Friday, December 21, 2012

Please Don't Tell Santa

A friend recently posted on Facebook that her local librarian was wonderful, and several other parents (including mine) chimed in to agree. While that gave me all sorts of warm fuzzy feelings, I have to admit, librarians are human. Sometimes we're lazy. Sometimes we're cranky. And, sometimes, we're just a little bit naughty.
I asked some of my fellow librarians across the country to share their deepest, darkest confessions, and the replies came rolling in - and had me rolling on the floor with laughter! I hope this compilation* serves to amuse, and if not - just remember who gets to cast the first stone, 'kay?
*names and locations left off to protect the mostly-innocent
Sometimes, Librarians Have...
…ended a storytime early because the children were coughing and sneezing and I didn’t want to get sick.
...discarded a name drawn from a hat for a library prize drawing when I know that that child (or their parent) has been cheating.

...put co-workers on the hold list for items as a practical joke, such as the bodice-ripper called Loving Jesse that I sent to a friend named Jesse at another library.

...kept an item checked out WAY longer than 3 weeks if I'm not finished reading it.

...occasionally removed a fine from a patron's card when I know there is a special need
...told an obnoxious teen that the volunteer slots were all full when we still really have room

...weeded a book that makes noise when it wasn't broken, just too noisy (and too tempting for little hands to press the buttons over and over and over and...)!

...checked out a book for myself on the department's library card for programming because I was in a hurry and couldn't find my own

...edited the due date in the computer of a book I had checked out instead of renewing... since it had a hold on it and couldn't be renewed...I wasn't finished with the book....
We confess... suddenly finding something urgent I need to do in Tech Services when I see certain patrons come in the door and I am not in the mood to hear their life story that particular day. sneaking into the food closet in our children's room and helping myself to candy when in need of a chocolate fix. pretending not to hear a particularly annoying patron ask me for help as I was on my way to the back for lunch. putting myself on the hold list before placing their hold because I forgot to add myself already and didn't want to be further down. pretending that a program registration list was already full because the woman in question had "no call, no showed" for the last 2 programs for which she signed up her kids. paying a patron's fine and didn't tell them because I just didn't want to hear their usual rant: "What? I returned that book. It was a Tuesday, we were on our way to the doctor's and my daughter got out of the car and put it in the was raining... and WHY do you have to charge fines, anyway"...
...that someone once came up with a couple of books from the booksale and wanted to buy them. We not only have discards, we have donations in there. There was a book there which has been out of print for years and which is a favourite of mine, that I read over and over & over when I lived in another city and was much younger. I grabbed the book and said, "I'm sorry, that book wasn't supposed to be in there." Never felt guilty. It just looked like it might be a good read, to her, but to me, it was, and is, special.

...I once made a display of teen books that were going to be weeded and a teen volunteer and I both had a favorite on the display, so we made a pact to check out each other's book to save it :-)

...There is one patron here who has learned how to play the system to her advantage, to the point where we once discovered one of the books on her account had been out to her for over a year! She also calls EVERY day to renew/place holds/check on holds that are in, usually about an hour before she comes in, and NEVER has her card out, even though I ask her every time. So, I make her verify all of her information every time. Even though I recognize her voice at this point, before even giving her name.

I...have many overdues *sigh*

...We have a patron who fanatically loves World Book Encyclopedia, to the point he feels we should never weed them and if he finds out we have, he gets very upset. We had a fairly new librarian on desk with whom I was conferring with when the gentleman asked what we had done with the older set he didn't see anymore. Without hesitation I drowned out the new librarian and said it was down in the basement. She was looking at me real funny but waited until the patron left when I did give her an explanation. This gentleman would get hysterical with distress to learn a copy had been discarded. It turns out later that I wasn't entirely lying. We do have older sets down there for the Friends to sell (but not the specific year he was asking about)! 
...When donated books come across my desk that I really want I will choose not to add them to the collection so I can buy them from our book sale shelf instead.
We may even...
...tell patrons a book is checked out because our sorting takes so damn long I can tell by the last activity date it's not on the shelf.

...schedule myself to pull holds after the other librarian who does an awesome job because it's less work for me, and being the one who makes the schedule has it's perks. I also rarely have desk duty Friday afternoons.
...check other employees' ages on their library card accounts just because I'm curious.

...have nicknames for patrons like "Tin-foil beanie guy", "The Creeper", and "Gigantor"
And finally, my personal favorite...
I didn't do this, but my library has a regular customer who abuses our hold system. There's a hold fee over the Internet, but no fee if you call for the hold and pick up at the same library, but we only hold the item for a day. The customer called, demanding we extend the casual hold, though she'd been told dozens of times we would not do so.
Finally, the customer lost it and demanded I give the phone to my manager. I reluctantly agreed, but I made sure to tell my manager--who was new to the library--about the patron's history. My manager seemed somewhat stern as she asked me to leave, and I was freaked out about possibly getting a lectured for mistreating a patron.
Fifteen minutes later, my manager calls me to her office, hands me the book...and hands me the library card.
"I told her she could come in tomorrow, and she'd have to see if anyone else checked it out. Put this on my card. I want to see her face."
I decided in that moment to worship that manager. I REALLY prefer to help people, but there is so a line.
So, there you have it. Librarians are really terrible people. But, as the last one said, we really do prefer to help people - so, please don't tell Santa how awful we are, at least not this week! I really do want that kitchen stuff I asked for:)



  1. I suppose I shouldn't admit that I've done some of these, too...

  2. These are not at all "terrible" or "awful", especially the one about forgiving fines due to a special need. Yes, some are more selfish than others, but on the whole I would say they are almost all necessary. ;-)

  3. Is it bad that I just remembered that I bought my favorite chips for a program and they're sitting in the cupboard? Can't have them going stale...

  4. I confess to checking who had a book checked out so that I wouldn't put a hold on a book a friend was not finished reading...

  5. 2 public libraries within 2 -3 miles of each other.1 patron who every time "forgets" money to pay dvd rental.We place a charge on her card. Next time in charge still there and I ask for payment Claims she paid at other library and they must have forgotten to remove charge. Soon caught on to scam and told her she would have to discuss "problem" with other library.They would like to know this to make sure staff is trained properly. Put message on her card and problem solved.

  6. Whoa. You librarians are wild and crazy people. I bet you are always the life of parties.

    1. Yep. Once we kick off those comfortable shoes and let our hair out of the buns, it gets so wild we have to start shushing each other!

  7. I've done many of these ... and more. I've given away books from our eternal book sale (it was badly managed at that time), I've taken home new books before they've been cataloged, I've squeezed beloved patrons into programs that are already full, and I've knowingly exceeded our program room's fire-code capacity. I've also transferred perpetually needy phone patrons to another desk when I need a break from them.

    It looks like we're all in good company :)

    1. No one tells you any of this in library school...

  8. I got such a kick out of these confessions and admit to having done quite a few of them. There are always the patrons who think that they are God and we must jump. I enjoyed the blog so much and it brightened my half day of work on New Years Eve.