Thursday, July 13, 2017

How to give us money

Lately I have been finding money lying around at the library I work at. Here's some in the aisle where I'm shelving books. I have had pleasant dreams like this: "Oh, here's a bill, and look at all this change! Oh, don't mind if I do. Why, there's so much!" Walking by the reference desk there's a dollar on the ground. I give it to the Reference Librarian. "I guess they missed your tip jar." I say. Someone leaves a quarter behind at the front desk. "Where'd this come from?" I just throw it into our cash register. I never keep any of this money. Somehow that would feel wrong, like I'm not some sort of physical part of my library. Like I'm a visitor.

I am not a visitor. Among all the comments and actions of patrons that I bristle at, there are few that get to me more than if I'm asked "Do you work here?"

"No, I sit here at this official looking desk with a name badge just to soak in what it all might feel like. Can I pretend to help you?"

Hmph! "Do I work here". One might as well ask a stack of non fiction bookshelves if they are part of the library.

"No." They would say. "We're just visiting for the day and adopted this clever camouflage in the hopes that no one would ask us any ridiculous questions!!!"

"Well excuse me. Everyone in this library is so touchy!"

Good point.

So, okay, yes, I work here. I have two main jobs: Delivering witty, irascible quips at every possible moment, and collecting the money people donate. Oh, you'd like to donate some money to the library? How kind. No, we don't have a box anywhere. Just throw it on the floor.


  1. The policy, or at least the practice, at "my" branch was that any money lying around went into either a box in the drawer behind the service desk or into the Pay box for the Friends book sale.

    My favorite exception was our dear departed site manager. If she found a coin on the floor, even a penny, she would ask someone on circ staff to put it against the fines on her chronically overdue books. She was nuts, but I liked her.

    1. Well, that's sort of a good argument for our old policy of staff exemption from late fines. I like how she did the scrupulously ethical thing of having a circ person apply the fine (rather than just doing it herself, which surely she could have) while in the process of doing something ethically dubious (taking money found in library claimed for herself).

      We like to burn any paper money we find here, figuring if the rightful owner can't have it, no one should have it!


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