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I Work at a Public Library: A Collection of Crazy Stories from the Stacks

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Straight from the library--the strange and bizarre, ready to be checked out! From a patron's missing wetsuit to the scent of crab cakes wafting through the stacks, I Work at a Public Library showcases the oddities that have come across Gina Sheridan's circulation desk. Throughout these pages, she catalogs her encounters with local eccentrics as well as the questions that pl Straight from the library--the strange and bizarre, ready to be checked out! From a patron's missing wetsuit to the scent of crab cakes wafting through the stacks, I Work at a Public Library showcases the oddities that have come across Gina Sheridan's circulation desk. Throughout these pages, she catalogs her encounters with local eccentrics as well as the questions that plague her, such as, "What is the standard length of eyebrow hairs?" Whether she's helping someone scan his face onto an online dating site or explaining why the library doesn't have any dragon autobiographies, Sheridan's bizarre tales prove that she's truly seen it all. Stacked high with hundreds of strange-but-true stories, I Work at a Public Library celebrates librarians and the unforgettable patrons that roam the stacks every day.


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Straight from the library--the strange and bizarre, ready to be checked out! From a patron's missing wetsuit to the scent of crab cakes wafting through the stacks, I Work at a Public Library showcases the oddities that have come across Gina Sheridan's circulation desk. Throughout these pages, she catalogs her encounters with local eccentrics as well as the questions that pl Straight from the library--the strange and bizarre, ready to be checked out! From a patron's missing wetsuit to the scent of crab cakes wafting through the stacks, I Work at a Public Library showcases the oddities that have come across Gina Sheridan's circulation desk. Throughout these pages, she catalogs her encounters with local eccentrics as well as the questions that plague her, such as, "What is the standard length of eyebrow hairs?" Whether she's helping someone scan his face onto an online dating site or explaining why the library doesn't have any dragon autobiographies, Sheridan's bizarre tales prove that she's truly seen it all. Stacked high with hundreds of strange-but-true stories, I Work at a Public Library celebrates librarians and the unforgettable patrons that roam the stacks every day.

30 review for I Work at a Public Library: A Collection of Crazy Stories from the Stacks

