Something else funny that actually happened to my friend's mother who was a LA for 20 years at Thousand Oaks, CA. A patron brought in a book that was dripping wet and when she wanted to charge the patron for damages he said, "It was like that when I got it." To which she replied "How nice of you to keep wetting it for us over the past three weeks." Hilarious
This morning, a woman called up and wanted me to find a playgroup for her two-year-old. Is this a service I should be providing? Lining up playdates? I passed the buck and sent her to the town's Rec. Center. Let them deal with it.
I took a message this morning and told the caller that I could not help them, but would give the message to the proper person when they returned. The same person called, disguising her voice, less than an hour later. I pretended not to know who it was, but the year is 2004 we do have caller id.
A girl came up to me with a dictionary and said she couldn't find a word she was looking for. I asked what it was, and she said "Caricature". I asked for the dictionary to see if she was spelling it right, and then had to think of a tactful way of explaining that she couldn't find the word because it was a German dictionary. She was very embarrassed. That is much more amusing than the other incident that stands out in my mind in which a 14-year-old asked me if the United States was a country.
When I was an undergraduate student at Michigan State I worked in the shelving unit of the main library. People would always want to know where books were in the main stacks – they didn't know the call number, author, etc., but they did know it had a red (green, blue, etc.) binding. My suggestion to re-organize by color didn't go over well.
Addent–The New England School of Law has a version of the catalog organized by color.
I was once preparing a truck of books to be reshelved when a girl approached me. It seems that she left a piece of paper on a table a few weeks ago and wanted it back, and she wanted to know where she could go get it.
I never understood people who would call a library, only to ask the person who answers, "are you open" – do they think we sit there all day answering the phones just for the sheer thrill when we are closed?
Someone once asked me where the basement was located, and how to get to it.
I had a patron yesterday who pushed a handful of something smokeable right in front of me, and say, "This isn't what you think it is. It's rolling tobacco. I wouldn't be that bold."