reference rollcall: weirdo week edition

for some reason last week was weirdo week at the library. the most exciting moment was when i got into a heated discussion with a patron about whether or not it’s okay to call teenagers racial slurs and tell them that their parents are failures for letting them run wild in the library. (um…it’s not okay.) but aside from that–

-“how do i get out of here?!” this from a haried looking man who had come downstairs to the children’s room looking to exit the library.

-someone called looking for the cell phone number of a woman she thinks might live in new york city. sorry, even i am not that good.

-“which harry potter comes first?” i told her. “but how do you KNOW that’s the first one?”

-“i’m looking for this alphabet book that i checked out for my kids a few years ago. i don’t remember the name or author, but i know that V was for violet.” we have a list of alphabet books, actually, so we looked through all the ones that were checked in to see if V was for violet. we did not find it.

-“I need eat pray love for my book club tomorrow. what, there’s 56 holds? Seriously? but i need it for BOOK CLUB. gee, I didn’t know it was that popular.” (short rant: what IS it with women in book clubs waiting until the day before to request a copy of a NYT bestseller and then getting pissed at me because we don’t have a special secret cupboard full of their book club selections that we were saving for just as long as they needed to remember that they are, in fact, in a book club, and it is, in fact, meeting tomorrow, and that they can’t skip because otherwise tammy will get to pick the book again even though it is NOT HER TURN? lady, if you do this to me again i will find tammy and tell her that you asked me to print out an internet synopsis of eat pray love because you are too cheap to buy the book.)

-over the phone: “what is the definition and etymology of the word metanarrative?” this was fun because i got to use the OED, but then this lady kept me on the phone for an awkward amount of time to talk about how language is changing so rapidly that soon human beings won’t be able to communicate at all because the world is going to hell in a handbasket.

-i had an exciting librarian rite of passage: first time waking up a sleeping patron. unfortunately he didn’t know english and was totally confused about why i was waking him up. so it wasn’t really that fun, in the end.

-a fellow wanted a book about the 50 states to help him with his quarter collection. i found him a great kid’s book that did exactly what he wanted, and he said, “so do they have a copy of this in the adult section?” me: “you can check this one out.” him: “yeah, but it’s a kid’s book. i want this exact book, except not from the kid’s section.” me: “well, this is the only one we have here.” him: “maybe i’ll look somewhere else.” srsly?

-early childhood histories from non-western cultures

-an elderly woman who got a divorce last year but just decided she wants to go back to her maiden name. the internet told us to go to a district court. i called the district court, they said go to the circuit court. i called the circuit court, they said go to the county seat. i called the county seat. no one answered the phone. so we emailed them. i hope everything goes well for her. she was a sweetie-pie, and also hilarious.

-telephone number for local man called norman

-some medical release forms

-book of crafts made out of popsicle sticks

-the best for last: a very dramatic older woman who likes to come to the library all done up and ask us to print out MILLIONS OF TAX FORMS. apparently she had always paid for them at the end and added a generous donation, but recently the librarians decided that we can no longer spend an hour printing out reams of paper for her when actually she is physically capable of doing it herself. my co-librarian very kindly explained this to her and showed her how to login to a computer. she put up an extraordinary fuss “but you always did this for me! what happened to customer service? what about my donations? you don’t want my donations?” and after logging on, she promptly logged off and flounced down the stairs. “have a good day!” my co-librarian said kindly. “WELL IT CAN’T GET ANY WORSE!” she yelled over her shoulder.

it may sound like i am complaining but in reality i find all of this ridiculously entertaining.


5 responses to “reference rollcall: weirdo week edition

  1. I worked in the children’s dept. of a public library for a few years, so I get a huge kick out of your reference rollcalls. Once a patron stopped by the children’s desk to tell me a lady was washing her hair at one of the restroom sinks.

    Another time there was a mentally disabled man masturbating in the middle of the children’s room, and I had to go tell him that was not okay. (Thankfully he hadn’t removed any clothing.) Never a dull moment!

  2. This post made me laugh out loud…and it’s always great to find someone who cares about what they do. I hope you’ll take the time to come over to my blog and let folks know how awesome it is to do your cool job!

    The world needs more people like you!

  3. No… OMG as in I cannot believe that you had so many crazies in one week. Unbelieveable.

  4. I think that when Ross gets himself a degree in The Building of Things, you both should move here. NY has lots of libraries AND a 2-1 crazy to normal ratio. It would be heaven.

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