I am “on desk” for most of my day at the library. The LA’s (library assistants) are the ones who run the check-out and returns/reserve pick-up desks. This means that I talk to pretty much all the patrons at one point or another during their visit to our beautiful library. Here are a few short stories of my patron interactions for the last week or so.
A very nice young couple comes into the library every few days to check out DVDs. I’ve spoken with the woman a few times since it is her card that they use, but the man is usually silent. They both have lots of tattoos, and she is petite, while he is very tall and has blond dreads and facial hair. The other day when they came in, I mentioned my opinion about one of the films they were returning, and he responded, and we spoke for a few minutes. I was surprised to learn that he has quite a severe stutter! No wonder he rarely talks! I never expected a tall, “tatted-up” guy with dreads to have a speech impediment, which just goes to show that you can’t judge a book by its cover! (groan)
A teenage girl came to the desk with a stack of about 12 YA books. I gave her an impressed look, and she gave me a sheepish grin, saying “I like to read a lot. Like, a lot.” “Me, too,” I replied with a smile. I told her that when I was younger, when I got in trouble, I wouldn’t be sent to my room or denied TV time, but my parents would take my books away from me. A look of horror crept over her face and she cried “That’s…that’s just wrong!” I agreed that it was cruel and unusual. (Thanks, mom and dad!)
I frequently amuse myself by balancing books and other materials on my head and walking around the lobby area. I have very good posture and it makes people smile, so I don’t see anything wrong with it. A little girl came in with her father and saw me with a stack of DVDs on my head as I walked through the otherwise empty lobby to put them on the rack. I heard a “Daddy, look!” and I turned around and smiled at her. Her dad said something like “Pretty cool, huh?” I bent down and told the little girl conspiratorially that I was practicing to be a princess. She giggled and the two of them went downstairs. My coworker LL rolled her eyes at me and I informed her that I AM a princess, but it’s a very small country so she’s probably never heard of it. She laughed and we went back to work. (I am a pirate princess!)
An older gentleman dropped some books off at the returns desk. I thought he looked familiar, and so I checked his name as I started checking in his material. Sure enough, it was an old professor of mine from my undergrad days! I had Dr. R for an audiology class one summer, and it was one of the best classes I ever had. He had a great sense of humor and was a really great teacher. As it happened, I was on the check-out desk when he came up, and I asked him if he remembered me. He said he did and asked what I had been up to. I told him I had graduated and was working full time at the library and was hoping to start grad school in the spring. I asked how he’d been and he told me he had retired and was spending a lot of time in South Florida with his grandchildren, and was working on writing a book! When I asked what it was about he said it involves Jewish music during the Diaspora. He said he’s been spending a lot of time in the UF library (which has an excellent Judaica collection) and not as much in the public library, though he was checking out about eight mystery novels so I guess he has some time to relax and read a good book!
I’ve got a couple more stories but I think I’ll save them for another post. They are both kind of in the bizarre tag and this post is running a bit long so I’ll put them together and post again soon!