Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Actual Conversations Heard in Actual Libraries #46

SETTING: My "Liberry". A late-middle-aged female patron approaches the circ desk.

PATRON: I need some help. I don't know nothing `bout computers, but I need to help my granddaughter with her schoolwork. She's got a report to write about Sweden and I need information about it. You know—the people, the government, the culture, the history. Maybe some recipes.

ME: Okay. I think we can help you out. (I search the OPAC for a bit.) Well, we have a Scandanavian travel guide that will have some of what you're looking for in it. Other than that, we do have some encyclopedias that can be checked out that will have more information on the history, and such.

(I write down the call numbers for her.)

PATRON: Also, I need something else. I got into a disagreement with this fellow a while back...
(Upon hearing just this much, I am immediately terrified to my soul that I'm about to be asked some kind of major legal question and will have to go cart volume after volume of the state code of law to the desk to look up some obscure regulation about how many deer carcasses are permitted to be strung up in a
front yard at any given time, or something similarly absurd

PATRON: ... and he and I was arguing over what the real history of the Illuminati is. So I'll need some information about them, too.

(Long pause)

ME: Um. Okay. (I do some more OPACing) Well, the only thing we have that's coming up is Dan Brown's book Angels & Demons.

PATRON: (Disdainfully) Uh huh. Well, I don't want none of that. I wouldn't read that anyway, cause I don't hold with Dan Brown.

ME: (I then search the records of our entire consortium.) The only other thing available is a book called Emp0wer the Pe0ple: a 7-Step Plan to 0verthrow the C0nspiracy that is Stealing Your M0ney and Freed0m. We don't own that, though.

PATRON: (Sighes) I'll just take the Sweden books, then.

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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.