  1. 5 out of 5

    karen

    oh, the library…. temple of knowledge, keeper of tax forms, friend of new arrivals to the country. plus, free bathrooms, and your taxpayer status ensures you the right to be there, so it's pretty hard to be kicked out, even for some really crap behavior. although i have my masters in library science and am technically a librarian, i have never had a paying gig as one. i volunteered at a library for a summer - conveniently located near a methadone clinic - and while i did see some things there i oh, the library…. temple of knowledge, keeper of tax forms, friend of new arrivals to the country. plus, free bathrooms, and your taxpayer status ensures you the right to be there, so it's pretty hard to be kicked out, even for some really crap behavior. although i have my masters in library science and am technically a librarian, i have never had a paying gig as one. i volunteered at a library for a summer - conveniently located near a methadone clinic - and while i did see some things there i cannot unsee, i never got to experience some of the horror stories collected in this book. but i certainly paid my dues on the sales floor of a bookstore, and really appreciated the books i have read collecting the horrifying experiences of booksellers, and i even contributed a story to one of them. so this book makes a great companion piece to this and this, and offers a window into how the other half lives - having to smile politely when a patron announces - I'd rather do two hundred million things than listen to you. or "help" the man who calls up and asks the librarian to list all the titles by john grisham - slooowly - while he is clearly masturbating to her recitation. or discovering and tossing the vomit-covered sweatshirt draped on the shelves into the trash and then having to deal with the patron when he calls back asking if it has been turned in to lost and found. it's a fun collection - i love that she separates the chapters by using the dewey decimal system, for example, chapter one is 004.16- computers. such a cute little library-nerd touch. and why yes - there is a website for this! here: http://iworkatapubliclibrary.com/. but before you go over there, whet your appetite with some of these tales! now, i am no computer genius, it must be said, but i think even i would look like a tech wizard compared to these people. E-mail, Dirty Rotten A woman waved me over to the computer she was using. WOMAN: Yeah, how do I make it so my dumb ex-boyfriend can't email me? ME: I can help you with that. Are you signed in to your e-mail now? WOMAN: I don't have an e-mail yet. ME: You don't have an e-mail account? WOMAN: Nope. ME: Well, he can't email you then. And if you do sign up for one, you don't have to give him the address. WOMAN: That's good. That's how I want it! He's a scoundrel! .................................................................................................... Death, Screen of GUY USING THE COMPUTER: I keep getting the blue screen of death. ME: Sir, that's the desktop. .................................................................................................... United States, Google Versus A man approached the checkout desk with a request. MAN: I want to use one of your public computers, but could you please disable Google on it? ME: Pardon? MAN: I do not believe in, nor trust, Google. They are taking over the United States. ME: I see. Well, I can't disable it, I'm sorry. But you don't have to visit the site if you don't want to. MAN: That's not good enough. ME: Come again? MAN: I refuse to use the computers if Google is on them. ME: Okay. MAN: --- ME: --- MAN: --- ME: Enjoy your day! .................................................................................................... there are some stories to which i can definitely relate. this is one of the funnier ones in that category - the wonderful world of homophones: Eunuchs, The Everything Guide to PATRON: I am looking for a book on eunuchs, and it has to have lots of pictures, because that's the way I learn best. ME: So you need a book with illustrations. Should this book explain the history or culture of eunuchs? PATRON: Um, no. I need it to take me step-by-step through the process. And I need lots of pictures so I can follow along. ME: So you need a manual? On eunuchs? Is there any particular stage of the process you are concentrating on? PATRON: Well, I'm just starting out, just the basics of how it works. How to write the code, you know? ME: OH! You're looking for an illustrated manual for Unix! .................................................................................................... or unfortunate handwriting Name, It's All in the A patron approached the desk looking for an article for a class. PATRON: I need the article "How to Talk about Sex" from The Family Anal Editions. ME:[Taken aback.] You need what? PATRON: [Handing me her class syllabus.] "How to Talk about Sex." It's from a publication called The Family Anal Editions. ME: [Looking at paper.] Oh! You need Annual Editions: The Family. Annual. Not anal. .................................................................................................... or parents who think they know best, but clearly know nothing: Biographies, Christian PATRON: [Gestures at son.] He doesn't like to read, but he needs a biography. It has to be more than one hundred eighty pages. ME: Do you know if autobiographies count? Hole in My Life is a pretty engaging story. PATRON: What's it about? ME: well, Jack Gantos is a Newbery-winning children's author now, but when he was a teen he ended up in jail. PATRON: [Snatches book out of my hand.] No. No. Absolutely not. I want something Christian. ME: Well, uh... he learns a lot from being in jail and ends up being a writer who doesn't commit any more crimes. PATRON: What about Anne Frank? Do you have anything about Anne Frank? He'd like that, right? It's got trapdoors and secret passages? .................................................................................................... oh god, or these people. people who lie about service animals are up there with litterbugs on my shit list. bolgia eight for you, douchebags. Dog, Service I noticed a woman carrying around a shih tzu in the library. ME: I'm really sorry, but we only allow service animals inside the library. People could be scared or allergic. WOMAN: But look how cute! ME: She sure is! But remember for next time, okay? It's our policy. WOMAN: But...but...she's a service dog. ME:[unconvinced] Oh? WOMAN: Her service is being cute! [Lifts the dog up and kisses it on the lips.] .................................................................................................... and the number of times this has happened to me is also disturbing. every time i was called "hitler" or "a nazi" or "a fascist" always made me want to walk these people over to the history section to drill a little perspective into them. forcefully. Calling, Name One evening, it was proving to be quite difficult to get a few of the patrons heading toward the door at closing time. ME: Ma'am, is there anything else we can help you with today? We are about ready to close up but we'll reopen tomorrow at nine A.M. WOMAN: You are a book nazi! ME: A book nazi? WOMAN: That's right. [Throws up her hands and walks out.] .................................................................................................... but then some of the examples make me wonder if i am actually the person in the story! whether it is the me from now-and-always: Everything, Ruining A disgruntled woman approached the desk. WOMAN: I cannot believe the nerve of some people, dog-earing the pages of the books! Do they think they own the books? I think you should give a bookmark to every single person who checks out a book. I mean it. They are ruining everything! I will help make the bookmarks if that's what it takes. .................................................................................................... or the me from christmas past, which would now be biting the hand that fed me, invisible or otherwise: Books, Electronic WOMAN: Yeah, I'm not interested in e-books. They will be the end of the library. Why would I want to help shut down the library? ME: Actually, e-books are offered by the library, so we are happy when people check them out. We want people reading no matter what the format. Does that make sense? WOMAN: But... aren't they invisible? I don't even know where they are. ME: I can show you if you like. WOMAN: I don't have time for invisible books when there are so many real books to read. .................................................................................................... or this one! is this me? Birthday, It's My I happened to be in the lobby when a pink-haired woman walked in the front door, ripped some library event flyers down from our bulletin board, and threw them in the recycle bin. ME: [calmly] Why did you do that? WOMAN: I was heppin' you out. And it's my birthday, so get out of my way. [Exits the library.] okay, just kidding - i would never do that, although she does earn points for recycling rather than littering. and i did look awfully cute with pink hair. .................................................................................................... sometimes, there's just nothing you can do but shrug, and while i learned in retail how to deal patiently with people who were just bewilderingly dense (shut up, greg!! most of the time i was VERY patient), there are times when the best thing to do is back away slowly because there's no way to respond that's not gonna come out sounding like sarcasm. Hurry, In a A man was anxiously waiting for our fifteen-minute express computer to become available. ME: Sir, there are some other computers open - would you like to use one? MAN: No, thanks, I'm in a hurry and I need an express one. .................................................................................................... December, When Is A patron came in to the library to renew some overdue items PATRON: Do I have to pay the late fines? ME: Yes, the items were late, so you have some fines. PATRON: Oh, well I didn't know when December started and you guys didn't tell