Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Chewing it over
A manager was out working the front desk and came to the back room of the library where I was working on the automated check in machine.
"They want to know where we keep the chewed books."
It's always a little funny when library patrons somehow think we're a much grander institution than we are, like when someone calls me when I'm on the phones at the library and says "Can I speak to your lost and found department?"
I mean, we're a pretty big library, with quite a few workers, but on the phones I'm going to be pretty much the whole deal, though of course there's someone in reference I can transfer to for certain things, especially if the caller is irritating. So yes, I guess I'm the lost and found department, as long as I'm also 200 other departments simultaneously.
And so it is with keeping the chewed books somewhere. We do have a place for them, it's just they are interfiled with the wet books, the stained books, the torn up books, the written in books, the candy or wine coated books, the crushed books, the infested books, the pickled books, the partial books, and the terrible smelling books.
My manager came back from this shelf of mutilated books with a book that had a heavily chewed up corner. It was unmissable, obvious damage of the sort that rendered it unusable, even taking into account our paltry, public library standards. "They're not going to go for it." My manager said sadly. "They're not going to admit responsibility." And, head hanging low, they went out to face the patron.
A little later this manager of mine came back with the book. "They said they didn't do it. What could I do, call them a liar? I guess we're out a book."
"Not necessarily." I said. "We can do it like a big company would."
"How's that?" My manager asked.
"We can keep checking it out until we get to someone who doesn't fight the fine."
Of course we both knew I was just kidding. The book and its value to our collection were gone and we would simply have to eat it.
Fortunately someone already got a start on it for us.