Friday, March 4, 2011

What the?

A boy of about 11 or 12 approaches the reference desk and informs me that the copier* is out of paper. This surprises me because our pages are usually good about refilling the paper every morning.

Me: It says it's out of paper?
Boy: Yes.

I walk over to the copier with him and there is nothing indicating that the copier is out of paper, but there is apparently a paper jam. I try to open the drawer to take a look but it is oddly stuck.

Boy: What are you doing?
Me: I want to check on the paper and see if anything is jammed.
Boy: That's not where the paper goes.
Me: Huh?
Boy: That's not where the paper goes. It goes in here (he wildly points at the exit tray).
Me: No, that's where it will come out.
Boy: No, that's where it goes in.

Though I'm totally wtf I decide to let it drop in favor of getting into a ridiculous argument with a child about the mechanical workings of a photocopying machine. Instead, I sit on the floor, pulling on the drawer flap trying to force it open but it won't budge. Because the copier will also pull paper from drawer number two, I decide to give that one a try. It slides right reveal that it is filled with Pokémon cards.

Me: ???
Boy: Oh, those are mine (he reaches forward and starts collecting them).
Me: Why are they in the paper drawer?
Boy: I wanted to make copies of them.
Me: To make copies of them you put them on the GLASS (I stand up and open the copier lid to demonstrate proper copier use).
Boy: Oh.
Me: Did you fill the other paper drawer with cards?
Boy: Yes.
Me: *sigh*

About ten minutes later we have removed at least all of the Pokémon cards I could find and the copier seems clear of jams and in good working order. I walk back over to the reference desk and fill my coworker in on what I've been doing. After sharing my little story she says, "Don't turn around, but he's opening the paper drawers again."

*Public copiers are like kryptonite to a public librarian. During my two years of graduate study, we never once went over the intricacies of a xerography machine, much less one given to erratic behavior. However, it has become clear that one does in fact need the MLIS in order to do such tasks as refilling paper, removing stapled copies from the jammed autocopier, changing the toner cartridge, putting my delicate little fingers between metal objects that warn of third degree burns, and performing rudimentary repairs -- because this is what I spend at least 15% of my day doing in this master's degree required job. Whenever the copier really dies (or some asshat puts too many Canadian coins and paperclips in the money slot), I am full of glee as I place the "Out of Order" sign on that baby.


  1. Thankfully, I have no copier responsibilities as of yet. It would have been even better if the kid had put Digimon cards in the machine, as those are even more obscure and pathetic.

  2. Haha, I feel bad for this boy's future sex ed teacher...

    "What goes where!??!"

  3. @libraryfail - I don't think it's like this at every library, but so far it has been in my experience.

    @bibliotecher - haha! Yes, he was quite confused but adamant.

  4. Thanks thegreatandgeneralincandescence!

  5. You're very welcome! You should check out my blog sometime, I think we must have some of the same patrons.