Thursday, December 07, 2006

Actual Conversations Heard in Actual Libraries #66

(Setting: My "liberry." A man enters the building and approaches the desk, bearing a single volume from a set of encyclopedias.)

ME: Can I help you?

MAN: Yes, I wanted to see if your library would be interested in having these. I have the whole set and they're very, very nice.

ME: (I look down at his book, which is indeed a very, very nice E volume, gilded edges and all, from the year 1987.) Well, I'm sure we could accept them. We often sell encyclopedia sets in our book sale.

MAN: Oh. I thought you could use them here at the library.

ME: Well, no. We already have a current set of encyclopedias in our collection and yours are from 1987.

MAN: But, they're very, very nice.

ME: They are.

MAN: And you can't use them?

ME: Not for the collection, but we could possibly sell them in the book sale.

MAN: (Long pause) I... I... I'd rather give them to someone who'll use them. Maybe I can find someone else to take them.

ME: I understand, sir. I understand.

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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.