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I should know better by now. First thing, Monday morning, I'm printing out the list of pulls when the phone rings. I'm the only staff member who will answer the phone before opening, because 9/10 times, it's just someone wanting to know our hours and it takes no time at all to answer. Unfortunately, this time it's a patron wanting me to renew his books. I say, "Oh, I'm sorry, we don't open til 10" (it was 8:45 am), and let him know that if he'll call back then, we'll take care of it.

His response? A snappy "I KNOW what time you open!" Yes, he expected me to take care of his little problem over an hour before we open. My coworker's response: "Why do you answer the phone?" ::laugh::

**

Yesterday, I had a guy who came in 15 minutes before close, with a stack of books. The first thing he said was, "I don't know if I still have a card." (GAH. People, this is something that should be addressed before you pick out books, not after.)

I look him up, and he has one...which is expired. Not a good thing for him, because his license tells me he lives in a township which doesn't subscribe to the library system. Patrons who live there can still get a card, but it entails taking a fee to their city hall, and getting a check cut from their city to our library (a process which usually takes a week or so.)

He argues with me that he doesn't live in Cheapskate Township, he lives "on the edge" of Awesome Township. I tap his license, which clearly says "Cheapskate". He decides to find someone else in their group with a card, so I hold the books. Seven minutes later, he comes back in, toting somebody else's card. That someone else? Not with him. I tell him that he cannot use someone else's card without their express written permission, and that Someone Else must be there in person to authorize it initially (I didn't tell him that Someone Else also owed $50 on their card, so nothing could have been checked out anyway.) He hit the ceiling. Apparently, it's my fault that they can't do their poetry reading because he didn't plan ahead. I was not sympathetic.

From the swearing as he stomped out, I expect he'll call to complain about me later this week. ::eyeroll::

**
And the one that made me shake my head in disbelief this week? A patron called to complain that she couldn't access her library account online. I look her up, and see that there are two accounts with her name, one an 'online registration'. See, when she couldn't get into her account, she decided that the next step would be to register as a new patron online, because surely that would let her access her existing account. o_O

It took - I swear - ten minutes to walk her through what she was doing wrong because she would not SHUT UP so she could listen to me. The fix? "Count the zeroes in the middle of your number. There should be five." (She had typed four.) Who the hell thinks that making a NEW account will let you look at the stuff for the OLD account? ::facepalm::

Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
wenhaver
Feb. 15th, 2013 03:57 pm (UTC)
While I also offer sympathy for having to deal with idiots, I'm mostly here to give you a fist bump for the Black Books reference in your icon.
cheesygirl
Feb. 15th, 2013 07:41 pm (UTC)
Cheapskate Township/Awesome Township, LOL!

People like to say that it must be wonderful to work in a library, surrounded by books all day. Yes, it would be wonderful, if books were the only things we had to deal with!
pretend_to_care
Feb. 15th, 2013 08:19 pm (UTC)
People like to say that it must be wonderful to work in a library, surrounded by books all day. Yes, it would be wonderful, if books were the only things we had to deal with!

Yeah, this. When I went to my MLIS orientation, they went around the room and asked us why we were pursuing the degree. One person said, "I haven't ever actually worked in a library, but I just love books so much that it would be a dream to be surrounded by them all day long!" I hope she isn't too devastated if she ever gets a library job and sees that it is a bit more than sniffing books.
xandirth
Feb. 16th, 2013 03:48 am (UTC)
A similar thing happened when I was studying too. The lecturer turned around and said that if that was the only reason she wanted to work in libraries, she should leave and enrol in something else. The lecturer was not impressed.
spoonmonkey
Feb. 16th, 2013 06:17 am (UTC)
I had someone during my course actually say that she hadn't been in a library since she was a child but had started to bring her own children to one and had decided it would be a pleasant place to work. She was clueless. I literally cleaned up human excrement yesterday.
infomaven
Feb. 15th, 2013 08:08 pm (UTC)
As for answering the phone before opening - I'm with your co-worker - why? Why doesn't your telephone have a message with things like hours and directions that can take calls before you open just so you don't have to deal with people who either don't know your hours and want full service or people like the patron above who knows your hours and wants full service anyway. Why set yourself up?
alex51324
Feb. 15th, 2013 10:47 pm (UTC)
I have to agree. If you answer the phone when you're not open, people will expect service when you're not open. Honestly, if I called an office or place of business and a human being answered just to tell me that they couldn't do anything for me for another hour and change, I'd be exasperated too. (I'd try to be polite about it, because my philosophy of life is "Don't be a dick," but I do not always succeed in living up to this ideal.)
riofriotex
Feb. 16th, 2013 01:47 am (UTC)

