Wednesday, August 20, 2008


To: The 10% of our patrons who are boneheads

From: The Library Assistant

We are happy to take your donations of books, Often, we can add them to our collection, otherwise we save them for our every other year used book sale. But if you have just cleaned out your basement/garage/attic, don't expect us to store six cartons of of very old books for two years. Keep them yourself until the sale comes around. Or take them to the thrift store. And please, don't give us anything that is torn, or mouldy, or just disgustingly dirty. If you are one of those people who simply can't bear to throw away a book (and believe me, I understand that feeling), hand it to a friend or neighbor, and ask them to put it in the recycle bin for you.

We love children, and want them to feel welcome at the library. This doesn't mean it's OK for you to drop off pre-schoolers in the kids' area and go spend the next two hours on the computer, completely ignoring the fact that they are pulling books off the shelves ten at a time, or loudly fighting, or running behind the circulation desk every two minutes to demand from the librarian the attention you are not giving them yourselves. Oh, and when you are checking out, if your children keep grabbing at the librarian's rubber stamps, tell them to stop it. We don't expect perfect behavior, don't want perfect quiet from kids; we just don't want to be treated like babysitters.

Computer users: we give you a "heads up" ten minutes before the library closes. Log out before that ten minutes is up. Do not keep cruising the web until one (or ten) minutes after closing time. And especially do not then expect to take ten more minutes looking for a book or movie to check out. Also, do not whine if the Internet connection is slow. If it is slow for you, it is also slow at the circulation desk. We all have to put up with it, so just suck it up.

If, thanks to our generous lending policy, you have decided to check out 25 books and 5 movies for your family, please don't rush so fast to get ahead of the patron just moving toward the desk with 2 books in her hand.

Do not interrupt the library assistant with a question or request when she is clearly talking to another patron. She will give you her full, uninterrupted attention as soon as she is able to.

For our younger patrons: if your friends call the library and ask to talk to you, it had better be an emergency. If they are just calling to arrange to meet you somewhere later, the mean library staff will soon put a stop to it. If they call you on your cell phone - go out into the hall to take the call. If this means that you loose your place at the computer to someone else, so be it. Life is full of difficult choices. Come to think of it, this applies to our older patrons as well. Just turn off the d**n cell while you are in the library. That is what voice mail is for.

Do not bring sticky, drippy or crumbly food items into the library. Do not return books or videos that are covered in sticky, presumably once drippy, substances, food or otherwise. Carefully wipe them off with a damp cloth.

That book sitting on the librarians desk? The one you spotted by craning your neck and hanging halfway over the counter? No, you cannot check it out. It is there for one of several reasons, all of which limit it's availability for now. When it is available, it will be either on the shelving cart, or on the shelves. This is the same answer I gave you last week, and it is the same answer I will give you next week. So just stop asking.

P.S. to the 90% of our patrons, young and old, who are thoughtful, courteous, patient, kind, and appreciative, "Thank You!" Most days, it's a true pleasure coming to work because of you. Despite all my venting, I can't think of a better job.


MollyBeees said...

Amen Sister! This applies not only to the library but the world at large. What ever happened to good manners and consideration for others. Now it's "You come first (shove) right after me!"

Linda L. said...

A hearty "Hear, hear" from the daughter of a librarian (and former library volunteer myself).

Seems like we may be seeing the results of the new generations of parents who only have children in order to join the "mommy club", let daycare raise them, then they're stuck in schools concerned more with not hurting a child's feelings than teaching them the three Rs.

Sigh. No wonder I fantasize about spiking the nation's water supply with birth control drugs.

Leslie said...

As a former member (and chair) of the Library Trustees of New Salem MA I thank you.

I am almost tempted to print this out, frame it and present it to the library.

Kitty Mommy said...

Amen! Though at our former (now that we are more than half moved) library, I'm pretty sure the percentage is higher than 10. One day we were in the kids section with a preschooler alone while mom was on the computer and every time one of my kids would pick up a toy, this kid would try and yank it out of their hands and if that didn't work, would start hitting them until I intervened. When I would say something to the child (with increasing volume) the mother would look up for a moment and then go back to what she was doing on the computer!

YarnThrower said...

Whatever happened to "common courtesy?" I'm sure it's the few cases which really stick out, though it seems that many kids aren't being taught the basics of being respectful, probably because their parents don't have these skills, either? Anyway, thanks for the chuckle!

Firefly Nights said...

Hey, this was great. But I'd address it to 25% instead of 10%. Maybe even more.

smariek said...

This was a great read!