Tuesday, June 17, 2008

How To Annoy Your Friendly Public Librarian


1) If the computer you're working at has icons, delete them all as soon as you finish your session.

I don't know why patrons do this, but I will occasionally see a computer station with either one, a couple, or all of the icons missing. Since there are a ton of computers in the library, it's usually not a terrible inconvenience to the public, but it sure as hell pisses me off when I see it. The reason I get so mad about it is that when all the icons are missing, it's because someone did it specifically to be a dick.

2) Randomly shuffle books around in the non-fiction section.

As a page, the most infuriatingly annoying thing I dealt with was shelf-reading the foreign section. The books were always out of order, but in a very special way. The books would be just a few over to right, and everything following it would be following this disorder. The reason? Well, pages are almost the lowest rung on the library ladder (the lowest is the volunteer), and if you work for LA County where the pay is shit and they make it known how little they need you, you don't normally do your job very well. So you sometimes blank out and follow whatever pattern you see, even if it's completely wrong. If a book was in the wrong spot, the page would assume that it was in the RIGHT spot, and then put whatever books they were shelving right after it to follow it's order. Thus, when it came time to set everything in order, if I had to do it, I had to shift entire shelves around just to get everything back to normal. After an hour of working on one section, I would come back and see patrons mindlessly putting books back in random spots, or, my favorite, children shoving every book as far back as they can until they dump out and mingle with everything on the other side. And speaking of children...

3) Don't watch your children.

It is astonishing how little parenting is involved when parents decide to take their kids out to the library. I can sometimes hear screaming kids all the way from the other end of the library, and when I come over to see what's going on, I see children running around throwing shit at each other, and the parents just sitting there talking to each other, doing nothing.

4) Remind them that you pay their salary.

For some patrons, the simple fact that they pay taxes should allow them to keep out books for as long as they want and return them in whatever condition they want, get limitless free photocopies and internet printouts, get unlimited internet time, stay at the library for as long as they like even if the library is closed, talk as loud as they want while having places nice and quiet for them, use the phones for free for as long as they want, get free unlimited snacks, borrow (or even just receive) money, get medical advice, use the library as a place to sign people up for either a political group or religion, and even take their clothes off if they think the room is getting too stuffy for them.

5) Hide the newspaper.

If a newspaper is missing, I can promise you that an elderly man will raise hell over it. In fact, I have heard that there was almost a fist-fight at my library awhile back because one old man was hogging the paper and another man wanted to read it. I know that not getting to read the newspaper might be annoying, but come on. Is it really a reason to punch someone? Then again, people have been killed for less.

16 comments:

tmamone said...

6. Make sure your ringtone is turned all the way up. There's nothing like G-g-g-g Unit interupting an otherwise peaceful morning.

Scott Douglas said...

That patron who almost fought over the paper has actually been offered upwards of a dollar so he could go to the 7/11 next door and just buy a paper. He says he doesn't want the paper...he just wants to read it, but then he makes copies of nearly every stupid page!

TechnoGirl Sara said...

Yeah what's the deal with people and their lack of phone etiquette? Sometimes I forget to turn my ringer off, but when I get a call in a public place I hit the little button on the side that at least cuts the sound. People will pull their phones out and stare at them to see who's calling. Sometimes they don't even answer it and just let it ring until it stops. I want to walk over to people and ask them if they need help figuring out how to put them on vibrate.

Vito Andolini said...

7. Get pissed off at me because YOU don't have a liberry card, YOU don't have an ID, YOU know who you are, and YOU need the internets right now!

Sara Mooney said...

And while you're looking at the paper, make sure to clip the coupons, ads, and photos you want to keep so that no one else can read it...

Booge said...

8. Non-toilet flushers get me. You need to respect that this is a public space. Come on, people. I don't want to flush for you. Throw out your dirty tissues instead of leaving them all over the place for someone else to clean up. It's even nastier for me to clean your snot than it is for you. Wash your hands. Have some public hygiene, for criminey's sake.

Didi said...

I have found a good answer to the "I pay your salary" question to be asking them in return just how much exactly they pay in taxes. One guy actually told me how much (he rented so only paid property taxes on his car) - I delighted in telling him that covered the cost of about one really nice art book. He shut up about his taxes after that.

Quilting Mama said...

9. While hollering - accuse the librarian of being a racist when she can't provide you with a tape recorder to listen to an audio book. There wasn't a audio listening section anywhere in the building, even the children's department, but the staff was in the wrong.

Bookwyrmsrus said...

One of our volunteers "files" the books at random by taking a dozen books off of the sorting cart and then dumping them randomly at the end (or the middle) of a shelf somewhere. Because the sorting cart is in order, it makes it harder to tell that the books are really not in the wrong spot. It's a hassle to correct the problem.

Then there was the patron who threw library books into the men's toilet yesterday and then did his thing all over them. Grrr.

ChristyKoch said...

Make sure to change your baby on the tables in the middle of the children's area. This makes us really happy, especially if you leave the dirty diaper on a chair.

Fabulist said...

Throw a book at the Library director because "it is horrible and full of bad language".
FYI it was a book by Salomon Rushdie...HELLO, he wrote the satanic verses; what do you expect?

Throw a book at ANY anyone actually. I've seen a football player get knocked out by a complete works of Shakespeare. For the record he was steeling food from a store at the time and my friend was trying to stop him. She got asked out by half the team for this act - they though it was cool.

too many rules said...

9. Schizophrenics who masturbate in the bathroom.

No further explanation necessary…

Dances With Keyboards said...

10. Any masturbating in any part of the library. Seriously. I stumbled upon one guy rubbing his clothed, but very obviously aroused fun bits against a desk like he was trying to start a fire. It was 15 mins till closing. I pretended I wasn't there. I mean, really, what does one SAY in such a situation? "Sir, could you please stop being inappropriate with the furniture?"

11. Inform me repeatedly while I'm in the middle of a task that your kid is throwing up, but do nothing to contain or clean up the vomit - like taking him to the restroom, or hold him over a freakin' trash can, at least!

Bookwyrmsrus said...

When the librarian pulls the book drop out to collect the books, keep sending the books down the shoot so that they land on her head. Do this repeatedly in spite of the continued pleas to "please wait for just a moment" or "please place the books on top of the counter while I empty the drop."

Adam Phipps said...

I just thought that just plain farting a lot was fun...perhaps more fun on a crowded bus.

Monica said...

Oh this made my day, reading this.

Complaining that the library has no services to entertain your children (such as televisions and public baby sitters) while they run around and throw books off of shelves

Or, telling everyone at the front desk how incompetent they are because we cannot search the library for the newest newspaper issue 'cause it's spread amongst tables with other patrons.

Or, sending chocolates and half nude photos to employees who are less than half your age because you're a desperate 45 year old woman raking in young men on the dating scene--calling other branches and emailing employers to get messages to your secret library crushes.

UGH