Not real sure why, but I got into something of a grumpy mood today at work. I think it had to do with a patron who drives me nuts. She's not on the Rogues list but I can't see how she'll be able to avoid it for long.
started my Thursday upstairs reading the shelves, going book by book,
making sure they're in proper Dewey Decimel order and putting right what
once went wrong. It's a thankless task, but it's part of the gig. After
nearly an hour of this, I heard a loud and grating voice coming up the
"Now, you're looking for books about Steinbeck
himself, right? Not just his books?" With nary a pause to allow a
response from her still unseen companion, the grating voice continued,
"...because if you need books about Steinbeck himself you're probably
going to need a biography on him. Or you could look in the 800s, which
is the literature section and might have some books about him as well."
might assume the voice to be that of a librarian, but this is not the
case. By then the owner of the voice had entered the upstairs area and I
could see clearly who it was. Let's call her Joan Crawford.
Joan Crawford is not nearly as menacingly overbearing nor as beautiful
as her actress namesake was portrayed to be in Mommie Dearest, though if
she really committed to it I think she could pull it off. (And, yes, I
realize Joan's character didn't look all that beautiful in the film
either, you do the math here.) If anything, our Joan Crawford is guilty
of loving her daughter too much and her overzealous style of parenting
methods, in my childless opinion, is something of a major irritant to
the library staff whenever Joan and her daughter come in.
daughter, let's call her Christina just to continue the theme, is a
junior high-aged girl who evidently has something of a hard time with
reading. I don't know if she's dyslexic or has a similar condition that
prevents her from reading at her best, but she's got some such problem
going on. In person, she seems like a mature and very intelligent girl
who you would never think would have any such problems with school. (My
personal theory is that her dibilitating condition is spelled MOM, but
that's just an observation.) Whatever the case, whenever Christina is
assigned to read a book for class, her mom, Joan, wants her to have not
only the assigned tome but the book on tape of it as well, and the woman
hounds us mercilessly until we produce them.
okay. If that's what she wants it's our job to find it and I have no
problems in our doing so. However, our audio collection is hardly a one
for one match up of our book collection and most of what we do have is
abridged. So, if we need to get a specific book on tape that we don't
already own, we have to interlibrary loan it. Again, no problem. That's
what we're here for.
Unfortunately for us, Joan
Crawford is not to be trusted when it comes to ordering books on tape
for Christina. See, if Joan so much as hears a title or catches sight of
a reading list that MIGHT contain a book that Christina MIGHT need at
some point in the next, say, 20 years, Joan's on the phone to us to get
the book on tape ASAP. And in the past we've dutifully ordered the
requested books on tape and called Joan to let her know they had arrived
only to find out that Christina wouldn't be needing the book for
several months yet so they wouldn't be picking it up. When we then
pointed out that we went to the trouble and expense of ordering it for
her only to have to turn around and send it back, Joan's solution was to
try and have us hold the other library's book on tape for the three
month stretch until Christina actually needed it.
naturally, said, "Uh, no!" and Joan Crawford has traditionally not been
pleased with this response. In fact, Joan got downright pissy with us
about it and threatened to call the "liberry" c0mmission and tell them
that we weren't doing our jobs. Since it was the "liberry" c0mmission's
main library that had loaned us the book on tape in the first place, we
said, "Go right ahead."
And she did!
c0mmission explained to her that we were very much doing our jobs and
that we couldn't hold the book on tape indefinitely nor repeatedly
reorder it just because Joan misjudged when Christina would need it.
few days later, Joan and Christina came in to cast eyes on the book on
tape and make sure it was indeed the one that she wouldn't be needing
for several months. It was.
"Well, why don't you just
read the book now?" I suggested to Christina. "You're going to have to
read it anyway, so if you get it out of the way now you'll have more
Christina didn't like that logic and
pointed out that doing so would interfere with all the other books she
had to read right now. That was probably true.
today, they were looking for some Steinbeck books and Joan was busy
dragging Christina from shelf to shelf in an effort to find them. Of
course, Joan spied and recognized me and I suddenly found myself drafted
into the search. This was fairly fruitless, as Christina had already
found most of the books we had on Steinbeck in her school's own library.
(See, she can do research on her own!) While I was taking Joan and
Christina downstairs to look through our literary criticism volumes in
the reference hall, Christina spied a classmate of hers who was at the
library to research her own author.
"Oh, do you need help with your report as well?" Joan asked in a hopeful tone.
No, I thought. What they both need is to be able to learn how to do this on their own since that's the WHOLE POINT of doing research papers.
By the time they left, some 45 minutes later, most of the library staff was nearly bald from pulling our hair out.