Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Actual Telephone Conversations Heard in Actual Libraries #17


ME: Tri-Metro County Public Library.

BARBARA TURDMURKLE (NOT HER REAL NAME): Yeah, this is Barbara Turdmurkle. I have a book out that I need to renew.

ME: (Looks up Barbara Turdmurkle in the computer. There are NO books checked out to her account) You said "Barbara Turdmurkle," right?


ME: It doesn't look like there are any books checked out to that...

BARBARA TURDMURKLE: (Interrupting) It might be under B. Turdmurkle.

ME: (Misunderstanding) Dee? D-E-E?

BARBARA TURDMURKLE: No, "B"... B. Turdmurkle.

ME: B, as in Boy?

BARBARA TURDMURKLE: Yes. B... B. Turdmurkle.

ME: Ma'am, we don't allow initials to be used in our patron records.

BARBARA TURDMURKLE: Then it's Barbara Turdmurkle.

ME: (For further confirmation) And can I have your mailing address?

BARBARA TURDMURKLE: P.O. Box 882, Tri-Metro. It's Barbara Turdmurkle.

ME: Yes, ma'am. I understood that. I was just trying to explain earlier that there are no books checked out under Barbara Turdmurkle.

BARBARA TURDMURKLE: Well, I have it right here. It says it's due today, but I want to extend it.

ME: Is this an interlibrary loan, ma'am?

BARBARA TURDMURKLE: (Not listening whatsoever) I checked it out on January 20.

ME: I understand that, ma'am. I'm just asking if this was an interlibrary loan.

BARBARA TURDMURKLE: Well, no I don't think so.

ME: So this was a book that we own here. You got it from our collection?

BARBARA TURDMURKLE: Yes. I got it there on the 20th.

ME: Okay. Well, like I said, there are no books checked out to your patron record. So either we didn't manage to check your book out to you here or it's an interlibrary loan.

(Long pause)

BARBARA TURDMURKLE: But I have it right here.

ME: I understand that, ma'am. We still don't have it checked out to you on your card. You're sure you didn't get this on interlibrary loan?

BARBARA TURDMURKLE: No! I got it there! At the library! I just wanted to renew it for a few days because I'm not finished with it yet.

ME: Okay. Well, like I said, it's not checked out to you on your card. This means we won't be able to charge you any fines if it's late, so just bring it back when you're finished.

BARBARA TURDMURKLE: So I can have it renewed?

ME: (Sighing over the impossibility of ever cracking the walls of understanding with this woman) Yes. It's renewed.

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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.