Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Top 10 Ways to Piss Off a Librarian

1. "I don't have my card."

"And also I mumble and have an unusual name. I know I said 'Katie Smith' but it's actually spelt 'Kay-ti Smif' because I have cool hippie parents that raised me on a diet of soya milk and rice cakes. I actually lost my card but I'm too scared to admit to it and pay a measly quid for a new one, so we have to go through this scenario every time."

2. Allowing your precious little ones to run and shriek.


Kindly exercise some control over your crotch-droppings. Okay, so libraries are communal hubs now, interaction is encouraged. But behaving like someone's set fire to you and you have to walk across nails to throw yourself in the water is generally not.

3. What's this thing I take books out with?

Referring to your library card as a 'ticket'. It's not a fucking ticket. It's a card and you should jolly well bring it with you if you wish to borrow items!


4. Quibbling your fines.

Storming out, refusing to pay a meagre fine because you can't organise your life properly, claiming you're never going to use a library again. And you wonder why they're a dying breed. And saying "God, I could've bought my own copy five times over at that price!" BRING IT BACK ON TIME THEN. Or re-new it. In person, online, over the phone. Still working on the telepathy option, Your Highness.

5. Complaining about things that are FREE.

Oh boo hoo, is the computer running slowly and you can't watch the latest episode of Adventure Time? While meanwhile your friendly local librarian is having to turn away people who actually want to use a PC to look for a job or print out their CV? Are you going to have a moan about it, yeah?

Well, let me tell you a story. In about 1992, I lived on a tiny island called Kiribati, because I had parents who worked for the Foreign Office and they took jobs there.

The shelves on the local library mostly looked like this:


And yes, I had a good old sob about it because what with moving about so many times books were my real *~friends~*. But I learnt to make do. It teaches you to be HELLA grateful for what you have.

Think about all the people in other places who don't have the latest CDs, magazines, books, DVDs, etc etc at their disposal and count yourself gorram lucky.

6. "Has my reservation arrived yet?

Did you receive a letter or email saying it had arrived? No? Well p*ss off then and come back when you have instead of sending your friendly local librarian on a wild goose chase to track down The Casual Vacuntcy or Fifty Shades of Shit just on the 'off-chance' it's arrived. Related: fellow librarians, please stop telling customers "It should be here in a few days". NEVER GIVE THEM HOPE.

7. One question at a time.

Your friendly local librarian is using a complicated database to look up a musical score by a composer they've never heard of, with a title that's about 15 words long, and the customer pipes up to make a personal comment (yay!) or ask "By the way, has my reservation arrived yet?" (see 6. or "Can I sign my sprog up to join the library?" or "Can you let me know if I need to renew my Dummies Guide to Having Patience?"

8. Stealing stuff.


The lowest of the low.

9. Leaving receipts inside the item.

Printed out so you know when to bring whatever back. Before returning it, chuck that shit in the bin, yeah?

10. Not following instructions.

When using the self service machine to return the books (which librarians are very grateful for, by the way, it frees up time to take annoying little scraps of paper out of the inside covers of books and re-shelve them) READ the instructions on screen that say whether the item is to be placed on the trolleys next to the machine, or in the bin to go on the reservations shelf, or back to another library. "Has my reservation arrived yet?" "Possibly, but it might be on a shelf somewhere because some plankton couldn't read the simple instructions in front of them". Given that people still struggle with cash machines though I haven't much hope of this situation being resolved any time soon.