This.
medusa_stare
Feb. 16th, 2013 03:30 am (UTC)
Yeah, agreed. This is why our phone doesn't even ring through until opening, people just get a recorded message telling them the hours.
flynnacatri
Feb. 16th, 2013 12:56 pm (UTC)
We answer because it could be another staff member or something (they all come in the same phone!) but I don't get in an hour before we open, and am usually setting up and turning computers on anyway (if not, then 'the computer isn't on yet' is a perfectly good excuse!)
harmonyfb
Feb. 18th, 2013 02:48 am (UTC)
'the computer isn't on yet' is a perfectly good excuse

It just flabbergasts me that people would expect us to take care of them before we open (but at least he wasn't as bad as the woman who threw a temper tantrum in front of the doors because I wouldn't let her in 45 minutes early to pick up her hold. ::eyeroll::)
harmonyfb
Feb. 18th, 2013 02:44 am (UTC)
I'm with your co-worker - why?

Last year, the phone rang, and the others said, "Oh, just leave it."

But I answered it. It was the hospital, calling a coworker to tell her that her husband had died. So...I always answer the phone, because you never know.
autumnfire1414
Feb. 18th, 2013 04:36 pm (UTC)
o.O

No words...
tesslibtech
Mar. 4th, 2013 05:54 am (UTC)
We answer before opening. If we're near a computer that has our circ software up and running, we do the renewal or whatever. If not, we take the info and say we'll call back once we have the computers up and running. We're a small town library in a location known for running on "Coast time", so most people have no problem with this. Also, if a staff member is calling in sick or late (there is only one main road where we are, and if there's an accident, and you're on the wrong side of it, you might be up to an hour or more late while they clean things up), we kinda have to pick up as there is only one main phone line into the library, otherwise, we'd be left wondering where they are.

OTOH, as I was setting the alarm yesterday after closing, the phone started to ring. I continued with what I was doing and left. No way I was answering, nor would my director have expected me to.

Edited at 2013-03-04 05:57 am (UTC)
riofriotex
Feb. 16th, 2013 01:49 am (UTC)
On the person who made the "new" account - I can understand the patron's confusion there. SO (way too) many websites want you to "register" nowadays just to access information on them, she might have thought she needed some kind of online registration to access her "regular" account.
silveradept
Feb. 16th, 2013 04:42 pm (UTC)
People are delightful, sometimes. And then there are the people who think that their lack of planning should be an emergency for us.
beadylady
Feb. 17th, 2013 09:56 pm (UTC)
We have a guy who comes in here all the time to pick up ILLs. The other day he came in and wanted to check out something from the collection. He didn't even know he could (yes, alumni have those privileges). Why he didn't know, I don't know. Because I asked if he had a card, and he said yes. Then, he discovers he doesn't have it on his person. Sigh.

I know this guy by reputation, and he is a PITA by all accounts.
mangote
Feb. 18th, 2013 02:04 pm (UTC)
Honestly, I think some people do this on purpose. They know there is an issue with their account, and hope that by springing it on you right at closing and acting belligerently your desire to close up and go home will outweigh your desire to follow the rules to the letter. I can almost always tell when this is going to happen, there is a too relaxed body language and tense facial expression.

As far as answering the phone when you are closed, we used to have to answer the phone whenever it rang in case it was a staff member. Now all of our buildings have caller id phones and answering machines so we can still pick up when we need to. Also I found telling people that you are the cleaning person works as a good excuse for people who call before operating hours wanting anything more involved then the hours. I think it's important to set boundaries with patrons. If your public hours are 9-5, but you come in before opening, I would assume it is because you have work that needs to be done that is better accomplished before the library is open, and unless you are caught up and willing to take a call that could end up being more involved you should let them call back when you are open, it's less headaches for everyone involved.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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library_mofo
The Society for Librarians* Who Say "Motherfucker"
For all of those times when the gatekeepers of the world's knowledge are called upon, in their professional capacity, to use the word "motherfucker." Or at least to seriously consider it.

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