Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Library Rant

FYI: I posted my lasagna recipe on Virginia Cooks if anyone wants it.

Normally I do not complain about my job, but sometimes dealing with the public gets on my last nerve. Today I give you a list:

Seventeen Things A Librarian is Not

1. Bank Teller--No, I can't break your $50 bill. This is a library, not the Federal Reserve. If you knew you wanted to make copies, you should have grabbed a handful out of your couch cushions or off the floor of your car before coming in here. That's called "planning ahead". And no, I will not break your $5 bill so that you can buy a soda out of the machine. Now go away before I throw Volume 4 at your head.

2. Mindreader--If you don't bring your ID or--shock!--library card, how do you expect me to know who you are? Would you go to the grocery store without any money and expect to leave with groceries, just because you're "in here all the time" and I "know" you? Likewise, I cannot look at you and magically see which books you have checked out and when they are due. I cannot telepathically understand what you want or what you are looking for. Try opening your big fat mouth. It's located under your big schnoz.

3. Tutor--I'm done with school. I got my diploma. Now it's your turn. My job is to show you where the books are. Not to make sure you understand the big words in them. That's where the dictionaries come in. Do you want me to show you where those are? Didn't think so. Now go sit down, lazy ass.

4. Proofreader--No, I will not check your resume or research paper for typos. Do you really want to put your job interview or midterm grade in the hands of someone who knows you owe $15.00 in late fines? File that paper under "Not My Job".

5. Office Supply Store--What's up with people asking to borrow the stapler, hole puncher, highlighters, pens, telephone, headphones, phone book, pencils, calculators, paper, Post-It notes, floppy disks, money, tape, rubberbands, fax machine, scissors, ruler, paperclips, batteries, chair, staple remover, whiteout, etc.? (And yes, I've had people ask for all of these things!) Don't these people ever go to Staples?

6. Public Notary--No, I do not have the authority to sign your official document. I cannot marry you. I cannot help you apply for citizenship. You do not register to vote here. My signature does not prove to your probation officer that you were here between 10 am and 4 pm today. A note from me doesn't excuse you from school or work. I. Just. Work. Here.

7. Lawyer--If you are going through a divorce, I'm sorry to hear the news. But please do not ask me to interpret South Carolina Divorce Law to you. I don't know who gets the third car or if she has the right to half of your inheritance. I don't know if your neighbor has the right to put up that hideous fence. I don't know diddly squat about law. If I did, I would be what they call "a lawyer". And I would be working in "a law firm" and probably get paid a lot more money to listen to your idiotic, petty questions.

8. Doctor--First off, I don't need to hear the details about your gastro-intestinal problems. And last time I checked, I don't wear a white coat to work. I don't own a stethoscope. I don't know what you have or what medicine you should take because I didn't go to med school. I can show you where some books are about medicine, but if you want a diagnosis, you might want to go to a real, actual doctor. Shocking concept, I know.

9. Babysitter--Just because you are too cheap to cough up some money for afterschool care doesn't mean that I have to make sure your kid stays out of trouble between 2:30 and whenever-you-come-to-pick-them-up. It's not my job to make sure they did their homework, either. In fact, if your kid comes here and acts up, I will just simply call the cops. They will report you to social services and you will get in trouble for being a BAD parent. Oh yes, honey. That's just what you are. Because libraries are free and open to the public. So if Mr. Pedophile wants to come in and molest little Timmy, I cannot and will not stop him. (Although, that's mostly because molesters don't exactly have signs around their necks. Not because I favor that sort of criminal behavior.) Next time you want to tell Timmy to "just hang out at the library" until you get off work, ask yourself, Would I feel comfortable leaving him in a mall by himself? My guess is, no. Same goes for the library.

10. Bookseller--This is not Barnes & Noble. We don't serve coffee or cookies. That means you cannot eat or drink in here. And if you like a book, that does not mean you can buy it from us after you are done reading it. We apologize for not having everything you see at the bookstore, but we are working on it. In order to do that, we will have to ask you to pay more taxes. What? You don't want to pay more taxes? Ok, then shut up and go grab an old crappy book.

