Kissed @ the Library

An elderly woman with a sullen look on her face approached me at the Reference Desk. She told me that she put her books down somewhere in the Library but couldn’t remember where. She told me that she had just set them down for a minute, so that she could use the restroom and didn’t know where she had left them. I informed her that there weren’t any stray books at the Reference Desk. I suggested that she look around on random tables throughout the building.

She then became deeply dismayed and informed me that she just checked them out and didn’t know where they were! One of them was a Dean Koontz book, but she couldn’t remember the title. So, I checked her record and saw that she had borrowed six books, two of them today, and began a quest to find her missing reading material. Much confusion on our part ensued as the woman earlier donated a few books by the same two authors. After involving nearly half the entire staff, it became apparent that this woman was having a very intense Alzheimer’s episode. Thankfully, a woman working at the Circulation Desk saw her leave her items near the staircase. Eureka!

I gathered the books and brought them to her. She was so happy that I found them, that she immediately lunged at me and gave me a hug. Before I knew what was happening, she firmly planted a kiss on my cheek as well. She then thanked me, loudly and profusely, and told me that for a while she though that she was losing her mind. Shortly thereafter, she looked at the printout from her account, and noticed the other four book titles. She looked confused, and said that she didn’t have them. I informed her that I didn’t have any other information on the other books than what the printout suggests, and told her that she might want to look for them in her car, and her house. Looking even more confused than before, she thanked me once again.

… She is a very nice lady, but sadly, she really is losing her mind.


~ by Woeful on October 11, 2007.

21 Responses to “Kissed @ the Library”

  1. Alzheimer’s is hard. It’s hard to deal with, hard to watch, impossible to fathom.

  2. I didn’t have time to deal with this lady on the level she needed, nor did the rest of the staff… But it is so very sad. For what it’s worth, we did our best.

  3. Wow, I can honestly say I’ve never helped an Alzheimer’s patron. Paranoid schizophrenics, yes, homeless and hygene-challenged, check; several severe stutterers – yes, but not at the same time. I agree with K, it’s hard to understand and harder to watch.

  4. I’ve been kissed by so called “normal” people at the reference desk, after showing them exactly what they came looking for. But I still wonder, balancing the good with the bizarre and bad, why we still keep doing what we do.

  5. I had my granpa wandering in some private and seemingly unexplicably weird realities, plurals since they were fragments cropping out according to God knows which prompt… and yet, in his travelling on his own to the End of it all, he was always capable to look at the toddler in front of him and give him that reassuring look he had when he first brough the boy on a mopad to look at the sea from the peak of an hill, in Tuscany.
    I still hold that look dearly in my heart, and miss that white mustaches so much sometimes, he would know in a split second what to say, what to do with my restless attitude and calm me down, as he used to.
    Treasure that kiss.

  6. Awww, it’s nice that you helped her… even though I’m sure you were feeling like her crazies were rubbing off on you, driving you nuts too ;P

  7. You’d have to be a little unstable to read a Dean Koontz book. In fact, I didn’t know old ladies read that kind of stuff!

  8. You’d be surprised Roaf! Sometimes the little old ladies are really into true crime stuff as well…

  9. I wish patrons in my library kissed me. Well, not really. But it kind of sounds touching.There aren’t really that many patrons that I’d be able to stomach kissing me, though. So I’ll just start hoping on it when I run into a candidate. Could be years.

  10. I could have done without, K. But like I wrote, the lady isn’t a freak, just extremely confused. She was so happy when I found it, that I can let it slide.

  11. I hope she was not driving home. Having an episode like that behind the wheel could be real bad for the lady and anyone else on the road with her.

  12. I was thinking the same thing…

  13. She lost her blackberry brandy, too.


  14. LOL!

  15. 😉

  16. I have been kissed at the reference desk. I considered it an honor. A woman was looking for meat wholesale companies in our ciy and using a databse (Reference USA) I was able to show her how to find the info. She leaned over and kissed me on the head. I was not offended. I was only glad I had washed my hair that morning. Sometimes public service can be so sweet. And those other times….. welll, I just wish for more of the good ourcomes.

  17. Hello Backinasecond! I wasn’t offended, just reluctant…

  18. I guess that should have read “outcomes”… that’s what i get for blogging way past my bedtime with a few glasses of wine in me! Yes, we should always be reluctant to kiss the patrons. I meant to add we have our alzheimer’s folks too. One elderly lady has some form of memory loss, if not outright dementia, and she’s been coming in the library for 8 years (that’s right… 8 !!) asking the same questions over and over about how to use her e-mail. She’s not a sweet old lady either, so when she comes in I hide. Okay – enough stories from me…. next time I’ll tell you about the couple caught having sex in the women’s restroom….

  19. LOL… We have a couple who come in that made National news for having sex in a VERY public place near the Library several years ago!

  20. So there’s your next blog topic….

  21. Ya’all are tarnishing my best alibi, “I was at the library.” Now I will have to come up with a new one.

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