me. .................................................................................................... Case, Just in A man asked me to look up an address for him. When I found it online, I offered to print it out but he declined. MAN: I'll just write it down. Do you have a pencil? ME:[Hands him a pencil and a piece of scrap paper.] MAN: [Writes address down, then flips the paper over.] I'm going to write it here, too, so I have a backup. .................................................................................................... Number, Personal Identification A man walked up to the desk to ask what the PIN associated with his library account was. ME: It looks like your PIN is twelve seventeen. MAN: [Looking utterly confused.] I have no idea why I would've chosen that. Can you change it to one two one seven? .................................................................................................... here are two sides of the same situation involving people who just don't understand how things work in this world, one of whom is just a dummy, and one of whom is clearly an asshole. i have dealt with both, with varying degrees of grace. Sale Books, Checking Out the A woman approached the checkout desk with three books she'd previously purchased from our book sale. WOMAN: Yes, may I return these? ME: What? No. Why? WOMAN: Well, I'm done with them now. If you can't give me my money back, can I go trade them for three more sale books? ME: What? No. That's not the way it works. That is the way library books work, however. Why don't you check some of those books out and return them when you're done? Then you can get some more. WOMAN: Oh, okay. .................................................................................................... Disgust, Anger and A woman came to the desk with a look of anger on her face. WOMAN: You hardly have any sale books over there. What the hell am I supposed to do? ME: [Smiling] I'm so sorry we don't have a lot of sale books right now. We do have many, many, many free books. [Gestures at the stacks.] WOMAN: [angrily] Ugh! .................................................................................................... this one i am blaming erica for. when libraries start having CHOCOLATE FOUNTAINS, the patrons can hardly be blamed for upping their expectations of what the library will provide. thanks a lot, erica! Margaritas, Library A sweaty patron walked up to the desk on a very hot day. PATRON: Where is the margarita machine? ME:[chuckles] That's funny; it is hot out there. PATRON: [Stares at me with a straight face.] ME:Oh, did you think we had margaritas? Did someone say we had margaritas?! PATRON:[Keeps staring.] ME: I'm sorry. We don't serve margaritas at the library. PATRON: [Turns around and walks away.] .................................................................................................... i remember well the staggering number of people with no self-awareness DVDs, Too Many A man came to the desk with a stack of DVDs in his hands. MAN: I don't think you should carry so many DVDs in a library. More books would be better. ME: Well, we offer many different things for many different people. Would you like me to put those away for you? MAN: No, I'd like to check them out. .................................................................................................... or appropriateness-filters, although i admit, i am pretty enchanted by this story, in my laughter-bits Snakes, Don't Like An elderly woman came into the Youth Services department one afternoon to check out some Bible stories for her Sunday school when she noticed the model rattlesnake on top of our cabinet. LADY: Is that a snake?! ME: Yes, but it's just made out of brown paper. LADY: Good. I don't like snakes. Not because they're slimy, but because they're not. The feel muscular [whispers] like a man's penis. .................................................................................................... and although this may read like a mad-libs-gone-wrong to those of you who have never worked a job that forced you to rub shoulders with the public, i assure you, i could have written something similar using my own experiences. people be cray. Snapshot, Library The following is a conversation I overheard between a librarian and a coworker. LIBRARIAN: Did you hear that that lady Sheila freaked out at our public printer yesterday? COWORKER: Who's Sheila? Is she the one whose husband peed on the chair? LIBRARIAN: No, she's the one who got into a fight with that lady Mary one time. You know, Mary is the one who puts up all the mirrors around the study carrel so she can see if anyone is spying on her. COWORKER: Oh, I know Sheila. She's the one who wanted to use our meeting room to hold church services for magicians. LIBRARIAN: No, no, that's Debbie. She also got into a fight with Mary though. Sheila is the one with the throat tic who doesn't ever use Print Preview. COWORKER: Aw, man, I know that lady... .................................................................................................... wait, what? Not Firing, Hiring A man called me over to help with the computer. MAN: Can you help me with this job application? ME: Sure. What's the problem? MAN: Do you know if this is a good place to work? My friend says they're hiring, but do they fire people there? ME: Well, probably. MAN: Oh, never mind then. I don't wanna work there if they're gonna fire me. ................................................................ wait, what 2? Screwed, Completely WOMAN AT REFERENCE DESK: I want a book but I only know the title. Am I completely screwed or what? .................................................................................................... this one also feels awfully familiar. there were times i was just astounded by the tunnel vision of customers: Merchandise, Library MAN: Do you have any library merch? ME: You mean like this book bag we have for sale? MAN: No, I mean like books. ME: I'm sorry, I don't understand what you mean. MAN: Do you have books here? ME: [Opens arms in the direction of the stacks] Yes. MAN: Thanks, I'll look around. .................................................................................................... and yet, somehow, it is much cuter when a kid does pretty much the same thing: Books, Library KID: Does this computer have games? ME: That's a catalog computer. You use it to look up books the library has. KID: Where are the books? ME: Look around you! KID: [Turns away from the computer, notices the rows and rows of books, gasps in awe.] .................................................................................................... and now, before i get a reputation as being an old softie who thinks kids are cute, this one flat-out cracked me up: Calling, Name (Redux) ME: You have an overdue item. PATRON: What is it? ME: Charlotte's Web. PATRON: [Turning to seven-year-old daughter.] You turd. .................................................................................................... oh, and the entitled snowflake people. i miss these people the least. Taxpayer, But I'm a WOMAN: There is no way i'm paying my late fee; I'm a taxpayer. ME: [Scanning her card.] Let's take a look at your account, okay? All right, it looks like you returned one book one day late, so you owe twenty-five cents. WOMAN: But I'm a taxpayer, and I'm pretty sure I've paid more than twenty-five cents to the library. ME: No disrespect, ma'am, but everyone who has a library card is a taxpayer. Look, you don't have to pay it today if you don't want to. WOMAN: I'll never pay it. ME: Okay, bye-bye. Thanks for coming in. ................................................................................................ i will leave you with this. Tooth, Missing A man was waiting in line by the front desk. I noticed him cough and then gag a little. He then spit something out of his mouth. A small tooth landed on the carpet. MAN: [Without blinking an eye, picks up the tooth, puts it in his pocket, and looks up.] Can I get some help with the computer? now go be nice to a librarian.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    I smiled, I laughed, I had tears. I'd like to write my review now while watching softball in the sun, but I want add all my favourite quotes. This is great! Now I'm going to start cataloguing the things I come across. I'm gathering more and more that I will miss a lot of these types of occurances as I work in a University library, but meeting people and hearing their stories is universal. This book is different to the last anecdotal one I read, it's not just the doozies here, but the tear jerkers I smiled, I laughed, I had tears. I'd like to write my review now while watching softball in the sun, but I want add all my favourite quotes. This is great! Now I'm going to start cataloguing the things I come across. I'm gathering more and more that I will miss a lot of these types of occurances as I work in a University library, but meeting people and hearing their stories is universal. This book is different to the last anecdotal one I read, it's not just the doozies here, but the tear jerkers and heartwarming ones too. When it comes to bullying – ‘When it comes to dealing with them, the trick is to be patient, firm, and overly kind in order to keep your blood pressure down and the situation from escaping.’ An elderly lady (coming into the library to check on resources for her Sunday school class) referring to a model rattlesnake sitting on top of a cabinet – ‘Lady: Is that a snake?! Me: Yes, but it’s just made out of brown paper. Lady: Good. I don’t like snakes. Not because they’re slimy, but because they’re not. They feel muscular [whispers] like a man’s penis.’ At story time. This one made me smile - Girl 1: I like your shoes Girl 2: I wish I had your finger puppets Girl 3: I want to be you This one made me tear up – Around noon, a man I didn’t recognise came into the library with several huge platters of food from a local restaurant. Man: I thought I’d cater for your staff’s lunch today! [Places platters on the counter.] You all helped me apply for a job last year when I was at my lowest. Well, I got the job and never forgot it. I wanted to do something for you. Me: [Thanking him with tears in my eyes, and then he quickly leaves.]

