Monday, March 31, 2008

Hacker's Complaint

Johnny Hacker's dad, Mr. Hacker Sr., apparoached the circ desk, our copy of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 2 in his hand.

"You might want to take a look at what you have on your shelves," Mr. Hacker said. "I've marked some pages here that you should see." Indeed, the copy he held out had around three different post-it notes poking from betwixt its pages. His expression was one of someone who has triumphantly noticed an error in judgment on the part of the "liberry" that had gone unnoticed before. Being as how I'm the guy that ordered the book in the first place, though, and who was very familiar with it, since it's one of my favorites among the works of Alan Moore, I was already aware of what content he was likely complaining about.

"Yes, sir, we know about it," I told him. "That's why we have it shelved in our adult section."

"But I found it over there," he said, pointing to the New Adult Fiction shelf, where it has been housed, being a recent purchase.

"Yes, sir. That's the New Adult Fiction section," I said.

"But the kids... the kids might be interested."

Not wanting to get into the whole But Comic Books Are Only For the Children argument with him, I conceded, "They might be, but that's why we have this shelved in the Adult Fiction section and not the Juvenile or Young Adult sections." He gave me a blank look, so I continued, "We have graphic novel sections in Juvenile, Young Adult, Adult Fiction and Non-Fiction. This one is shelved with the books for adults." I should also have added that I've never actually witnessed a kid even give the New Adult Fiction a glance, let alone chosen anything from it, but figured I'd leave it.

Mr. Hacker looked annoyed and somewhat deflated, in a sort of realization that the inmates are indeed running the asylum kind of way. He set the book down and said, "Okay," in such a precisely chosen tone that it was clear that what he was really saying was, "Okay, NOW I see how this library is REALLY run."

I hate to think of the reactions we'll get once we add LOEG: The Black Dossier.


arkham said...

You mean that there are comics (graphic novels, I know) that might not be suitable for kids?!? I'm shocked!

Amazing that people still think all "comics" are just for kids.

'Course I guess I wasn't even all that aware of it until my wife introduced me to Watchmen a few years ago.

Dances With Books said...

Apparently the concepts of "it's shelved in the adult section" and "you as a parent certainly could do something if you don't want your kid to read it" are above that bozo (with apologies to Bozo the Clown). Then again, the fact he brought the book over tells me he is one of those asshats who is not content to simply limit himself (his right), but feels the righteous need to deprive others on the basis of his repressed nature. You have to feel sorry for the kid. Anyhow, glad you stood your ground.

And LOX of all comics? Man, the guy needs to get a clue. Alan Moore is just brilliant.

crsunlimited said...

I guess this guy has never heard of Frank Miller?

Rebecca said...

I'm so waiting to have that discussion with the first person to complain about our newly purchased DVD collections of "Queer as Folk" and "The L Word":

Me: "They're *your* children. You talk to them about what's appropriate viewing material."

Lisa said...

Ha, my colleague just reported a similar exchange about a book in the New for Adults area -- something that kids might pick up and see.

tiny robot said... mean the public library is trying to serve different kinds of people in the community, not just one? What?

I've heard the other end of the spectrum as well...the "Why do we have People magazine in the library? Isn't this a place of learning?"

You can't please anyone, can you?

daisy said...

Please tell me you don't call them "graphic novels" when they're nonfiction. This is replacing "true-crime novel" as my pet peeve of library semantic madness.

Monster Librarian said...

Ugh...patrons patrons patrons. Go outdoors and breathe deeply...I think they are all oxygen depleted.

Anonymous said...

I need to pick those up one of these days. I just gained some room on my shelf.

I remember way back when my Aunt promised me a comic when she got back from the grocery store once, and she turned back up with Archie, which... wasn't THAT bad, I have to admit. But, it made me realize some people are still going to think of comics as "funny books".

finally_a_librarian said...

Anyone remember Fritz the Cat? Besides being a comic book back in the '70s, It was also an X-rated full-length animated movie.

Anonymous said...

We had a woman submit a formal complaint about an illustration of the Greek god Pan in a *very* well-known and classic series for children. Thought it was anti-Christian.
Ya can't please everyone, so ya got to please yourself...

Anonymous said...

Oh Hell, just get a copy of Judd Winick's* The Adventures of Barry Ween, Boy Genius and give it to the dear ole' Dad and then, when he strokes out, problem solved!

*Yes, that Judd Winick who used to be a pretty cool comics artist.

Jolie said...

Ugh!!! Once, a patron asked me if I thought it was appropriate to have "graphic novels" for children. I replied, "Absolutely!" and he looked at me as if I had three heads. Then it dawned on me that he thought that the books were novels that were...ummm...graphic.

Juice S. Aaron said...

Oh, I am quite familiar and enamored with Mr. Winick's tour-de-force Barry Ween series. I own every last bit of it and recommend it to all fans of heart-warming stories filled with crass humor.

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.