Man, am I wiped out.

Today a girl asked me for the latest volume of a manga series.  We had volumes 1-8 but she wanted volume 9, which was not listed in our catalog but was available on amazon.com.  I wrote the information down on a piece of scrap paper and told her that I would request that our library system order it as soon as I got a chance (I needed a few quiet moments to visit the Baker and Taylor website and add the book to one of our patron request carts).  I kid you not, Dear Readers, I carried that slip of paper around with me from desk to desk for TWO HOURS before I had the time to visit the B&T site, look up the book, and add it to the right cart.  TWO FRIGGING HOURS.

And by the way, that was one of my success stories!  It was a success in that I actually completed a task that I set out to do.  Every day I am so busy doing checkin/checkout stuff whenever I’m not answering information questions that things I mean to do just fall by the wayside.  When I get to a problem with a patron record that requires intervention by a Higher Authority, my plan is to send off an email explaining the problem to the right people who have the power (and the right passwords) to fix the problem.  But I DON’T HAVE TIME TO WRITE THE EMAIL because as soon as I have five seconds of peace, yet another patron steps in front of me and says, “Are you busy?” and then I get swept up into dealing with my upteenth transaction of the day.

A big part of the problem is that The Terrible Old Man came in today.  As usual he wanted information that we did not have, and as usual he was very rude and patronizing about how unhelpful we were.  We’ve been dealing with him for many years now; he has actually spent months at a time staying away from the library (tormenting other public servants, I expect), but like an evil boomerang made out of wormwood he always comes back. When I came to relieve my colleague at the information desk and saw her concluding a transaction with him (and looking like she needed to run to the nearest bar for a strong drink), I was delighted that I had dodged a bullet.  I should have realized that he would come back multiple times to ask me the exact same questions that he had asked her, because he was not satisfied with the answers that she had provided.

Here’s a hint:  he is NEVER satisfied with the answers that you provide.

There were several other highlights today.  One was a series of reports that we received about our old building.  We got a report from one of the security higher-ups that the electricity had been cut to the building, and that if we needed to go back in there to get anything, we should bring flashlights.  Which was both alarming and exciting news.  I was visualizing us going back in there with miners’ helmets and having an urban exploration party.  But then I heard the second report — that according to our custodian, the old building now has lots of waterbugs running around in it.

So … lots of waterbugs running around … in the dark?  AIGH!!!!!

Remember that scene in Cloverfield?  The one in the subway tunnel, where they’re walking around in the dark and they keep thinking that they’re hearing things following them?  And they keep turning around and trying to see with the light from the camera, but they don’t see anything?  And then they turn on the camera’s night vision setting and … well, what happened next is that I almost wet my pants.  Anyway, I have a feeling that going into our old building right now might turn out something like that.

Here’s the scene, in case you want to relive it.

Oh Lord, there goes my heart again.  Hoo-Boy.

Anyway, the final highlight of the day that I want to mention was the older woman who I noticed was trying to make an internet appointment on one of the young adult computers.  I told her that these computers could only be used by patrons who were registered as teenagers, and I pointed out the area with computers that adults could use.  She nodded, went to pick up her things, and added as she walked away, “A sign would be nice!”

As I wondered how best to respond to this, I noticed Betsy out of the corner of my eye, cracking up as she shelved the magazines.  I told her that I’d just found the epitaph for my gravestone.  She said that it should be the motto for our new building.  Couldn’t you just see it on a giant banner right above our entrance?

Oh, wait.  That would count as a sign, wouldn’t it?

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