  3. 4 out of 5

    Joanna

    I work at a public library. I thought these stories would be crazier. I don't even think they were funny, just "I said this, Patron said this. Stupid, gross patron." and I'm like, this is supposed to be amusing? Kinda snotty and prudish. Clutching pearls. You know, it's all in the way you tell it. Okay, lemme tell you a library joke. There's this guy. He's the new guy, in a prison. He's in the cafeteria, and he notices that sometimes someone would yell out a number, just a number, and then every I work at a public library. I thought these stories would be crazier. I don't even think they were funny, just "I said this, Patron said this. Stupid, gross patron." and I'm like, this is supposed to be amusing? Kinda snotty and prudish. Clutching pearls. You know, it's all in the way you tell it. Okay, lemme tell you a library joke. There's this guy. He's the new guy, in a prison. He's in the cafeteria, and he notices that sometimes someone would yell out a number, just a number, and then everyone listening bursts out laughing. He asks the guy sitting next to him, "What's up with that?" The other guy says, "We only got one joke book in the prison library and we've all memorized it. So, when you wanna tell a joke, you just say the number." So the new guy thinks, I'm gonna try that! and he yells out "14!" But he only gets stares and silence, no laughter. He asks the guy sitting next to him, "What happened? What did I do wrong?" And the other guy says, "Well, it's all in the way you tell it." This book is just calling out the numbers. 1. Patron doesn't know the name of a book. 2. Homeless patrons are gross. 3. Some people are insanely self-centered. yadda yadda yadda, no finesse. Though possibly... I used to read that blog... that blog that is basically this but for all customer service people. It was amusing when I started following it but then got kinda tired of it and its tone. All the posts were written like the person relaying the story is some sort of... emotionally detached mist, perfectly observant but still mildly shocked that there are other people in the universe with different histories, goals, politics, etc. In fact, I will say the entire internet blogosphere is kinda irritating me right now. Why do they all have that apologetically indignant tone, like they have suffered other peoples' opinions for far too long, that they have tried to ignore it, but sorry, it's hard to ignore people who upset you online? And then all have to talk about the same kerfuffle for days and days, and in the end have solved nothing and changed no one's mind. Internet drama! Even this post, this post I am writing right now, irritates me. I irritate myself.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    This is a fun little collection of wacky library stories. It's another book that has been assembled from someone's blog, which is a growing trend in publishing. I used to work in a public library and could relate to some of the odd questions and incidents that Gina Sheridan shares here. This book is light and fluffy, and I read it in about an hour. Fellow librarians will probably enjoy this book, but don't expect any meaningful exchanges. Favorite Stories I overheard a young woman showing her mot This is a fun little collection of wacky library stories. It's another book that has been assembled from someone's blog, which is a growing trend in publishing. I used to work in a public library and could relate to some of the odd questions and incidents that Gina Sheridan shares here. This book is light and fluffy, and I read it in about an hour. Fellow librarians will probably enjoy this book, but don't expect any meaningful exchanges. Favorite Stories I overheard a young woman showing her mother how to search for items in the library's online catalog. MOTHER: There are almost three thousand movies to choose from? DAUGHTER: Well, movies and TV shows. MOTHER: There are TV shows at the library? Who would get those? DAUGHTER: Lots of people. MOTHER: So are you saying that the library is now the video store? DAUGHTER: Among other things. MOTHER: Who else knows about this? ********************************** A woman waved me over to the computer she was using. WOMAN: Yeah, how do I make it so my dumb ex-boyfriend can't email me? ME: I can help you with that. Are you signed into your e-mail now? WOMAN: I don't have an e-mail yet. ME: You don't have an e-mail account? WOMAN: Nope. ME: Well, he can't email you then. And if you do sign up for one, you don't have to give him the address. WOMAN: That's good. That's how I want it. He's a scoundrel!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    So... I bought this on the cheap at a store that I frequent that often has remainders at like 80% off of the cover price. I'm glad that I did, because I feel that at $2.99, it was still a little overpriced for the content. At $13.99, that's just insanity. This is a book easily read in a single sitting, and if I hadn't started it around midnight last night after finally finishing and reviewing Black House, it wouldn't have been stretched out to two. I am kind of glad that I took that break from i So... I bought this on the cheap at a store that I frequent that often has remainders at like 80% off of the cover price. I'm glad that I did, because I feel that at $2.99, it was still a little overpriced for the content. At $13.99, that's just insanity. This is a book easily read in a single sitting, and if I hadn't started it around midnight last night after finally finishing and reviewing Black House, it wouldn't have been stretched out to two. I am kind of glad that I took that break from it, even if I did nothing better with my in-between time than to have bizarre dreams about Stephen King's books causing me to get my teeth tattooed. (Yeah, I'm not making that up. Apparently it seemed like a good idea at the time?) Anyway, I'm glad that I took a break from it, because if I'd pushed through and finished in a single sitting, this would likely be a 1 star review rather than a 2 star. I bought this expecting "strange and bizarre" stories, and what I got is a bunch of stories about people who don't know how stuff works. Like technology. Or society. Or phones. Or human interaction. Or libraries. That's not strange or bizarre. That's every day. I actually embody 2 and 1/2 of those myself. The thing is... It's fun to make fun of assholes, and the "Bullies" chapter takes this on. Though really, those people are not "bullies" because "[b]ullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others. The behavior is often repeated and habitual. One essential prerequisite is the perception, by the bully or by others, of an imbalance of social or physical power, which distinguishes bullying from conflict." (According to Wikipedia) The people in this section were just confused about their importance, and a bit demanding. But they are not "bullies", and the librarian is not their "victim" because they have no power over the librarian or the library to force their will. They can be shrugged off and ignored. Nicely helped along their way. (Sorry, it just aggravates me how the term "bully" is used as a blanket term to mean anyone who isn't nice. That doesn't make someone a bully.) ANYWAY... Making fun of rude assholes can be funny... But people who are confused and looking for help, and going to the resource who is literally there for the purpose of helping them, even if their question is crazy and weird, to me isn't really all that funny. "How do I scan my face for a dating website?" may be worth a chuckle in the moment, but I kept thinking about the people behind these requests. Maybe he's lonely and confused and trying to interact in the way that radio ads tell him is the best way to find his soul mate? I know my empathy is showing (I'm sorry, I'll tuck it away in one second!) but nothing in this book struck me as funny except for the chapter on children. Those were funny and cute. In fact, the kids chapter and the heartwarming chapter actually saved this book from a 1 star review. Those two were the only ones that I enjoyed. Everything else just seemed kinda lame and tactless. *sigh*

