Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What's in a name?

A post over on on Love the Liberry and a recent policy change in my own system has me thinking. Apparently, there was a vote I don't even remember at our recent staff day to give us new employee badges that will only have our title and not our names. The reason: these badges will save the county money by being generic and badges can be reused after an employee leaves a position. The real reason: Creepy McCreeperson is about to have a restraining order against him for stalking one of our teen pages, Old Lady Crazy-Make-Up is leaving nearly 10 messages a day on a coworker's voicemail, and Home-Schooling-Mom-of-13 thinks another coworker is her personal librarian/research assistant.
Ok, so it's not the official reason, but things have gotten a little weird around here within the last few months with patrons having boundary issues with staff. Yes, we are friendly, but that's because we are paid to do it. We are not friendly because we enjoy hearing hour long stories about your sick parrot and want to be your friend. We are having too many issues with patrons calling and wanting to speak with one person and one person only. This would be different perhaps if it were for the branch manager or a specific question, but instead it is for a specific staff member and usually something that can be answered by anyone.
What I'd like to do instead is allow everyone to create a stage name to use at work. The staff member who's obsessed with "True Blood" can be Sookie, our dirty joke telling old AV guy can be Buck Naked for all I care.
Don't get me wrong, I like helping people and it is nice to have someone seek out your help because they enjoyed the service you provided. However, it isn't so nice when a patron who has learned your name calls the library and pretends to be your dad in order to talk to you, or calls the police and says you stole her laptop, or shouts your name across the library and threatens to physically assault you for not allowing them to check out a book. Yes, all of these things have happened to me on the job and a generic ID badge probably won't eliminate all of those problems, but maybe if I can start going by my alterego I won't have to make that mad dash from the building to my car everynight, looking over my shoulder and running in a zig-zag formation to avoid snippers.


  1. we have badges and my name is in 24 pt. type. and yes, we are all worried about the crazy people with endless free time to file lawsuits or property liens against us or find our real address and sit outside our homes skinning raccoons. so I like the stage name.. hmm, maybe something from this comment.. "Zig-Zag Serpentine". yeah, you don't mess with a guy named Zig-Zag.

  2. hey, I lost the first line that said zig-zag... serpentine and pointed to this youtube video...