Tuesday, August 5, 2008

be a superhero... or just be cranky.

Some days I wish I had a secret super hero life. I don't know if I want to fight crime... but I wouldn't mind some excitement. Some change in the ever growing monotony that is my present existence. I might even fix some of the peeves about my job.

I work at a public library and most days I adore it.
Though I'm usually hiding behind a partition typing madly on my computer, reading web comics, updating paperwork, processing books and pretending that I'm busy.

but once a week I have to work up at the circulation desk with the horrifyingly stupid public. I've met some wonderful normal patrons... they usually keep us, and by us I mean me, from going completely bonkers.

so, there are a few things with my job that annoy the heck out of me.

Because I work inter-library loan, I deal with people who are looking for items that our library does not own. They then request that we get that item from another library system.

ILL annoyance numero uno:
people who expect books from other libraries to arrive TOMORROW. Yes, you heard me, tomorrow. This isn't even possible if it were sent from a library 2 blocks away let alone from one in, say, California or a coast. drrrrrr....
the phone calls I get go something like this --
me:Inter-library loan department this is Ripsy. How may I help you?
patron: yes, I put in a request for an inter-library loan book. can you check on its status for me please? cause I haven't heard anything about it.
me: okay, what is your last name?
patron: X. do you think I should place another request?
me: um. no. I don't think so. was that request for title "Going Places"?
patron: yes. Is it in yet?
me: No, I'm sorry, it hasn't been shipped yet. I also see that you put the request in two days ago. That really is not enough time for the post office to deliver it to our library, let alone for the library in Ypsilanti to pull it off their stacks and send it.
patron: So, it isn't there yet?
me: um.. no, it isn't here yet. I say give it another week. Okay? Is there anything else?
patron: oh. okay. No, that was the only question. goodbye then.

ILL annoyance numero dos:
patrons who call about ILL's that are overdue. They call to "find out" how much fines are while hinting that they may have lost the book. They don't directly say those words, but they hint.

patron:yes, I have an inter-library loan item that is overdue. can you tell me what the fine is going to be?
me:fines are $0.20 a day with a maximum fine of $5.00.
patron:well, what is my fine right now?
me:May I have your library card number please?
patron: 98347982174892
me:that book is about 3 weeks overdue. Your total fine right now is $4.20, but that will increase each day, by $0.20, the longer you keep the book. Now, if you cannot return the book we'll have to ask the loaning library for an invoice. They can charge anywhere from $25.00 to $100.00 for a book. I think it would be best if you dropped that off at any of our locations.
patron:but the highest my fine can go is $5.00?
patron:okay, thanks.

why can't they just bring them back? Why do they insist on being delinquent with items that are not ours, items that another library has kindly, out of the goodness of their hearts, loaned to us? why? why? why?

Perhaps I should give up trying to be a super hero and just get a long black trench coat and a baseball bat and visit their homes to retrieve said items. Aaaahhh what a thought.

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