Monday, October 15, 2007

Creep Sweep Blues

I only recently began closing on Fridays again, but wouldn't you know that first one I was scheduled for would coincide with me having some place else I was supposed to be come our closing time of 7p. Not wanting to trade out with Ms. M (who I already owe for numerous previous trades) or Ms. D (who was working the rest of the weekend) I decided to just work extra hard to get all my crap done early so I could depart as close to 7 as possible (i.e. get Gene off the damn computer at least 10 minutes til close). I figured I could do it, as the place I had to be was nearby.

Shortly into the last hour of my shift, a lady patron came in. A minute later, another lady patron, a friend of the first, came in and they saw one another. The two apparently had not spoken in ages, so they went into the nonfiction stacks and conversed most of the hour away while browsing, usually in front of the section where I was looking to shelve books.

About fifteen minutes until 7, they wrapped up their conversation, the first lady checked out some books and then departed. The second lady, still tucked deep in the stacks, slipped out of my mind entirely and I forgot she existed. After all, I was busy trying to get Gene and the computer users to relinquish their computers so I could shut them down and clean up all their grubby fingerprints. Soon they were all gone, the building was completely quiet and I was at last able to finish my crap in peace.

Minutes later, when I went out to unlock the book return, I noticed a vehicle still in the parking lot. I was pretty sure I was alone in the library, so I wondered if the vehicle belonged to someone who had simply parked in our lot to walk elsewhere in the area. Didn't seem likely, as we're not exactly located conveniently near anything of interest, but stranger things have happened. I locked the front door and proceeded to finish writing down the stats for the day.

Normally when closing alone, I do a creep sweep of the entire building, moving along one side of the nonfiction stacks, eyeing each aisle and every nook and cranny, then checking young adult to make sure the Coot hasn't fallen asleep in the comfy chairs there again. Then I circle back around to the other side of nonfiction, then through reference, cross the main floor, check the mysteries and general fiction stacks before cutting past large print books and into the juvenille and easy reader sections, pop in for a check of the restrooms and then head downstairs for a quick once over. However, on this particular night, due to my need to be elsewhere and my false confidence that I was the only person in the building, I decided to forego those steps. For a moment, I did consider activating our intercom system to announce we were closed, just in case the owner of the vehicle outside was indeed still in the building and was, perhaps, downstairs, but I couldn't remember how to activate it, so I just gave up and shut off all the lights.

"Ahhh!" a female voice called from the nonfiction stacks.

"Oh. Oops," I said, flipping the lights back on.

"I take it you're closing?" the voice called again.

"Yes, ma'am. Sorry, I thought I was alone."

The second lady from earlier came out with her selection of books and apologized for being so quiet in the library. I apologized for nearly locking her in, checked out her books and sent her on her way.

Then, so as not to make the same mistake twice, I went ahead and did the creep sweep of both floors, found no one and hoofed it out the door myself.

1 comment:

StacksVoyager said...

Just wanted to say i appreciate your humor. if up to my eyeballs in library blogs devoted to "moving forward" and "learning 2.0" blah blah. i'm all for it, etc etc, but real on-the-floor library work is a bit more real.

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.