I was in the stacks, helping a patron find a book when I was alarmed to hear someone shouting from across the library.
Man [voice at full volume]: “WE NEED A LIBRARIAN IN HERE!!”
Thinking it had to be an emergency, I immediately left my patron and ran toward the voice, seeing many concerned faces along the way. I came upon a large man standing at the door of the quiet computer lab.
Me [with concern]: “What is it? What’s happened?”
Man [in normal voice and tone]: “Someone in the lab is eating a sandwich.”
Me: “You really, really shouldn’t yell like that. You’ve alarmed many people. Next time, can you please come to the desk?”
Man: “I didn’t want to lose my computer. Say, while you’re here, can you help me with Microsoft Word?”
At the self-checkout desk.
Overheard in the library:
9-year-old [to her mom]: “Have you ever tried drugs?”
Mom: “Define ‘tried.’”
9-year-old: “I’ll take that as a yes.”
Found hanging in the children’s area.
I overheard two boys having a conversation in the children’s library.
4-year-old: “I have eyelashes.”
5-year-old: “I have eyelashes and a mom.”
4-year-old: “I have eyelashes and a mom and she has eyelashes too.”
5-year-old: “Okay, bye.”
I was in the audiobook section making sure the collection was neat and in order when a man approached me.
Man: “Do you work here?”
Me: “Yes, I do!”
Man: “Well, can you work someplace else right now?”
A man approached me at the desk with a comment.
Man: “I wanted you to know that I just mailed a donation to the main library because of your staff. They were so nice to me when I came in every day after I got hurt on the job. Now I’m back at work and feeling great. I thought you’d like to know that your staff gave me help and hope.”
A patron came in looking for books for her child who is learning to read.
I showed her the Easy Reader section and gave a few recommendations, ending with Dr. Seuss.
Patron: “Oh I don’t want Dr. Seuss. He uses made-up words. When you’re just starting to read, you should only read real words.”
I was walking by the public computers when a woman stopped me.
Woman: “Can you help me? I liked some recipe on Facebook and now it keeps showing up on Yahoo.”
Me: “Do you mean you are getting email notifications that you do not want?”
Woman: “Yes. That recipe was unholy and repellent. I liked it on Facebook but everyone in my house hated it!”
During Banned Books Week, a special time of the year when libraries celebrate the value of free and open access to information, I had this interaction with a patron:
Patron: “My daughter has to read Fahrenheit 451 for school. Can you tell me about it?”
Me: [short explanation, including that the book is a classic and a main theme of the story is censorship]
Patron: “Hmm. I heard that someone is burned alive in this book. That doesn’t seem appropriate for high schoolers. I think I will call the school and complain. They definitely shouldn’t be reading this book. Thanks!”
A patron approached the checkout desk and began asking about our upcoming book sale. He then paused, looked at the list of overdue fine rates posted on the desk, and said, “You still collect overdue fees? That’s cute.”
Today a patron wanted to print 803 pages of an email feed to snail mail to someone.
That would be $120.45 in printing fees.
I told him I didn’t think we even had enough paper on hand and asked if he’d considered forwarding the email to the person who needed it.
This hadn’t occurred to him.
While I was at work last week, I came across a copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. Inside the cover, someone had written, “To my other favorite W. W.”
While the librarian in me cannot condone the defacing of library materials, the Breaking Bad fan in me was highly amused.
Woman [returning a DVD of Field of Dreams]: “Wow, that was good. Do you think it’s a true story?”
Me: “Isn’t this the one where the ghost of a man’s father comes out of a cornfield in Iowa to play a quick game of catch?”
Woman: “Yes, that’s the one!”