Ten Ways To Annoy Your Librarian


Never lend books, for no one ever returns them; the only books I have in my library are books that other people have lent me.
– Anatole France

  

Patronz make meez tired.

People think of librarians a lot like nurses or flight attendants. We’re caretakers, both of the contents of our libraries and of you, our patrons. Like most of customer service, 95 percent of everyone librarians deal with we can handle, more or less. It’s the other five percent that drive us bananas and give the 95 percenters a bad name. 

I’m not sure I ever intended to go into library work. But in retrospect, it seems ideally suited for my introvert personality. It’s one of the few remaining workplaces where quiet is expected, and one in which esoteric knowledge is still prized. Now that I’m here and have been here for three years and counting, I’m not sure I want to do anything else. I want to be one of those ladies who works at the library until she’s a septugenarian. No bun for me, though…that would be too much of a stereotype. And I have yet to “shush” anyone. Nevertheless, we librarians, like any other profession, have observed behaviors that drive us nuts. While I’m sure the pet peeves vary from person to person, Mine happen to be the following. If you have engaged in any of these peculiar rituals yourself, I suggest you stay away, otherwise I might just have to shush you, or else break out some moves I learned from Bruce Lee’s Tao of Gung Fu, which incidentally can be found in 796…

 Wanna annoy me? Here’s a few ways:

 Bring your cell phone to the library and talk on it in a loud voice about things that nobody but you wants to hear.

One of the main reasons I love my job is that I can tell someone to get off their phone, or at the very least to take it out to the lobby. Libraries, like places of worship, are meant to be quiet. Trust us: we don’t want to hear about your ex-boyfriend or your mother’s gallbladder surgery or the pit bull that bit your poor darling kid. If you’re really that important, you shouldn’t be wasting your time in a public library. I have yet to hear a cell phone conversation in the library that goes something like “Oh my God…open-heart surgery? Really? I’ll be right over, Nurse.”

Let your child wander freely like a miniature category-4 hurricane throughout the library, destroying everything in his/her wake.

Repeat after me: the library is NOT a public babysitting service. Hell, have you been watching the news recently? All these sicko predators on the loose? It wouldn’t take 15 seconds for one of them to walk out of there with your kid…and we would not even notice. We understand that sometimes you need time away from your kids, to read a magazine, check Facebook, yada yada yada. But in case you haven’t noticed, we actually have things to do other than keep an eye on your offspring. *You* are the parent. It is *your* responsibility. And like any retail store, you should be held responsible for anything your child destroys. We don’t like picking up after them any more than you do.

Be intentionally vague about everything. We’re psychic, you know.

“Do you have this book? It’s um, red, and the guy on the front looks like Joey Ramone, kinda…I think the word ‘the’ was in the title…” Of course, this one isn’t so bad, because we are trained to search by a variety of parameters. Just don’t expect us to know everything. And for the love of God, don’t ask us to recommend movies. We’re usually too busy working or taking care of our families to sit around all day watching bad movies.

When you’re confronted with a library fine, be as abrasive as you possibly can. Cuss us out. We might even waive your fine for you.

Ah, the one type of confrontation every librarian dreads. There are people who are mortified to have thirty cents on their account. I think they believe it will adversely affect their credit scores. Then there are those who blithely come up to our desks and conveniently forget about the $125.00 worth of stuff they checked out in 2003 and never bothered to return. Keeping library materials is theft…plain and simple. Make all the excuses you want, but the library remains free to everyone who brings their materials back on time and in good condition. That’s it. If you can’t be responsible, don’t take it out on us.

Ask us about really weird stuff…the kinkier, the better.

I think a lot of patrons have librarian fetishes. If not that, then shoe fetishes or Anna Kournikova fetishes or Justin Bieber-with-Pee Wee Herman fetishes. Just really off the wall stuff. While we believe wholeheartedly in the First Amendment, and non-censorship, we also don’t want to know about your strange turn-ons. If you really need to know, just Google it, and if it passes our filter, we couldn’t care less. Some stuff is meant to be private. You know what we’re talking about here.

Chow down in the library as if it’s the All-You-Can-Eat Buffet.

There’s a few ground rules in the library, and they’re in place for good reason. No phones. No loud talking. And no food or drink. We realize you can take food or beverages almost anywhere now, but we also don’t want to open a copy of Great Expectations and find your nasty Cheetos bag inside it. Books belong to everyone. Keep them clean. This also means, when you bring back a book that has a coffee or Kool-Aid stain, please tell us. It cannot be cleaned…it is your responsibility.

Grab and throw things. Hey, they’re just books.

This mostly applies to children, though I’ve seen a fair number of adults doing it too. You are not in middle school anymore. Act your age. If you’re a parent, teach your kid some manners. The materials are meant for everyone to borrow, and we have to keep them in as good condition as possible. Don’t make high-lighter marks in our books, either…if you want to do that, go to McKay’s.

Hang around our counters needlessly. We love everyone, even stalkers.

A public library is, by definition, open to everyone. And we see everyone: all social classes, races, religions. We also get the ones who, sadly, have little to no social life. While we might want to talk to you for a while, we are not your confessors, psychiatrists, BFFs, mothers, fathers, counselors, or Good-Time Charlies. We have to be as professional as we can be, and we’re not at work to chat. Don’t come in, tell us your life story, and expect expert advice. We’re trying to make a living. Maybe you should too.

Come in smelling like Philip Morris Inc., the Budweiser Brewing Company, and Acme Garlic…all at once.

Tough love here. Practice good personal hygiene. And please don’t bring our materials back stinking to high heaven.

Treat us worse than your garbage collectors. We don’t have feelings, you know.

I think this is just common sense. If you’re a big angry mudsucker, we still have to serve you, but we’ll remember you next time. And not in the way you’d like. Whereas, if you’re always pleasant, we’re more than happy to help you. And that’s the way it should be!

Note to Readers: P&Q is undergoing a makeover, so let me know what you think! The banner was made by Leanne of the Sharlto Copley Fansite. And it’s not too late to get a P&Q subscription, absolutely free, for 2011! Just drop me a line at wikusandmurdock@yahoo.com!

 I appreciate all the support!

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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on January 4, 2011.

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