Monday, January 30, 2006


Sadly, the librarians do not stand as one as a front against an unending slew of ignorance and intolerance. Even within our stronghold of knowledge there are weaknesses that threaten to crumble our resolve. Ours comes in the form of a worker in another branch who remains the most clueless, helpless, and hopeless staff member. She hands down wins the coveted helmet award. I'm surprised she's allowed to drive.

I will affectionately refer to her as the Headbanger because that is exactly what you want to do after speaking with her; just wham your head into your desk until the sweet release of unconsciousness.

I've never had the opportunity to meet her in person but her phone calls are a daily source of horror. Those who have just shake their heads and express profound sympathy for the staff that has to deal with her on a daily basis. If it's at all possible, she's actually worse in person than she is on the phone.

Let me walk you down a few senarios that are the hallmark of an interaction with this strange creature. This was my first ever converstation with her a few weeks after she was hired.

Me: Hi, this is Library Psychosis from the Main Branch, we need a book sent up here for a patron.
HB: Ooooookaaaaaaaaaaayyyy..... *silence*
Me: (that's an ominous beginning; no greeting, no prompting, just erie silence) I need volumes 4,5, and 7 of Alice 19th; it's a series.
HB: Okay, what's the title?
Me: *blink blink* Alice 19th. They all have the same title.
HB: So the author is Alice what?
Me: No, the title is Alice 19th. The author is Yu Watase. (I'm getting scared. Are you sure you work here?)
HB: So you need all seven volumes?
Me: No, I only need volumes 4,5, and 7.
HB: Okay. So I'm sending you Yoo Wase. Who's the author again?
Me: (I give up, could you just put your mother on the phone?) The author is Y-u W-a-t-a-s-e. The title is Alice 19th. Every one is titled Alice 19th, they are just different volume numbers.
HB: I see, so you need volumes 1-7 of the series.
Me: No, I need volumes 4,5, and 7.
HB: Okay, I'll send them to you. *starts to hang up*
Me: Wait, I need to tell you the patron's name!
HB: Oh yea.

I wrapped up that conversation by making her repeat everything verbatum like a five year old. Sadly, she really never quite managed to get it right. Is it bad when the patron starts laughing half-way through the conversation?

I was honestly starting to wonder if they were messing with me. Unfortunetly, my fellow co-workers sadly informed me that this was a repeat performance.

Headbanger is also notorious for simply saying 'hello' when we call them making us wonder if the patrons are answering the phone and our cousins are locked up in the basement.

She also forgets her own name and where she works whenever she calls us.
This is the only explanation I can come up with for why she calls us and just starts prattling on about what she needs without identifying herself or that the book is for a patron.
I often times get through almost the whole conversation before she finally mentions the patron name and I realize that this is a staff member speaking. I use the word staff very loosely for her. I don't think she actually does anything and is discouraged from trying. What she does do turns out so horribly wrong that we're tempted to do drug testing on her.

She also loves to shake up our book finding experience by leaving out key facts about the book location. For instance, not telling us that the book is on the new shelf or in Large Print. One time she gave me a title to a book and I spent twenty minutes looking for it. She had so badly mangled the title that only one word from it that she gave me actually matched the real title.

These are but a small few examples of her expertise in chaos and confustion. I'll list more once the trauma eases.

The patrons are infiltrating us! Stupidity abounds!!


Anonymous adrienne said...

Yes, we have one of those. The general note on the chick-in computer that went up when this person was having trouble remembering where to put items on hold, now has her name in large letters reminding her where to put the items on hold.

7:18 PM  
Blogger Library Psychosis said...

Meh, I've lost all hope for that one.
I swear, the Black Hole has been reborn at our library!

12:21 PM  
Blogger Happy Villain said...

AHHH, I was just going to say you have a Black Hole relative!

Don't you hate knowing they get paid (same scale as you) for this?

7:29 PM  
Blogger two bits said...

The worst punishment I can think of for this person is to put in ILL requests for some obscure book that only her location owns. Warn the other staff first,to make sure she is the one sent looking for it. It just might keep her busy for an entire day.

1:55 PM  
Blogger Library Psychosis said...

That's very clever!
However, I've already prepared a leaf covered tiger pit.
I like the direct approach! ;p

12:29 PM  

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