I took my five year old daughter to the library last Friday. In fact, every Friday morning we go together. It’s our morning to hang out, just the two of us. I love it. But I hate the library.
We live in a nice town with resources. The library is up to date and modern, but it just ain't hip. In fact it couldn’t be more un-hip! Why?
The librarians are evil.
Where do they get these people? I mean, even the people at the DMV are friendlier.
Here’s my latest exchange with one of the Evil Librarians. Keep in mind that I start off being extra friendly. I’ve dealt with her before. Similar to the check out people at Kmart. I always feel like it’s my job to make THEM feel good.
I’m just standing there waiting for her. She’s on the computer and she puts up one finger for me to wait a minute. (Already I’m annoyed.)
Librarian: Can I help you?
Me: Yes, I looked up a book on the reference computer and it wasn’t coming up. I checked it out about six weeks ago so I think you have it here.
Librarian: Let’s take a look.
We walk over to reference computer.
Librarian: What’s the title?
Me: “Spaceship under the Apple Tree” (It was one of my favorite books as a kid. I want to read it to my kids.)
She types it in. Many books come up, but not that title. She tries again. Nothing.
Librarian: Obviously you’re way off on the title.
Now I’m really annoyed.
Me: Actually. No. That’s the title of the book and I’m pretty sure I checked it out six weeks ago from this branch.
Librarian: What’s the author’s name?
Me: Slobodkin. Louis Slobodkin.
She types it in. It comes up on screen. She’s annoyed that’s it right there. I’m annoyed that I didn’t just type in the author myself. Or just stayed home.
Librarian: Oh see, you spelled spaceship wrong. It’s really space ship.
There was a space between “space” and “ship.” It’s an old book, so maybe it was spelled that way when it was written. (I looked it up when I went home and it’s one word in Webster’s. But who cares!)
Me: That shouldn’t matter really.
Librarian: Well it does.
Me: Well Google wouldn’t have cared. (I know this is ridiculous, but I’m so pissed I didn’t know what to say)
Librarian: (Looking at computer screen) I don’t want to continue having this fight with you.
Luckily so far it’s all been quiet. My daughter is out of ear shot, but the librarian helper is nearby listening. But she stays out of it.
Me: Well you started it. (Now I sound like a complete idiot, but I’m in that pissed off state where I can’t think. (AKA: George Costanza)
Librarian turns and just stares at me with the most evil look ever. I’m sure many people have cowered under that icy glare. But not me. I finally get my wits about me.
Me: Well I don’t like being insulted.
At this point the librarian finally realizes she’s being a total bitch and that I’m actually a “paying” customer. I can see she’s struggling with what to do. I see her face change and she backs down.
Librarian: Well I didn’t mean it that way. I hope you know that.
But it’s not OK. WTF!!! She totally meant it that way. She’s done it to me before and to some of my friends in town. Half of the librarians there are like that.
The fact that I pay a lot of taxes is not the point really. What’s most relevant is how sad this is. What a waste! Not a waste of resources, but potential. The library could be such an inviting place, especially the kids section. A place where kids gather and build a community. A place where they can explore the magical world of stories and books. A place where they could learn how to use resources, so they can be resourceful. A place they could be excited to visit. It certainly was for me as a kid.
So I leave with my daughter’s hand in mine. I’m sickened and upset, but trying not to show it. Then my daughter looks at me and says, “Daddy, can we go to Dunkin’ Donuts?”
And at that point I can’t think of anything I’d rather do than share a doughnut with my daughter. And all is right again in the world. At least for that moment.