Before you think I’ve lost my sense of humor, I haven’t. However, I don’t think you have to make jokes at the expense of others, particularly if those people are the ones we, as librarians, want to help. The snark was strong in a recent column and I felt like a rebuttal with some compassion and kindness was in order.
As National Library Week ends, there are a few things I’d like my library users to know.
I will always try to greet you with a smile. Smiles are a lot like yawns. It’s hard not to smile back when you see someone else smile.
Forgot your library card? We may be able to work with you so you can check out the materials you need.
We understand life gets in the way sometimes. We can renew your items over the phone or show you how to renew yourself online. If you get a fine and paying might be a problem, talk to us.
Feel free to bring a snack or drink with you. We also have vending machines. There are garbage cans and recycling bins located conveniently around the building where you can dispose of your trash.
Phone calls are fine. All we ask is you are considerate of others. Keep them short, speak quietly, and keep your ringer at a low level. We do ask that you don’t take calls in our silent zone or in the computer lab.
That physical card catalog you remember from years ago is gone. We’re happy to show you how to use the online catalog. There are some great features, like book reviews and suggestions for related titles, that we’d be willing to show you.
Please do come and see me when you have a question. I may not realize a snap, whistle, hand wave or other signal is meant for me.
We enjoy seeing children in the library. We know it can be boring for them. We do have coloring books and crayons and a great collection of children’s literature.
Damaged books happen. We won’t yell at you. But we are going to ask you to pay for a replacement.
We will always try to treat you with respect. Please do the same. We want to hear what you have to say, but talking is better than yelling.
We announce our closing time ten minutes before the service desks shut down. We are very appreciative when people take those announcements to heart and pack up.
There are carts at the end of the shelves where you can put books and other materials when you are done using them. Don’t worry about putting things back on the shelves. We keep track of what is being used and you’re helping us out by using those carts.
We will not judge you based on your clothes, what questions you ask, how clean your fingernails are, etc. We want to help you with your information needs no matter what they may be.
We don’t require gifts. Most of us won’t eat the cake. If you are able and you want to support the library, we’ll let you know how you can donate money to our Friends organization. Better yet, become a Friend.
Most library users are good people. I don’t think it serves us well to point out the failings of the few. I hope my list is a good counterbalance to those librarians who would rather focus, rather humorously or otherwise, on the few bad apples.