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cyndi

    This book is a collection of stories of the people who use the library in California. Yep, the stories are just as crazy as what is going through your mind. Some are nuts, most are hilarious. Some are adorable, others are heart warming. But all are entertaining anecdotes. This book is a must read for librarians, but fun for those of us who feel like the library is a great place to visit and hang out. I have library cards from all over the country, but my local library here in Maine is my favorit This book is a collection of stories of the people who use the library in California. Yep, the stories are just as crazy as what is going through your mind. Some are nuts, most are hilarious. Some are adorable, others are heart warming. But all are entertaining anecdotes. This book is a must read for librarians, but fun for those of us who feel like the library is a great place to visit and hang out. I have library cards from all over the country, but my local library here in Maine is my favorite of them all.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Vegan

    It was okay. I generally love these types of humor books. Here, a couple of the heartfelt stories were touching and several of the humorous ones were very amusing. Most of the entries were just okay for me, and some weren’t much longer than their titles. I did feel motivated to read it cover to cover though, and when I hit the particularly funny ones it was fun to feel surprised and chuckle out loud.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    "What better place to bring your inquiring minds than the place with the most massive wealth of knowledge in town? It's just like the Internet, only the information isn't 90% false." -- page 27 St. Louis librarian Gina Sheridan has collected various anecdotal "incidents and accidents" (as Paul Simon once sang) about the daily life of her profession. From the odd patrons (dumpster-diving "Cuckoo Carol") to the loud talkers, from the computer illiterate to the mangled title requests ("Do you have " "What better place to bring your inquiring minds than the place with the most massive wealth of knowledge in town? It's just like the Internet, only the information isn't 90% false." -- page 27 St. Louis librarian Gina Sheridan has collected various anecdotal "incidents and accidents" (as Paul Simon once sang) about the daily life of her profession. From the odd patrons (dumpster-diving "Cuckoo Carol") to the loud talkers, from the computer illiterate to the mangled title requests ("Do you have "How to Kill a Mockingbird" ? How about "Catch 22 in the Rye" ?" - LOL!), there are a lot of amusing moments in this casual, compact paperback. Then she fittingly wraps it all up with a final chapter about the positive role of a library in American culture, which was rather heartwarming. Warning: you never think of John Grisham's books the same way again after her recounting of a certain off-kilter phone call. Let's just say a simple request turns out to have weird implications.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Markus

