Working with the Public at the Library

Perhaps you are wondering if I dropped off the face of the earth, well I didn’t. The farming part of life is getting busy with spring here; for example, two kids have been born and I’m expecting another doe to kid this weekend. The local community college has me playing the character of Hodel in their upcoming play Fiddler on the Roof. Practice starts next week which means I will have even less time to get things done than I do now. This week is the college’s Spring Break and therefore my new job has captured me for the entire week while the head librarian works on a grant. So there is some more news, I am now a librarian. The library where I work has about 40,000 books in its collection so I guess it could be considered a nice sized library for a town of 10,000. Come to think of it, for every one person in town, there is four books in the library…that’s interesting…

Anyways, working with the public is fun, especially when you involve my co-worker R–. This late 60ish-year-old-man isn’t afraid to let you know what he thinks about you or what he thinks about other people. Mix this quality with his quick wit and booming voice and it makes for a great shift! Day-before-yesterday R–, H—–, and I were behind the desk chit-chatting when the phone rang. R– answered it with his usual cheery “Good Afternoon! H——– Library!” He paused for a second as he listened to the person on the other end.

“This is the Information Desk.” I could see faint surprise, then humor skip across this face.

“Which side of a seed goes up? Well, uh, I have a horticulture expert standing right here in front of me. Hold on just a minute.” He placed the call on hold, set down the receiver and turned to me.

“The lady wanted to speak to the Information Desk.”

“The Information Desk?” H—– was obviously amused, “Ooo, we are getting high tech. Are we even big enough to have an Information Desk?” R—chuckled then continued.

“She wants to know, when planting seeds, which end goes up…She‘s on line 1.”

R– knew the answer to that question, but I wasn’t surprised he handled it the way he did. R—will be R–. I walked over to the other phone, which was about eight feet away from the first one.

“This is Kendra, how may I help you?”

“Oh Kendra, I was wondering which end of the seed goes up when you are planting them, the pointy end or the round one?” The woman had to be in her late forties to early fifties.

“Well,” I replied, “it doesn’t matter which way you put it in because the seed will figure out which way is up and down.”

The woman was pleasantly surprised and thanked me for the information I had given her. That was episode number one.

Episode number two. Yesterday I was busily fulfilling the task of calling patrons whose requested books had come in from other libraries.

“Hello, is D—– there?” Okay, normal start. Due to the book and patron’s name, I figured I was probably going to speak to a teenage boy.

“Yes, he is. Just a moment please.” I think the woman was his mom because after she placed the phone down I could faintly hear her as she called her son.

“Hey D—–! There’s a girl on the phone for you?” I can’t imagine what was going through his mind.

“A girl?”

“Yes, a girl.”

Next thing I heard was a very hesitant “Hello?” I nearly cracked up right there, but thankfully kept my composure and finished the call.