Monday, September 10, 2007

Actual Conversations Heard in Actual Libraries #90

(SETTING: My "Liberry" where an Early Middle-Aged White Lady approaches the circ desk.)

ME— Sure thing. (Gets tickets) That will be $50.

EMAWL— (Plunks down a credit card)

ME— I'm sorry, ma'am but...

EMAWL— (Irritated, yet still making this as a statement and not an inquiry) You can't take them.

ME— I'm afraid not.

EMAWL— (Fishes in pocketbook) I don't see how you can't take them. How do you ever deal with fund-raising if you can't take them?

(Not being rude enough to say, "Most people just write us a check," I merely shrug. The lady frowns and plunks down $60 cash and I fetch her $10 change. Meanwhile her husband, a regular book-reading patron who has always been nice to us, approaches the circ desk, book selection and library card in hand.)

EMAWL— (Peers over her husband's offered card) I suppose I need a library card as well.

ME— Sure thing. I can whip one up for you quick.

(While she's filling out her application, I check out her husband's book. It occurs to me that while this early middle-aged white lady is still a good twenty years away from being "old", she's well on her way to becoming an Old White Woman all the same. She clearly has the attitude of entitlement brewing away in a great heaping kettle on the stovetop of her persona. This being the case, I know that when she reaches the line on our application requiring a driver's license, she's going to gift me with a consignment of shit. And as with most Old White Women, this consignment will not be delivered due to any sort of mistrust of giving us that particular information, but will be due to her deep-seated feeling that she, herself, should be immune from having to supply it. She'll be fine with it on a conceptual level and is probably content with everyone else in the world supplying it; she just doesn't think SHE should have to on a strictly personal level.)

EMAWL— (Reaching the driver's license blank and pausing there, pen hovering in the air, eyebrow raised...) So, if I don't have a driver's license, I can't have a library card?

(I start to explain our reasoning behind requiring that unique identification number, but can tell from her expression that nothing I have to say on the matter is of any consequence to her. My salvation comes from her husband, who at that moment interrupts her, adopting the perfect tone of a man who's not going to put up with his wife's unnecessary crap THIS time, and says...)

HUSBAND— But ya DO have one.

(I detect an icy chill in the air following this, but the Early Middle-Aged White Lady has no counter-argument that can defeat this logic. Instead, she sniffs, writes down her number and passes me the form. Shortly she departs with her new card, which I'm absolutely certain will never, EVER be used.)


Anonymous said...

You guys don't actually check to see if the driver's license is valid, do you?
People could just randomize a driver's license number on the application and go about their business, right?
And what if she DIDN'T have a driver's license because she's one of those elderly white women? You know what I mean, four foot tall, all you would see are the knuckles as they drive about with a chihuahua in their lap with hair dyed black as midnight with enormous sunglasses.
Y'know your library is really, really strange. They charge patrons for the first ten pages and require a driver's license. I live someplace significantly more conservative, at least in popular culture's opinion and the east coast's opinion, and they only need photo id to see you are who you say you are without copying the information AND it's posted everywhere in the computer room that the first ten pages (per day) are free to patrons only.
P.S. it sucks that Blogger demands that I use my gmail account which is wholly different than my offspring of a character actor who appeared on a late sixties science fiction program. Logging in and out is a pain in the keister.

Juice S. Aaron said...

We do check licenses to make sure they're valid. We also accept state ID numbers in place of DLNs. And if she truly didn't have a DLN we would still have given her a card, after double-checking that she wasn't already in the system under that name.

P.S. I'll be sure to pass on your complaint, next time I'm invited to a Blogger development committee meeting.

Loretta said...

If you knew how many people attempt to get away with another card because they have overdues and/or fines they don't want to deal with then you'd understand why a DLN helps.

It's nice that your library can afford to give away ten pages free to each patron. Most libraries can't afford it. When we had that policy we went through thousands of pieces of paper a month. Now that patrons actually have to pay for their prints, we use 10% of the paper we used to.

Holley T said...

My library requirements:
1) DL must be provided to get a card (don't change your haircolor after you get the license or we'll be suspicious)
2) You must have your card to check out. We will accept your DL ONE TIME, but after that you have to have your card, go get it, or get a new one for $3.
3) Copies are 10 cents per page each and every time you click the print button for each and every page the printer spits out. Your problem if you didn't check the print preview first.

You have a nice library Juice...sounds like a friendly one too. Rock on.

Anonymous said...

Hang on. Credit cards have been in use by business people since the 1920s, and the population at large since 1946. Surely that is sufficient time for even public libraries to consider adopting this new fangled technology.

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.