Sunday, November 09, 2003

Serving the Masses

NOTE: despite popular demand, the vagina collage is not available for resale. It will remain in the artist's collection.

Working in this situation has certainly opened my eyes. First of all, it seems that every single patron has special needs. This would not be exceptional if I worked in a day care center for LD kids, or a hospital for stroke victim recovery, or a fat farm, or even a specialty hardware store. But I don't. I work for the Public Library in Ohio. What needs do patrons have?

NEED: man who wants us to keep his library card on file at the front desk so he doesn't have to carry it with him.
REASON: (lazy) he loses it a lot.
OUR RESPONSE: We don't keep patron cards at the desk. If you forget your card, show us your DL, or other photo ID
HIS RESPONSE: Absolute confusion.

NEED: Wheel chair bound woman wanting an Enhanced Doll Making Book Collection
REASON: She can't do anything else but make dolls
OUR RESPONSE: We can interlibrary loan the books in, and you can have as many as you like.
HER RESPONSE: I was hoping for them today
SUMMARY: Don't be so impatient! How many f'ing dolls do you plan to make today? You have 4 books!

NEED: Woman wanting paper towel, every few visits.
REASON:Her kids who are eating fried chicken and coleslaw at the reading table slopped food
OUR RESPONSE: Ma'am food is not allowed in the library.
HER RESONSE: Well my kids are hungry.
SUMMARY: Stay at Harolds Chicken Shack. Our library is not a cafeteria. If you must read while you eat, just read the newspaper they wrapped your fries in.

NEED: A man wants to upload a document
REASON: To get this picture on, or else his profile is not complete
OUR RESPONSE: Our computers are for research, not word processing. Additionally, by adding external drives we make ourselves vulnerable to viruses and the like.
HIS RESPONSE: Yeah, but can I upload a picture off this disk?
SUMMARY: What the f*ck don't you get? NO! You can not upload your picture, or a document, or anything else. These terminals are only able to browse OPAC & the web.

NEED: Additional bathroom time
REASON: We are closing, but some homeless guy is still taking a crap
OUR RESPONSE: Sir, the library closed 4 minutes ago, please leave
HIS RESPONSE: I'm not done yet
SUMMARY: You can't kick someone off the pot if they are still going.

The public library is fabulous. Don't get me wrong. Even if an 88 year old man who reads the paper everynight was beaten and robbed in the Men's room Thursday night, it would still be great. Even if a homeless guy is repairing small electronic devices with a sottering gun plugged into a study cublicle, it would still be great. Even if a crazy volunteer we had to fire comes into the library everyday 4 minutes before close to check her email, it would still be great.

Oh, yeah. I was asked if I'd like to work for the library full time, in another position. I've only been here for 3 months. I'm super excited. Grad school and work full time can be rough, but this is one hell of a foot in the door. I'll keep you all posted on how that goes.


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