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.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Actual Conversations Heard in Actual Libraries #75

SETTING: My "liberry." A late middle-aged lady with long salt & pepper hair tied up in a bun, wearing glasses with the largest and thickest frames I've ever seen, comes up to the circ/ref desk. I'm not real sure what crawled up this woman's butt, but it was making her extremely cranky.

ME: Can I help you?

CHAPTER PRESIDENT OF THE MOST IRATE HOLOCAUST RESEARCHERS OF THE WORLD, UNION 756: I need help finding a book.

ME: Okay.

CPMIHRWU756: The author's name is Gold. Alison Leslie Gold. Leslie Gold... Leslie Gold.

ME: (Confused as to what the author's name actually is since the lady repeated and seemed to emphasize the last two names twice. So I do an author search for both "Gold, Leslie" and "Gold, Alison Leslie." Nothing comes up.) I'm sorry, we don't seem to have any books by Leslie Gold.

CPMIHRWU756: (Practically screaming) I said `ALISON Gold'! It's ALISON Leslie Gold!

ME: (Pause) Her either.

CPMIHRWU756: (Huffs snootilly) Do you keep all of your books together?

ME: Um... huh?

CPMIHRWU756: I was in the children's room and couldn't find anything by her.

(Ahhh, now I get it. Despite the fact that I just told her we don't have any books by Alison Leslie Gold, this lady thinks I was lying about it and that we're hiding all of them somewhere other than the children's room. Ms. Gold was evidently a children's author.)

ME: Uh, ma'am, like I just said, we don't have any books by that author in the entire library. If you'd like, we can probably get an interlibrary loan for one.

CPMIHRWU756: You're telling me you don't have ANY books by Alison Leslie Gold?

ME: Yes ma'am. I did an author search for Leslie Gold and Alison Leslie Gold. (I turn the monitor toward her and demonstrate author searchs for both GOLD, LESLIE and GOLD, ALISON LESLIE.) See, the only "A. Gold" author we own is Arthur Gold.

CPMIHRWU756: (Huffs snootily again) Well. Do you have any other books about Anne Frank?

(Ahhh, now I truly understand. Alison Leslie Gold must have written a juvenille non-fiction book about Anne Frank, which this lady somehow thought she was going to find it in our children's fiction room and was now unhappy that we don't own it at all.)

ME: Oh, certainly. (Types in a subject search on FRANK, ANNE.) Looks like we have five books about her.

CPMIHRWU756: What's the first one?

ME: "Anne Frank, Diary of a Young Girl"

CPMIHRWU756: (Again, practically screaming at me) No! I already HAVE that one!

(How I'm supposed to know what she does and doesn't have, particularly to the point that it would justify screaming at me about it, I'm none too sure. I'm on the brink of just showing her either the door or the OPAC, so she can do her own search if she's going to be all irritable about it, when I notice that the other four books on Anne Frank are actually pretty much different versions of the same book, Diary of a Young Girl. Instead of breaking this news to her myself, I just write down the call number for the general Anne Frank section in nonfiction and invite the lady to go have a look herself. She goes, but never returns to the circ-desk, so I can only assume her hope of finding our secret hidden room where we have the complete Alison Leslie Gold catalog on display with Alison Leslie Gold herself autographing books and passing out espressos, failed to happen.)

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