(Picture is in public domain, but check out Liam’s Pictures from Old Books)
I am going to have to learn some magic, since patrons keep expecting me to bend the rules of time and space for them.
For example, our public printer has been on the fritz for a week. We have plastered signs up indicating this on ALL the computers, on the printer, on the entry doors, and on the back of a slow-moving shelver.
You would think people would get the message. However, I still have at least 3-4 patrons a day come up to the Reference Desk and ask, “Is the printer not working?” Once I confirm that it is broken, they then say, “So, there’s no way I can print anything?”Now, several snappy comebacks have occurred to me over the past few weeks….no, no, I won’t go there.
Now, we move into the second stage. They then say, “But I really need to print something right now“ and continue to look at me expectantly. What, exactly, do they think I will do? ….”Oh, you REALLY need to print something? Well, let me pull out the secret, hidden, working printer we keep just for that purpose!”
Maybe they are waiting for me to suggest a bribe? A knowing wink and a finger aside my nose? “Eh, I might be able to help you out, Mr. Patron, if you had a box of Thin Mints…”
I get the same reaction when a book they are looking for is missing. Sometimes, even though the (all-knowing) computer says a book is “available,” we cannot locate it on the shelves.
So, I explain that it could be because someone else has used it and left it on a table or it could be misshelved or it could even have been stolen (a pox on all you book thieves!). After suggesting that we can order a copy from another branch, they still continue to stare at me…”But the computer says it’s ‘available’ at this branch!”
Maybe next time I will say, “Wait a minute…what’s that behind your ear? ::reach up and pull out missing book with magician’s flourish:: “Why, here it is!”