After all the slow/no liberry news last week, this week is off to a hearty good start.
When I arrived today, Mrs. C the liberrrian told me I'd just missed a visit from my least favorite patron in all the world, Mrs. Carol Satan.
Carol was in to return some books, but not ALL of her books. Seems
there are two books left on her card that are WAY overdue. Of course, on
Carol's planet she returned those books months ago. ("No,
decades ago. In fact, I never checked them out in the first place. I
don't read books! I can't even read at all! I have glaucoma from smoking
too many cigarettes! Hell, I've never set foot in the library before
and I'm not even here now! I've never been treated so rudely in all my
life!"... etc. etc.) She said she put `em in the drop box outside,
cause she always puts her borrowed books in the same place in her house
and they're not there so she HAD to have returned them. (Try looking
under the cigarette crate sometime, lady!)
Mrs. C said Mrs. Carol Satan didn't actually throw her usual hissy, but the threat of one was definitely there.
It's probably for the best that I wasn't around for
her visit. I'm finding it more and more difficult to resist the idea of
returning fire at full bore upon her next verbal onslaught.
We also were paid a visit from another patron who is
usually one of our nicer patrons, but today he was the messiest patron.
Let's call him Luigi. He's usually harmless enough and mostly comes to
the library to look up gardening information, as, I'm pretty sure he's a
member of our local Back to the Land movement. From what I've gathered
from talking to a couple of friends in the movement, Back to the Landers
pretty much live off the land, farming and eschewing such amenities as
electricity and running water in favor of living like our forefathers
from early last century and before. Many of them are, understandably,
former 60's hippies who didn't ditch their ideals at the first sign of
I don't pretend to know what Luigi's exact situation
is. I'm not even entirely sure he's a Back to the Lander. All I do know
is that he tracked a great deal of that land into my library in the form
of intensely muddy footprints.
See, we've had something of a cold spell for the past
three months here, with loads and loads of snow which has now piled up
into great heaping, road-grime and pollution absorbing mountains of ice.
Over the past few days, however, we've had a warming trend, with
temperatures reaching the upper 50s and lots of sunshine. Much of the
ice has started to melt, mingling with the soil and churning up mud in
its place. So now, at the liberry, we no longer have to constantly
vacuum due to the road-salt being tracked in and the idiot patrons who
somehow always manage to avoid the perfectly good door mat outside in
favor of using the runner carpet from the door to the circulation desk,
no now we have to deal with mud.
When Luigi came in, he somehow managed not to get much
mud on the runner itself, which means he didn't even attempt to wipe
his feet. He stepped across it and left muddy footprint after muddy
footprint through the main room, then through the carpeted children's
room, up the carpeted stairs and into the uncarpeted non-fiction room
upstairs where he proceeded to a table beneath which he left a sizeable
puddle of mud and filth. Unfortunately, we didn't notice what he had
done until some time after he'd already done it. We had to follow the
muddy footprints up the stairs and to his table to determine that he,
Luigi, was the culprit.
And the thing is, while there is mud outside,
it's all in the library's lawn and NOT on the perfectly clean and
well-swept cut-stone sidewalk and walkway leading right up to our front
door from the equally unmuddy parking area. For Luigi to track in as
much mud as he did, he would have had to go walk around in the muddy
portion of the lawn, which is NOT even near the library's front door and
which he would have to go out of his way to get to in the first place,
and really put some effort into getting his boots truly good and muddy
whilst there. It seems like this muddying of our floors would almost
have to be intentional.
Rather than cleaning the mess up right away, we
decided to wait until Luigi had left, as he was just going to track more
mud in the process.
Much mopping, vacuuming and scrubbing of carpet on
hands and knees later, we managed to get most of the mud up and are now
considering boot-checks as standard library policy.
But those two losers, terrible as they are, pale in
comparison to the joy I had in getting to mail a letter to a completely
different patron whose tale I have not yet chronicled here.
When I arrived for work, Mrs. C told me I needed
to take all our interliberry loan packages to the post office to send
out. That's the kind of grunt work I occasionally have to do. You just
have to lug a bunch of bulky packages down the street to the post
office, dump em on the desk and wait ten minutes for the postal employee
to get em all processed. It's a hassle but it's not difficult.
In addition to this, though, Mrs. C needed me to send a
certified letter to a particular problem patron whom I have not yet
discussed on this blog. I speak of none other than Kammy K: the Book Hoarding Bizatch.
Kammy K. is a local employee of the county. In fact,
she's one of the higher-ups in a local county-run office, which I will
omit from naming so as not to soil their good name. She's not an elected
official, by any means, but still a higher up in her particular neck of
In May of 2003, Kammy K. asked us to interlibrary loan a book for her called "Real Age: Are You As Young As You Can Be?" We ILLed it from another county and gave it to Kammy K when it came in.
