Friday, August 15, 2008

Moving the Innanet (Moving Days F)

After nonfiction was moved, we decided to go ahead and shut down the old "liberry" altogether, as we knew moving everything else would negate most of its usefulness to patrons until we got the new place open. We didn't know how long it would take to reopen, because we didn't know how long it would take to organize everything, nor how long it would take the last items of necessary furniture to arrive. We guestimated two weeks and crossed our fingers.

Of course, the group of patrons most inconvenienced by the closing of the library was the innanet crowd. Keep in mind, back in the old building, we only had three public access computers because that's all we had room for, but there was still plenty of competition for those. We knew that once word got out we were closing for a couple weeks there would be gnashing of teeth when patrons couldn't get their daily or even hourly fix from the innanet teat. The complaints began before we'd even closed. We answered them by informing the complainers that when we reopened we'd have ten computer stations and by suggesting they try one of the four other library branches in the area, most of which had more terminals than we did to begin with. From their reactions, you would have thought we'd suggested they drive to Abu Dhabi rather than five minutes down the road.

During the weeks we were closed, we heard from these other branches about the shenanigans of some of our regulars who began to darken their doors. Gene Gene the Geneal0gy Machine was chief among the displaced offenders. He chose to relocate to Town-C's branch where he began to spread his usual Gene-idiosyncrasies, such as telling anyone who hoved into his field of vision the suicide-inducing (or perhaps homicide-inducing) details of his geneal0gy research, printing reams of geneal0gical records and complaining bitterly about how much it cost him to do so. See our branch charges 10 cents per page for prints, but Town-C's branch charges a full 25 cents for both prints and photocopies. This royally torqued Gene and gave him cause to complain each and every time he came up to pay for his prints; which was often. Just like he did at our branch, Gene drove Town-C nuts by printing and printing and printing and coming up to pay for each batch of prints as he printed them. You wouldn't think this would be a big deal, but Town-C's branch is wildly understaffed in comparison to ours, with barely two employees on their best day. Add to that Gene's penchant for long-ass stories about all the people he's related to with each print pickup, not to mention an accompanying complaint session over the price of each page and you've got yourself a damned nuisance. Finally, Town-C's director, Mrs. S (no relation to Ms. S) told Gene that she would charge him only .15 cents per page if he would simply wait to pay for his prints at the very end of his computing session. Gene outright refused, and went right on paying a quarter per print as it was printed and complaining about the cost every time.

I've been itching to tell that story for over a year now. I got a few more such itches left in me and soon, oh, very soon, they shall be scratched.

For our part, the lack of innanet crowders was pretty blissful, except for the few that would turn up and bang on the door to get in despite the gigantic WE ARE NOT YET OPEN sign we had outside. Sometimes, when we'd left the front doors unlocked to allow free access for the staff, the patrons would just saunter right in and would even ask if they could go ahead and use our computers anyway even after being told we were not open to the public. I gave those people a complimentary kick in the teeth and sent them on their way.



Manda said...

In our move, we were swapping buildings. We had to put everything into storage and be closed for over a month while the business moved out and renovations were made.

On actual moving day, with the moving van backed right up to the doors, we still had people coming in. Luckily we had shut down our computer lab several weeks prior to this, so we didn't have the 'innanet' crowd. More than 2 years later, people still show up at the business and wonder where the library went!

BTW, enjoying the story!

Lisa said...

I *love* the moxie of a library director who decides to cut the price if the patron will quit being a pain in the backside! I, um, admire Gene's sheer bloody-mindedness to refuse the bargain.

You cannot make these people up. Obviously.

katie said...

We had caution tape strung across the door while we were closed after a storm had torn off the roof and flooded a good part of the building. Caution tape does not deter library patrons...It just slows them down until they get to the stacks of chairs put up as a barricade beyond that.

Patrons were still wandering around looking for the computers.

You'd think the guys in the disposable white suits and face masks would be a tip off that something wasn't quite right.

Anonymous said...

I've been enjoying "Tales from the Liberry" for quite some time now. I've got to say that the story of your move is among my favorites. We moved our library to a new facility in January of 2007 and experienced the same sort of things: crazy patrons who can't read signs, the organizing and re-organizing of shelves, etc... Brings back memories!
We didn't actually have a parking lot during the move though as they had to dig up the old parking lot and repave it. Didn't stop our patrons. They climbed through the marked off construction zone in their 2-inch heels and THEN banged on the door to be let in. We laughed in their faces when they did that.

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.