No, you may not

“Can I borrow a Kleenex?”

“No, but you may have one.”


“I honestly don’t want it back when you’re done with it.”

Hey, I resisted the urge to point out that he should have said “May I” rather than “Can I”.

I work in a library, what do you expect?

-Late Fines.

Published in: on February 27, 2010 at 5:46 pm  Comments (6)  

That’s right, like Office Depot with books

I’ve been thinking about taking classes at the university. See, one of the perks of working at the university library is that employees get free classes (bet you didn’t know that, suckers). So I’ve been going through the offered classes and checking prerequisites and I’ve found something lacking.

Not listed in any prerequisites are the ability to take responsibility for yourself and your education, the ability to conduct yourself in an adult manner, understanding that tantrums make you look foolish and most importantly of all – the basic ability to tell the difference between a library and a stationary store.

Personally I think that this is a major oversight, although it certainly explains a lot.

For instance, it amazes me just how many times a day I am asked for pens, scissors, paper, tape, headphones, calculators, kleenex etc. We lose more pens every day to people who are going to “bring them right back” than I ever though possible. It leaves me wondering how these poor penless souls make it through their academic day. Do they think that if they steal pens from the library, the money they save on boxes of pens will get them through school?

It’s all I can do to not walk them outside and ask them if they can read the big sign that says “library” and not “Crazy Al’s Pen Give-Away Warehouse”.

But the best part of my day has definitely got to be dealing with the photocopiers.

The photocopiers, for the record, don’t belong to the library. They belong to printing services. We fill them with paper, change the toner and clear the occasional jam.  Beyond that, there’s not a lot I can do. But I’m the one at the desk, so it’s my fault.

I understand.

“There’s something wrong with the photocopier!”

Oh yeah, that’s my favourite thing to hear.

“What seems to be the problem?”

“It’s out of toner or something.”

I am the one who checks the copiers every day, it’s also my job to change the toner. So I ask her which one. The copier that’s “out of toner” is the same one that had its toner replaced a few hours earlier.

It’s not out of toner.

It’s part of my job to humour her, however, so I go with her to the copy room. She’s using the auto-feeder (all of which are only semi-functional and tend to eat paper, which I tell her).

She shows me the blank pages the copier has been giving her.

I show her the clearly printed icon indicating that materials to be photocopied need to be face up.

The copier is fine, by the way.

-Late Fines

Published in: on February 27, 2010 at 5:42 pm  Comments (2)  

Temper Tantrums: not just for the students any more

If it hasn’t been made clear yet, I get yelled at a lot. I don’t know what it is about libraries that make people so edgy but they tend to lose it when they’re here. Someone really aught to do a study. For the most part, it’s students. To be specific, students who are stressed for any number of reasons.(At the public library it was, well, just about anyone who walked through the door. I still contend that there should be inch thick plexiglass between patrons and the staff – like at the movie theatre.)

I understand that. I was a student once upon a time too. I, however, never yelled at a library asssistant. Maybe I’m just weird.

What really catches me off guard is when a faculty member does it. These are not people who should be freaking out and yelling at anyone. Yet somehow they seem to forget that we are not servants or peons, but coworkers. Degree and pay band aside, we are employed by the same institution and watched over by a union that doesn’t like its members fighting with each other.

The phone rang the other day and since everyone else was occupied, I answered.

“I’m looking for three movies.”

Ever have the feeling that things are about to go badly?

Do you have the call numbers?” To be fair, I ask everyone. I’m supposed to. It’s my job. Go figure.

“No. They’re called…” SCREEEEACH! BANG!

Oh, did I mention they were doing some construction in the library that week?

“I’m sorry, I didn’t quite catch that.”

*sigh* “They’re called *mumblemumblemumble*”

Wonderful… “I’m sorry, could you say that once more a little more slowly, please?”

“Aren’t you listening to me!? Look, I need these videos for a class! I know you have them there!”

“I’m sorry ma’am, I didn’t catch the title of the item you’re looking for.”

This time she practically spelled it out for me after deciding that I am some kind of mental defective. I managed to find two, the third isn’t even in the system. I tell her.

“They both should be on the shelves if you’d like to come and get them.”

“I need them for a class.”

That could mean any number of things. “So you’d like them put on reserve?”

“No! I need them for a class! I want to come pick them up at the desk.”

Remember this guy?


“So you’d like them put on hold?”

“Yes. I will pick them up tomorrow.”

“If I put a hold on them there isn’t a guarantee that the items will be down on the hold shelf by tomorrow.”

“What do you mean!? I need them for a class!” Yeah, I picked up on that part.

“Well someone would have to go and retreive the materials and I can’t guarantee anyone will be available to do that tonight. The materials may also be taken out by any other patron who needs them.”

“Well just go and get them! I’m in meetings all day! I can’t come down. I need them for a class!”

“I’m afraid I can’t leave the desk to collects holds, ma’am.”

What is the matter with you!? You make it sound like you’re doing me a personal favour!”

Yes, that’s exactly what it would be.

“I want your name!”

I give it to her. She tells me again she’d be in the next day for the DVDs, despite my explaining that they wouldn’t be here, at which point she hung up on me.

I spent the better part of my afternoon explaining what happened to my supervisor to keep from hearing about it when she complained.

Some days, it’s not even worth getting out of bed.

-Late Fines.

Published in: on February 9, 2010 at 6:48 pm  Comments (8)