Thursday, January 27, 2011

Patrons attempt to set redundant question record

So yesterday we got saddled with a little bit of snow. Actually, it was about 6"-10" of snow which is considered blizzard worthy by most locals, but the problem was that for whatever reason no one was prepared for it even though all the weathermen were saying "heavy snowfall expected to start around 3pm." Our library remained open even when the staff to patron ratio doubled and the federal government announced it's early closing. Yup, that's right, my little library is considered more essential than the federal government. We were then scheduled to close at 5:30, which meant nothing to me because that's when I got off and I didn't want to use my vacation hours to go home early. That was until one of my coworkers who had left at 3pm called to say in the hour she had been on the road she had just approached a major highway that was maybe five minutes away. I left immediately.
Through the power of my Magic Phone I am able to document my surroundings while navigating through the mighty thunder snow storm.

My new place is roughly about five minutes away but it took me 45 minutes to get home yesterday. I feel very fortunate though because my mom who works maybe 25 minutes away from her home the next town over was on the road for six hours and my brother's girlfriend who lives in the same apartment building as me and works for the federal government didn't get home until after midnight. These are reasons why I was very annoyed this morning to wake up and discover I was expected to be at work...on time. However, once I got out of my neighborhood that was still not plowed, I could see that most of the roads were fairly clear for driving and I made it into work about half an hour before opening.

Last week when we experienced a dusting, we kept a tally sheet by the phone at the reference desk to mark off how many times patrons called to see if we were open. This is a ridiculous time wasting question because when a patron calls the library, one of the first things they are greeted with on the recording is a message that informs them if we are opened or closed. When we are closed we record a new greeting for that day that says, "Thank you for calling suburban library. Today is (insert date), due to (inclimate weather, a power outage, bear attack, etc.) the library is closed." The rest of the year the message says, "Thank you for calling suburban library. THE LIBRARY IS NOW OPEN." So anyone who is calling to see if we are open has just sat through the recording that told them that exact information.

"Hi, I was wondering if you were open today?"

Yes we are open. Do I sound like a robot or a recording? Do you think I live here and answer the phone when the library is closed for kicks? Doesn't the fact that another human being is picking up clue you in to the fact that the library is open?!

"I'm checking to see if you're open? And is the internet working?"

We are open and the snow has not effected the interweb so you can drive your SUV or slosh over in your boots in order to troll on Facebook or play that mafia game.

"Are you open? Do you think you will be closing anytime in the next hour or so?"

We're open and would if I could close the library at noon for no good reason other than it snowed yesterday, but I can't so I shant.

So far our tally is up to 27. We were taking bets this morning and I now wish I would have wagered higher.


  1. Last night around 5pm after the snow had been falling for about four hours and we'd gotten word that several other libraries in the state were already closed for the day AND planning to be closed the next day, a patron approached me and asked if we were closing early.

    Me: I haven't heard anything yet.
    Patron: Well, do you think you will?
    Me: That's up to the director, I just spoke to her, and she hasn't decided if we're closing early.
    Patron: So what time are you open until tonight?
    Me: If we don't close early, we'll be open until 9, just like usual.
    Patron: And tomorrow? Are you open regular hours tomorrow?
    Me: We will be unless we're not.
    Patron: And what time do you open tomorrow?
    Me: 9am, unless we delay opening or are closed.

    I ask you--did we learn anything from that conversation? He seemed satisfied with my answers, but will probably yell at me tomorrow when he finds out we had to close all day today...

  2. I'm waiting for the next snowstorm and the headlines will read, "Library Worker Dies on Their Way to Work So Patrons Could Update Their Facebook Statuses."

    Thundersnow, almost as bad ass as the Thunderdome. Now combine the two....

  3. In my youth I worked at Kinkos. We'd answer the phone with a cheery "Kinkos, Open 24-hours," and still get people asking our hours. It's the telephone equivalent of people knocking on the windows of the library before we open.

  4. I love it when they knock on the windows and I make eye contact with them, just to turn and walk away. 10 o'clock is 10 o'clock, I don't care that you're hold on "Nanny McPhee Returns" is about to expire.