Sunday, September 6, 2015

Clerk insurance

With all my co-workers now leaving, or threatening to leave the library for assorted questionable reasons, I am here bracing for all the new employees. It's best to be prepared for all that breaking in and advice giving.

The first advice I give is "Say yes to the insurance!"

I know that clerking is not the same as being a Doctor. And if we had to pay what your average Doctor has to pay for malpractice insurance I would not dream of suggesting it. But malphabetical insurance is inexpensive, and the protection it gives is extraordinary.

I have been sued only three times in my 21 year library career. I am very proud of this statistic. Many of my colleagues are embroiled in a lawsuit practically every month. But still I carry the malphabetical insurance. It is worth it for the peace of mind alone.

The first lawsuit against me was in '98. I was accused of inaccurately shelving a book that led to a student's reduced quality midterm report. The plaintiff claimed lifetime earning losses of $185,000 based on a lesser grade, resulting in lower class standing, leading to getting into a less prestigious University, concluding with diminished career success. I did not have insurance at the time and was sweating bullets as the case approached trial. Fortunately it was easily determined that "649.1" does indeed come before "650.023" in the Dewey System, and the case was dismissed before trial.

My second lawsuit was in 2005. I was accused of calling someone a "snill mann". I had malphabetical insurance at this point, and though I paid attention to the legal process, I didn't have to. They took care of everything. I believe the plaintiff may have won a token award for his duress, despite "snill mann" meaning "kind man" in Norwegian. But the award was so small my malphabetical rates didn't even increase.

Three years ago I accidentally pushed a book cart full of non fiction books over the stairwell's edge causing it to tumble down the staircase, killing six. This was the third lawsuit. I still wisely had the full level of insurance. I didn't really even pay any attention to any of the court cases. My premiums did go up a touch after this one, but, whatever.

I do feel a little bit bad about the incident, though. I guess my second piece of advice would be: Be careful with those overloaded non fiction carts, it's all too easy to squish patrons.


  1. Thank you. This delightful post served to introduce some new vocabulary to the 10 year old member of our family.

    1. I am very proud, although I'm thinking "malphabetical" can be a new word at any age!

      But maybe you meant "squish"?


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