Friday, March 7, 2008

morning at the library

9:00AM - I arrive at work, greet the regulars, and look at the schedule to find that I am alone at the reference desk for an hour.

9:02 - daily phone call from the Crossword Puzzle Lady. Answer was: "aussie." She needs a new hobby. Wordsearch, maybe? The answers are already there!

9:04 - Hyperactive man, smelling strongly of alcohol, wants a book on serial killers, specifically sexual sadists.

I need coffee.

9:05 - running around the library, trying to collect the books on my send list. The phone keeps ringing, people want DVDs to get them through the snow storm this weekend. (which, having no TV, I just found out about - 8 to 14 inches by Sunday! Ack!)

9:15 - An orthodox rabbi intercepts me to tell me that the internet is stuck. He was looking at a site about halogen lightbulbs.

9:20 - Hyperactive boozer is back, wanting the phone book - and then use of my desk phone. I tell him no, he offers me money. I still refuse and send him to the circulation desk. They are nicer than me and might let him make a call.

9:25 to 9:55 - Still working on my send list. Pulled two books off the shelf that made me giggle: Put Hemorrhoids and Constipation Behind You & He's Gonna Toot and I'm Gonna Scoot. The second book was in the religion section, despite its bathroom humor title.

The children's librarian is MIA - I have to find a Harry Potter book on tape. I want tongs. I don't want to touch anything - I'm convinced the entire department is one big germy petrie dish. All those sticky little fingers...and they throw up on things over there. Once we even had a kid pull off its diaper and take a crap in the playhouse.

I explain to a someone living on Social Security how to get their tax rebate. He proclaims, "I paid taxes from when I started working all the way to 1980! You'd think I'd get something!" Yes, indeed. The reference department doesn't bother to put a sign up for tax forms anymore. In years past, we made an enormous fluorescent pink banner and were still asked about 50 times a day, "Do you have tax forms?" I direct the retiree to the 1040As.

I have forgotten to keep the tally of the amount of questions I've answered so far. I estimate. The director will pad the numbers later anyway.

This morning, I have discovered two library-related Murphy's Laws: every time you go back in the stacks, the phone will ring, and when you do find the book you're looking for, it will always be on the bottom shelf.

I pause for a moment and look out the window. The snow is beginning to fall. Orlando, one of our mentally disabled cleaning crew, comes over to my desk to taunt me. "No coffee? Where's your coffee? Go get your coffee!"

"I'm the only one here, Orlando, I haven't had time."

"But the coffee's almost gone!" Orlando seems very concerned.

I sigh inwardly. I'll have to brew another pot.

Update: 12:30PM - The homeless pervert has arrived. My day is now complete.


Hunter said...

Oh yes, the regulars. Our library is right downtown. There is a bus stop out front that services three routes. All day, the lobby and circ desk areas are home to all the folks waiting for the buses. Conversations, cell phones, food wrappings, coffee cups, spit cups, it all happens eight feet away from where I usually work.

Add to this mix the fact that we just changed over to iBistro from SirsyDynix and work days are...full.

BobG said...

Sounds like the kind of people I used to get on the phone when I worked tech support.

Breda said...

hunter - we're using Sirsi too. It's not a very intuitive catalog program - I often think we were better off with our old database.

bob - people are people, huh? ;)

DirtCrashr said...

I'm sure glad I work from home and don't have to deal with people.

Turk Turon said...

What a morning!

Lorimor said...

I never realized the library was so exciting. I just go there to read. Hassling the help sounds like so much more fun.

Sorry to hear about the upcoming snow but that's Cleveland!!!

Christina LMT said...

Do you get hazardous duty pay?!

Silver volunteers every Sunday at our local library. She's put to work sorting and returning the children's dvd's and videos. I'm surprised she's not constantly ill, but she does wash her hands very, very frequently!

I saw a list of rules for our library that I'd never noticed before, maybe they're new?

"If you have an odor that can be smelled six feet away from you, you will be asked to leave. If you refuse to leave, security will escort you out." Or words to that effect.

It's true! I'll have to take a picture and post it on my blog, or nobody will believe me...

amcz said...

I think the Weather Channel's website might have some customizable feeds for your zip code/area. Then you won't need a tv... to watch the Weather Channel.

Jeffrey Quick said...

I am SOOO glad I don't do public! One of the nicest librarians at our main library just got her degree and took a public job (nay, WANTED a public job!). I wouldn't have thought you'd get such cases out in the far 'burbs.

SIRSI sucks. III rulez!