    You can tell from checking my million updates on this book whether you'll like it or not. My husband surprised me with a copy -- no special occasion, he just knew I'd love it -- so I wanted to share the wealth. There were two awesome anecdotes that were too long to share as updates. This one made my son do a spit-take: PATRON: [Gestures at son.] He doesn't like to read, but he needs a biography. It has to be more than one hundred eighty pages. ME: Do you know if autobiographies count? Hole in My L You can tell from checking my million updates on this book whether you'll like it or not. My husband surprised me with a copy -- no special occasion, he just knew I'd love it -- so I wanted to share the wealth. There were two awesome anecdotes that were too long to share as updates. This one made my son do a spit-take: PATRON: [Gestures at son.] He doesn't like to read, but he needs a biography. It has to be more than one hundred eighty pages. ME: Do you know if autobiographies count? Hole in My Life is a pretty engaging story. PATRON: What's it about? ME: Well, Jack Gantos is a Newbery-winning children's author now, but when he was a teen he ended up in jail. PATRON: [Snatches book out of my hand.] No. No. Absolutely not. I want something Christian. ME: Well, uh...he learns a lot from being in jail and ends up being a writer who doesn't commit any more crimes. PATRON: What about Anne Frank? (note from reviewer: my son was taking a drink of water as I read to him, and almost choked when I said this. "It gets better," I told him, and continued.) Do you have anything about Anne Frank? He'd like that, right? It's got trapdoors and secret passages? o_O I want to file this last story wherever Dewey keeps "straight, priorities": MAN: Them's toilet is broke. ME: Pardon me? MAN: Yer toilette...it's broke. ME: Oh! Is it not flushing? Did it overflow or...? MAN: It 'pears someone put a Pabst down that thang. ME: Beer? MAN: Yar. A can of it. ME: I'll go check it out. MAN: Waste of a beer, y'ask me. ME: Yessir. :D Keep this book in mind the next time you need to buy a gift for someone. It's the kind of book even nonreaders will enjoy.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Lucky find at my public library. I don't work there, but I've spent lots of time as a patron at several libraries over several decades, and just find them comfortable places to hang out and explore the stacks. This might not be as good as the best of Unshelved but it is better, imo, than many of its ilk. However, if your library can't get it for you, just read the website. "Do you have any book about how to become a prison guard? Specifically, how to become a prison guard if you've already had so Lucky find at my public library. I don't work there, but I've spent lots of time as a patron at several libraries over several decades, and just find them comfortable places to hang out and explore the stacks. This might not be as good as the best of Unshelved but it is better, imo, than many of its ilk. However, if your library can't get it for you, just read the website. "Do you have any book about how to become a prison guard? Specifically, how to become a prison guard if you've already had some experience as an inmate?" Children's program leader:" Hello and welcome to our garden program. Let's go around the circle and everyone say their name and their favorite fruit or vegetable! Child 1: I'm Abby. I like tomatoes. Child 2: I'm George. I like peppers. Child 3. I'm David. I'm weird!" "A little boy wandered up the to the desk with a Franny K. Stein book. Boy: I'm reading this to my sister 'cause she can't read yet. It's not her fault, she's too little. Mom says I'm a very nice brother, but [looks around, whispers] I actually like this book a lot. Don't tell her I said so 'cause she gives me ice cream when she thinks I'm being real nice."

  11. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    As someone who also works in public libraries, I can honestly say yep, yep, and yep, that's what it is like. Though luckily so far, I haven't had a patron who confused "annual" with "anal." I also appreciate that when she relates the exchanges with patrons, she isn't hateful about it, like some others I have read, and sounds like she enjoys her job - crazy patrons and all.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    2.5 was a little disappointed in this one. Did not find it as amusing as I thought it could be. Anyone who works with the public experiences outrageous requests and amusing incidents. Truthfully though, I have funnier patron stories than what I found here.

  13. 4 out of 5

    TL

    *Read for free with Kindle Unlimited* Add librarians to the list of people who have interesting stories to tell :) (Along with hairdresssers, bartenders, all of retail, hotel, and fast food employees.. to name a few). Some of these were just okay but still funny. For me, it got funnier as the book went on (that Carol certainly sounds like a character, I could see Carol Burnett playing her if it went to a TV spot). One story has me raising eyebrows and grossed out while wanting to smack this person *Read for free with Kindle Unlimited* Add librarians to the list of people who have interesting stories to tell :) (Along with hairdresssers, bartenders, all of retail, hotel, and fast food employees.. to name a few). Some of these were just okay but still funny. For me, it got funnier as the book went on (that Carol certainly sounds like a character, I could see Carol Burnett playing her if it went to a TV spot). One story has me raising eyebrows and grossed out while wanting to smack this person (view spoiler)[A man getting... "excited" to put it nicely while a female librarian read him a list of John Grisham's books (hide spoiler)] Her response at the end and his though had me laughing. The "problem people" section... It still baffles me how these people don't see they are the problem (I had my share of people like that two of my jobs). Some in here are so touching too and makes you grateful for the good people in the world. A quick and fun read. I would recommend if you need your spirits lifted and want to shake your head at some of humanity.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Heidi The Reader

    I really connected with this collection of stories because of my own work in a public library. It felt as if this was a page out of the last two years of my life. It is difficult if not impossible to describe the absurdities, hilariousness, and mind-boggling questions that I receive, daily, at the reference desk. Sheridan has put together a book so that I don't have to explain it anymore. If anyone asks what my job is like, I'm going to point them towards this book. It is librarian gold. I highl I really connected with this collection of stories because of my own work in a public library. It felt as if this was a page out of the last two years of my life. It is difficult if not impossible to describe the absurdities, hilariousness, and mind-boggling questions that I receive, daily, at the reference desk. Sheridan has put together a book so that I don't have to explain it anymore. If anyone asks what my job is like, I'm going to point them towards this book. It is librarian gold. I highly recommend it. In fact, I liked it so much, that I purchased a copy for my own library. As an avid user of the public library system as well as an employee, I think that speaks for itself.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    this wasn't as funny as i was expecting and some of the stories were definitely fake, but it's the first book i've finished in like a month, so at least it has that going for it

