Posts Tagged ‘ tales ’

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! πŸ™‚ Until next time…

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Tales From the Library

Super Librarian and the Ghosts in the Rafters

Yet another inexplicable occurrence that has left me with only one logical conclusion – ghosts are invading the library.

Here’s what happened:

For many years there was a gentleman who volunteer his time to shelve items for the library. Because these items were mostly videos and DVDs, he was dubbed with the moniker of Video Bob. Now Video Bob was elderly and got sick and, I’m sorry to say, passed away. His presence was greatly missed and our lovely staff even made a sign for one of the carts that says “In Memory of Video Bob.”

There are many patrons and staff who love the library and when they pass on they will sometimes leave a legacy of donated books or money or something to that effect. Not Video Bob, he’s decided to leave himself. I first noticed him one day a few months ago. While working at the desk I saw something moving out of the corner of my eye. Our library, which was recently renovated, has very high, contemporary ceilings complete with wrap around windows and long hanging lights. When I looked up from my work I noticed that one of these lights was swinging on its cables. Back and forth, back and forth.

Well, it was probably a draft you say. Maybe the vents were making it move you say. Normally I would agree with you except for a couple of odd things – one, the lights only began to swing after Video Bob had left this world, two, whenever it happens it is only ONE light at a time and I’ve seen different ones move on different days and three, the force that the light is swinging looks like someone is hanging on it and pumping back and forth making it arc wildly. They move so fast that several patrons have come up to us and asked if they were safe because it looks like the light may snap the cables it’s hanging from.

While I do think I have a very healthy imagination from all my years of reading, all these are true facts sans embellishment. And while I haven’t seen Video Bob chilling on the stacks reading a novel, I do think his presence lives on at our library.

Thus concludes this week’s Tales From the Library!

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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

While I do tend to find the most bizarre and irresponsible stories to share with you, there are also wonderful stories as well. Most people who come through the library are kind and friendly and appreciate the library and all the resources we provide. They’re just not quite as fun to write about. πŸ™‚

Here’s a fun story that made me smile:

A little boy about four or five came into the library with his grandmother. The grandmother was there to pick up a DVD that the little boy had been waiting for. Problem was, the item was on her granddaughter’s library card and she was in school. Because of NJ privacy laws pertaining to library accounts, we need either the card or the child in order to access the account and as the grandmother had neither we were unable to check out the DVD to her.

When the grandmother, who was very understanding, relayed this information to her grandson, he looked at her in all seriousness and said, “Well, I guess we have to pick her up early today then.”

Enjoy your Thursday! πŸ˜€

Tales From the Library

Tales From the Library presents:

The Case of the Bad Liar

Starring: Me as the Library Superhero

Bad Guy as the Big Fat Liar

and Book as the Innocent Bystander

It was a dark and stormy day

It started out like any other day

My day had been going well until Big Fat Liar showed up, then it got even better.

I was at the circulation desk, minding my own business (okay, not really, but what kind of Library Superhero would I be if I said I was bored and looking for a rumble?), when in walked Big Fat Liar, although I didn’t know it at the time. He sidles up to the desk (as any good villain would) and asks if I can demands that I renew his three books. I politely oblige. At the final book a pop-up message appears telling me that there is supposed to be a CD included inside the back cover. I, being the diligent librarian that I am, flip open the back cover only to discover that – EGAD! – there is NO CD! Horrors. I proceed to inquire if the CD is perhaps still at home waiting to be returned upon its new due date. No, Big Fat Liar says, there was no CD in the book when I checked it out. Hmmmm…Well, I said, there’s a message on the item letting our staff know that there is a CD and thus it wouldn’t have been checked out sans this important element. Oh, said Big Fat Liar. Yes, he said, there was a CD, but it was broken and there was NO WAY he was going to stick that thing in his CD player so he just (DRAMATIC PAUSE) – threw it away. !!!! Yes, folks, he just threw it away, because that’s just what you do when you want to GET RID OF THE EVIDENCE.


I told him he could pay for it when he returns his items (like he’s ever coming back!) and put a message on his account – because that’s just how librarians roll. Bad ass, I know.

I was just happy that this time an adult lied straight to my face, he at least didn’t have his kids with him.

Until next time! πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚

Until next time!

Tales From the Library

Happy Thursday, everyone! It’s been another gratified and profoundly rewarding week at the library where I work. Here’s another great story for you:

Yesterday, there wasΒ  long line of patrons waiting for my excellent customer support and I was with another patron checking out a stack of books that I’m pretty sure reached the ceiling, so it was busy! In the midst of this normal library funocity an older woman charges through the library door and straight for my computer station at the end of the circulation desk. She glares death daggers at me until I turn to her and ask if I could help her. Well, that was the wrong question to ask as she proceeds to rant about how the bathroom doesn’t have any paper towels and what was I going to do about it?! I told her kindly, I do respect my elders after all, that those bathrooms were a part of the municipal building and the library was not responsible for them, but if she wanted to mention it to someone in reception I’m sure they would take care of it. Well! That just sent in her into a tizzy of exclamations over how did I expect her to dry her hands and I should really take care of it and I needed to do something RIGHT NOW! After I pointed out that I was helping someone and would take care of it when I was finished, she stormed off to share her senility with someone else I suppose.

And, no, I didn’t replace the paper towels. πŸ™‚

On the flip side of my ever quirky job at the library, a Cheesecake Factory just opened up in the county so to help spread neighborly cheer and give their servers time to practice their serving skills and learn the menu, the restaurant invited the libraries in the county to participate in a free meal this week. Not everyone was able to go as there was limited space, but I was one of the fortunate few chosen! Yay! That means my girlfriend and I get to partake in a meal at one of her favorite restaurants for FREE! Sweet. It is a pre-set meal and we’re both vegetarian, so we may not get to eat everything on the menu, but there will definitely be dessert! πŸ™‚

So that’s the excitement for my week. Hope you’re enjoying yours as much as I am mine! πŸ˜€

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. πŸ™‚

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

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

Β 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!!!Β 

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. πŸ™‚

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.Β 

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! πŸ™‚