Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Restrooms: Do We Need Them?

A couple weeks ago one of my coworkers popped back into the staff area to tell us a patron had complained that two men were having sex in our one-person men's restroom, and he wanted her to do something about it. She thought it was a problem best referred to her supervisor.

We got a good giggle over this, as the guy who made the complaint spends most of his time in the library looking for guy-guy "casual encounters" online.

Coworker: "He said there are two men in the bathroom, they've been in there for a long time, and he thinks they're having sex. I listened at the door but didn't hear anything. What should I do?"

Supervisor: "I bet he's jealous! I'll come out in 15 minutes, and if the door is still locked, I'll knock and ask if anyone needs help. That should be plenty of time for a blowjob."

Coworker: "I don't even know why he's so sure there's anything going on in there. He didn't actually see two men enter!"

Me: "I guess if anyone would know about casual sex in public bathrooms, it would be him."

So after the 15 minutes had passed, the supervisor checked the bathroom and found it empty and clean, with no evidence of any sort of sexual activity, drug activity (which we thought was more likely), or any other wrongdoing. Kind of a let-down, actually.

Supervisor: "If there was any sex, they cleaned up after themselves. At least they were considerate about it."

Then early this week, the same patron who made the complaint about the alleged bathroom sex came up to me and asked that we put up a sign in the men's room telling people to limit their use to 10 minutes or less, because he thinks people (mostly teenagers) are in there too long. It's apparently too much trouble for him to take the elevator up a level and use the other men's restroom.

Of course, the young man who vomited all over that bathroom yesterday wouldn't have had time to clean it up had we implemented a 10-minute time limit. So I'm inclined to let people use the restroom for however long they desire, as long as I don't have to clean it up.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Can't It Be December Forever?

I've already started dreading January. Why, you ask? Because that's when all of the people who reached their yearly ILL request limit can start making requests again! Woohoo!

The most annoying of these asked me why he couldn't start making his 2009 requests in December. It wouldn't have been so bad if he had asked on December 30th or even the 29th or 28th or sometime after Christmas at least, but he asked on December 2nd.

December 2nd! An entire month early! No way, buddy. But I guess it's time to start the office betting pool for how long it takes him to burn through his requests for 2009. The head of circulation won the 2008 bet. Can she do it two years in a row?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Too Many Tears

We have a new director who's managing to piss everyone off. Staff meetings now involve tears and questions about why we don't put up a Christmas tree (yet somehow the scarecrow our gardener put outside the library is wrong because it promotes Halloween). Everyone is confused and irritated, and who wants a director who gathers everyone together for a meeting, taking them away from work that needs doing, then cries because she feels so misunderstood?

I made a patron cry today when I gave her the unfortunate news that no study rooms were available at the time and it would be a 45-minute wait. We're apparently not allowing her to educate herself. She stormed off when I gently suggested she reserve a room in advance so she's sure to have one when she needs it...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Thanks for Telling Me?

I got the weirdest phone call the other day (okay, not the weirdest I've ever gotten, but still pretty strange).

The guy wants to know the definition of a narcissist. He says someone told him it means someone who thinks world events happen because of him. So I look it up in our dictionary (ooo, print source!) and read off the definition. It points to "egoist" too, so I read that definition as well. This seems to satisfy the guy and I think the conversation is over, but then he tells me he's a veteran who goes to the local VA hospital. His psychologist there told him something...and then he says he probably shouldn't say anything because he doesn't want to step on my toes. Well, okay, so he thanks me and hangs up.

Two hours later he calls back and asks if I was the one who gave him the definition of a narcissist. He tells me he doesn't want to step on my toes, but...and then he launches into a lengthy, circuitous speech in which he basically says his psychologist told him that Jesus was a narcissist. He never actually said it, never named Jesus, just skirted around it, but it was pretty obvious what he was trying to say. He didn't want to say it outright, because he knows people have their beliefs and that's okay, and he really doesn't want to step on my toes. That was all he wanted, and he thanked me again and hung up.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Where's the Recycling Bin?

