“Mail” Man & Other Eccentrics

My day began as a squirrelly looking guy apprehensively approached the Reference Desk. He looked me squarely in the eye and asked, “Have you been listening to the radio?” I looked around as if to say, “How the fuck would I be able to listen to the radio from ‘here’?”

Me: No.

Man [grinning from ear-to-ear] : Gonzalez resigned.

Me: I heard about that this morning.

Man [shit eating grin]: That makes me happy.

Me [wondering what he wants from me]: …

Man [still smiling at me]: …

Me: That makes me happy too.

The man, still grinning like a lunatic, nodded his head in approval and slowly walked away… This made me even happier.

Later in the day, I finally got word back about my inquiry into the guy who sent us the Snail Mail reference question a few weeks back. The Assistant Director (AD) of the library from the guys “hometown,” informed me that the guy in question is a convict doing hard time at the local prison. He has apparently made his rounds among libraries in the State asking similar questions and has, subsequently, had his mail privileges revoked for harassing people. The AD told me that her all-time favorite question from the guy was when he asked for information regarding gliders.

Haaaaaaaa! The guy thinks he’s, Snake Plissken.

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~ by Woeful on August 27, 2007.

11 Responses to ““Mail” Man & Other Eccentrics”

  1. Excuse me, but why aren’t convicts entitled to the same information as everyone else? Why don’t you try performing your actual job and answer his questions instead of posting childish drivel about him on the Internet? It seems like the only motherf*cker here…is you.

    You are a disgrace to the library profession.

  2. Gotta say this inmate sounds kind of endearing. How was he harrassing? Did he send threatening letters if the research wasn’t done? I’ll look up gliders for him.

    I’d much rather deal with letters than collect phone calls from Florida State Penitentiary from ‘Garble, Garble’. The answer is always click, but they keeep calling. I’ve asked around. I don’t know anyone in prison in Florida. North Carolina, yes. Arizona, yes. Florida, no.

  3. Dear Reader: We wouldn’t do that kind of research for anyone, grandmothers, CEOs, or convicts… So, he got the same service that everyone is entitled to. Read “Snail Mail,” that post explains that this kind of research is beyond what any public library I know of conducts due to our limited resources. Even if we did, this MOFO’s mail privileges were revoked by the Man, so we couldn’t help him anyway. If you had any reading comprehension whatsoever, you would already know this.

  4. Hi VL! Inmates certainly make for colorful blogging… The harassment wasn’t elaborated on. However, his methodology was to begin at one library and move on to the next, apparently asking the kinds of questions that nobody can ever adequately answer. Well, I guess he has all the time in the World…

    I never got a business call from an inmate. Once, however, in the middle of the night I was awoken by a collect call from an inmate. I didn’t know the convict… So, I didn’t accept the call.

  5. Dear Librarian,
    Could you please look up How to make pruno from fruit cocktail? I am new here so please hurry!

    Oh yeah , i am blind or I’d do it myself

    Thanx,
    Thirsty Jones

  6. I love the glider idea. Maybe some Mythbusters info would help. Like when they broke out of jail using salsa.

  7. When I read “Snail Mail”, I almost commented (should have, I know) that it was someone from prison. At my library, we would get requests like this occasionally. The envelopes would also have some kind of stamp on them to let us know it was prison mail. We did have one who tried to become pen pals, sending pictures and such. After that, we replied that he should contact the prison librarian or the stete Dept. of Libraries for further assistance.

    I’m not agreeing with Reader, but at my library, we have helped patrons like that before. It’s usually been in extreme circumstances and we definitely limit what we are willing to do. Compiling a list of 40 addresses isn’t that hard, I don’t think. And since you would be replying via snail mail, it could be done as time allowed.

    Just my two cents.

  8. Hi Manda! Thanks for stopping by. I would have completed the answer if it was acceptable by our policy, but it isn’t. I even personally asked the Director if I should pursue it. Handwriting 40 addresses would have been a laborious job, especially since every address was located on a separate link. It really wouldn’t be fair to the other people waiting for service. It’s a moot point anyway since “Mail” Man is cut off as per a letter from “Corrections.”

  9. I guess I should’ve said that the calls were at home like yours. If I got a letter at home from an inmate who wasn’t related to me, I would be very nervous. We have sort of a similar policy here. If the ref question is more than simple show and click, I usually direct the patron to another library for assistance. We do basic/triage reference. We’ll get the person started, but we can’t follow through with long term care. The general demand is too much to focus too long on one person.

  10. That’s it exactly, Vampire Librarian!

  11. […] “Mail” Man & Other Eccentrics […]

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