Crazy Stories From the Public Library

atkins-bookshelf-booksStrangely enough, bartenders and librarians have one thing in common: in the course of their jobs, they overhear some rather interesting conversations and observe human behavior that ranges from the bizarre to the baffling. Gina Sheridan, a librarian at a St. Louis, Missouri, decided to collect all these humorous stories and observations and share them on her website and book, I Work at a Public Library: A Collection of Crazy Stories from the Stacks. The website is divided into different “shelves” — reading interests and habits, curiosities and wonder, listening in, found objects, etc. Here are some selections from her website. Some will be sure to bring a smile to your face; others will leave you wondering “These people can actually read?”

Overheard at the checkout desk: 4-year-old: “Mommy, what do librarians do when the library is closed?” Mother: “They become real people.”

Overheard at the service desk: “I couldn’t find any jobs, so I got two DVDs instead.”

We sent out an overdue reminder to a customer, informing them that they had overdue books and a fine of just over £30. In return, we received a cheque for £5, a letter invoking the blood of Christ against the library service, and a lovely photograph of a swan.

One of our regular patrons approached the desk with one of our oversized art books in his hands. Patron: “I donated this book a long time ago, but can I have it back now? I want to cut all the pictures out and hang them up.“

Patron: “What decides what is separated into mature fiction and regular fiction?”
Librarian [in my head]: Umm…we have mature fiction? Is that what the kids call erotica these days?  [Out loud]: “Can you show me what you mean?”
He pointed to the “M FICTION” on the call number label of a book.
Librarian: “Oh! ‘M’ stands for Mystery in this case, not ‘Mature.’”

I’ll never forget the day I was working in the stacks and came upon a man lying on the floor having a seizure. As others went for help, I knelt down, grasped the man’s hand, and spoke soothingly to him. Suddenly he came to, looked into my eyes, and asked, “What are you in for?”

A ten-year-old regular came into the library with a sword in his belt. Librarian [in jest]: “Are you bringing a weapon into the library?” Him: “Don’t worry, it’s powered by imagination.”

Patron: “Do you have a book by someone named Márquez? I think it’s pretty famous and had a movie made about it: Love in the Time of Chocolate?
Librarian: “I think you’re looking for Love in the Time of Cholera.”
Patron: “Are you sure? That sounds really depressing.”

A lady walked up to the front desk to ask for information about Barack Obama and the antichrist theory, specifically the theory involving Israel.
Woman: “Can you print off a couple of pages about that topic please? I’d like to read over it with my morning coffee.”
Librarian: “I’ll print off what I can find.”
Woman: “Oh, and do you have the movie To Kill a Mockingbird?”
Librarian: “Yes, I believe we do.”
Woman: “Is that about the Obama stuff in Israel?”


Read related posts: Types of Book Readers
Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores
The Sections of a Bookstore

For further reading:

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