Posts Tagged ‘ librarians ’

It’s Fun to Meet New People


On Tuesday night, I had the privilege of meeting a lot of new people through a Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators night of networking. Leeza Hernandez, illustrator and new Regional Adviser, did a wonderful job of talking about SCBWI and the benefits of joining, several other members met their agents/editors through various SCBWI events, and ways to effectively network.

Networking is an integral part not only in meeting agents and editors, but building a platform to increase your visibility as a writer. I was able to talk to picture book author Ame Dyckman and debut middle grade author Kit Grindstaff about the benefits of Twitter as a social media site. They both gave me great tips on how to follow librarians, bloggers and other kid lit lovers to both gain followers and find out about trends in children’s literature. Sweet!

Events such as this always make me excited to write. They’re invigorating and inspirational. I’m already looking forward to continuing to connect with all the new great people I met. Can’t wait to meet more friends! ๐Ÿ™‚

Tales From the Library

As I’ve said before there are many, many patrons of the library who are kind and respectful and courteous and pleasant. But a story about somehow who comes up to the desk and offers to donate some books or settle up their 20 cent fine because “they don’t want us thinking badly about them” really don’t make for sensational stories. The stories I enjoy telling are the ones that are so ludicrous that you can’t help but laugh.

Here’s a recent favorite:

A man walks up to the circulation desk and asks that I personally check in his DVDs while he is standing there so he can make sure they are off his account. Fine. I understand that the library can make mistakes and if I have the time to acquiesce I have no problem doing so. Now, this patron always has a pile of new DVDs to be checked in which means that they will inevitably be on hold for another patron. This means that every time I check an item in it takes longer because I then have to fill out a slip of paper and send it on to the next patron. Also not a big deal, it just takes more time.

The one day that he asks me to do this however is a day that we were slammed with work. I mean lines of patrons, holds to be processed, heaps of books waiting to be checked in, etc. So I politely ask this gentleman if I could check them after I was finished helping the line of patrons so they wouldn’t have to wait as long. No, that was not okay, he said. So rather than dealing with a tirade, which he was brewing up to have, and wasting more time I checked in his items.

Once that was finished he gave me his wife’s library card to pick up her holds. I grabbed them from the hold shelf and returned to the front desk. He sorted through them and asked where such and such DVD was because it had said “In Transit” this morning and really should be there by now. I told him, still cool, calm and collected, that items “In Transit” don’t necessarily get in that same day. He said, well I just returned one that you checked in and it wasn’t due yet so can I have that back? I replied, the same DVD your wife is waiting for is one you just returned? Yes, he said, she likes to have her own copy to watch.


After I told the man that because he wanted me to check his items in, they were now promised to whatever patron is next on the list and no, he couldn’t have the DVD back. He wasn’t happy but my boss had my back and he left (somewhat) quietly.

At least it keeps life interesting! ๐Ÿ™‚ Until next time…

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Tales From the Library

People are funny.

Every time I think I’ve seen everything, some unique individual wows me with their creativity.

This past week my supervisor let me know that from now on any time we see a handwritten note on a CD or DVD label we are to give it to someone to create a new label. For example, through the course of borrowing a disc might go missing or the insert to a CD case. Most times after the issue is resolved but the item in questionable is lost, the circulation staff will make a note on the label that such and such is missing. This new policy however will do away with that method.

Why? Because a patron noticed that we wrote on the labels and when she lost a CD in the set she borrowed she wrote “1 CD missing” on the label before she returned it!

Clever, clever patron.

The lengths people will go to as to not accrue a fine. Amazing.

Tales From the Library

It’s been another glorious week at the library. Ever since school’s been back in session the chaos has diminished and the craziness has died down a bit.

This, however, doesn’t mean that there aren’t still crazy people coming in every day. Although these interesting people aren’t always fun to deal with, they always make for a good story.

And the #1 Crazy Person at the Library Award goes to….(drum roll, please)….

Book Sale Lady!

(clap, clap, clap, clap!)

Yesterday, it was fifteen minutes before closing time and I went to our book sale area to turn off the light. (There are several patrons who enjoy perusing said book sale until the very last minute and bringing their multitude of books up to the circulation desk for us to count. This is typically followed by them proceeding to count out their dimes, nickels and pennies only to find they don’t have enough money and have to choose some items to part ways with. The process leaves us closing late and not as pleasant as when we first started work. Hence, the early book sale closing.)

I shut off the light and pushed gently ushered the last occupant out letting her know that the book sale was officially closed for the day, but that she was more than welcome to stop back again tomorrow.

