War Stories Page 04


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  • When I was an undergrad, I worked in the college library over summers. One hot summer day, a very strange faculty member (who was, coincidentally, the chair of the Psychology Dept.) came in with her book clenched under her arm. She stood at the circ desk for a moment, not saying anything. Then, she looked at my coworker very strangely and said, "Well, are you going to take my book? I just put Vaseline on my arms and can't touch it." Yeah. Sure. That's normal. So my coworker had to take the sweaty, greasy book from under the prof's arm and check it in. And the real beauty of it is that we were paid like $5 an hour for the privilege.

  • I remember when I was 16 and a page in a large suburban library, there was a 2 year old child pulling the books off both sides of a 2-sided, stand alone shelving unit and crawling back and forth through the shelving unit. The mother sat there beaming with approval. I was shelving picture books and went and got the librarian, who asked the woman to please stop her child from doing that. Mom responded with an indignant, "This is the library. The library should support educational activities. You are disrupting my child's creative process!"
    Guess who had to put all the books back?

  • While working part-time at another library, I found out through the grapevine that one of our regular patrons had been caught fondling himself in the children's area. And get this, we were right next door to the Police Station, but they were never called. This guy would always be sleeping in the nooks and crannies of the library, so we would have to wake him when we were closing (although I knew for a fact he was not homeless). Once I found out about it, I refused to wake him up on my own. Someone else would have to do it. I was just flabbergasted that none of the staff were formally warned. I mean, would you want to walk up on something like that?

  • Just recently at my new job, we have a 20-something year old that is obviously a bit slow but not mentally challenged in any way. He loves the attention from our female staff members and will ask us for help in the simplest tasks that we know he knows (How do I check my email? How do I close this window?) The other day he wanted to show me his photo album. It consisted of dozens of color pictures he had printed from the Internet of female celebrities – Meg Ryan, Sarah Michelle Gellar, etc. Weird.

  • One of our patrons is this angry German guy who will just fight you on the dumbest things. We usually give in to his very minor, petty demands just to shut him up. But every time he comes in he's got a bee up his arse. The other day our Branch Manager was over the top nice to him to see what he would do. She completely won him over. He told her, "You know I'm just kidding when I come in here." And the other night he came in holding a flower asking for her. It's a fine line between being nice and earning yourself a stalker.

  • We are having a teen summer reading program called put some color in your library with artistic and creative programs and at the end of the summer if the teens have finished reading 40000 pages they get to put some color in the library by choosing the YA librarian's (me) hair color for September. One of my very talented teens drew a big picture of my head, I have short spiky hair and we are covering my hair with different colored spikes each representing 1000 pages read. The picture is in the display case along with program info and prizes. Well one of the patrons came in last night very upset that we were "corrupting the teens of XXXXXX" when asked what she was talking about the woman referred to the poster and asked the person at the information desk "would you let your daughter dress like that?" The info person then asked what she meant since it was just my head and she said spiked hair and piercing. The woman at the info desk said actually my daughter dresses quite a lot like our YA librarian and the woman went of on a rant about how then neither the info persons daughter nor I could be considered Christians and quoted bible versus and said that she was writing a letter to the director to have me fired (regardless of the fact that the director hired me apparently) She left in a huff and I am left feeling very strange, lucky but strange. It has been years since someone has actually said something hostile about my appearance I get looks from time to time but since I have been at this library the response has been positive to the point of little old ladies saying how much they like my hair and asking when it will be colored for summer reading. I guess I am lucky that I have been able to do my own thing, so to speak, with out too much interference. The last time someone was so rude I was a senior in high school with pink hair and it was in a Safeway and my mother told the lady off for me, a turning point in my mother and my relationship, I kind of wish mom had been there last night. Anyone else have anything like this happen (I was expecting the first big issue for me as a YA librarian would be a book challenge not a challenge to the way I look)

  • I was in my first full-time library position for only two months when a woman came in wearing a furry winter coat. It was January, so this wasn't too unusual. She sat down at a Pac and began doing some searches. She already had a reputation for being a complainer, but she was fine for a while that day – until I noticed a little head sticking out stick out the front of her coat. It was a little dog! We do allow helper-dogs in the library of course, but not other dogs. I asked her to please remove the dog from the library. She kept trying to stuff the dog back in her coat, but he didn't want to be in there. I think he was very hot – huffing and puffing – his little tongue was hanging out of his mouth. She started yelling and complaining at me. I said that I could get a supervisor if she wanted to discuss the situation further, but she just huffed out of here, and I don't know that she'd been back since.

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