Freak Assault

Today the Library was a high tide of lunacy. I don’t know where to begin, nor do I know if I have it in me to elaborate at length about my day… Suffice it to say that between the crazed people I called to alert them that their Inter library loans arrived (people who are having conversations or are yelling at other individuals as they answer their telephones to the point of telling me to hold on while they finish their business), to other people who have no idea how to behave in a public place (bouncing basketballs, or taking their shoes off and putting their dirty feet up on our tables like it’s their living room), to people asking about some strange system they have heard of that can transmit personal audio/video messages over the air and into someone’s television, to a 50 something woman visiting from Florida who took a liking to one of the guys in Tech Services who was filling in at the Reference Desk because we were so severely understaffed today. As he was leaving the Desk I overheard the woman ask him if he would like to go to a casino with her tonight. Now, this guy is in his 30’s and while this was transpiring the woman’s back was to me and he was standing on the other side of her looking my way and I couldn’t help but to look astonished and shake my head… Which caused him to smile…

What a fucking freak show! Was it just my Library or was this a more widespread phenomenon today? I mean, it’s not a full moon or anything. It was so bad I came home, immediately opened a bottle of wine and watched Office Space. I can only hope that whatever asylum they escaped from rounds them up tonight and takes them back into protective custody. It’s really the best thing for them as well as the general public…

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~ by Woeful on August 7, 2008.

15 Responses to “Freak Assault”

  1. As a rule the library I intern at is not nearly as freaky as yours. For us, though, today was pretty freaky, including one patron who tried to chat me up for awhile and then stole a bunch of flowers from the flower garden in front of the library. Sheesh.

  2. Thanks for commenting! I wish I could hold it together to compose a better post than this, but sometimes… When the freak factor is at its apex I can’t do anything more than come home and try to put it behind me… I can barely make coherent sentences at this point.

  3. Take a deep breath, let it out, take another, let it out, then go get yourself a bottle of wiskey. I’d suggest something else but I can’t spell that one where there’s a worm in it.

  4. I’m not sure if this counts as ‘freaky’ or just ‘business as usual’ for the patron in question, but we had a fella today who returned a book club book, then came back to insist to me that the maintainers of both book clubs (one of which works for us as a page) changed all of the books that were on the reading list.
    When I told him, no, the book her just returned (of which there is only one copy in all 25 libraries), he insisted he be allowed to have the book back. Too late – it had already gone through the system and into the holds list for the next person on the list.
    He insisted more, and I explained policy to him – he’d have to wait in line like everyone else.
    [Now this is the odd part.]
    He says, “I’m a veteran and learning disabled, and I want to know how I get that book back!”
    Now, whether this makes him freaky or an Entitlement Bitch, I don’t know, but it was one of the stranger things anyone had said to me in a while.

  5. I couldn’t agree with you more – today was bizarre! I had four customers in a row with craziness, and then at closing time, a guy asked us to give him an umbrella because it was raining. What a day.

  6. This whole week has been bizarre. Two “peeing all over the bathroom” incidents in the same day, to start. Today someone stole section D from the Wall Street Journal, and for the local paper, of which we get 3 copies, by the afternoon the sports section was missing from all of them. (I’m assuming this is due to the Brett Favre story. This is Wisconsin after all.) A man who has been caught stealing books from our Friends sale rack actually had the guts to sign up as a Friends book sorter. Turns out he owes us over $400 for lost library materials. An awfully whiny teenager called the reference desk demanding we find his mom so he can ask her if he can buy something, but he was using the store’s phone and couldn’t provide a call-back number. A woman was in tears after viewing her online gas/electric account, which listed 4 unpaid bills, but a zero balance for amount owed. A mom lost her 2-year-old kid in the library after being reminded twice to keep her eyes on her kid. (Although that’s not as bad as the parent who lost a toddler a few weeks ago. We found him on the railroad tracks behind the library.) A different kid managed to open the magnetic panels by the fireplace and crawl into the area the gas line runs through. And a bird got in the library, prompting every freakin’ patron to inform of us they had seen a bird and wanted to know how we planned to catch it, all day.

    Now for the library my mom directs: A guy is insisting they switch from Dewey to LOC. She got screamed at by a guy who said they have to give him an entire year’s worth of their Popular Mechanics magazine so he can mail them to Russia, to a teacher who can’t afford a subscription. No, he couldn’t wait until the end of the year when they withdraw the oldest year, and he’s a teacher so they have to give him the magazines now. He even offered to help them withdraw the magazines “to expedite the process.” Oh, and a developmentally disabled man peed all over one of their comfy, cloth-covered chairs while his caretaker was in another area of the library using the Internet.

    At least the summer reading programs are over. Our youth staff members were about ready to make up shirts saying “I hate summer reading.”

  7. Ugh. Makes me glad I don’t deal with patrons anymore. Is it a full moon or something? Sounds like there’s a crazy epidemic. In my world, my wife’s boss fired her…for apparently being unable to do work that the boss should have been doing (and which the boss was the only one who had the information to complete), or because she didn’t like her, or who knows why.

  8. Thank god I went corporate. So far, I’ve never had an engineer pee on a library chair (knock on wood)

  9. Can’t possibly be real engineers, Claire. They’re even less continent than public library patrons (I used to house share with some)

  10. You have my complete sympathy. I almost feel guilty now for not having as bad a day as you. Although we have had a few “entitlement bitches” come through of late… (I really like that label! -Thanks Day!)
    A study in the UK found that librarians were the most stressed. Rather a surprise to the rest of the world but obviously not to us. Upshot was that other fields get acknowledgment for the stress they will suffer and training to deal with it or reduce it. Not so we librarians – http://coastal-librarian.blogspot.com/2008/07/librarians-suffer-most-stress.html

  11. Well, at least I wasn’t alone. I forgot to mention in my post the woman who asked the Circ. staff if she could have a bag for her books. We don’t normally have any bags except for a few that are sold by the friends… Anyway, someone found this lady a plastic shopping bag. Instead of being grateful she was annoyed that she didn’t get a better quality bag.

    … Don’t go away mad, just go away.

  12. Wow, i often thought it would be kinda cool to work in a library, thank you for setting me straight, i forgot how lovely the public can be, working at the BigWorldBankMachine is no cake walk but at least i can run off and hide where no one can find me which affords me time to sleep and read. who says the grass is always greener…

  13. They need to provide booze at the library for you guys. But I’m sure the vagrants will find some way to break into it.

  14. We need a bubble gum machine filled with Vicodin!

  15. I wonder if I could get one of those special ordered to my apartment.

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