Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Actual Semi-Paraphrased Second-Hand Information Telephone Conversations Heard in Actual Libraries #2


MRS. C: Tri-Metro County Public Library.

FEMALE CALLER: (Angrily) What?

MRS. C: (Annunciating) Tri-Metro Public Library.

FEMALE CALLER: (Still angry) Do you do inter loans?

MRS. C: Interlibrary loans?

FEMALE CALLER: (Angrily) What?

MRS. C: (Annunciating heavily) Do you mean INTERLIBRARY LOANS?

FEMALE CALLER: Whatever. Do you do them?


MRS. C: Yes, we do.

FEMALE CALLER: Do you do them out of state?

MRS. C: No, ma'am, I'm afraid we don't.

FEMALE CALLER: (Angrily) Why not?

MRS. C: Well.... I'm not exactly sure, ma'am, except that we don't have access to book databases in any other state but West Virginia.


FEMALE CALLER: (Angrily) Why not?

MRS. C: We just don't. We're a state library system. We only have access to West Virginia databases.

CALLER: (Intensely angrily) Well, no wonder people say this state is so backwards! (*SLAMS DOWN PHONE*)

At this point Mrs. C hit the phone's flash button to see who the other call was from. It was one of the State Reference Librarians with the head office in Charleston calling to warn Mrs. C about an impending call from the above angry woman. It seems the angry woman had just called Charleston's branch a few minutes earlier because she entirely failed to find our library's phone number in the local phone book. (I don't know why so many people have trouble finding us. We're a county library. Our library's name has "County," "Public," and "Library" as it's last three words with the the actual county name as the first. We're therefore listed as OURCOUNTYNAME County Public Library in the phonebook. I've had people call me to complain that they had looked and looked and looked and couldn't find our number ANYWHERE in the phone book and that they had to call another library to get it. When they say this, I open up our phonebook and quote them the page number our phone is listed on and suggest they try again.) Angry woman had asked about out-of-state ILLs and had been told by this reference librarian that such things were completely at the discretion of each individual library according to their policy. When asked by the caller if the reference librarian's branch did such things, the librarian responded that yes they did, but only for State Employees as her library services the state capital.

"That's discrimination!" the angry caller had shouted before slamming down her phone.

No comments:

An employee of a small town "liberry" chronicles his quest to remain sane while dealing with patrons who could star in a short-lived David Lynch television series.