Wherein I express myriad incredulities

Posts Tagged ‘anonymous library patron


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Anyone who has ever worked in a library knows EXACTLY what I am talking about.

Creepers are the patrons who creep the hell out of you.  Every library has at LEAST one patron who does this on a regular basis. At the public library, we had Crazy Hannah Montana Dude, the Stacks Flasher, and before we had an enclosed desk there was a myriad of people who would sneak up behind us and breathe in our ears (yes, that is as creepy and distressing as it sounds).

At my current library, we have a guy who comes in almost every morning to use the computers. He camps out by the door and waits for me to open, pushing his way in before I can even unlock the other door. Sometimes he prints things, and he always manages to get up to the desk before the printer stops, which means that I can’t hear him approach. And he’s just THERE. Staring vacantly. His gaze reminds me of being stalked by a goose, as he has an oddly shaped head and I can never see the whites of his eyes.

The creepiest part, however, is the fact that the tone of his voice never matches his facial expressions. Like he’ll leer at you while speaking cheerfully.

So to those of you who read this and have a buffer between yourself and the public: I envy you. You don’t have stalker geese who are more than vaguely reminiscent of John Wayne Gacy.

I am not responsible for whatever happens if a clown ever shows up in here.


Written by fudgebudget

December 8, 2010 at 6:56 pm

A journey, you say

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“You see, I’m going on this journey.”

If I never hear that phrase at a library again it will be too soon.

There was a recurrent anonymous patron at the public library who thought that he was on a very profound genealogical journey.  With Monarch of the Glen.  Oh yes, this man thought that a BBC prime-time soap opera miniseries was about his family.  Wouldn’t it be nice if all of our genealogies had special packaging?

I explained to him several times that this was a work of FICTION, but he never “got” it.


Which would have been sort of charming in a weird and senile way if it weren’t for the fact that HE NEVER BOTHERED TO WATCH THE DAMN DVDS.  Every couple of weeks, he’d show up at the library again, asking to renew the DVDs, and every couple of weeks I had to explain that there was a hold list for them so he’d have to turn them in and wait for them AGAIN.  Then he would have them for TWO WEEKS and FORGET to watch them.  And then he’d be back at the reference desk, trying to go on his journey.  AGAIN.

And you know, I should take time out right now to be thankful that DVDs can be out for weeks at a time.  It’s not like Starbucks, where their product lasts … oh … 30 minutes?  Tops?  And their annoying patrons come back way sooner than mine.   Remember:

However, avoiding retail and customer service was the main reason that I finished my degrees.  True story.

Written by fudgebudget

August 31, 2010 at 4:47 pm

She’s my best friend

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Remember when I talked about public libraries having a special place in the community?  Here’s my rant on security and then a comic to make it less preachy (not really).

Branch libraries deserve adequate security just as much as downtown/main libraries.  This is a fact best illustrated by the pictures that follow in a bit.  When your branch’s employees express security concerns, and you’ve already got security there until 8 when the library closes at 9, spring for the extra hour so that people can walk to their cars at closing without feeling like they are some crazy’s quarry. I feel that this is a reasonable and decent thing to do.  A lot of stuff can happen in that hour.  Like this guy:


Oh he looks innocent enough.  He even ACTED innocent enough.  Until this phone call.

And then there was another phone call.

And then he left on a metaphorical Huffy bike.

Apparently he didn’t really leave, he just went outside to stew in his anger.  Then he came in and made another phone call (this is also why I would discourage a library from introducing a courtesy phone).

Patrons got scared.

Library staff were scared.

Security left.

And then Crazy attacked us as we left the building.

Okay, so he didn’t really attack us, but that’s beside the point.  HE COULD HAVE.  And for all we know he could have been singing Hannah Montana songs the entire time he mauled us. Didn’t think mauling could get any worse?  Play Hannah Montana during the fact.  Moral of story: never go camping in bear country with Hannah Montana.  A Crazy could find you and maul both you AND the bear.  Hannah Montana would survive to make more music, and you’d be a casualty of our health care system who doesn’t properly medicate people.  And that’s the real tragedy here.

*Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana, their souls, and firstborn children are the property of the Disney company, so that tiny image is trademarked I’m sure.  I got it from this site, who didn’t even bother to add a snarky disclaimer.

Written by fudgebudget

August 15, 2010 at 7:51 pm

Stacks Flasher

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LIC stands for Librarian in Charge.  In the public library, from my experience, this is not typically a desirable position.  When you are LIC, you are the library problem solver/mediator/scapegoat, and when you don’t WANT this job, bad things happen when you have it.  Like the Stacks Flasher.

