Yes, I mean THOSE books

We have security gates at the library, like most libraries these days. Mostly because people like to steal things and we like to have our things not stolen. There is a bit of a flaw in this system however – the sensors that are supposed to be set off when someone is stealing our books are also set off by lots of other things. Mostly, and least surprising of all, by books from other place. So when someone is coming in to or going out of the library and they set the gate off we try to stop them and ask if they have any books.

Apparently “book” is too ambiguous a word because 9 times out of 10, unless they’ve just left the borrowing desk, they will say no.


They usually pause and look confused, something akin to a dog hearing a new sound.

“Excuse me, do you have any books, binders or new material in your bag?”


“You haven’t got any books at all.”


“Because sometimes new books or books from other libraries will set off the sensors.”

“I don’t have anything.” They usually end up swinging their bag through the sensor again to test it and this usually sets it off again. Then they all do the same indignant march over to the counter and pull open their bag to prove that they’re not a thief.

At this point what I normally get a look at is not a bag devoid of books of any type, however much I may wish that were the case. No. I usually get a pretty good look at a bag full of books. You know, the same books I just asked about. They same books they denied having or having any knowledge of.

“Well, I have these.” They point. “But they wouldn’t have set the sensor off. I just bought these/borrowed these from the public library.”

*sigh* To be fair, I did mention the fact that new books and books from other libraries set the sensor off over ten seconds ago. These things will slip ones mind.

“I’ll just make sure they don’t set the sensor off again.”

“But they’re new books/library books! Why would they set the sensors off!?”

Because they do. Okay? That’s why.

And sure enough, they check the gate again and not a sound. That would be why I asked if you had any books. ANY books. Not just OUR books.

Next time I’ll try to be more clear.

Published in: on September 29, 2009 at 6:33 pm  Comments (6)  

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. At the end of one winter, I hid one of those self-adhesive magnetic strips inside a coworker “pencil pocket” on the inside of his winter jacket.

    Sure enough, next winter he started setting off those gates anywhere he went. It took him weeks to mention it at work, and it took me many more days to remember that I had done something to make that happen.

    Joys of being old – you can literally amuse yourself. 😉

    • I have done that several times. One in high school I dropped on in to the ripped lining of my friends backpack so he couldn’t find it and more recently in to my old bosses purse. She found it and was pissed. I said nothing and laughed when she left fuming about the “asshole” who put the thing in her bag.

  2. The only time this happened to me is when I found a handicapped parking sign lying in the parking lot of the library. Being a nice guy I brought it in through the sensor and it went off like a slot machine in Vegas. Too funny. It was Hismuse’s Mom’s library too.

    • Of course it happened there. It would have to.

  3. you guys are horrible! Id never thought of doing something like that!

    now. you know when you go through check out and the the cashier rubs it on the thingy that does that stuff to the stuff so the thingamajig doesn’t go off in the sensor with the BEEP BEEP BEEP?

    those ones wont work, right?

    Where would I get one that does work? I mean. You cant exactly peel them off an item and bring them through the sensor what with the beep beep beeping it would do, right?

  4. When I come to visit you at your library I will make sure to have a bag full of books.

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