AFTER the librarian had finished recording my selections on
the computer, I gathered the books and moved back. A woman stepped forward, put her books
down and asked mournfully, "Do you think you'll ever get the computer programmed so
that when you punch in book numbers it will advise, 'You've read me before'?"
THE public library where I
work has a book-delivery program for shut-ins. Twice a month a librarian phones to ask if
they would like books and what types: mysteries, romances, westerns, biographies,
and so on. This information is kept on file. One day I came upon a request from an elderly
woman that caused me to do a double take. It read: "Mrs. Simpson does not like sex,
but is willing to try some this week."
AT OUR small library, we telephone our patrons when the book they requested has
arrived. I couldn't understand why one woman laughed after I told her the latest Colleen
McCullough book was in until I realized I had said, "This is the Public Library
calling, and we have An Indecent Obsession for you."
IT WOULD take a few days for an old cassette I had requested
at the library to be shipped from the main branch. After two weeks I asked at the checkout
desk if the tape had arrived. There was some confusion before I was told I'd be advised
the next day regarding the tape's status. True to their word, someone from the library
left a short message on my answering machine: "Mr. Schlarbaum, we've located your
tape. It's missing."
A MAN pestered the librarian every day to see if any new
books had arrived. One day the librarian palmed off a Sao Paulo telephone directory on
him, telling him it was a modern play. Three days later the man returned the book.
"I didn't understand one word of the plot," he said, "but boy, what a
AT OUR small-town library one day, I sat my daughters down
with their books while I went to choose some for myself. I glanced over at the
children and saw my younger daughter tearing a sign off the wall. I rushed over,
scolding her as I stuck the sign back up. Then I noticed what it said: "Please
do not leave young children unattended."
I WAS waiting in line to check out some books at the library
desk. Ahead of me a teenager stood empty-handed, shifting his weight from one slim,
tightly clad hip to the other. The librarian looked at him enquiringly.
"I want a play by Shakespeare," the youth blurted out. The librarian,
suppressing a smile, asked gently, "Which one?" The young man shifted his
hips again, ruffed up his hair with one hand, cupped his chin between thumb and forefinger
of the other, all the while frowning in concentration. Finally he raised his head
and looked at the librarian. "William," he replied triumphantly.
I WAS pulling a piece of worn twine from the book a man was
returning to the library when he exclaimed, "Good grief ! I wondered where that was.
It's the drawstring to my pajamas!"
ATTEMPTING to locate a copy of Don Marquis' archy and
mehitabel, my wife called a bookstore. "What's it about?" asked the clerk.
"Well," my wife said, "it's about this cockroach named archy who types
stories about the adventures of his friend, a cat named mehitabel." There was a
pause, and then the clerk asked, "Is that fiction or nonfiction?"
A WOMAN walked into the library where I work and guiltily
deposited a paper bag on the counter. "It was the dog," she whispered as I
removed the remains of a much chewed book. "It often happens," I said.
"Yes, but look at the title," the librarian replied. It was Dog Training My Way
by Barbara Woodhouse.
I'M A page at the Charleswood Library in Winnipeg. One day a
man came in to return a book. I said hello to him and continued with my work. About ten
minutes later he returned to the counter and told me he had lost a $50 cheque somewhere in
the library. I explained the situation to the librarian. She went with the man to search
our small library. As I was re-carding the books I came upon the one the man had returned.
I decided to flip through the pages, and to my surprise, I found his cheque. I gave it to
him. He thanked me and left. When I returned to my work I noticed the title on the book,
As A newly hired reference librarian, I was trying to be
extra sensitive to the needs of our patrons. When an ill-at-ease adolescent boy approached
me and in a barely audible voice, asked for books on "beginning to develop," I
was prepared. He seemed embarrassed to be talking to me, so I called over a male
staff member and whispered that the boy needed some books about the onset of puberty. A
while later they returned to my desk, my colleague with a big grin on his face, and the
boy with books on photography.