Friday, April 11, 2008

So, you get paid to do this for a living?

Here is an excerpt from a conversation I had this afternoon with my local librarian. Let me preface this by saying that I LOVE the library. It is one of my favorite places to waste an afternoon. And it's so much cheaper than going to Barnes and Noble.

OK, my conversation:

Adam: Yes, I was looking through the stacks and I couldn't find a book I was looking for...

Professional Librarian: Well, no problem. We can look it up right here on the computer and tell you where it is. What is the title?

Me: The Myth of Sisyphus.

PL: OK. {click click click} Hmmmm. I'm not seeing it.

Me: {Glancing at the screen} OK, there are three problems. One, his first name is spelled "f-r-a-n-Z", not "S". Two, his last name is spelled "k-a-f-k-A", not "E".

PL: Oops, sorry. What was the third problem?

Me: It was written by Albert Camus.

PL: Ohhh. Sorry. {typing} Albert Camus. {pause} Nope. Not here.

Me: {checking screen to make sure she's all set} No. The Myth Of Sisyphus, not Metamorphosis.

PL: {typing} Sorry. We don't have it. We can borrow it from another library for you.

Me: That would be wonderful if you could.

PL: Is there anything else I can help you with.

Me: I'll just take this Chuck Palahniuk.

PL: Who?

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnddddddddddd.................... scene.

She also tried to tell me that Hermann Hesse wrote Catch-22. And I'm not entirely certain she knows the actual meaning of the word "esoteric". Honestly, she gets paid to work there?

I can't get a menial job as a delivery driver at an auto parts store, but she is making a living as a librarian. It truly boggles the mind.


Sra said...

Maybe she should get Sisyphus' fate as punishment for her ineptness: rolling the entire stacks collection up and down a hill forever more... while she recites the titles and corresponding authors and their spellings.

Ok, that last bit is a little beyond Sisyphus' dreaded lot.

Adam said...



Whimsicalsun said...

I'd worked in libraries...and one time, this lady came to the library and give me a name of an author that I didn't know, so I ask to the computer and I found two guys with the same name.
So I ask her who she wants me to find, and she started to yelling at me, and called me incompetent and more things like you're saying right now.
I never had other problems like this one before and after, even when in this type of libraries almost clients are rich people...she makes me feel so bad...but I never forget the look and the words that she said...I guess because she was in wheelchair and her daughter looked ashamed for the words of her mother.

Whimsicalsun said...

Sorry, I didn't worked in libraries, I worked in bookstores.

Spanish: Librerias.
English: Books stores/Bobliotec.

Spanish: Bibliotecas.
English: Libraries.

I always have a confusion with that.

So a library she needs to know about every much of everything.
But I guess everybody needs to make a living.

Adam said...

I wasn't being mean like that lady was to you (by the way, that lady was a bitch, wheelchair or not.). I was just trying to be helpful. I saved the being mean part for the blog post. I am terrible at actual confrontation.

That's ok about misinterpreting. I can't read one word of your blog, so you are that much smarter than me. :))

Sra said...

Oops... I just thought the myth of sisyphus was one of those stories everyone knew... I'm sure it's still worth reading!

Adam said...

Of course I know the story. I was pulling your leg. And I also know it's supposed to be a very interesting read.

Also I was told to read it because different people seem to have different interpretations of it, and this person wanted my take on it.

One Fine Weasel said...


don't know about the states but over here in blighty it's not about books it's about Customer Service, innit? if you can fob 'em off without actually swearing then you win Employee of the Month.

i used to work in a library (a library not a bookstore) too. from a literary point of view i was probably even less useful than your libraryfriend, but at least i can spel.