Citizen's Arrest!

Large lady dressed head to toe in white (with pink accents) approached the desk with a HUGE smile, and said with all the sugary-sweetness she could dredge up: "There is someone writing an email on those computers" [pointing at the "homework only" computers.]

Me: "OK...?"

Sugar bomb: "The sign says "no email."

Me: "OK, I'll check it out."

Sugar bomb: Stands there looking at me expectantly, then reluctantly walks away and stands directly behind the "offender."

I realize she is not going to leave them alone, so I approach her. "Are you waiting for this computer or something?"

SB: "No..."

I look at the transgressor's screen, and she is not doing email at all, but simply writing a blog entry. I tell the nosey-fakey woman the girl is not doing anything wrong, but what I really wanted to say was "Wow! Who died and made you chief of the Library Police?"


10 Minute Ref Grunt

Patron saw an author on Dr Phil. The author wrote about their history of child abuse. It was on the 3:00 show on channel 4 sometime in the last two weeks. Not the 11:00 show, the 3:00 show. My coworker had been looking through the last two weeks’ worth of shows, but then I realized this lady probably saw a rerun. [I could care less about watching Dr. Phil, so I don’t know when it usually airs, even though the patron thought I should.] I don’t want to look through over 500 episodes. Then she started telling me how to look for it. “Go into Google and just search for books about people who were abused as children.” “Put Dr. Phil 3:00 show.” Then her baby threw up on counter. After we cleaned that up she decided to leave. I was glad.

Would like to reserve Hard Rock by Nevada Barr (title actually Hard Truth) (“I’m surprised he is still writing!”) [I go off looking for the book which is supposedly on the shelf, but can’t be located. She goes to look for other books.]

A nervous lady was looking for stories about bipolar and manic depressive people. I found one by Patty Duke. “That’s IT! That’s the one I saw before!”

Nevada Barr lady again. [Me: I’m sorry. We couldn’t find it.] “Oh, no, don’t worry. This makes me feel like I’m home. I never can find anything.”

Manic depressive lady returns with book (not the Patty Duke one though) in hand: “Can you tell me what that word is?” “Psyche.” “That IS ‘psyche’? I wondered.” Yes.

Very OLD, very hearing-impaired man wearing a safety yellow vest and a matching bicycle helmet wanted to find an art supply store in his town. The whole transaction was conducted at top volume. I had to shout in his hear so he could hear me.



One of our regulars was waiting with his girlfriend to sign up for a computer. As he waited, he became effusive over how NICE we library ladies are.

"All you you people who work here are SO NICE! They must pay you a lot of money."

Me: "Yah, they pay us to be nice."

"You are always so helpful and nice! I don't usually like government, but you guys almost make me change my mind. You aren't like the rest of the government offices. You are actually helpful...etc. etc."

He kept going on in this vein for an uncomfortable length of time, so I sort of starting ignoring him and returned to looking up call numbers. In the middle of his comments, he pauses and said to his girlfriend: "What? I wasn't flirting with her! ...mumble, mumble... I'm sorry!"

I guess I looked fetching in my green sweater, because the same thing almost happened again with another guy (and his girlfriend) later in the evening. Yikes! I cut him off though. Told him I really didn't want to hear his story about how women in the Philippines get out of arranged marriages.

Best Dressed Award

Sometimes simplicity really does make the biggest statement. I see some crazy outfits in the library, but one last night took the cake. A tall guy with long, scraggly hair rushed in looking for a cd. He caught my attention when I heard my coworker ask him to please go get some shoes and come back. I looked over and saw that he was wearing a single button cut-away tux-style jacket in burgundy. Unbuttoned. That was coupled with bright yellow swim trunks.

And that's all.

No shoes, no shirt, and I'm pretty sure no underwear, either.



A lady kept telling me how amusing some books were while at the same time asking for books on another topic. In the middle of that, she tugged on her britches and said, "Why don't they make pant that stay on? If you don't have an ass, pants just fall right off!" As far as I could tell, she was not lacking in that department.

The Resident Perv interrupted BOTH of us on the desk (at different times) to show us side-by-side pictures of Mount St. Helens before & after. "Yah, nice," I said. "I have to help these other people." Later my coworker said, "I wonder what he thought those pictures insinuated? Two mountains...?? Um..." Yah, he probably had something stupid in mind. He always shows us crap and acts like it's x-rated.

