Tag Archives: short stories

Bizarre Tales from the Library

Here we are, as promised, and I got another bizarre tale yesterday that will round this set of stories out to three, which is the best number, of course.

Story One:

This one is from my supervisor. He said he received a phone call from a woman saying that she’d checked out a book for her elderly mother. While reading the book, her mother unfortunately passed away. She had been enjoying the book so much, though, that her family decided to send the book with her into the afterlife, put the book in the casket, and buried her with it. Is your jaw on the floor yet? Mine was, too! My supervisor told me that the woman said, “I guess I owe you something for the book, huh?” Really? At least she offered to pay for it. I was so baffled that I was struck speechless (which is a feat!) Have they never heard of the saying “You can’t take it with you?” Do they adhere to the Ancient Egyptian belief that what goes in your tomb goes with you to the spirit world? Is she going to read the book to God? Utterly bizarre.

Story Two:

A woman came in to see if she had any holds to pick up. She didn’t have anything ready, but when I took a closer look I saw that one of her items had been on hold since April of 2009. Yes, that is 2009. My coworker AC and I started an investigation to find the book in question. We discovered that the book was checked out to an internal account that we haven’t even used at the library in over a year. The book has been checked out for THREE YEARS. So where is it? I went to the shelf, to see if it could have been put back without getting checked in and just hadn’t been checked out in all that time. No luck. We talked to JW, the supervisor, and she said that all the books still checked out to that account need to be marked “Missing/Lost” and withdrawn, since when we switched to Polaris the account was searched and what’s left could not be found. (She said it was originally over 300, and is now down to about 60. So that’s good!) We sent an email to Tech Services to see if another copy can be purchased for this poor woman who’s been waiting to read this book for over three years. I hope she still wants it!

Story Three:

Starting with the switch to Polaris, we decided to make our security measures a little stronger. We now require either a library card or photo ID in order to check-out or pick up holds. Doesn’t seem too stringent, right? There are some complainers however, including Mr. P, (whom I don’t actually know at all) who came to pick up some holds yesterday. He started grumbling when I asked for his ID, and I joked, “Well, you know how we like to follow the rules at the library!” He said “Oh I know” and informed me that he believes the Nazi-socialist movement must have been started by librarians because we need to check on people even if they’ve been coming to the library for ten years and then muttered something about Big Brother and keeping tabs on people as he wandered off with his books. Yes, you are correct, the library is a place where we keep tabs on all our citizens and we have a giant database dedicated to our Nazi-socialist movement. You figured it out. What?

Bonus Mini-saga:

The main staircase in the lobby that leads up to our adult and teen area is currently being tiled, which means it’s been closed off all week and patrons need to use the elevators to get to the third floor. This combined with the rearranging of the collections has caused a panic amongst our patrons, who are, to say the least, resistant to change. We’ve received looks of confusion, despair, rage, and everything in between. We’ve been asked if the whole upstairs is closed. We’ve been asked how to get up to the next floor. We’ve had angry accusations that the elevators aren’t working, when they were actually just pushing the wrong button. (The children’s area is the first floor, making the lobby floor two, and the adult/reference/teen area floor three. Most people push ‘2’ and don’t go anywhere.) One man today became agitated and began shouting. A few patrons have chosen not to use the elevators and walked back out the front door. And the worst part? When I got to work on Tuesday at 12:30pm, the stairs were blocked off with hand-written signs that said “PLEASE USE ELEVATOR’S”. I almost cried. That kind of grammar abuse is just unacceptable at the library! But then I sat down, opened Word, and made new signs to replace them. One of the guys who was doing the tile said they were great and wanted extra for when they close off the children’s stairs. We’re hoping they’ll be done with it by next week, so we can all return to our normal lives without the sounds of people cutting tile interrupting our nice, peaceful library (haha).

Double Bonus! Moments of Cute:

A woman came in to pick up her hold, and she was VERY excited about it. I went to fetch it, and noticed it was a children’s book, called Superheroes: The Adventures of Max and Pinky. She said that it’s for her son, and they’ve read the first two in the Max and Pinky series and he can’t wait to read this one too! Her plan was to put it under his pillow and surprise him with it at bedtime. Adorable!

Another lady came in yesterday to pick up her hold, and it was a BIG BOOK called The LEGO Ideas Book: Unlock Your Imagination. She said her five-year-old grandson had been anxiously waiting for it. She said she’d never seen anyone so enthusiastic about something. I hope he builds something awesome!

My super cool friend DR came in today! She told me that she’s enjoying school (her mom home-schools her and she’s in eighth grade) and they come to the library on Fridays because she has fencing beforehand. I asked if she stabbed anyone today and she said she fights with sabers, so it’s more like beheading. I high-fived her. She is a totally great kid and I’m so glad she likes reading so much (she got another armful of books today)!

It took a long time to get this post together because I was working on it during my breaks today, but it’s done! I hope you enjoy it, and keep bookaneering!



Filed under At the Library

Patron Interactions

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.

Story One:

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)

Story Two:

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!)

Story Three:

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!)

Story Four:

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!

Keep bookaneering!


Filed under At the Library