Mrs. B told me about this one.
Early last week, Mrs. B received a phone call from an irate patron. This patron said that she had requested an inter"liberry" loan two weeks ago and it still hadn't arrived for her. She was furious that this was the case because she really needed that book. Mrs. B looked up the title in our consortium's directory and found that one library in the entire consortium owned the book and it was currently checked out. She explained this to the woman on the phone, pointing out that if a given book is not currently on the shelves of the library that owns it, that book can't exactly be loaned out until it is first returned.
The woman didn't care to hear this, of course, and insisted that she had been assured the book was available and would be in her hands within 10 days. Furthermore, if the book wasn't in her hands by the end of the day, she was going to phone the library commission to complain about us. Mrs. B told her that she was welcome to do so, but that we had no control over when or whether the book would arrive, nor did the library commission.
The lady then backtracked a bit and said that she might instead call the library commission to complain about the library that actually owned the book. Mrs. B tried to point out that the book might have been checked out from the other library between the time the ILL request was originally taken and the time we actually processed it, a day or so later. It might not even be overdue and could therefore not be recalled by the library that owned it to loan to us. The woman angrilly insisted that no one wanted to read that book, it wasn't popular and so no one would have checked it out. If she didn't have it by the end of the day, she was phoning the library commission to tattle on someone. She HAD to have that book.
When Mrs. C returned, Mrs. B asked her about the ILL. Mrs. C looked the book up and found that it was actually checked out to us by the library that owned it as part of the interlibrary loan and it had already been mailed but had not yet arrived. Mrs. C phoned the patron back and told her this. The patron was suddenly all nice and happy and said she was sorry she had gotten so angry with us over it before, but that she really needed that book for a paper she was writing for a class and had to have it immediately.
Mid afternoon, the mail arrived and so did this lady's requested book. Mrs. B phoned her up immediately and told her the book was waiting for her. The patron was overjoyed.
Four days later, she actually came to pick it up.