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Mr. Mustache, another librarian blog

I am a reference librarian with experience in both the public and state government fields. I am doing this on a whim, sort of like the mustache I grew when I was 19 and still have in my 50's.

Location: New Jersey, United States

I am a state worker and a librarian.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The end of the Day

The end of the library day with Fred on the reference desk:

The patron comes into the library accompanied by three children and her grandmother. The time is twenty minutes before closing. She has a rather complicated assignment and needs sources from periodicals, books and reference materials. She may not use encyclopedias or the Internet.

Fred sprints from the desk like he is on “The great race”. He bounds upstairs and picks up three books. He then rushes over to the computer and logs onto a periodicals index. He rushes to the periodical and reference areas. The grandmother helps with picking out appropriate pages from the magazines. The children start screaming.

At about this time the staff at the circulation desk turns off the house lights and all of the copying machines. Fred turns one of them back on and grabs his pocket flashlight to start with the copying. The staff hates when Fred does that.

The children are crying. The grandmother is exasperated. Finally at precisely closing time the patron goes to the circulation desk. By the portable light on the desk, the paraprofessional tells her that she owes fines. The patron presents a twenty-dollar bill and has no smaller currency. Alas, the cash register was closed for the night. She cannot borrow the books but she may take the photocopies if she promises to pay for them tomorrow. The staff goes home late.

The end of the library day with Sharon on the reference desk:

Same patron, same assignment, same kids, different grandmother. The time is twenty minutes before closing.

Sharon checks the on line card catalog without leaving her desk and recommends some titles. The patrons navigate their way to the non-fiction collection. On their way down the stairs with two of the books, the house lights go out. The patron has no magazine articles or reference book copies. She cannot borrow the books because she owes fines. She has a twenty-dollar bill but the cash register was closed five minutes ago.

The patron is disappointed but her and her family agree to come back tomorrow night. No the library is not open tomorrow night. They agree to come back Saturday. At least the staff can go home on time and the patron has learned not to wait til the last minute before coming to the library.

Alas, Sharon notices in her closing rounds that there is a man sleeping in the men’s room. The same man the Fred chased out last night, half an hour before closing. The man must be woken and guided out the door. Otherwise the police must be called. Again, the staff goes home late.


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