I’m a Professional

As you no doubt know, I really love my local library. The collections are excellent, the staff is generally lovely, it’s close to my house, there is plenty of parking, and it is open most of the time.

Oh, you caught how I said the staff is “generally” lovely?

Yesterday afternoon I went in to the library with two items in hand (which I’d checked out only two days before) and the alarm sounded when I walked through. These items had not set off the alarms when I checked them out, but the alarms, I’ve noticed, tend to be quite finicky, so I didn’t give it a second thought.

Except that one of the staff members was standing right there by the door.

I dropped my items into the drop slots and went to the hold shelves to pick up the three things waiting for me.

The staff member followed me over. “Some people think because it’s on hold they don’t have to check it out. You still need to check it out.”

I smiled politely, “I will. Thanks.”

Then I headed into the juvenile fiction section (Ella’s bulky carseat banging against my knee with every step) to pick up After Ever After.

He followed (of course he did): “You need to make sure every item turns green on the screen before you remove it from the scanner!”

I smiled less politely and nodded, glad to escape to the peace and quiet of the stacks.

I got my book and hobbled back to the check out desk, pulled out my card and turned around to find him hovering right beside me.

I tried really really hard not to roll my eyes.

After my books were all checked out, he said, with an air of great surprise, “You did that perfectly!”

Some days, I just want to wear a sign that says “I’m a licensed professional librarian! I can check out books all by myself. Even with a carseat in tow!”

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  • Reply Kimberly F. January 13, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    ooooh, now the fun part is guessing who this is 😉 I think I may know…

  • Reply Kelly J. January 13, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    gahhhh this whole story just reminds me of why so many people who AREN'T librarians don't like libraries. They can be such condescending places.

  • Reply RA January 13, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    EW. I have zero tolerance for that type of condescension.

  • Reply lacie tidwell January 13, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    oiy they can be so ANNOYING sometimes!!! Seriously- they did that to me too (Im not a pro like you either) but when I walked in to return books the alarm went off (which it didn't do when I checked them out) and the lady there treated me like an idiot and explained books needed to be checked out of the library- ugh!!Sometimes the 'helpful' staff just intimidates me and makes me feel like an idiot when really, I did everything right- ugh- same thing happened to you- a librarian? Ok I'm thinking this is an epidemic!

  • Reply Kristi January 13, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    The librarians at that library drove me crazy- the ones upstairs were so rude the one time I took my kids up there to get a book. We were in and out and quicky but they followed me around making me feel very unwelcome. That was the last time I checked out books from the adult section : )

  • Reply Jessica Shumway January 13, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Maybe he was threatened by the air of professionalism you gave off. 🙂 He was just jealous!

  • Reply Kimberly January 13, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    You should have told him off. Ok, not really, but that's what we all wanted you to do! Of the 4 public libraries I've lived near in the last few years, the one in Tuscaloosa ranks right in the middle for the services and books I use, so I have no big complaints. That being said, the head of the children's section seems to dislike children. I've gotten that complaint from many moms, so apparently it's not just my child she is rude to (and it should go without saying that I don't let him destroy books, run around screaming, or cause general mayhem). It can be a major turnoff.

    Nice work managing the extremely complex check-out system.

  • Reply Lindzie January 13, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Hmm…maybe they should realize that if you are walking in with the books, you obviously aren't trying to steal. And doesn't hover man have better things to do? sigh…

  • Reply Jess January 13, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Oooh, this would drive me nuts even though I'm not a librarian. But if I WERE a librarian? OMG. I'm impressed you managed to be so polite!

  • Reply Melissa January 13, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    This is so sad to hear as a professional. Libraries are supposed to be welcoming friendly places, where we offer help, rather than force it on people and especially in such a poor manner.

    Sad to say, I've had a similar experience at my library and I was wearing my name badge that shows I'm an employee.

  • Reply lifeofadoctorswife January 13, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Wow. This is reaaalllllly annoying. I don't like officious salespeople EVER but if I had particular expertise like you do, I'd be extra irritated.

  • Reply Melinda January 13, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    HAHAHAHA!!! This is awesome! Thanks for sharing, I'm totally giggling right now!

  • Reply Mary January 13, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    You're a better person than I am! I would have made some snarky remark the first time he said something. I hate dealing with people like that. Good for you!

  • Reply Sherry January 13, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    Well, based on the fact that you are lugging that carseat around and your looks indicate that you can't be more than 14, perhaps you aren't very bright after all? 🙂

  • Reply Alison Stewart January 13, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    If you have your old work badge…maybe you should wear it next time! Hunt "him" down…..and let him know that if "he" needs any help…that you would be happy to help him! 🙂 LOL

  • Reply Stacy January 13, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    You're a better person than me. I would have ripped the guy a new one.

  • Reply heidikins January 13, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    @Sherry Ha!

    Sometimes (like yesterday. And today.) I hate people.


  • Reply Nemesis January 13, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    Duuuuude. That guy was lame. We would have people beep when they walked in all the time. If they ever asked me about it, I'd answer that we only tackle you if you beep on the way OUT the door.

  • Reply Heather January 13, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    Darnit, I was truly hoping you'd flash your library ID badge and assign him some tedious library chore in return for talking to you in that regard. Funny story, thanks for sharing.

  • Reply Meridith January 13, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    Oh, that's super annoying. I would have wandered the library until he left me alone…and then checked out.

  • Reply LeAnne January 14, 2011 at 6:42 am

    How annoying. I would have loved to say something really smart back after their astonishment. But knowing me, I would have said nothing then thought of my clever comment once I got home.

    I hate condescension.

  • Reply Operation Pink Herring January 14, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Jeez. Even if you weren't a librarian, you're a human being with a functioning brain. Then again, I have yet to get the self-checkout at our library to function on the first try, so maybe I need a condescending employee to stand over me and "help".

  • Reply Rachel January 15, 2011 at 6:49 am

    Ugh. Annoying. And I HATE carrying a bulky carseat around, but I am hoping that my arms are getting more toned.

  • Reply jillian January 15, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    I hate when people act like you may be stupid or a 5 year old!

  • Reply Deidre January 31, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    For years my Mom taught English at a local community college and she always felt that the librarians there were more concerned with "rules" than helping the students use the library. They were doing the exact opposite of what they were supposed to be doing!

    I fear this might be a common problem, people start to feel that they own the place and get on a bit of a power trip.

    Hopefully this won't repeat!

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