The strangest things happen at the library- today for example some guy came in and needed to have his social security card faxed to a potential employer. That wasn’t weird- what was weird is he payed for the fax with a bag of 200 pennies.
This happens nearly every day. I spend a good portion of my day at the circulation desk. People will come to check their books out and they will hand me their library card- except they won’t really hand it to me. Some people just won’t give that library card up for the 5 seconds it takes to scan it. So I will have my hand on the card to scan it but before i can scan it they are already pulling the card out of my hand. It becomes a tug of war.
People will call on the phone to renew a book. I will ask their name- type it in- and if they have a common enough name there will be a number of patrons with the same name in the system- the system covers over one hundred libraries throughout the state. To match the correct name with the person on the phone I will ask their birth date. This is never a problem unless it is an older woman. Older women for some reason do not want to tell me their birth date- they want to give me their library card number– that works but the card number is fourteen numbers and when they give me their card number they rattle it off too quickly for me sometimes to find the match. I am going to see their birth date anyway because it is listed. Sometimes also when they have some long and hard to spell name they will spell it for me but of course they spell it like they are in a race to spell it as quickly as they can- like they will spell Wojciehowicz in 5 seconds and get annoyed when you didn’t get it on the first go around.
A fellow came in today with a long list of books he wanted to order. It’s possible to sit at home and order books from not only our library but over one hundred libraries throughout the state- and the book will be sent to us for pick up usually within a week. I am the only one working the front desk. He checks our new books and sees the books he wants are not on the shelf. I don’t know when he asks me if I can order him a book that it is not a book he wants but by the time he is done I have looked up ten books to order for him in our system. Meanwhile the line behind him grows longer and longer. He is oblivious. I can understand if the person wanting the book has no computer. This guy though I know has a computer because he no sooner leaves the library- five minutes tops- the phone rings and he says that he just checked his account online and he had a book that was due today and can I renew it for him. He could have ordered those ten books he wanted without leaving his house, without annoying the ever growing line of people behind him waiting to check out and without annoying the hell out of me. He didn’t even know the correct title for some of the books he wanted- like a James Patterson book. There were 814 results when I typed in James Patterson- this is after I had typed in the title he gave me which had no matches because there was no such book by James Patterson with that title or no such book by anyone with that title- because there is no such book by that title he gave me.
A woman came in wanting to me to send a fax. The paper she wanted faxed was all crinkled up- like it had been balled up but then so she could fax it- had tried to flatten it back out. It had a million crinkles in it- and it did fax- but I think I know what happened. Not being judgmental here but the lady who came in I would estimate was around thirty. She looked fifty and very hard- a life of sex, drugs and rock and roll with a lot of alcohol maybe thrown in. I am not a tattoo person but I don’t care if someone has tattoos this lady had tattoo’s all over and they were very ugly looking tattoos- not good looking or interesting ones- anyhow- here is what I think happened. The paper was being faxed to the local police department. I didn’t read the paper of course but I couldn’t help but see in big letters at the top the name of the town followed by POLICE DEPARTMENT. The paper was filled out from top to bottom with a lot of writing. What I figure happened was–she had some infraction and the police gave her the paper with all the details- and she balled the paper up and threw it down or whatever– then thought better of it. The paper did go through the fax machine. I wasn’t sure that it would. She was very polite and all during the couple minutes in the library.
You would think working at a library would be very boring, what could happen at the library that would be all that interesting? Every day I come home and Mrs. Postcard will ask- What happened today and I usually have a good story or stories.