point?

(I don’t know how to explain why libraries should have some books even if they can’t have EVERY book.)

Me: “I mean, that’s why we share books with other libraries: so you can still read the ones we don’t have room for.”

(The customer grumbled something in response that I didn’t catch. Later, though, I saw her and her kids leaving with a dozen books. I guess she figured out the point eventually, and hopefully found something for her son!)

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