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Friday, August 04, 2006

People Suck, part 2

I’ve been reading library blogs lately, trying to get a sense of what I’ll be facing in my professional life in the next few years.
These are some of my favorites:
Happyville Library,
Annoyed Librarian, and
Society for Librarians Who Say "Mofo"
(note: The title of the above blog actually spells out the word that "mofo" stands for, but that is one of two words I will not say around my mother, and on the off-chance that she will ever read this, I don't want to offend her. Also note that I will and do say this word aloud quite often, just never around her. Some things are sacred.).

These blogs chronicle the daily grind at the library, the ins and outs of dealing with the public. It has been drawn to my attention by these blogs that the public sucks. For every one decent, intelligent, friendly patron, there seems to be ten argumentative, pushy, obnoxious ones.

Here at this quiet academic library, we deal mostly with students who are studying to become librarians and other information professionals, so the amount of bullshit we have to deal with is small. However, now and then we get some treasures.

Yesterday, I was sitting at one of the circulation desks doing some work, and a librarian was working at the other desk. A patron came in to return a book that was a bit overdue. She had incurred $1.00 in fines on it. When my coworker informed her that she had fines, the woman said, "You're not actually going to make me pay them, are you?"

Why, yes, actually, we are. That's the way the library works--we allow you to take out books FOR FREE, but you are going to be charged for them if they are late. This can't be new to you. Libraries have been doing this since the beginning of time. Hell, it's the only way to make sure that the materials come back. Think about it another way--would you expect Blockbuster to waive your late fees just for the fun of it?

The patron's reasoning was that, since the book hadn't been checked out since February, she shouldn't be charged anything in late fees because no one was waiting for them.

Oh, well in that case, you're absolutely right. This book hasn't been taken out in six months, so it is entirely unreasonable for us to charge you for returning it late. Lady, I don't care if that book hadn't been taken off the shelf since the last ice age. If it's late, you get fined.

She's lucky, cause my co-worker is nicer than I am, and waived her fines. As she was doing so, the patron was saying, "Oh, it's ok, you don't have to do that."

Suuuuuure.

The clincher? This parting statement: "The library is my favorite charity."

News flash--the library is NOT a charity. It's a public service, paid for by taxes and the government. In this case, it's a service provided to students, paid for by the university. Just because we accept donations DOES NOT mean that we are a charity.

Furthermore, if you are this "generous" with your "favorite charity," I'd like to see what you're like to your least favorite "charity." I hope you don't withhold that dollar from them all, cheapskate.

I know that I sound vitriolic over a situation that, after all, wasn't even mine to deal with, but that kind of crap annoys me. I am a chronic late-book-returner. I have fines at the public library constantly. Never once have I asked to have my fines waived because the book wasn't popular, or because it was only a day late, or whatever. If I return a book late, I'll be charged a fine. That's just the way it is. To me, it's a small price to pay for the privilege of having a public library, of being able to check out free books, of being able to read the newest hardcover books so that I don't have to shell out upwards of $25 for them. See, I'm a cheapskate, too, but I'm not going to argue with the librarian or circulation clerk over a couple of bucks in fines that I knowingly incurred. I'm not that cheap.

5 Comments:

  • Dude, your coworker should NOT have let that bitch get away with that. I'd like to know at what point that girl thinks she has to start paying her fines. If she had tried that at Robarts the surly librarian would have spit in her face (I hope).

    By Anonymous Lorien, at 2:28 PM  

  • Oh that is SO annoying.
    grrr. I hate people who think they're the exception to the rules, what makes them think they're so "special"? .

    Oh they're special alright...mummble, grummble, stupid freggin people.

    By Blogger akd, at 5:12 PM  

  • Particularly disturbing is that since this is FIS you work at, that patron is likely studying to become a fucking librarian!

    See, I decided, since I don't like the public, I could never be a public librarian...special libraries are where it's at. Well, that I don't like the public and the fact that while I strongly believe that people should be allowed to look at porn at the library, I do not want to watch people looking (alright, looking is ok...participating...) at porn in the library.

    By Blogger heather., at 8:55 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Aundra, at 9:22 PM  

  • Yeah, but for every down side of a story there is one that made the person feel good. It's like girlfriends and boyfriends, how often do you tell your girlfriends how "great" your boy is (not that we ever really want to hear that anyway) vs all the times we bitch about how much said boy suck, or the stupid shit they did. Hell, if I only thought about all the shitty stuff thats happened to me as a teacher I wouldn't be one... wait... that's a mute point now isn't it. Opps

    By Blogger Aundra, at 9:24 PM  

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