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.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

S is for Shifting

I was in the general fiction L's when I spied, resting on its side, neatly atop one row of the books there, a lone Dennis LeHane. Poking from beneath the front cover of it was a bright orange shelving slip, indicating that eternal Newbie Greenhorn Ms. S had at some point intended to shelve this particular book. As she hadn't been on shift for over a full day, she had obviously failed in her task. (As had the rest of us in noticing during the subsequent day.)

I picked up the book, to finish her shelving job, but found that the row of LeHanes it belonged in was packed so tightly that it was impossible to wedge in this new one. Shelf rows above and below the LeHanes were similarly packed.

Now, if one were to be charitable, one might assume that Ms. S had attempted to shelve the book, found that the shelves were packed, intended to shift properly in order to fit it, but got sidetracked by a patron and set the book down--merely temporarily, mind you--then forgot to come back and shelve it later. Or, one might look at the history of the employee in question and recall her great animosity toward the very concept of shifting books and decide that she forgot to do it out of convenience.

Whatever the case, one of the reasons the shelves were so tight is because the greenhorns keep shelving new books in them. We recently had a motherload of new books arrive and the new books section became wildly overcrowded. The greenhorns, who've often been guilty of shelving the new books on a good day, asked and were given permission to shelve some of the older new books on the walls rather than stick to our usual 6 months in the New Section rule for new books on the walls to free up room in the new section. Many of the ones I've found, though, were from as recent as last month, so they weren't exactly being picky about which ones they shelved.

Oddly, as much animosity as I've had toward Ms. S, I've recently found that my dislike of her has been growing far less. With the above example, she's clearly not started doing her job to perfection or anything. However, now that she's had a year under her belt, she has gotten better and has stopped exhibitting quite the degree of laziness we're accustomed to seeing. Either that or we've just gotten accustomed to it and are no longer so offended.

Further oddly, when she arrived for her shift the other day, I found myself greeting her with genuine friendliness.

Maybe I'm coming down with something.

No, I really do think she's actually gotten better. She still asks lots of questions, but the questions are no longer so dumb and with such obvious answers as they once were. Furthermore, she seems far less surly than she has been. Maybe its just the sort of job that takes some people about a year to settle in to. It took Ms. M that long to acheive a status in which we did not curse her very name. Now she's a valued employee who has graduated greenhorndom and acheived the rank of "Liberry" Ass. I'm not yet ready to grant that to Ms. S, but I can forsee a day when I might.

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