Allow me to preface this entry with an observation regarding the position of libraries in the community: Libraries are the only climate controlled place for people to loiter and not be hassled unless they do something illegal or you’re trying to close the building.  Summer is hot.  Public libraries tend to be pretty busy when it’s hot, and a public library will typically see an influx of the transient during this time.

Which brings us back to the Stacks Flasher.  Stacks Flasher was a transient man who flashed one of the shelvers back in the stacks one summer afternoon during one of those unfortunate times that I had to act as LIC.  Well, I don’t know if it counts as “flashing” when it’s more like “prolonged indecent exposure that makes decent people FREAK THE HELL OUT.”  Because, you know, when you need to relieve yourself, the public library stacks are TOTALLY the place to do that.*

Oh, the poor, poor shelver.  Rarely have I seen someone so traumatized.  I felt like a triage nurse.  As such, I was happy to console her, and then she reminded me that I was Librarian in Charge and had to call the police.  Damn it all.

So the police were called.

We had to give statements, and they asked a lot of questions that we couldn’t answer. (How were you supposed to notice anything else aside from the obvious exhibitionist parts?)

And then for the rest of the time I was there, we all lived in fear of the dude showing up again.  I hear that they caught the guy a little while after I left – and good, because flashing is NOT COOL AT THE LIBRARY.  At least we haven’t had to contend with that at my current library (nevermind that the custodian keeps finding syringes in the bathrooms). I WORK AT AWESOME PLACES.

*In case it wasn’t obvious: no, the public library is not the place to do that.  Please have mercy on my brave friends in public libraries who prefer to retain their faith in humanity and leave that business for some place that no one has to see.

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August 14, 2010 at 2:08 am

The creature from the black arroyo

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It’s Friday the 13th!  It caaaaaame.  I have my Virgin de Guadalupe on hand and ready to go.  I decided that bringing the cat probably wouldn’t be such a great idea since work is the only space I currently have that does not have to be vacuumed all the damn time for cat hair.

I am going to live-blog the day in anticipation of the bore-effect that documentation tends to have on anticipated events, since I am expecting the day to live up to its Friday the 13th awful-potential.

8:00am – Arrived at work. Very little traffic on the way.

9:17am – Custodian came by and asked if it was okay to leave the mini-fridge in the sink to defrost over the weekend.  I said okay.

9:33am – Coworker dropped off an empty family tree.  I am filling it out as I live-blog, because genealogy is more entertaining than anything else that’s going on.

9:42am – Began live-blogging.  This might not have been the best idea (for you. I will continue for the prescribed benefits for me stated above. An ounce of prevention is worth five pounds of library regret).

10:45am – Read this news story about the creepiest guy ever to give a “massage.” Why her dropped uterus is relevant to this story I’ll never know.

11:49am – Coworker is cleaning out fridge and just found mayonnaise that expired in November of 2008.  The creature from the black arroyo could have very well climbed out of our refrigerator.

1:15pm – Had a conversation with yet another patron who didn’t want to pay for prints.  “But I can’t use this page with just the URL on it.”  “Neither can we.”

2:33pm – Kid in wifebeater asks me for headphones.  SURPRISE.

4:00pm – I leave the building, seemingly without significant interference.  My plan has worked!!  Live-blogging totally made the day obscenely boring!  I win.

Written by fudgebudget

August 13, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Public Libraries

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While we do get a few crazies in our library, it’s nothing compared to the year that I worked in the public library.  Oh, friends, there are some epic public library posts that need to be written and Painted.

One of the main differences between a public library and where I work is that by the time we get asked for help, it’s usually because the technology is different than what they are used to or they need something from behind the desk or the wifi isn’t working (again).  We don’t answer too many questions like this:


Now, it may be that we never get those questions because no one is ever actually looking for BOOKS here … but who knows.  At least we don’t really get people like this charming fellow that I encountered at the public library:

… there is a reason I left the public library.  For all of the entertaining (in hindsight) stories I brought out with me, and the amazing people that I worked with (who are much braver than I), it was hard to not hate the world a little more each day.  THAT should be a class for MLIS programs: “How to Not Lose Your Faith in Humanity 101.”

But in all seriousness, folks, the public library is a crazy place.  I still think that a reality TV show needs to be made about the stuff that happens in a public library everyday.  Or maybe, because truth is stranger than fiction, no one outside of it could ever believe it’s actually that insane.

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August 13, 2010 at 2:48 pm