Her response? “Ok! My son is on his honeymoon making a baby for me!”

Didn’t see that one coming, huh? Yeah, me neither.

What can you say to that?

This has been another episode of Tales From the Library! Tune in next week for more dastardly deeds and the Library Goddess that has to rescue everyone…

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Tales From the Library

I wore two new hats as a librarian this week:

Animal Rescuer:

A tiny, tiny snapping turtle – this thing was the size of a quarter – showed up on the library doorstep the other day, lost and afraid. Ok, I don’t really know if he/she was afraid, but looked nervous! Fortunately, a co-worker saw the little guy before it was stepped on and called me over. I picked it up and I was instantly surrounded by a cluster of librarians inquiring about my new friend. A rescue posse was quickly formed. The turtle was consequently put in a small dish and walked down to a nearby creek to live another happy turtle day.

Bank Teller:

A twelve year old and his grandmother walk up to the circulation desk. The grandmother nudges her grandson and kind of sidles away without looking at me. The boy waves a hundred dollar bill at me and asks if we could give him smaller bills for it. I check the drawer to see if we have any change and another librarian says we should probably check with our boss first. She laughs and says – No, we’re a library, not a bank! I tell the kid and he and the grandma go about their business. Good thing too – later I learn that there had been several fake hundreds being pawned off at various stores around the area!

Okay, not really. That would have been a much better ending, but reality is not always that exciting. ๐Ÿ™‚

Until next time!

Tales from the Library

And now it’s time for…TALES FROM THE LIBRARY!

I understand that a lot of how people react and interact with others at the library is circumstantial. Maybe your cat just passed on to feline heaven, or your brood of twelve children is especially rowdy today, or you just got yet another speeding ticket. But there’s a certain decorum that is expected when one enters a library. It is, after all, a hallowed place of peace for those seeking both refuge and a certain hopeful degree of enlightenment. But for those of you who have had a particular bad day or are at their wits end and forget those key rules of etiquette when visited your library, I have compiled a list. I call it:

Runner Sami’s Top Ten Non-Negotiable Rules of Library Etiquette

1. Never, ever put your child on the circulation desk (or any desk for that matter). This leads to (sadly, I say this from experience): being sneezed, coughed, spit and snotted upon, not to mention those parents who seem to have forgotten what a loaded diaper smells like before plopped said diaper disguised as a child on the desk.

2. When your partner/child/septuagenarian grandmother is across the library, please don’t scream at them to come over because you’re checking out.

3. When the first, second, and last calls are being made warning you that the library is closing, please heed these calls. There’s no reason fifty people should be lined up with piles of books/DVDs/CDs when the lights are dimmed because the librarians are going home.

4. Always check inside your books for pictures, checks, cash, thermometers, baseball cards, and toilet paper BEFORE you return them to the library.

5. Stop taking covered hardback books to the beach. Please.

6. Get chance for the copier/printer before coming to the library, so you won’t have to ask us every time if we can break your hundred.

7. There’s no need to scream and pitch a fit at your librarian. Despite what you seem to believe, we are NOT out to get you for twenty cents. We have much more important things to do then plot ways we can piss you off and ruin your important life.

8. Gum is best chewed quietly in a closed mouth. Chomping does nothing to expedite the checking out process.

9. For the love of all that is decent in this world, please don’t put fifty items on hold then wait for them to expire before coming in to get them only to put them back on hold.

And finally,

10. Under no circumstances should you send your six-year-old child to inquire about the fines on your card. Shame, shame on you!

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Tales From the Library

Every moment of my free time has gone to polishing a good (enough) working copy of my novel. My hope is to send out my first query letter this Monday – YIKES!! Normally, I balance my writing time between keeping my blog updated, visiting and commenting on other blogs I love, and editing my novel, this week has definitely been weighted toward the latter. But I would be remiss if I didn’t post my weekly Tales From the Library. ๐Ÿ™‚

This week’s topic: Parents.

Ah, parents. The idea to write about the lovely parents who haul their brood of children into the library came to me yesterday as a tiny kid screamed bloody murder in the middle of his visit to us.

We’ve all seen those parents (men and women alike) whose parenting skills we see in practice and say to ourselves, “I will never be like that!” Of course, this is rarely the case, but it’s a nice idea. There are four main categories of parents who come into the library:

1. The Perfect Parent – Laughing and joking with their amenable children, they are a rare breed. Both adults and children find the items they are looking for with relative ease and depart said library with joy in their hearts and books in their hands.

