Saturday, December 29, 2007

Quite Possibly the Strangest Questions Ever

Okay, I swore that I wouldn't reveal too much about my personal life, but I think this tidbit barely qualifies: I don't look like your stereotypical bibliophile. I'm not exactly the type you'd expect to working at a library. I was in fraternity for all 4 years of college, and kinda look like what you'd expect in an ex-frat boy. And I'm not going to lie, I used to tease and bully the "nerd" kids in middle school, not letting them know that I too was going home at night and rereading "The Ear, The Eye, and The Arm" for the 50 bajillionth time. Don't worry, I've long since outgrown that phase.

Anyway, I'm working at the Check-in desk at Antietam when I get a phone call. It's somebody wanting to renew their books. Taking care not to use my newly discovered 'smooth-n-sexy' voice to lead the caller into temptation, I renew their stuff. Then I get a bizzare question.

Caller: "What's your main number?"

Me: "You want the phone number to the Main library? (Big City's library system has one Main library, and a bunch of branches. I think that should go without saying, but just to clarify)

Caller: "No no. The Antietam branch. What's your main number?"

Me: "Well what are you looking for? Children's? Reference?"

Caller: "Where you check books in and out and can renew them. What's that number?"

Me: "You mean the one you're calling right now?"

Caller: "Yeah. What's this phone number?"

Me: (My head is straining with the logic contained in her call. She wasn't transferred, she dialed the number, and is asking for the very number she dialed. My head is starting to hurt with just trying to comprehend her thought process. However, against my better judgment, I decide to go ahead and just give her the number) "Okay it's ###-####."

Caller: "###-####? And that would bring me to the place where I can renew books?"

Me: "Yes" (She hangs up)

But has strange as that question was, I got an even harder question later when I was working at the reference desk. A girl comes up to the desk, looks to be about early high school aged. I ask if I could help her find something and she lays this loaded question on me:

Girl Who Doth Expect Too Much: "Yeah, do you have any good books here?"

Me: "Sure we do! What exactly are you looking for?"

GWDETM: (Taken aback by my enthusiasm. What can I say, it had been a slow day, and any question was welcome. Plus, I don't look like the type who'd be excited by books.) "Just something to read"

Me: "Well, that's a tall order. Are you looking for something fiction or non-fiction?"

GWDETM: (Blank Stare)

Me: (Deciding to go through the stuff that most kids her age seem to be into) "Are you interested in Sci-fi? (Blank Stare) Fantasy? (Blank Stare) Graphic Novels? (Blank Stare) Manga? (Blank Stare) I'm a big history fan, I can recommend some very good history books. (Blank Stare) Do you want something that's popular? We've got the new best-sellers over here. (Blank Stare) Cook book? (Blank Stare. I'm still trying to help her, so I finally ask) Well, what sort of things are you interested in? What do you like to read about and I can go from there.

GWDETM: "Just a really good book"

Me: "Is this for an assignment? (She shakes her head) Might you be interested in some of the classics? (Blank Stare) Ever read "Catch-22"? It's one of my favorites. (Blank Stare)

GWDETM: (Realizing her question is not going to be answered without her volunteering any more information.) I guess I'll go look over at the new arrivals. Thank you for your help.

Me: "Feel free to ask anything else."

I suppose people don't expect the frat boy to be a book dork.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Casanova Librarian-stien

Working at the Antietam Branch, on the day after Christmas, when I get a phone call. It's an older lady, by the sound of her voice, and she wants to renew her library books. I do the regular procedure, asking her library card number, what books she wants renewed, when they're due now, etc. Anyway, I'm finishing up and she asks the following question:

Senior Citizen on Phone with Plenty of Life in Her: "Excuse me, but what's your name?"

Me: (Thinking she's going to thank me for my timely manner in which I renewed her stuff) "Me? Tony."

SCoPwPoLiH: "Tony, eh? You must be new"

Me: (Not wanting to go into the whole smeal about how I go from library to library) "Well, I'm here some of the time."

SCoPwPoLiH: "Well, you have a lovely voice. It sounds sexy. I wish that Santa Claus left you under my tree last night. Mmhmm."

Me: "Umm..."(Not sure what to say next)

SCoPwPoLiH: "Here's hoping you're the library next time I come there." (She hangs up)

So apparently the sound of my voice drives the ladies wild, but they're half a century older than me. It was pretty disturbing really. I feel slightly used.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Wherein I Discover a New Stench

At the New Belfast branch, where one of the few patrons I remember from that area has a brand new and offensive odor. Granted, it's not quite on the level of Pus-Man, but it's pretty dang close.

