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, October 25, 2007

Actual Telephone Conversations Heard in Actual Libraries #97 (a.k.a. "Juice Dashes Yet More Dreams!")

*RING*

ME— Tri-Metro County Library.

PATRON— Um, yes, I was wondering… I'm calling from out of state and I was wanting to give someone in your area a Christmas present of a… a gift cer… a gift car... or, well, a gift of a library card. Is that what you have there?

ME— Library cards? Yes.

PATRON— I wanted to give them a library card for Christmas. Or, maybe there's a way you could tell if they already have a… an account? Could I do that?

ME— Well, ma'am, we would really need them to apply for… (Pause) Wait, is this for a child or an adult?

PATRON—
An adult.

ME— Ah. In that case, ma'am, we would actually need them to apply for that card themselves. See, we require a drivers license number in order to issue cards to adults.

(Long pause)

PATRON— So you couldn't just let me give them the card as a gift, then?

ME— I don't think that would work very well for us.

PATRON— (Sadly) Okay.

(Giving library cards as gifts? It's a nice sentiment, I guess. A nice... cheap... sentiment.)

8 comments:

Ordinary Janet said...

Being paranoid, to me it sounds more like someone was fishing for information on someone else, like to find out if that person had a card already. Only a moron wouldn't know a library card is free.

Holley T said...

I had a patron call in wanting to give one to his wife for their anniversary! I think he managed to find the one gift in the universe worse than a blender....

Jeff Scott said...

You should have asked for the name. Then say, "Yes, he has an account. However, the fine is $300. Would you like to pay for his fines?"

Further, you can do a Christmas angel program. Get all the kids who have fines because of their parents and have patrons pay off their accounts through donations. :)

Lisa said...

Yeah, I totally went the paranoid route: as if the caller was going to trick you into giving someone's name and address on the phone . . . .

Juice S. Aaron said...

No, I'm pretty sure this was just a little old lady trying to come up with a thoughtful (yet cheap) Christmas gift.

The Christmas Angels idea is not a bad one, but we have a fine ceiling of $4 at any given time. If fines get above that they're waived. We're far more interested in getting our books back than we are in sticking people for fines and we offer a wild array of ways for people to get out of fines as such. It works pretty well for us, though I must say our income has increased since we have begun enforcing the fines we do charge.

Heimdallr said...

I was beginning to think that maybe her friend had borrowed so many books from her and not returned them that she was saying, in a rather tactful way, there are other ways to borrow books.

Very amusing blog, thank you for the smiles.. Erm you wouldn't be a time traveler too would you, Mr. Library Man?

Juice S. Aaron said...

A time traveler? Sure. Though, I still can't find reverse.

I will also admit to sometimes playing with people's perception of time.

savoirfaire said...

You think that's cheap? My wife and I were given a very nice framed print of a sailboat as a wedding gift. It had been checked out from the local public library. The lady was totally serious, too.