Thursday, July 29, 2010

The One Where I Check My Library E-mail

As you all may or may not know/remember, along with my Day Job, I also have a job at a public library. Since I don't have a Masters of Library Science degree (yet) (?), I am a Page, which is half a step above the volunteers and a step above the people there performing community service.

What a page does is the grunt work. We check the books in, we shelve the books, stuff like that.

I love my library job. If I could work there as a Day Job, I'd do it in half a second. I work twice a week, 3.5 hours, and 4 hours every other Sunday, and I love it. Love. It.

Any kind of work in the public sector, though, comes with its share of crazy people. Like. . .legit crazy people. The library I worked at in high school had a guy waving around a gun outside one day. More than once, I walked into the bathroom to find this homeless (?) woman washing her hair. And yes. . .for some reason, people think that a library bathroom is an awesome place to have sex. (Hint: No. It's not. I don't know this because I've done it, but I know this because I know how dirty public library bathrooms are at their core. This is why the library I work at now has a staff bathroom in the back.)

Anyway, as an employee of the county, I have county e-mail I always forget I have. I opened it yesterday (Blogger will probably insist I published this on Thursday, since that's when I started it. Lies. It is currently Friday.) for the first time since the beginning-ish of June, and found that I had more than 400 e-mails.

I should note that the messages were not to ME, per se. . .they were sent to the entire listserv. I just happen to be on it, so a lot of the messages didn't actually apply to me at all. It was things like, "Hey, does anyone at any of the libraries have extra red glitter for the children's program this evening?" or "Hey, we're looking for this book that this patron requested. Has anyone seen it?" Plus, there are updates about training and special events and things of that nature.

I went through them all, skimming them, and saved a couple I thought were particularly interesting/funny/horrifying/etc.

Note: I have changed names and identifying details of the libraries. I mean. . .there are 20 libraries in the county system, and if you want to try to stalk me or someone else or whatever, your odds would not be good on being at the right library on the right day at the right time. I'm just saying. So the library call letters I'm using are fake. FYI.

First things first -- there were 12 e-mails about 12 different patrons that had trespassed on public library property. I didn't immediately get that when the e-mail said they were trespassed, that means they were banned that day. So between June 17 and July 19, 12 people were banned either from specific libraries or from all of them. Oh, and if you're intended on doing something to get banned from one of these libraries? Know that they get a picture of you, either from the police or elsewhere (I can't give away ALL our secrets!) and they e-mail it, along with your name, address, library card number, and any other identifying information, to ALL of the employees at ALL of the libraries. But, 12 people in 32 days?

Another e-mail I found funny. It came from the library where I work:

"Flash drive lady came back in today looking for... wait for it - -
her flash drive. We still don't have it."

Pretty much any librarian or library personnel you meet has a sarcastic streak when it comes to stupid patrons. And there are a lot of them.

We get a lot of mentally unstable people at the library as well. I guess maybe because there's not a lot else for them to do during the day.

"Guy on #3 [Note: that's computer #3]... kept turning around looking at me. When I asked him if there was something he needed or I could help him with, he said something I wasn't quite sure I heard well. So I went over to him and told him I couldn't hear him ...
He said something about not liking it but people talk about him ... yeah, the paranoid kind. He's also Mr. BO from Friday."

We get a lot (a LOT) of really smelly people in the library. Not sure why. And I love the nicknames these people give the patrons. Mr. BO, Flash Drive Lady. . .awesome.

This one was apparently actually sent to a patron. (Again, identifying details have been changed.) It's a delightful blend of being helpful and being passive-aggressive:

"Your Mississippi license is at the City Center Library. Please return the flashdrive you borrowed and pick up your license at the Reference Desk.
Thank you."

Heh. "We're holding your driver's license hostage. Bring us back our damn flashdrive."

"Hi All -
I had a patron the other night insist that she brought 2 books back (we all know how that goes!). They are already set to Long Overdue status. I know this is a pain, but would you please mind checking your shelves?? This woman was angry and claimed she spoke to someone at HFN who would "take care of it". Don't know if that's true or not, but I do know that she will make life difficult if I don't exhaust all options (again, we all know how that goes!).

The books are:
Name of Book by Author, barcode: (Barcode Number)
Name of Other Book by Another Author, barcode: (Barcode Number)

They are both African-American fiction. Your help is greatly appreciated!!"

Whenever a patron "insists" they returned something? 7 times out of 10 they are lying their face off. And these people get freaking MEAN!

And finally, this next one requires some backstory.

We have "regulars" at the library. People that are there all the time and that do things weird enough to where you notice that they're there all the time.

There's this one woman with long, long blonde hair who always wears this. . .floor-length velvet dress. She's always going through the classifieds and looking on craigslist, and I'm not entirely sure what it is she does, but I've heard her on more than one occasion on the phone in the foyer saying things like, "Hi, my name is Fran Gretel, and I have a business opportunity that will make you an insane amount of money in weeks. In the amount of time it has taken you to listen to this message, you could have doubled your income!"

She's a weird one.

And then we have this old woman (who, apparently, is a doctor of some kind) that camps out in this chair near the front door every. day. with her two laptop computers in front of her. I don't know what she's doing, but she's always there, in the same spot. This e-mail was a complaint about her:

"Subject: complaint regarding Dr. M (sp? aka the lady who camps out
in the comfy chairs in the front

Derek Lapin, Raleigh resident and frequent computer user said "I would like a chance to sit in one of the comfy chairs, but that lady is always camped out there - all day, everyday." He wants to know if there is a time limit for our comfy chairs."

Now, this guy I kind of agree with. That woman is a giant pain in the ass, taking up all that space. But apparently, those are the comfy chairs. I feel like maybe there SHOULD be a time limit for the comfy chairs.

So there you go. I may check my e-mail more frequently, now that I remember it's a thing and now that I know the hilarity that ensues in the inbox.

1 comment:

  1. I love libraries but I have to say I've had a few too many run ins with weirdos there and now dont go. Not anything happening TO me but seeing the people there is kind of freaky. I have a much higher respect for people who work there. That's one place where all types of crazy come in and I just dont handle that well. :)