"A library doesn't need windows. A library is a window." – Stewart Brand

Jun 27, 2009

I do say I like public librarianship because of the variety...

This... was quite a week on the reference desk. In no particular order, here are some of the various encounters I had/events I observed:
  • Patron put on criminal trespass notice (not for anything safety-threatening, more for repeated public disturbance kinds of things, but the police had to come to serve the notice nevertheless)
  • A patron who came up to me and said, "I'm looking for a book, I can't remember the name or the title, but it was narrated by a dog." (Yes, I found it. The Art of Racing in the Rain, if I remember correctly.)
  • Patron who came up to the desk as I was wrapping up, after the announcement saying the library was closed, to ask about a book he'd put on hold
  • Report of a patron screaming at other women in the bathroom about invading her privacy, when apparently they weren't actually doing anything
  • Patron who called to ask a question and, while I was looking up the answer, kept saying things like "You don't like me? You want to take advantage of me?", apparently to herself
  • Patron who I spent the better part of an hour intermittently helping to find books with good photos of places in Africa and the Middle East; he essentially asked me to come to his house for dinner where he "could show [me] things [I'd] never seen before" (erm... no thank you)
  • Patron who I ran into while walking around the library, who for no apparent reason just wanted to tell me a joke
  • Kids on a scavenger hunt who needed to find a book by a particular author
  • A man who came up to the reference desk on my shift after I had just finished sorting all of the donated books upstairs -- "I have some books to donate; where should I leave them?" -- "Well, how many books do you have?" -- "About four boxes." -- *mental headdesk* (I love sorting donated books, but some days it really feels like an exercise in futility)
  • A woman who had somehow managed to get two library cards, with two separate patron records, without being aware of it (though I wonder if she really wasn't, because the one she didn't have anything checked out on had a fine on it)

And those are just the most interesting ones... It was pretty nonstop for most of my shifts. Still fun, but suddenly I understand why everyone says that you really need to take breaks from being on desk!

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