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lizzy (Bent Bookworm)

    For bibliophiles everywhere. Not all of us have the privilege of helping others wade through the stacks in search of knowledge (of life, the universe, and everything), but most of can appreciate the tales contained in this little tome. I spotted this while meandering through the stacks at my own public library, and the title caught my eye. I flipped through while standing there and added to my already heavy armload of books - and as soon as I got home I started reading (not going to lie, I was a For bibliophiles everywhere. Not all of us have the privilege of helping others wade through the stacks in search of knowledge (of life, the universe, and everything), but most of can appreciate the tales contained in this little tome. I spotted this while meandering through the stacks at my own public library, and the title caught my eye. I flipped through while standing there and added to my already heavy armload of books - and as soon as I got home I started reading (not going to lie, I was also cheered by the fact that this was a book I could finish in about an hour and help with my reading challenge). Gina Sheridan is hysterical and seriously needs to write some more books (I only found one other!). She writes about her experiences with library patrons in a humorous but caring way. While yes, to an academic, many of the experiences she has are roll-on-the-floor-laughing funny, some people will probably prickle at a few of the technology-challenged anecdotes. While definitely finding the humor in her job - even at times when patrons have attempted to threaten said job - Gina clearly cares about her people, as evidenced by the several anecdotes dedicated to a persnickety patron named Carol. There are also several anecdotes that left me positively teary-eyed, like the time Gina explained to a young patron new to the States, that she could pick any book she wanted and it wouldn't cost her family a thing. The wonder of a child with a wealth of books suddenly open to her - I just wanted to hug her. Wish it had been longer but love I finished so quickly (how's that for indecisive, eh?). 4/5 stars due to feeling like some of the stories really needed more background, but were hilarious even out of context.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Luna Bookish

    Hilarious and adorable. I really loved reading this fast paced book. I absolutely loved this book! It was hilarious and at times just made me shake my head. It is fun learning about some of the funny and creepy things that happen to librarians while working. The regulars, the weird interactions, hilarious things said by children. I loved how this was organized by topic and the introductions to each section really added to it as well. If this author came out with another book I would pick it up wi Hilarious and adorable. I really loved reading this fast paced book. I absolutely loved this book! It was hilarious and at times just made me shake my head. It is fun learning about some of the funny and creepy things that happen to librarians while working. The regulars, the weird interactions, hilarious things said by children. I loved how this was organized by topic and the introductions to each section really added to it as well. If this author came out with another book I would pick it up without thinking. 

  18. 5 out of 5

    Antonella

    funny, short & adorable funny, short & adorable

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tracy Reasner

    I imagine the same type of stories occur in any place one might work open to the public - working in a bookstore that many customers mistake for a library (whaddya mean you can't squat in the café for 10 hours, enjoying free wi-fi, complaining about lack of outlets, thumbing up 30 magazines & breaking the spines of countless books - none of which you have nor will ever purchase?) I expected more of the bizarre less of the mundane with this one. I imagine the same type of stories occur in any place one might work open to the public - working in a bookstore that many customers mistake for a library (whaddya mean you can't squat in the café for 10 hours, enjoying free wi-fi, complaining about lack of outlets, thumbing up 30 magazines & breaking the spines of countless books - none of which you have nor will ever purchase?) I expected more of the bizarre less of the mundane with this one.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ari

    This is going to sound really mean but I have to say it: there are a lot of stupid people out there lol The last section of the book, however, with the heartwarming stories that this author experiences at the library on rare and precious occasions, makes up for it. Really fun read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jess the Shelf-Declared Bibliophile

    I loved this hilarious and witty collection. Great quick read and I will definitely read again!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Onceinabluemoon

    3.5. This is more like a pamphlet than book, a very rapid read. I kept thinking how library funding is in dire conditions just when the public is such need of a good education. It was a so so read until the final gratitude, it put tears in my eyes, as an avid library user here is a hearty thank you to all the librarians! I couldn't live without my bookmobile and overdrive, I average a book a day and cherish all libraries :-)

  23. 4 out of 5

    Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

    I Work at a Public Library is, as subtitled, a collection of crazy stories from the stacks, written and curated by librarian Gina Sheridan, based on her blog http://iworkatapubliclibrary.com/. With chapters organised using the Dewey Decimal system, Gina Sheridan shares the amusing, touching and just plain weird experiences she, and others, have encountered in their work as a librarian. The anecdotes are gleaned from overheard conversations, patron questions, observations and encounters with the p I Work at a Public Library is, as subtitled, a collection of crazy stories from the stacks, written and curated by librarian Gina Sheridan, based on her blog http://iworkatapubliclibrary.com/. With chapters organised using the Dewey Decimal system, Gina Sheridan shares the amusing, touching and just plain weird experiences she, and others, have encountered in their work as a librarian. The anecdotes are gleaned from overheard conversations, patron questions, observations and encounters with the people of all ages who visit the library for all sorts of reasons, sometimes not meaning to be there at all. This short book is sure to raise a smile and a little consternation, from any one who has spent anytime in a library. "Adult patron to librarian: “I was told to read three books. I think one is small and blue. Can you tell me which ones they are?”

