Friday, July 31, 2009

Overheard at the Library

"But I returned that item".

I hear this refrain over and over and over again, much like the title words of "Blinded by the Light". Patrons insisting that they BROUGHT that book back, that our technology is FLAWED, that we are incomptetent IDIOTS WHO ARE CONSPIRING TO EXTRACT MONEY FROM HONEST CUSTOMERS and that really, the book was in with a pile of others that they returned on the same day. Together. In a bundle. With the others. And they repeat this in varying voices, tones, and threats over a period of five minutes before I interrupt with a placating smile.
"Okay sir, what I can do is put it in claims return. What that means is I take it off your account for 60 days, we look for it in the library and we just ask that you glance around your house and car before the 60 days is up". Why don't you get off your lazy ass and check under your couch cushion where your kid wedged it in between sessions of Dora the Explorer?
"I guess I don't have to talk to the manager then". Fuck off "Yeah, okay. Because I definitely returned it."
"I understand. Have a great day." Bullshit. You'll be here tomorrow with a sheepish look on your face and the book in your hand, because when you went out to the car you realized it was on the passenger seat.

I think its important to note that I really don't swear a lot out loud, but I am a horrible, mean person inside my head.


  1. Hi Mona, I found your link on DD's site.
    I wonder if you have any advice for me. I'm over 50 years old, have lived a stable life and raised 2 children. I recently took some books out from the library and when I checked my account online, found that 8 juvenile paperbacks had been put on my account. I was really upset since, whether you believe this or not, I had not taken out any j.p.s in years. When my kids were younger we had plently of overdue, plus a few lost jps but they're in their twenties now and one just got married!
    I called the my neighbourhood library and got the 'placating smile" response. Nothing I said could penetrate this woman's head.
    Those books are now over a week overdue and I'M responsible! You're probably too young to know that computers aren't always right. Somehow those books were run through on my card and the truth has no relevance to the library workers.
    This is like identity fraud in that the onus is entirely up to me to prove something I have no ability to prove.

  2. Hey-
    Wow. What an unfortunate situation. I can't give any concrete advice, but I can say what I'd do in this situation, if someone came up to me.
    First of all, does your library have anything like claims return? The books come off your card for 60 days while the library searches for them. That way, you don't get any overdue searches.
    Or, if they won't take them off, definitely go to the library with the list of books and look through the juvenile section yourself.
    I guess I would be inclined to believe a patron if they didn't have school aged children and it was 8 books- because that's quite a bit. We normally just get one book.
    Mainly, I would go to the director of the library. They have the most clout. If your account is in good standing, they should give you a break. Do you have your card? If it was stolen, then someone might be checking things out with it (I know, weird, but people have done this!).
    Hope your situation gets resolved.

  3. Also, definitely GO to the library and talk to someone in person, if you haven't already. Its so much harder to blow off a person when they're in front of you versus on the phone.

  4. LMAO! I advice using dirtier cuss words in your head. I can help with that. Ahem.

  5. One thing I'd like to say to your rant-
    As annoying as it is to listen to people bitch at you all day (yes, I know what it feels like), you do have to take in account their side. Maybe they truly believed they had returned the book, and weren't trying to be rude to you. They just didn't want to pay the late fee (although it is a very low fee) on something that they honestly do not believe they deserve to pay.