Monday, December 14, 2015

Losing respect

A patron came to me at the front desk of the library. She had been sent over by a librarian in the children's room. This patron has a record with us, but recently received a new card from another system so we have to look up this person with their ID, and then enter her new barcode number into our system. I know it sounds insanely complicated to a layperson, but, much like ankle surgery, it's ridiculously simple after you've done it once or twice. And most importantly it is something any person working at a public desk in our library should be able to do without the slightest strain.

So why have they been sent to me, to a second line, to conduct this impossibly tiny task?

As I have made clear in a few dozen of my millions of blog posts, I am like Santa in the deep, medieval, Old Testament sense of knowing who is naughty or nice. I carry in my head detailed lists of the competency levels, skill rankings, and laziness quotients of all my co-workers. When someone is sent to me for something ridiculous, such as in this case, then a list of which of the crappy librarians are likely responsible leaps immediately to my mind. Usually all goes according to plan and an easily predicted person is guilty once again.  Or, I mean, one is found naughty or bad, if you prefer a seasonal approach.

But today it turned out that a perfectly good librarian was responsible. What does this mean?

It is much harder for me to keep close tabs on the quality of the librarians' work than it is the circulation staffs'. Librarians work at a farther remove from me. In addition to that there are possible explanations for this breakdown. There could have been a miscommunication between said librarian and the patron. The patron who I got this from could have been confused in general. There could have been a host of mitigating circumstances I'm missing out on. And, of course, this librarian, despite being pleasant, and seeming to be generally intelligent, could secretly be a complete deadbeat.

I am keen to take all of this into account. I myself have made several million mistakes throughout my lifetime, much like anyone else, and I am not keen to be over-judged on them randomly. So there is no way I am putting this librarian on the deadbeat, naughty, bad list. It would be absurd, impulsive, and above all rash! She remains the considerate, reasonable, competent, and pleasant person I've experienced her as and have always assumed her to be.

But my eyes are open, and I am ready for corroborating evidence.

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