  24. 5 out of 5

    Leigh Anne

    I tried to read this book and ended up tossing it aside in disgust and frustration. Most of the "comedy" in this book is "punching down:" at the expense of people with mental illness and people who don't know how to use a computer. It's one thing to write about the truly horrible customers, the ones who ruin our day by cursing, screaming, or otherwise acting inappropriately. It's quite another to publish a collection of stories poking fun at the very people we are supposed to be serving the best I tried to read this book and ended up tossing it aside in disgust and frustration. Most of the "comedy" in this book is "punching down:" at the expense of people with mental illness and people who don't know how to use a computer. It's one thing to write about the truly horrible customers, the ones who ruin our day by cursing, screaming, or otherwise acting inappropriately. It's quite another to publish a collection of stories poking fun at the very people we are supposed to be serving the best: those who don't have the knowledge we do, and those who carry burdens most of us can't fathom. 3/4 of this book just isn't funny. It's mean. Dislike, with extreme prejudice.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    Cute, quick read. I’m not sure if I just work in a much more exciting library system replete with outlandish stories or if it was an editorial decision by the author, but I found the stories to be really tame.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Aran

    Yes it’s exactly like this

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jen • Just One More Page

    This review is also posted on my blog. (view spoiler)[OH MY GOD THAT WAS FUCKING PRECIOUS. I know it was exactly why they saved the gooey stuff for last but that last chapter LEFT ME WITH THE BIGGEST SAPPIEST WARMEST SMILE ON MY FACE. I LOVE MY JOB. *whispering* Now there were a couple stories in here that aren’t funny at all and I’m pretty sure were sexual harassment - BUT I don’t think they were framed in a funny way. More a RELATABLE way. Cause EFF YES that shit happens too. I was nodding kno This review is also posted on my blog. (view spoiler)[OH MY GOD THAT WAS FUCKING PRECIOUS. I know it was exactly why they saved the gooey stuff for last but that last chapter LEFT ME WITH THE BIGGEST SAPPIEST WARMEST SMILE ON MY FACE. I LOVE MY JOB. *whispering* Now there were a couple stories in here that aren’t funny at all and I’m pretty sure were sexual harassment - BUT I don’t think they were framed in a funny way. More a RELATABLE way. Cause EFF YES that shit happens too. I was nodding knowledgeably to each one. I was nodding knowledgeably THE WHOLE EFFING TIME. OH MY GOD THIS STUFF ACTUALLY HAPPENS. THIS IS JUST WHAT IT’S LIKE TO WORK IN A LIBRARY ROFL. LIBRARIAN OR LIBRARY AIDE - IT’S ALL THE SAME EXPERIENCE. And so many stories made me giggle and cackle and so many others made me go OH GOD WHY and that ENTIRE LAST CHAPTER left me going HALISDHIFHIUHDFG but just. JUST- I LOVE MY JOB OKAY. I REALLY, REALLY DO. If you’ve ever worked in a public library (or even ever really wanted to) THIS BOOK IS A MUST READ. IT ONLY TAKES AN HOUR OF YOUR TIME (TAKE THAT GOODREADS CHALLENGE WHO’S BEHIND NOW me still I’m still one behind shhh) AND IT IS SO CUTE AND PRECIOUS AND RELATABLE AND SO, SO WORTH IT. (And I suddenly don’t mind needing to go to bed early tonight to go to work tomorrow morning! AT MY LOCAL PUBLIC LIBRARY HUZZAAHHH) (hide spoiler)]

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sparkleypenguin

    This book didn't impress me all that much. Some of the stories in here were heartwarming and some were funny but nothing really stood out to me about this book. I did like the Dewey Decimal numbers listed for the chapters. As a person who aims to learn the Dewey Decimal system, I really did appreciate that. Yeah. Final rating: 2.5/5 stars

  29. 4 out of 5

    Miranda

    Made me miss being public-facing more than I already do.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Book Club Mom

    Here’s a great collection of library stories straight “from the stacks.” Gina Sheridan, a public librarian in St. Louis, Missouri, has seen it all at her job. From unusual requests and confused questions to lonesome souls looking for conversation, she uses more than her library degree to guide her patrons. At my library job, I field a lot of questions, particularly about how to use the public computers, so I can definitely relate to this one: "A man using the public computer asked me for help. MAN Here’s a great collection of library stories straight “from the stacks.” Gina Sheridan, a public librarian in St. Louis, Missouri, has seen it all at her job. From unusual requests and confused questions to lonesome souls looking for conversation, she uses more than her library degree to guide her patrons. At my library job, I field a lot of questions, particularly about how to use the public computers, so I can definitely relate to this one: "A man using the public computer asked me for help. MAN: Yeah, what’s the difference between Microsoft Word, Google Chrome and a website? ME: Well Word is a program you use to type something up, like a letter or a resume. Chrome is an Internet browser you’d use to look at website. And a website is a space on the Internet to exchange information. MAN: Which one do you like best?" The book is cleverly formatted – using the Dewey Decimal System to organize Sheridan’s material into many sections including Computers, Reference Work, Communication, and Rare Birds. And her deadpan responses to baffling questions and strange disclosures make me feel closer to library workers all over the world. But library stories are more than commentary on the oddities of human behavior. Sheridan balances these with heartwarming expressions from patrons of all ages. In one story, a little girl declares she wants to grow up to be a “sparkle librarian” just like the librarian who reads her stories because “she’s always smiling and wears nice jewelry.” In another, a down-on-his-luck man returns with a catered lunch to thank the staff for helping him find a job, telling them he will never forget them. I may not work at Sheridan's library, but we have plenty of stories just like these. I Work at a Public Library is great look into what it’s like to, you guessed it, work at a public library. But you don’t have to be a library worker to appreciate the humor or understand the good feelings the author gets from helping people. This one can be enjoyed by readers on both sides of the reference desk!

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