least helpful librarian ever


I've seen some unhelpful librarians in my life. I've even purposefully done less than I technically could just so that I wouldn't have to actually get up, say, or explain to a patron that no, in fact, I don't share his belief that von Däniken proves the veracity of the Pearl of Great Price. However, today I had a bad experience at Edmonton Public Library.

I'm in the AV section, which like most urban central branches is cordoned off in a way that requires you to be 100% certain you're done looking at print materials before you even think of browsing these media. I'm looking for a dvd, nothing in particular at first, just something suitably bleak. Then, I remember that I recently received a recommendation for two films: Kinky Boots and Italian for Beginners. EPL didn't have the former, since it's determined to never have any film that came out since 2004. However, the latter claimed to be checked in. I go over to the shelf and scan to Danish, then to I and see it's not there. So I decide to ask the librarian.

I go up to the desk and queue up behind a young man who's forgotten to return a cd with the attendant case. The problem is sorted and it's my turn. I say, "There's an item that says it's checked in in the catalogue, but it's not on the shelf." I'm trying to give this guy some context. He responds, rather condescendingly, "I'll need to know the title to look up the last activity date on the computer." This guy's obviously striving to do A-1 reference interviews. I tell him the title and he looks it up. Turns out it was turned in today. So, at this point a little hope rises that he'll be kind and go see if he can't find it on a cart.

Alas, this guy had sat down and nothing would move him short of the free food zone on the incentive scale. He tells me to just put a hold on the item, which saves him work, but surely must frustrate the circulation workers. I'm guessing he doesn't give much thought to what it's like to work that job and see people put holds on items at the branch where they are checked in. Could it really have been that much work for him to get up and look for the dvd himself? I mean, sure, they've got lots coming and going but how long could it really have taken him? I should have insisted, but he had already treated me as an imposition for even asking a question, so I didn't want to press it.

I hope I never became that man.


Post a Comment