Thursday, 19 July 2007

Tales from the Library: horrible

Today a horrible woman came into the library. She had heard about a book that had just come out, and she wanted it. I checked the catalogue and we didn't have it yet. We don't always get new books right away. They have to be processed and catalogued and allocated. She wouldn't let me explain this to her. She decided the library wasn't going to buy the book and she wanted to talk to whoever was in charge of buying books and force them to get it. The Dalai Lama could be the one buying our books for all I know. The books are bought by shadowy figures who hole themselves up behind stacks of old Whitaker's Almanacs. Theirs is an impenetrable fortress of dusty tomes and long-forgotten language. You can't just Give Them A Call. The ringing of the telephone would shatter their fragile eardrums, it would send them mad. And then nobody would buy the books. And slowly, the free dispersal of knowledge and mythologies would grind to a halt.

I hate it when people shout for no reason. Maybe her pit bull genes were having a bad reaction to being indoors, but still, that's no excuse for being rude. I attempted to explain to her again about new books, but she just wanted to hear her own voice. She was spouting something about the library HAVING to have this book BECAUSE IT IS SOCIALLY RELEVANT. She actually repeated this line six times. I was counting.

In the end, I told her I could fill out a request card, but until it was actually on the catalogue, there was nothing more we could do. She would simply have to wait, something she's probably never done in her whole life. (Did I mention she pushed in?) She then started on about all the money being spent on books about slavery, that it was THE BIG THING lately. Thus reducing the abolition of slavery to just some new fad that everyone was jumping on the bandwagon of.

What I wish I could have said: Excuse me, Madam, but I don't think everyone has a brother on crack. In fact, I'm sure a fair few of the patrons who frequent the libraries of this City do not even have brothers, let alone brothers on crack. So it would appear this book might not be AS SOCIALLY RELEVANT as you seem to think. If you want it that badly that you have to go into a library, ignore the information presented to you and shout yourself into a rage about it, then why not do yourself and everyone else a favour and log onto Amazon and buy it yourself. You obnoxious, racist bitch.

But I didn't get the chance. My boss intervened, reiterated what I'd tried to tell her, then asked if I'd like to go for my break. I swear we're going to have to get a punch-bag for the staffroom.

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