Monday, December 05, 2005

Lumbergh Moment

Working in a library can in some ways resemble cubicle life more than I care to think on. We may not be hemmed in by little boxes working under four idiot bosses, but some of the resemblences are uncanny. Our library shelves are a tight squeeze and we do have to cater to some pretty scary instances of blind stupidity.

For anyone out there who's seen office space (where have the rest of you been?), a librarian is bombarded by TPS Report moments.

Too often, when a patron is told that we do not have a book they'll pause, then launch into the reason they need that book. All I can do is smile politely and repeat the available options. This may or may not trigger another bout of explanations on their part.

Look, telling me your life history and how this book is relevant to you does not make it magically appear. I'm not a magic book fairy that withholds the wealth of knowledge doling it out to those with a very good reason for needing it. Also, the only thing that repeating your reasons does is piss me off. That's when my polite smile gets a little strained and the temptation of the scissors grows.
It's that kind of elevator button mentality that goes into the people who keep hitting enter on the internet then complain when their page isn't loading.
Once is enough people!!! Unless questioned otherwise, assume 'message received.'

I mention this now because I received a phone call so similar to a conversation with Lumbergh that I had to share.

Lumbergh: I need a book from the Star Trek Voyager series.
Me: Okay, do you have a specific title of the book?
Lumbergh: No.
Me: How about an author?
Lumbergh: No. It's from the Star Trek series.
Me: Yes sir, I understand. However, we have many different books from that series written by many different authors. I'll need something more specific to find the exact book you're looking for.
Lumbergh: Oh. (pause) see, I need that book because I'm in the middle of a series of Star Trek Voyager your library has.
Me: *blink* (trust me, that guy sounded so much like Lumbergh that I had to pause) Okay. Well, until I can get more information, I won't be able to locate that specific book.
Lumbergh: Yeaaaaaaaaa....that book was part of a series from your library. I really need it to finish the series.
Me: (not sure whether to laugh or cry) I understand, but I really will need more information before I can find the book you're looking for.
Lumbergh: Okay, thank you. I'll be sure to send you a copy of the memo.

Hehe, he didn't say that last part of course but it would have fit.

Unless specifically asked, I really don't want to know why you require that information.
For the love of God, don't give me the intimate details of the reason you need a book on Herpes.
I can find Incest for Dummies without knowing what triggered the need for such an item.


Blogger Claire said...

I've worked in libraries before, and that basic incomprehension from some people always drove me crazy.

The people who wouldn't let you teach them how to look things up for themselves also drove me nuts.

1:50 PM  
Blogger Doggie Extraordinaire's Mom said...

Oh, jeeze, I think we share the same patrons, really I do! It's a good thing not two fingerprints are identical, because everyone everywhere seems to be the same as everyone else everywhere else.

In my library, when things like that happen, I look for my stapler and make sure that patron who did the "yeaaaaaaa, you see..." didn't just take it.

10:15 PM  

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