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28 April 2009


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You've covered it very well. One thing I might add, be pleassant to your library staff and they will be plesaant to you.

As a lowly library worker, I appreciate all of those suggestions. :)

Amen to that. Or at least, "Don't be totally bitchy to your library staff and they'll most likely not be totally bitchy with you." I like to set realistic goals for people's behavior. :)

I love lowly library workers. They take all the shit for very little of the pay. For the most part the only thing I found more trying than rude patrons were rude members of the library administration. Solidarity!

One more thing: Have your library card ready when you step to the desk to check out. How many times a day do I stand and wait while the patron digs each book out of their 50 gallon book bag one at a time. Then they stand and look at me until I ask for the card. Then they proceed to dig around in the purse for the stack of business cards and store club cards that are rubber banded together. Then they piece through each of the cards until they find the card. The staff person and all the people in line behind would be very grateful if this person had dug the card out beforehand.

I'm not bitter. Really.

You're awesome. I was going to put that on the list and I forgot. I used to keep tallies (when I was really bored at my job) of how many people kept me waiting while they looked for their cards; it was something like 35%. Ridiculous! This drives me nuts in the grocery store and elsewhere, too, which is why I think the idea of self-check making everything faster is hilarious. You're still going to be stuck behind the people who still have every card they've ever gotten and have to look through the whole pile (as you note, with a rubber band around it) just to find the one or two cards they use on a regular basis.

Oh, god, the looking at you until you ask for their card! That made me laugh! What the hell were they WAITING for? What else did they think I wanted from them?

I'm not bitter either. Really.

Also, use common sense when taking or making a cell phone call, don't forget there are other people very close to you, if you absolutely MUST make a call, please go to the lobby or move yourself away from computers, other readers. etc.

Oh, Mary, cell phones! How could I have forgotten cell phones! I completely agree with you--at the very least, don't shout all your personal info across the library or whatever other public place you're in..."So then my doctor said if he just lanced the boil he thought it would get better..."

And don't talk on your cell phone the whole time a staff member is helping you. It's RUDE!

1. Mop up your child's urine from the service desk.
2a. Do not place your library card in your mouth, yank it out, and then hand it to a library worker. We don't put your dvds in our mouths before handing them back.
2b. Do not fling your library card on the counter when a staff person's patient hand is outstretched.

But no one's perfect. Until I worked at a library I thought store clerks would prefer I leave my items in the basket. It's tidier, I thought. Now I know they WANT THEM OUT OF THE BASKET AND THEY WANT ME TO PUT MY OWN DARN BASKET AWAY, AS THEY HAVE NO CONVENIENT PLACE BEHIND THE COUNTER TO STASH IT.

OMG, Robin, just reading your post takes me back. So sad to think that "urine" and "public service desk" are two words which all of us library staff are too familiar with. I used to keep a bottle of spray cleaner at the desk to mop up after when mommies set kids with wet diapers on the counter. Also explains why I now have borderline OCD about washing my hands.

And don't even get me started on the card in the mouth thing, or the slapping the card flat on the counter. God did that used to bug me. All I can say is, hang in there sister--and next time just hand your patrons the basket and say, "could you drop that off on the pile on your way out? Thanks ever so." That's the least those patrons can do, especially sine you'll be busy wiping up their kids' urine.

Please leave the newspapers in one piece and stop ripping pages out of magazines. We are a small library and can't afford security cameras. I think after I retire my volunteer work will consist of sitting in the periodical section with a yardstick watching people.

Oh, Sam:

We had this guy who always came in at ten minutes to closing and ripped up the whole New York Times right in front of me, and then left it all over the table. I try to be a believer in nonviolence, but man, if I could have had a minute alone to pound that guy, I might have been tempted...

Hmm. Maybe when I'm retired I'll go sit in the periodicals section with a yardstick and whack some knuckles in your honor. I like that as a volunteer idea!

I mean "ripped up" as in "took all apart." Not quite as destructive as I made it sound but very annoying nonetheless.

I'm banned from several public libraries (and video stores) because of unpaid fines. In the fourth grade I barfed on a library book and then returned it. I'm not proud of it - more of a confession brought on by the second glass of red wine I shouldn't have poured myself. But I digress.

I do often WORK in libraries, read books and take notes without checking them out (admitting that I'm probably not going to change, at age 38). My big pet peeve - other than patrons like myself - is people who take cell phone calls in the library - and make no move to either 1) relocate to a public space or 2) HANG up.

I did always feel badly when people reported they were banned from libraries because of fines. Although it was policy in my library not to let people check out until they paid their full balance (once it was over five dollars), I always thought that was jerky. I thought encouraging people to check stuff out even if they could only pay a little bit at a time would have been a nicer way to do it.

My favorite cell phone users were the ones who demanded to know why we didn't prohibit cell phone use, or put up signs announcing that cell phone users should take calls in the lobby, but who then answered their own cell phones and were the loudest talkers around! Charming.

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