Monday, April 20, 2009


Work Saturday featured our most exciting Friends meeting to date, which is really saying something. And surprisingly, it didn't come from my poor co-workers head exploding after the third time that she was simultaneously asked a question by someone and then shushed by someone else trying to listen to the rest of the meeting when she attempted to answer said question. It didn't even come from the treasurer, who is on a power trip of such Caligula-like proportions that she is refusing to write checks because she feels all purchases we make over twenty dollars should be approved at the monthly Friends meetings, leaving us with the prospect having to wait three weeks every time we need office supplies like printer ink or copier paper. She has also tacitly or outright accused three fifths of the staff of thefts ranging up to $15000. The usefulness of a treasurer who refuses to dispense money is an exercise I shall leave to the reader.

No, the excitement came afterwards, with the attempted book theft in broad daylight.

We've had a patron who for quite a while has had a habit of keeping books out for huge periods of time (as in months) and then returning them in bad condition. She came to the Friends meeting today and in the process returned two books that were four months overdue. Which is good and all, if not for the five she still had at home. After the meeting was over (at which she volunteered to head approx. 212 committees. Any guesses on how well she'll do with that given her track record with returning library books?), she came up and wanted to borrow another four books. I should add at this point that we only allow people to have five books out at a time.

Now I'm an absurdly nice person. If I were any softer touch, you would have to just stick me in a cup of hot chocolate because I would be too much of a marshmallow to be a good librarian. I almost never charge fines, I let people go a couple books over the limit and I'll extend borrowing periods without a problem. But this woman managed to find my limit. When I refused to let her check the books out, she tried to bargain me down to two. If she had brought two more back, I might have gone for it since it would have brought her up to five. But no dice.

Bear in mind that the meeting was still breaking up at this point, so there were a ton of people milling around. Which made it all the more astonishing when she put two of the books down, grabbed the other two and ran onto the elevator, which was open since some people were getting on it.

I think this is the point that being the parent of a small child came in handy, because I'm used to running to stop misbehavior. I didn't even think about it - I ran around the desk, dashed onto the elevator and grabbed the books out of her hands and made it back off before the doors closed.

I'm still gaping at bit at what happened. I'm certainly familiar with library theft, but it usually takes the form of people checking stuff out and never bringing it back, or people trying to sneak stuff out. I've encountered the "Oh, I don't know how that got in my pocket" phenomenon in my day. But at least those people have the good grace to at least try to conceal what they're doing. Daylight snatch and grab jobs in the middle of a crowd is something I've never seen before.

On the plus side, I seem to have raised my cred with the rest of the friends with my brand of Wild West heroism. Just call me Wild Bill, I guess.

No comments:

Post a Comment