11. Waitress--Do not raise your hand, call me over to you or snap your fingers at me. I do not work for tips. I do not work for you. I am not a dog. I will not go and get something for you or bring it to you. Be grateful I've allowed your stinky ass in here to start with, because you're stupid, lazy and you SMELL.

12. Computer Geek--I'm sorry the computer isn't doing what you want it to do. It's probably messing up because all the porn sites you've been looking at gave the computer viruses.
Maybe you should do that at home, you sick bastard. That way, you can get your jollies without worrying about scarring the little children who see you wacking off in public. And I don't know why it isn't printing the way you want or if the computer is enabled to do X, Y and Z. If whatever you're working on is so vitally important to your life that this problem is making you suicidal, I recommend you use your friend's or purchase a computer of your own. But that implies you have a job and friends to start with. Nevermind.

13. Miracle Worker--If you have a 14 page research paper due tomorrow and you haven't even picked out a topic, I cannot help you. Sorry buddy, you're S.O.L. If your teacher gave you a really complicated assignment requiring that you "look at some books or something", I cannot help you. Next time, maybe bring a copy of the assignment with you because you are apparently too stupid to pay attention in class. Also see #2. If you saw a book here, and you want to look at it again, but the only thing you remember about it is that it had a green cover, I cannot help you. If you have 10 overdue books and left them all at home, but "meant to bring them" and you want me to not charge you "just this once", I cannot help you. If you owe $1500 in late fines, and we have sent your information to the collection agency and it is to the point that your credit score is being affected, I cannot help you. You, sir, are a complete moron. Because if you had just brought them back on time, you would owe us nada. There's no point in getting mad at me. You're really just mad at yourself, now, aren't you?

14. Maid--Go ahead! Leave your candy wrappers, papers, water bottles, cell phones, keys, musical instruments, personal books, DVD collection, drugs, used kleenex, lighters, wallets, porn mags, purses, library cards, photocopies, drivers' licenses, unsigned paychecks, Social Security cards, computer print-outs, checkbooks, credit cards, cash, lunch, children, bottles, toys and stuffed animals here. That's my job. To clean up after you. It's what I get paid for, isn't it? Just don't be upset if you come back and it's not here. I'll keep your kids and hold them for ransom.

15. Personal Researcher--Do not call the library to ask me the following: "If there were no continents, and the world was just one big ocean, which direction would the current go?" And then ask me to call you back when I find the answer. Teachers--do not call and ask me to pull 35 books on Zebras for you so that you can come and pick them up after school is out. Do not come into the library 5 minutes before closing and ask the following question: "Why do roosters crow? And why can't mountain goats be domesticated?" You need to get a life. Oh, wait. We are fresh out of Get the Life You've Always Wanted! books. That's because most people who have lives aren't in libraries at 9pm on a Friday night. Do not call the library to ask that I look up 10 articles for you, print them out for you and fax them to you. Do not call the library and ask me to read a chapter of a book to you over the phone or find a recipe for you so that I can read it to you over the phone. I am not your personal assistant. If you want me to be your personal researcher, I'll be glad to do it. I charge $100 per hour for personal research. Wait, where are you going?

16. Censor--Yes, I realize the model on the magazine cover has very little clothing on. Yes, I realize that some parents have a problem with Heather Has Two Mommies. But the thing is, there's this law we have. It's called The First Amendment. And it allows this concept called "freedom". Maybe you've heard of it. If you have a problem with what we are buying, here is the library director's phone number. Here's your local government official's number. Call them. They care about your vote. I don't. But don't get me wrong. I get where you're coming from. When I'm a mom one day, there will be stuff I don't want my kids looking at either. That's why I will accompany them to the library, the bookstore, the movies, the mall and other places where I will struggle to control what they see and do. This is called "parenting". You can find books on parenting under the call number 649.1. Have a nice day.

