Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Sharks in the library

I may have mentioned that I work in a very popular library. I'm not going to go much into my theories as to why we are so popular, but I am certain it is not due to our marketing, which is laughable, or the Internet, or our cleverness. 

We just put stuff out and people take it.

All the rest is commentary.

After 20 years or so of not offering a fax machine to the public we got sick of people asking us if we had a fax machine. So we enabled our scanning copier to send faxes. We did not advertise this. It is not in our informational materials. It's just a big copier where you can fax stuff. One day you couldn't fax. The next day you could. Why anyone asks anyone to fax anything at this point is beyond me. Does it need to be mimeographed before being faxed as well, or would they prefer it be scrawled into bark? Nevertheless people do ask other people to fax things. And when those people fax things they come to our library. Every single one of them. People come here from other cities to fax things, they come from other states. They might even come from other countries just to fax things. They fax in the morning and they fax in the night. They fax single, crumpled, illegible scraps of paper, and they fax 80 page documents that take 45 minutes to fax. They line up to fax. They love to fax, but only if they can do it here. Otherwise it's not worth it.

And how did they find out about our fax?

Blood in the water, man, blood in the water.

How about this:

If we got a hundred candy canes, and we put them in the darkest, most obscure corner of the library, enclosed them all in an unremarkable box, with a tiny sign on it that said "free, take one", someone, a thousand miles from here would suddenly look up and say "I smell peppermint."


  1. You've seen nothing until you offer free snacks in the library of a college. People who have never even noticed the building exists will be lining up.

    Also, isn't it insane that most financial stuff and government stuff still needs to be faxed?

    1. 1. I can imagine. This summer the city offered free lunches every day for all 18 yrs old and younger from a little truck that came by for 20 minutes. It was popular, though there weren't exactly riots, possibly because the lunches were like a very bad, intensely packaged, and off-brand airplane food lunch. If they included a bag of chips there would have been riots.

      2. Yes.

  2. Why is your library so popular? Well, if it's not your warm and welcoming atmosphere, it must be location, location, location.

    1. Are we warm and welcoming? I can never tell and opinions vary dramatically.

    2. Interactions with MOST staff are "warm and welcoming." The building itself is not, IMO.

      Your lunches for the 18-and-under set were served outside, right? Imagine the library in Weston, Ohio...all summer they have served hot lunches five days a week. Lunches were prepared and delivered by the school district. Between Weston and a small branch library, they served 80 to 120 kids each day. Library staff had to set up tables, then take them down and clean. And they didn't sound bothered, they sounded proud.

    3. Ellen,

      This may sound glib, or like a joke, but it's not:

      You are awesome.

  3. It's all about public service that is so badly needed. Good for you for filling the niche.

    1. Aw, shucks, it's nuthin'.

      Thanks, and I so agree about public service.


If you were wondering, yes, you should comment. Not only does it remind me that I must write in intelligible English because someone is actually reading what I write, but it is also a pleasure for me since I am interested in anything you have to say.

I respond to pretty much every comment. It's like a free personalized blog post!

One last detail: If you are commenting on a post more than two weeks old I have to go in and approve it. It's sort of a spam protection device. Also, rarely, a comment will go to spam on its own. Give either of those a day or two and your comment will show up on the blog.