How To Be a Stellar Library Patron in Six Easy Steps (or Less)

These are trying times and we are very busy at the library as a consequence.  People are spending less on things like books and NetFlix and are taking advantage of my place of employment. 

It’s a nice problem to have, but it’s still a problem.  We have over 100 computer stations and there are still people waiting in line to use them.   Our circulation staff can’t keep up with putting books back on the shelves and our technical services department can’t get new books and other items into our computer system fast enough after they’re delivered to us.  We are literally working at maximum capacity. 

And then there is reference.  We are busy trying help people and keep them happy, although the latter has been rather challenging lately.  So, as a public service, I’m going to give six suggestions on how to be a stellar library patron. 

1.   Sharing resources sometimes requires patience.   Please don’t come to library staff and insist that you pay taxes and therefore you deserve your book before others waiting in line (chances are, they pay taxes too).  Please don’t yell at the librarian because the story time you wanted was full.  Entitlement is a myth. 

2.  Please do not approach the librarian while conversing on your cell phone.  Hang up and try your call again later. 

3.  I appreciate peoples’ confidence in my abilities but I am not the miracle worker.  I need more than the color of a book cover in order to figure out the title and author. 

4.  Please do not expect the library staff to watch your young child.  “Stay right here and play on the computer while I go look for movies,” means nothing to a scared six year old who suddenly realizes that mom is missing.

5.  If you absolutely, positively MUST have something today and it’s not available at any libraries, you may have to purchase it.  Planning ahead is ALWAYS in style.

6.  Librarians are people too.  Sometimes things go wrong and there is such a thing as human error, especially when people are overly busy .  Everyone deserves good service but please be kind if things go awry.

On the flip side, I’m going to try to be extra nice to people both at the library and elsewhere.  Okay, so the McDonald’s by our house hasn’t gotten my order right in five years… that’s nothing to yell about, right?

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