Tuesday, April 10, 2007

but I'm from Texas...

time for yet another installment of "Yes, there are Some Stupid Questions," but this one is more along the lines of "if you already knew the answer then why did you ask the question?" (or maybe, just perhaps, "I'm the Librarian, damn it!" so, of course, I'm Right~Meow.)
Today was a loooooooong day, starting with an 8:00 a.m. committee meeting (all my meetings seem to come at 8:00 a.m. which is still nighttime, as far as i am concerned~not too big on mornings.) The reason why i bring it up is that, it seems, whenever we reach the end of one of these meetings and are trying to schedule the next one, someone always seems to say "I CAN'T come in on That morning because I work that night..." To which i always want to respond, "So?" or "And..." because i work all nights and here i am... (yeah, i know, wah, wah, wah...)
So my first customer of the day is looking for a book on the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the Real story. I tried explaining to her that the movie was not based on real events but i could probably find the novelization for her.
"No, I want the real story."
I tried further explaining the idea that Tobe Hooper had invented Leatherface (yes, Ed Gein~from Wisconsin, mind you~did provide some inspiration for the skin mask and cannibalistic aspects but what movie serial-killer hasn't drawn some broad inspiration from Ed Gein?) and the whole chainsaw thing (it came to him while standing in a hardware store, or so i've heard) but she was from Texas and she could remember when it happened (the chainsaw wielding, cannibalistic serial killer, that is), so i just couldn't get the concept to stick. I think she left thinking "Silly, silly non-Texan librarian."
Next is the woman who wants a listing of all the presidential salaries from George W(ashington) all the way through George W(. Bush). At first i thought this might be a difficult task but i actually came up with the figures rather quickly only to be told that they were wrong (because she knew for a fact that George Washington was only paid $200 per year which didn't match my $25, 000~though he did refuse it.) I had to come up with three other sources, all giving the same information before she could be convinced that she was either a)misremembering or b)whichever source she got it from was wrong to begin with (this is the same woman who always seeks Me out for My Information~i feel so blessed).
Our resident crazy newspaper guy, who on Saturday accused me of removing all of the ads from all of our papers so he could not see them, asked for the third day in a row how long we keep the papers, because there is an article he really wants and he would even be willing to dig through our recycle bin for it if it comes to that; And could i use "our special librarian databases" to find a Washington Post article that he needs and email it to him?
"We don't have access to any databases that our patrons don't, sir," (well, not the kind you seem to want, anyway~then, after telling me it couldn't be found online, we found it online~hip, hip...)
And my third strike for the day? A woman comes in looking for a book she has in hold but she can't find it on our hold shelf. When i look up her card i tell her it is being held for her at a different branch. "But my card said This Branch". (since the computer system i'm using is the same computer system that printed the card i doubt it, but whatever.)
"It is being held for you at The Other Branch."
"But my card said This Branch." (hmm, this conversation seems to be going nowhere.)
"Well, i don't have the book here, what shall we do?"
"The card said it was here."
. . . . .
Things continued like that for quite some time, but i won't further bore you, just suffice it to say the migraine that i had for an entire week, which then gave me a day-long break, is coming back.
My library is located right next to some low-rent apartments (which isn't quite as much fun as being across the street from the baby gangster junior high, but almost...) These apartments give us a nine-year-old boy whose fondest dream is to hide in the library after everyone has left (and he has actually succeeded once or twice in doing so~therefore he has been banned until he and his mom come in to talk to our manager. They also bless us with a four-year-old girl who once wandered in, by herself, trailing behind or sitting by random adults until my manager noticed and walked her home. The little girl's mother came in today to use our courtesy phone to call the police because her four-year-old who had been "in and out of the house, playing, you know?" was nowhere to be found and she thought she had taken off with the nine-year old neighbor who thinks its a fun game to take her by the arm and they both run away from the girl's mother and she can't stop them from going "wherever."
As i'm listening to this, i'm wondering, "do you really want to let the police know that not only have you lost track of your four-year-old who you do not seem to supervise in any way, but that you also have seem to be incapable of control or proper supervision if you did try?"
One of the neighbors did find the girl (sitting by herself in some unattended car, by the by) just before the police arrived but the mom wanted the officer to go talk to the mother of the nine year old to tell her that her son couldn't play with her daughter. I had to stay in the library, so i didn't hear any of the officer's conversation with ANY parents, though i think it might have been interesting.
And then our crazy family comes in. Mom and Dad, both seem to inhabit some other world~who knows where, so, of course, their two sons are out of control. They are wandering about the library, causing their usual chaos, when one of the boys notices the beautiful, brand, new stuffed tiger that our Marketing department just brought us for display. He wants it (and of course if your child wants something, you just give it to him, right?) So Dad tries to get it down, only to discover, that the very-wise Marketing people had tied it down with wire. Failing to have his desire met drives the child into a kicking, SCREAMING (eardrum-shattering) temper-tantrum (which lasts much longer than i gave the human lungs credit for). His temper-tantrum coincides with another child's temper-tantrum because she is being forcibly separated from some library item (i'm too over-occupied with the first problem to see what that item is). Meanwhile Dad is trying to calm his brat by offering him all the other stuffed animals we have atop our shelves (because when your child is throwing a fit you should prove to him what an effective technique throwing a fit can be). The boy takes our flamingo and alternately beats it against the floor and lets out a high-pitched squeal to let Everyone know he still isn't happy. I sit at my desk trying to decide if i want to deal with any of this (have i mentioned this family is a continual problem? talking to any of them rationally is difficult)
Finally the family leaves and everything feels just a bit calmer. I mention something along those lines and our new shelver asks "how many kids are in that family anyway? Five? Six?"
"Two, just two." my head is on the desk as i hold up two fingers.
Luckily we are in the final stretch and as i am going through my pre-closing routine, on my way back to the computer room to start turning off the Internet computers, i am stopped by a befuddled-looking woman standing in front of our "One Book" display. "What are these books here for?" she asks.
I do a quick little blah, blah, blah spiel and am met by a look of confusion i have neither the time or inclination to try and clear. I point to the poster above the display explaining the program and now i encounter that kind of slack-jawed expression i recognize as, "You mean i have to Read? Multiple Words? On a poster? Duh?" she stares at the poster for a while then asks, "So you can check these out? And read them? And bring them back?"
That's the basic concept of a library, yeah. What, didya think you were walking into a liquor store 'cause that's a ways away. (I restrain myself to a simple "yup" and quickly scamper away.)
Once i did get most of the computers turned off and i noticed a guy go from an on computer, to turn one on that i had already turned off, when i noticed him going to a third i marched back there.
"Did you need some help, Sir???" (i must admit i was a touch grumpy by this point)
"Those other computers didn't work"
"If you're having trouble with the internet computers you should just come up to the desk and let us know," (so that this ever-so-friendly and Helpful librarian can come show you how to enter your 1-2-3-4 password~and, yes, that's actually what it was) "I just turned those computers off because we're closing. So, did you need help getting on the internet?"
"Why, are ya closin' or something?"
"Well, yes, actually, (like i just told you, and announced, a few times, but oh well) you only have a few minutes left."
"Oh, well here's your card back," he tosses his one-day internet card at me.
Okay, whatever dude.
Where's a chainsaw when you need one?

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