Monday, October 20, 2003


So yes, I have been accused of being super sleuth boy, been compared to Jessica Fletcher (earning me my one of my favorite nicknames "Fletch"), and have also been called the proverbial nosy neighbor. I can't help it. I LIKE TO KNOW WHATS GOING ON. Working in a public library just allows me a little more leverage into the kind of insight I like.

Astonishingly, I have not only been activley playing Sherlock Holmes, and making up entire worlds around patrons based on the books they peruse, but found myself caring about these people as well.

First Patron: An elderly woman who smells like she has lived inside a humador her entire life. She checks her maximum of 5 videos out every single day, right around dinner time. When I didn't see her for a week, I found myself asking the branch manager if SHE'd seen her. I was much relieved to find out she'd been playing Siskel and Ebert at the lunch hour for the past week. I've named her Grandma Smoker.

Second & Third Patrons: Two girls that come to the library every single day as soon as school lets out. I didn't know if they were best of friends, or if they were related. I have since sleuthed that they are half sisters. What makes them most precious to me is that when one of them had a fine on her card that blocked her use, she made it her mission to find all the money she could to pay it off. She proudly came back into the library with her $6 to pay this fine off. The best part is: it was obviously her TOP priority in life, $6 to a 10 year old is like a million bucks - yet she used it to clear her fines. Mind you, these are also two of the naughtiest patrons - they like to take 75 books of the shelf at a time, walk over to a corner and read...and leave the books there. As a page, I groan each time I see this happen. They are affectionatley referred to as "the Girls" by the entire staff.

Fourth Patron: A sista with weave. She is all about the new releases, and comes in almost 3 times a week to see if they are in, even though we call you when they do arrive. Each time, she checks her status to see if she's moved up any on the list, or to request even more new releases. Sometimes her husband comes in, and fondles her and makes a small scene....yuck.

Fifth patron: This british guy, who I call "Hugh". He is hilariously british, and comes in everyday to use the internet, and to check out books on small "thing" repair, as well as a healthy dose of science fiction. He only stands out in my mind because he leaves his library card at home every single time, makes us hold his books, and comes back for them. He always seems surprised that he needs his card.

And then we get a big mix of infrequent people. The loud woman from the Carib, with her 3 kids. She screams (yes, not yells, SCREAMS) across the library for her kids in a perfect Ms. Cleo. Maybe libraries in the Carib do not enforce a quiet-while-in-the-library policy.

Our local homeless squad. We've evicted two of them for being loud and disorderly in the library. Their stories amaze me, and occured while not on the floor....and they include profanity, pushing other patrons, and , yes, a 40 of something in a paperbag.

The staff is the best staff I've ever worked with. Everyone really loves their job, and it shows. It is a very positive work environment, and having come from my Old Corporate Job (hence forth to be referred to as the OCJ) it is refreshing. The staff is totally over qualified, and really serves its public better than any other branch in the system. Out of the 13, two have an MLIS, 4 are working towards an MLIS, and the other 8 are all college educated. Imagine a branch where even the pages are librarians in training!

Now, for true excitement link over to wonderful The Male Centerfold Librarian or the truly hilarious Sex in the Library.

I guess its true all the way around, today's libraries are not the same as the hush filled rooms of the past. Now the only time we get to quiet a patron down is when they are screaming profanity across the entire library. And to think that guy didn't even offer to share his 40.

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