Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Readers advisory for the difficult

Today a guy in a gas station attendant's uniform wanted me to help him find a book he read and really enjoyed 15 years ago from another library. He could not remember the title or author, but that the book was about "a wealthy man who has a mistress and wants to get rid of his wife. She has this huge garden and puts a lion in it. When she finds out of his plans to murder her she decides not to feed the lion for a few days and the lion eats the husband while the wife has a tea party. How long do you think it will take you to find it? Should I wait here or come back in a few minutes?"

I took his information down and told him he could go home as I would contact him when I found it, but after an hour searching a couple databases and posting the plot description to some book websites I still have nothing.

Later, I watched as a shrunken elderly man took about 10 years to approach the reference desk. He pulled out the chair and eased down, never a sign that it will be a quick transaction.

Old Man River: I’m looking for a book on Hilary Clinton.
Me: Do you know the title?
OMR: Hilary Clinton, she wrote it.
Me: I believe she's written a few, do you know which one you're interested in?
OMR: It's the one Hilary Clinton wrote.
Me: (I imagine I have one of those cartoon scribble clouds appearing above my head) Let me take a look in the catalog.
OMR: It is copyright 2003, I think.
Me: Is it Living History?
OMR: Hilary Clinton. I want the one by Hilary Clinton.
Me: Yes, this is by Hilary Clinton. If this is the title you're looking for we have a copy, but it's at another library.
OMR: Only one copy?
Me: Only one checked in, but it’s at another library.
OMR: Not here?
Me: No, not here.
OMR: Hilary Clinton?
Me: If it's Living History you want it's not here, but I can request it for you to be sent here.
OMR: What about Bill Clinton?
Me: (does a search) We have two of his titles but neither is currently checked in.
OMR: No Bill Clinton?
Me: Not right now, but I can put it on hold, would you like me to put it on hold?
OMR: No Hilary Clinton?
Me: Not checked in at his library, no.
OMR: Do you have George Bush?


  1. Yes, we do have a book by George Bush, sir. It’s called “My Foot Kicking You Off Your Chair, You Dumb Stupid Old Fart.”

  2. A chair near the info desk that patrons can use --- that's bad feng shui or something, plus it's potentially hazardous to your health!

    Patrons will mistake it for a barstool and talk your ear off.

    I suggest breaking off one of the legs immediately, given the recent library budget cuts, you'll have about 5 years before it is replaced. When that dreadful day arrives, rinse wash repeat.

  3. Yeah, when my boss isn't around I like to make the chairs in front of the reference desk magically relocate. Otherwise it's like an open invitation to hear about someone's grandkids or how they got the gout.

  4. I'm sure that was irritating at the time, but oh so funny. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Yes, I'm glad that these little interactions are funny later on :) Thanks for commenting.