2. The Blind Eye Parent – This parent absolutely can NOT be bothered by their screaming child. The ignored child either a. runs away until a librarian or other patron finds the child and drags him back to the parent or b. screams and carries on while the parent continues to browse the DVD collection. You can always spot this parent by the expression of “how did I get here and whose child is this?” on their befuddled faces.

3. The Inculpable Parent – You may recognize this parent by remarks such as: “Oh isn’t Johnny cute?” as child pulls all the books from the shelves or “Can you tell Sally that she shouldn’t scream in the library?” said to a librarian or “Come on Billy, we need to leave now?” said over and over and over as child ignores parent and continues to play and/or tear books from their shelves. This parent is passive in every sense of the word and refuses to exert any authority over the smaller version of themselves.

And finally:

4. The Bad Example Parent – The ones who live by “Do as I say, not as I do” law. Perfect example: Woman returns book that is wet, is told about it, says she doesn’t have time to deal with it and will take care of it next time. Next time she comes in and is told about the book (which is ruined and can’t be circulated), says, “Well, it’s not wet anymore, so why do I have pay for it?” Great role model. Or the woman who asked my colleague to reprimand her screaming child and tell the kid how to behave properly in the library. Um, that’s a new role – Librarian Nannies.

Do you have a favorite parent story to share?

Tales From the Library

ย Yes, folks, it’s Thursday once again. That means it’s time for – Tales From the Library!

ย The ongoing heat of the summer has not helped with the moods of the library patrons. My colleague spent twenty minutes listening to a man argue over when he dropped his book in the book drop yesterday. First, he said it was on Friday, then it was on Saturday, then it was his wife, then he had the audacity to ask her why she wasn’t believing him when he was “telling the truth.” She calmly responded, “Which story would you like me to believe, sir?” And the real kicker of this tale – the fine was only twenty cents!!!ย 

Yes, you read that right – twenty cents. Oh, man, I hope this heat relents, so people’s brains aren’t completely fried.

My favorite is when people go straight to my boss and argue about a book being absolutely, one hundred percent returned and claiming that if we can’t find the book, then probably “one of your employees took it.” Yes. I am going to steal a book, not check it in, all to spite a random stranger and risk losing my job. That is definitely what happened. Genius!

And finally, a patron comes up to the circulation desk:

“I thought you would have a book I’m looking for, but I can’t find it. It’s for my son’s summer reading.”

“I can check for you, sir. What’s the title?”

“It’s called, Men and Mice.”

Oh, brother.

My favorite moment of the week so far was finding this in the book drop:

If only all patrons were as conscientious!


And yes, the fine was exactly thirty cents. ๐Ÿ™‚

My question for this week is two-fold and a little tricky, as most of you are probably fans of your local library already. If you are, maybe you could ask a friend. Many people in the 20-30s don’t frequent their local library.ย 

Why not and what do you think libraries can do to bring more patrons in from that age-range?

I love hearing your thoughts and comments! ๐Ÿ™‚

Tales From the Library

Have you ever had one of those days? You know the kind of day that seems to give the adage “when it rains, it pours” meaning? Yup. Me too. I think that library patrons get a little more crazy in the summer. I think it’s partially the heat and partially people who have school-aged children going off the deep end. Just at the library I see kids regularly running around screaming, banging on the glass of the fish tank that has a sign posted “Do Not Touch Glass,” or parents yelling at their children from across the library about not yelling. Ah, the joys!

People tend to get sloppy with their excuses too. I mean, come on, if you’re going to make up an excuse or blatantly lie to my face at least make it a good one.

For example:

Me calling a patron: Hi, this the public library –

Patron: It was like that when I got it!

Me: Erm, well, sir, it’s actually graffiti on the cd case of your name and phone number.

Patron: Well, there are a lot of people in the “why not club.”

Me: ??? Ok….I just wanted to let you know that it’s unacceptable to deface public property and that the next time it happens you will be asked to pay to replace the cd case.

Patron: There will be another cd in the book drop that has the same message.

Me: Ok…thanks for letting me know.

Patron: I’ll be sure to tell the person responsible that it’s not okay to do that.

Me: Thank you, sir. Have a good day.

And it was okay with you to both tell a bold faced lie about the cd and allow whoever did it to do it in the first place?? *sigh* I wish I was making this up!

So not only has there been a ginormous influx of the library crazies, but then we’ve started getting summer returns in our book drop too.

Such as:

Books filled with sand

Books still wet (“The person who had it before me did that!” “It was like that when I got it!”)

Random photos in books from family vacations

And my favorite so far: a sock.

Yes, summer in all her glory is upon us! ๐Ÿ™‚

Do you have any stories from a bookstore or library that you’d care to share?