Two separate people asked me for info on Terri Schiavo.

The best was the lady who stopped by to tell me that she got an A on a paper I had helped her with. I told her she works hard. She deserved it. Seriously. I see her studying in the library every day that I work.

I should have done a Ref Grunt today, but I couldn't keep up.


The weirdness defies description.

Weird drunk-acting guy who had difficulting forming complete thoughts: "Do you control these computers?" (the OPACS)

Me: "What do you mean? are you having a problem with it?"

"Yes I am. Every time I click on something a box comes up that says back forward..."

Me: "Let me take a look at it." He was right clicking. I explained which button to push to select something.

The search screen came up with “keyword” as the default search.

Drunk dude: "Wordkey? what does that mean? wordkey?"

Me: "Keyword…that is just the kind of search. Type in the subject you are looking for."

Drunk dude motioning wildly: "Is there a catalog or something? Something where I can research?"

Me: "This is it. What are you looking for?"

Drunk dude thinks hard: "uh…Medical!"

"Well, you might need to narrow that down a bit. I give examples: cancer, drug effects, etc."

"Oh. thank you."

He seems to want me to leave, even though it is clear he has no idea what to do, so I leave.

Next he comes up to the desk: can you spell “Einstein” for me?

Now he is just standing at the computer looking around the room.

Eventually he came back up and wanted to know if we had instructions on how to use those computers over there. With considerable difficulty I got him to tell me what he wanted and just took him to the shelves where the books on Einstein were located. I was showing him how to look at the call numbers and match what I wrote on the paper when he just sort of ran off in the other direction with the paper. He came back a few seconds later, and explained that he was just checking on his stuff: a large ratty backpack with a sort of bedroll in a black trash bag strapped awkwardly on top.

No Vacancy

I don't get it. I have people come into the computer lab all the time, look at the computers which are ALL occupied, and then ask me, "Are they all full?"

The other thing that I don't understand is when people do that, and then say, "I just need to use it for two minutes" or "I just need to print one thing real fast." It doesn't matter what you "just" need to do. If the computers are full, they're full. You still have to wait your turn. People say that ALL the time. It annoys the heck out of me.


Letters and Numbers

We have one-time-use numbers we give people so they can use a computer if they don't have a library card. They look like this: Z0513400000127

I gave one to a man and he asked, "Is that first letter a 2?"

Me: "No it's a Z and [pointing at the 0's] those are zeros."

Him: "Zero like the number zero, not the letter?"

Random Weirdness

A large man was wearing pants held up by suspenders. The suspenders were attached to his belt loops with purple carabiners.


A lady called to tell us that her daughter was in the library.
"Her name is Yvonne. I left her there and I will be back to pick her up in sixty to ninety minutes."

Me: Um, ok. [unsure what I am expected to do with this information]

"I asked the librarian and she said it was OK."

[so why are you telling me this now?]

"She is not supposed to leave the library until I pick her up."

Me: Does she know this?


Me: Well, OK then. [there were at least 50 school-aged kids in the library at that point. Did she expect me to go around and ask each one of their names and then keep a special lookout for Yvonne in case she tried to sneak out? I don't think so.]



A guy rolled his computer chair over to my desk to tell me "It won't go to yahoo."

I look at his screen. It said www.yaho.com. "That's because 'yahoo' has two 'o's."


Someone stole the mouse from a public computer today. Freak.

Once I worked in a court house and these two ladies would come in and steal toilet paper--by unrolling it into a large bag.

Occupational Hazards

Last night in line at Costco, I pointed out the guy in line behind us. He had on a khaki trench coat and some sort of weird gloves that looked like they might be an accessory for a sport like mountain climbing. He was busily rearranging everything in his cart. As we walked away with our purchases, we heard him instruct the cashier not to take anything out of the basket. He had arranged everything with the bar codes facing up. "I didn't want to take it out of the cart. It was too much work to put it in there the first time."

I told my husband that that guy probably frequents his local public library and drives the librarians nuts. THAT is the kind of people we deal with daily.

As we drove away, my husband was still saying, "Too much work! Too much work!???" Little does he know.


Remind me to tell you about the guy who brought his own lamp into the library, and was ticked off when it would not work. He took it outside and returned with a different (full-sized) lamp.

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