So this kid, notorious for being a pesky patron, comes up to me at the reference desk and asks to get a computer reservation. I wouldn't call this child a "problem patron," he's just rather annoying. Harmless stuff for the most part, though he tries on a regular basis to apply for a new library card even though he already has one laden with fees. I've crossed paths with him at the New Belfast branch before, mainly for wanting a computer reservation and extension on his computer time for several hours.

Anyway, it's about 12:30 in the afternoon when he approaches my desk. (My first thought was that he should be in school, but I remembered that it's early dismissal for the rest of the week due to final exams) And he asks for an extension on his computer time. I inquire as to what computer he is on, and he informs me that he hasn't gotten on one yet, he just wants to get a couple of hours blocked off. And then the smell hits me.

It's a terrible scent. He had already consumed several low-quality lollypops and other sticky candies. In addition, he was at the point in his puberty existence where he desperately needed deodorant, but no one had the gall to tell him so. So he smells like pre-teen fonk, and artificial sweetener. I mean, it's terrible. It almost smells like those "all-natural" sweeteners that come in a vial and are used in conjunction with an eye-dropper that you can find at Whole Foods. Just a really fake sugary scent. And the kid keeps eating candy. Even after I tell him that food and drink are not allowed in the library, he rolls his eyes and pulls out another Dum-Dum. He even poaches a near-by trash can and places it under his desk, presumable to be the graveyard for his fake sugar addiction. Plus, he feels the need to keep coming to the desk every 5 minutes to ask for more time on the computer, even though he had 45 minutes left on his time. I honestly had to stop myself from throwing up every time he left, disappointed since I didn't give him a 4 hour extension.

Then he comes up to me and asks me to smell something. Sight unseen. I refuse, obviously. He shrugs and then pulls out a giant stick of BRUT deodorant, which he clearly hadn't been using. After this revealing, he leaves the library. I still haven't tried to touch his chair, which I'm sure is still sticky with low-quality candy residue

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A Horrific Discovery

Today, while at the Taylor Branch, I discovered that during my tenure working for the library, I have inadvertantly learned the Dewey Decimel system well enough to tell patrons where books are with having to look them up.

I am greatly depressed

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Rhino Fanhood

So the entire population of Big City has gone crazy as of late due to the exploits of our beloved "Rampaging Rhinos" of UBC. Despite a relatively disappointing football season, the Rhinos have somehow landed themselves into a fairly big name bowl game. This action has caused all of the Rhino faithful to collectively lose their minds. In particular, the search for bowl game tickets has reached a fevered pitch, with rumors of tickets being enough to cause widespread rioting. I'm at the New Belfast branch, (which isn't even remotely near UBC's campus) working reference when I get this call:

Me: "New Belfast Library, reference desk, may I help you?"

Insane Rhino Fan: "Yeah, I was calling about getting some tickets to the Kiwi Bowl."

Me: "Um...I think you might have the wrong number, sir"

IRF: "This is the library, right?"

Me: "Yessir"

IRF: "Part of the Big City County Library system?"

Me: "That is correct"

IRF: "Well, I heard you had tickets!"

Me: "I'm sorry, but the library doesn't sell tickets. Perhaps you had us confused with UBC's Library?" (I mean, hey, it's worth a shot. I'm sure they're much more accustomed with people calling for football tickets than we are and probably know who to call to for ticket information)

IRF: "I already called them. They said they didn't have any!"

Me: "okay..." (Very confused)

IRF: "Aren't you a government agency? Shouldn't you have tickets for sale?" (Logic! I think he figured us out. Since UBC and the library both get their money from the state, they both offer the same services. It makes perfect sense! Just like hanging out in the library for 4 years can get you a diploma from UBC)

Me: "I'm sorry, but the library doesn't sell tickets."

IRF: (Exasperated) "Well, do you know where I can get tickets?"

Me: "I'm fairly certain UBC already sold out of their allotment of tickets. You might want to try the internet or ebay, but it's going to be a lot higher than face value. (Like I said, EVERYONE is trying to get a ticket.)

IRF: "I figured as much. That's why I was hoping to try out the library first, before I checked online. Cause the library would have them for free, just as long as I had my card. I mean, I just paid off my account"

Me: (Head exploding) "Wha???..." (pieces of brain mold back together) "No sir, I'm sorry, the library doesn't get any free tickets."

IRF: "Well, thanks anyway. Ebay, you said?"

Me: "That'd be your best bet"

I think the library is missing out on its true calling for being a ticket broker where John Q. Patron can get free tickets for major sporting events just by having a clear account. I mean, that's REALLY serving the community.

That being said, Go Rhinos!