Saturday, August 29, 2009

How to annoy a librarian

"Most people think of them [librarians] as all mousy and quiet and telling everyone to 'SHHHHH!' I'm now convinced that 'shush' is just the sound of the steam coming out of their ears as they sit there plotting the revolution."
--Michael Moore.

Here is a sampling of some of the bizarre incidents I have encountered during my 23 years of working in public libraries. I must add that NONE of the following events occurred at the wonderful library where I happily work now.

*A guy handed me the book Women on Top
with all the pages stuck together.

 *A man was banned from the library for sneaking up behind women and cutting off their ponytails.

*One of my friends, a petite librarian, was punched in the nose by a drunk guy when she asked him to put his bottle away.

*Another drunk guy called another one of my colleagues a "C U Next Tuesday." He died the following week of hypothermia. 

*A group of teenage boys threw their poop at each other in the reading room.

*A junkie overdosed in the children's bathroom.

*I came across an abandoned newborn baby. When I located the mother upstairs, she asked if it was making too much noise.

*While they were waiting in line to check out books, a preschooler told her mother that she had to poop. The mother pulled out a portable potty and had the girl relieve herself within inches of other patrons. The mother could have easily taken the girl into the restroom, but explained that she didn't want to lose her place in line.

*A patron complained that I had too much "devil" music. She was mad because I had an Ozzy Osbourne CD in the collection.

*Another patron complained that I had too much Christian music in the collection. The only "Christian" music I had was an Amy Grant cross-over pop album.

*A library volunteer told me that I shouldn't have Jerry Garcia's CD's in the collection because he was a known pot smoker. I got a little snotty and asked if he wanted to throw out the Beatles, too.

*A patron wanted to have a YA book taken off the shelf because the characters didn't use condoms. Not only was the book published before the AIDS crisis, but the sex scene was tastefully vague.

*During Teen Read Week, we had an outdoor "Rocktober" Battle of the Bands. We gave away glow sticks as party favors. A teacher complained that we were promoting the "rave" culture. She may have been right. Later that evening a teenager tried to jump off the roof.

*When visiting a potential job site, I noticed that they kept a baseball bat behind the circulation desk and a golf club behind the reference desk.

*One time a customer had a temper tantrum and threw a book across the circulation desk. I ducked.

Please remember that 99.9% of public libraries are perfectly safe, quiet, and welcoming. However, like in all public buildings, it is never a good idea to leave children unattended or to totally let down your guard.