17. Idiot-- I went to school for this. I know how it works, how to do it quickly and how to do it right. You don't. So sit down, shut up, and listen to me. You might be able to squeeze some knowledge into that cinder block you call a "brain" sitting on your shoulders.

Whew! Man, do I feel better. And just for the record, every situation discussed here is true. People really have left their kids and paychecks at the library. Those questions and phone calls all happened. Most have happened to me, some have happened to colleagues. The library is a mecca for freaks. But that's another post.


Vixen said...

Wow, this was absolutely well as hilarious! I cannot believe how utterly stupid people can be. But then again, at my job, they can be as stupid as this as well. Must be human nature!

Mr. Man's Mom said...

You forgot Psychiatrist/Social Worker/Personal Counselor - My personal fave.

The Dummy said...

You sure are perky today! #1 gave me a good laugh. I'd love to see you throw a book at idiots 1-17.

jennster said...

i bet you'd be really popular if you were all these things.
you should start tossing things at people. and randomly yelling.

teahouse said...

Hahahaha..that is too funny.

And I am absolutely going to try your lasagna recipe. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

sassafras said...

Great post! Way to vent about work in a humurous way!

anny said...

i think it's so great that you're a librarian! i would love to be with books all day. people?... not so much.

Virginia Belle said...

vixen-- sorry to hear that you have the same people coming to you at your job. i think they just travel the country, trying to annoy people.

lb--yes, i did forget that one! what about me says "tell me your personal problems"?

DD--yeah, i guess i was in a fiesty mood....this post has been building up in my brain for a while now. if i throw anything, i'll try to catch it on video for you.

jennster--yes! random yelling! that would be so awesome if i could do that.

teahouse--hope you like the lasagna!

sass--thanks, sweetie! :)

anny--yeah, you pretty much nailed it on the head. books=nice, but people suck sometimes. (some people are really cool. i'd say only about 1/2 of the people i deal with act like this.)

NML said...

This was hilarious! I love a good rant!

Original Me said...

As a fellow librarian, I concur!

Virginia Belle said...

NML-- i knew you could sympathize!

original me--i had no idea you were a librarian. yet another thing we have in common. weird. :)

the shrewness said...

i think my favorite is the waitress... ive had people do the snappy fingers to me too. and i was so tempted to break every single one!

great list!

charming, but single said...

VB! This rules! A little-known fact about me is that I worked at two libraries during my first year of college. And though I do not have my MLIS, I totally feel you on this. People have no idea what libraries are for. AT ALL. This rocked. So hard.

Did you see "Party Girl" with Parker Posey? The speech she gives about the Dewet Decimal system? I SWEAR TO GOD IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN IT, I INSIST THAT YOU RENT IT NOW. NOW! NOW!

(Sorry, I'm tipsy. We beat Duke. DUKE. We beat them. MOTHER F-ING DUUUUUKE!)

Virginia Belle said...

shrewness-- *VB bows* thank you very much! yeah, the waitress thing is one of my least favorite, along w/mind reader. what's up w/people who just stand at the desk, expecting you to know what they want??? ever heard of "asking for help"? i just ignore them now so i can see how long it takes them to figure it out.

Charming-- thanks! funny to see how many current/former library workers are commenting here. i had no idea you worked in a library. i have been meaning to see Party Girl. I have heard this is a must-see for librarians. and i am so stoked for LSU!!!! i am glad it was y'all who beat Duke. Reddick sux. I hate that guy. so glad i don't have to look at him anymore!

DetoxSmurf said...

You're right... the library does attract an array of weirdos. The only time I go to the library is when I have to research a paper for school.

charming, but single said...

We had a problem with a shoe-stealer when I worked at the library ... women would slide their shoes off under the table during long study sessions and he'd climb under the table and take the shoes ...


Miss Fire said...

Had to de-lurk for this one! As a law librarian who is thinking about going back to school to be a real librarian, I think you just changed my mind!

Books rule. People, especially lawyers, not so much.....

Samborera said...

I don't go to the library, ergo I'm not a freak.