He burned through his yearly allotment of 50 interlibrary loan requests months ago. He complained about that. A lot. You know, maybe I'd feel bad about it if he needed books or articles for research of some sort, but I just can't bring myself to care when all he's doing is ripping CDs onto his computer.

Soon after he submitted his 50th ILL request, he started filling out our "Suggestions for Purchase" forms. At first, he would submit 5-10 requests every couple weeks. Only days after submitting a request, he would start to complain that we hadn't purchased the CDs yet. We told him we place an AV order once a month, then it takes time to get the items shipped to the library and listed in the catalog.

This apparently didn't register, as he started to submit the same requests in multiple manners: via paper forms, dropped into the suggestion box; via paper forms, handed to staff at the reference desk; via paper forms, handed to staff at the youth services desk; via our online comments form; via the library's main email address; and via several staff members' personal email addresses. Did he think we wouldn't know they were all his requests? Just how many of our patrons does he think want the complete Cheap Trick catalog?

It eventually got so ridiculous that we were getting requests for the same CD up to 4 times a week. The kicker? Half of these CDs weren't even out yet. And we're not getting them fast enough? C'mon, Disturbed, get that CD out faster, man! It's for the library! Right.

So we told him to stop. Completely. And he did.

For approximately two weeks. Then we started getting requests for the exact same CDs, in various poor attempts at disguised handwriting. Are we supposed to be that dumb? Really?

So we told him to stop. Again. And he told us it's a free country so he's going to submit as many requests as he wants. Well, gosh, he sure showed us.

So now he's mailing his requests to the library, with someone else's name written in the return address spot on the envelope. If he keeps up with this, he's probably going to waste enough money on stamps to buy several of these CDs he so desperately wants.

And I don't feel bad about that at all.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Lovely Patrons

This week's fun included but was not limited to:

He started yelling at me, waving printouts in my face, totally out of the blue. What was he upset about? He bought something online with his debit card. He had an email receipt for said purchase. His bank claims the transaction never took place. Somehow that's the library's problem because he used our computers to make his purchase. Then because we wouldn't fix it for him, for the rest of the day he refused to speak with us and just stood at the desk waving his arms around angrily whenever he wanted something.

She told me she needed me to do her homework for her. Why? Because she's partially deaf, has a learning disability, has had several strokes, cannot use a computer, and works 50-60 hours/week. It doesn't help that her assignment states that she should go to the public library for help accessing course materials online.

He's been a regular for years. He comes to the library every day at opening and leaves at closing. He photocopies numerous newspaper articles and prints out gazillions of weather and climate maps. He's friendly and polite and always pays for his printouts. It's weird that he spends so much time here, but we've never had any problems with him. Until this week when he started making sexual comments to another patron and showing her sexually explicit cartoons.

But my husband's got me beat for loveliest customer of the week (he owns a small specialty shop several blocks away from the library):

They call him "The Genius" because he's told them the professors at Big State University say he is one. He's got very long hair, which he wraps around his head like a ball of yarn and sticks a baseball cap on top of to keep it in place. He says Stalin's daughter used to live in this city. Her name is Stalina. She was causing all of the crime in the neighborhood she lived in by using her psychic powers on people. The Genius told the police this, but they didn't believe him. They only started listening to him after he saved the police chief's life. But Stalina moved out of the city and now lives in a neighboring county. She's still using her psychic powers, but now she's causing car crashes. She can no longer cause crime here because the KGB is located in Expensive City Neighborhood, and they also have psychic powers, which cancel out Stalina's now that she lives outside of the city.

It's hard to believe The Genius isn't a known library patron!

Monday, July 14, 2008

From Last Friday

A patron told me they should make a slapstick romantic comedy starring Brett Favre and Hillary Clinton.