Communication Breakdown

Today was one of those days where nearly everyone we had to deal with had no communication skills whatsoever. Several people shoved Library Cards in my face without expressing why they were doing this. Library Cards can be used for a multitude of things, from signing-in to use the Internet, to checking-out ILLs, to collateral for costly items like “Value Line” that tend to walk if we don’t confiscate said collateral. So simply presenting a card and standing there like a buffoon doesn’t help us. Patrons need to use their words!

The following transactions took place concurrently:

Me (man walks directly up to me and shoves his Library Card in my Face without any salutation) playing mind reader: Internet?

Patron: Rambles off somebody’s name.

Me (still playing mind reader): I check the catalog for an author by that name, and inform the patron that we have one book by that author. I transcribe the call number and inform him that I can help him find it.

Patron (mumbles something quickly and incoherently) takes the number out of my hand before I can speak, and wanders off zig-zagging through the stacks. I look at my coworker who is sitting next to me. She is in the middle of her own fresh hell:

Coworker playing mind reader (Giving no salutation, the patron stands there with her arm stretched wide, holding her Library Card): “Do you want to use the Internet? This session or the next session?”

Patron (standing there like she was just asked to figure out a calculus theorem): “What?”

What? What do you mean what?! How much processing power does it take, to articulate whether or not you would like to use the Internet now for 30 minutes, or begin in 15 minutes to start a full 45 minute session? We had more than a few like this today…

The best transaction of the day, however, was between a different coworker and a woman who missed an appointment because one of our clocks hadn’t been changed to jibe with the new Daylight Savings Time.

My coworker hadn’t been there for 30 seconds when a woman approached him in a huff. In an accusatory tone, she informed him that one of our clocks is an hour off and that because of this, she missed an important appointment. Of course, this was totally his fault. He explained that he doesn’t have any control over the clock. It’s high up on a wall, and we don’t have any ladders to reach it. Public Works has to do it. So she turns, and races off in an even bigger huff than when she arrived.

Don’t go away mad… Just go away.


~ by Woeful on March 13, 2007.

One Response to “Communication Breakdown”

  1. […] recently become one of our Irregulars, frequenting the Library to use the Internet (SEE my post – Communication Breakdown). She’s homeless, and lives at a nearby shelter. Our Circulation Policy states that all […]

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