Shhhh…

Despite the movie stereotype, the library really isn’t all that quiet, the librarians rarely, if ever, shush anyone and honestly with so many people coming and going all day it would be impossible to keep it quiet for very long. The library itself isn’t even that quiet. In the morning, before the doors open, the heating and cooling systems drone on constantly and when they flick the escalators on there’s no hope of it being quiet again until they’re turned off at the end of the day. We all do our best to keep the volume at a reasonable level, but there are limits.

That isn’t good enough for some people.

Paging is one of those jobs that gets boring quickly. At the main library there are always a few pages working at once. They work together as a team. So a good part of the day is spent talking about whatever while they work.

I know. I did it for four years.

Talking keeps us sane and makes the work go by faster. We know that it’s a library. We work there. So we try to chat quietly.

One evening I was working with a friend of mine and we were, as per usual, talking. Honestly, I don’t even remember what we were talking about. We were doing pick up (which means shelving all the used magazines and newspapers, mostly) so chances are good that we were talking about whatever was on the cover of the weekly gossip mags or complaining about the paper junkies who make the same mess every single day. Nothing unusual.

“Excuse me!” Someone hissed at us.

We stopped and looked over at one of our semi-regulars. He’s a middle aged man with thin hair, beady eyes, a paunch and an attitude. No one cares for him much. His demanding tone is a fairly good sign that he’s going to be a problem and he usually is.

“Do you work here?”

He knows we do, he was trying to make a point.

“Because I can’t imagine that you’re allowed to go around talking while you’re supposed to be working!”

Neither of us knew what to say so we just stood there hoping he’d go away.

“I can’t even hear myself think!

We apologized and told him we’d be more quiet. (I should note that he was wearing headphones the whole time we were up there, so how he heard us at all is beyond me.)

“That’s just not good enough! You were interrupting me!”

What more do you say after someone says sorry isn’t enough?

“I think I’m going to take this up with your manager!”

We told him that if he was unsatisfied with our answers, he was more than welcome. She was downstairs. We even give him her name. There are no rules about us talking while we work and he’s been a problem before – the chances of him being taken seriously were slim.

“Fine! I’ll go talk to her!” Trying to be threatening. It wasn’t working. “You shouldn’t be allowed to talk! Talking at work!? Who ever heard of that!? You’re bothering everyone!”

After ranting on for a few more minutes he finally left. I should mention that he managed to work up a volume that was more likely to bother “everyone” than we ever had. We also checked later, he didn’t speak to anyone on his way out.

He did make another appearance a few weeks later tho. During our library book sale. We were selling off books that had been withdrawn from the collection because of damage, newer edition replacements or simply because no one had touched them in twenty years.

He complained at and lectured the girl working for a solid forty-five minutes about how upset he was that we were selling off books. How dare we? People use these books! We can’t just get rid of them! Because the library should keep every single item it has ever had in it’s collection no matter how badly damaged, out of date or unused it may be.

We explained to him several times in numerous ways that if there were books (which he claimed many times) he needed or used on a daily basis (which was an outright lie as 95% of the books had been long withdrawn and had been in storage for months if not years) he was more than welcome to buy them and keep them forever. They were, after all, only about 10 cents a book.

He was, however, having much too good a time complaining.

Some people make the days go so much slower. You know what I mean?

-Late Fines.

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Published in: on July 18, 2009 at 4:53 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. At least guys like him make good posts =)

    • Everyone has a purpose, even if only to serve as a bad example.


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