That was the last time we saw that book.
Now, most interlibrary loans give patrons a month to
read the book and return it to the library that borrowed it for them.
Rules such as this evidently do not apply to Kammy K., for she ignored
Kammy K. kept the book beyond her month limit. When
she passed into overdue status, we phoned her to remind her to bring it
back. We could never seem to get through to Kammy K. herself, but we
were able to leave messages asking her to please return it.
Kammy K. ignored the messages.
Weeks passed and many more messages followed.
Kammy K. ignored them too.
Next we sent non-certified cards and letters to Kammy
K. asking her to please return the book or at the very least contact us
Kammy K. ignored the cards and letters.
The loaning library from another county, annoyed that
we had not yet returned their book, BLOCKED our library from borrowing
any more books from them until its return. We weren't offended by this;
it's standard procedure for most libraries and if the tables had been
turned we would have blocked their collective butt too.
So, again, we sent more letters to Kammy K. and loaded
down her office and home voicemail with messages explaining our
situation of being unable to borrow books from the loaning library
BECAUSE of her book-hoarding ass.
Kammy K. ignored them all.
Next up, we started leaving messages with her
co-workers, hoping that the embarrassment of having her entire office
staff know that she's borrowing books with titles like Real Age: Are You As Young As You Can Be? might cause her to reconsider ignoring us.
Nope. Kammy K. began ignoring us with renewed vigor.
About this time, I suggested that instead of
leaving messages with Kammy K.'s co-workers complaining that she had an
overdue book called Real Age: Are You As Young As You Can Be? we should really be leaving messages about a book called "STD-Ridden Anal Lice: How to Cope." This idea was shot down.
then suggested we needed to start putting the names of problem patrons,
such as Kammy K., in the newspaper. Hey, it works for all the
property-tax-evaders, traffic-offenders, bad-check-writers and
deadbeat-dads around here. Why not asshat-patrons? Besides, Mrs. A is
always stressing over having to come up with material to put in our
weekly column in the local paper so why not just spend one week a month
running Liberry Deadbeats on Parade? This idea hasn't been shot down yet, per se, but I'm thinking it's not going to be enacted any time soon.
all that, we began trying personal visits to Kammy K.'s office, which
is just down the road from us. However, Kammy K. was mysteriously never in when we visited, so we were forced to leave more messages.
three weeks ago, Mrs. A complained about Kammy K. to the liberry's
board of directors. One of our board members, Mrs. Emm, knows Kammy K.
personally. I think their husbands used to work together or something.
Mrs. Emm figured it would be no problem to pop down to Kammy K.'s office
and ask her about the book. It would turn out to be a big
misunderstanding, they'd have a laugh and Kammy K. would produce the
book for Mrs. Emm to take back to us. No problem.
Evidently, when Mrs. Emm went down to Kammy K.'s office, Kammy was
there. Kammy K., however, refused to see Mrs. Emm. Gave her the brush
off, if you'll allow. Shunned her, if you will. Blew her off, if you
catch my drift. Said, "F**k All Y'all," if you suss my meaning.
This was NOT to be done, nor forgiven in the eyes of Mrs. Emm.
Emm is now on the warpath. She's pissed and no longer in the mood for
dicking around with book-hoarding bizatches. This book is getting
returned even if we have to pull the blasted thing from Kammy K.'s cold
dead hands. An example is now going to be made of this woman that the
liberry is not to be trifled with nor ignored. The impending battle
promises to be terribly fun or at least funny.
to the WV Code of Law, once a patron has been notified in writing that
they have an overdue book, that patron has one month to return it or the
"liberry" is well within their rights to take said patron to small
claims court over the matter. This has never, to my knowledge, actually
happened with our library, though Lord knows it should with folks like the Fagins
walking the earth. Mrs. Emm has made it clear, though, that going to
court is very much an option she intends to exercise if she doesn't see a
certain book come back. I couldn't be happier.
couldn't have been happier to have the privilege of mailing Kammy K. an
envelope full of threats to this effect, return receipt requested.
Kammy's envelope includes another letter, hopefully the last, explaining that we're now sending her a bill for Real Age: Are You As Young As You Can Be?,
which she has had since May, along with instructions that she is to
either return the book NOW or pay the bill NOW. Also included is a copy
of the above library-related law code concerning small claims court and
our obligations, which we've now fulfilled 20 times over, in the matter
before hauling her in.
My guess is she'll pay for it, but if not then the next letter she receives may be a subpoena.