Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Libraries for losers

Libraries for Dummies wonders why the library attracts so many of the, er, eccentric:

Despite multiple pleas to the committee, librarians aren’t allowed to dispense drugs. A tragic loss for all sides.

We had one patron, let's call him Dudley, who played chess in the library. Unfortunately, his pants were too big and as he was sitting, they would fall off, leaving a fine example of ass-crack. One of the security guards even gave him a belt, but they still fell off.

I had to have an interesting conversation with him. Such was my privilege as director.

We also had a library child. Her parents ran a Chinese restaurant down the street, and she was constantly wandering in. Cute little thing, about three. We tried to warn the parents, who lost all their English when we spoke to them. Finally, we accepted our fate, and kept a box of crayons and a few coloring books for her. Otherwise, she might have been hit by a car.

But my worst library person was an employee, Eddie. He came with the highest recommendations (his former employer wanted to get rid of him). Eddie would disappear when he was supposed to be on the circ desk. The children's librarian got the fright of her life when she went to the auditorium to prepare for a program and found Eddie asleep on one of the tables. He told me he was taking a power nap.

Eddie was also an awful liar and backbiter. He was there only a few weeks, but I got so that when I entered the library and saw his smiling face--or not, because he was habitually late--my heart dropped to my boots.

I asked myself a question--did I want to look at Eddie's face the first thing in the morning for the rest of my professional life? No. Did I want to continue to have little talks with him, asking him to change his ways? NO. I asked the Assistant Director and she didn't want to either. Since he was provisional, we fired him. It was unpleasant, but not as unpleasant as having to look at him.

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