Librarian Ire

Monday, March 06, 2006

Common sense, ah where have you gone?

Here's a question for the ages.
What do you do when someone comes up to the circ desk, plants a library book on the desk and ANNOUNCES that they are returning this book for Professor John Doe's assistant?
Would you a)discharge it and send it on to it's appointed rounds OR b) would you thank the patron and keep the book on the counter until the assistant appears some unknown time later and retrieves it? Foolishly I choose option A. It turns out I was wrong.
At least that's what the patron thought. Oh, she didn't say so. She went all passive-agressive on me. "It's not your fault, it's not mine, no one was wrong, BUT you should have done yada, yada. When there's a but in that sentence then you are telling me I am wrong. So just SAY so, and we will correct any illusions you still hold about my compentence and your horrific grammar.
What happened was this patron, (she said she was a professor) had borrowed a book another patron had on hold. This professor was giving some speech or writing a paper (not sure which and I don't really care.) and there was apparently a seminal article in this book that someone else had the gall to check out.
So this very nice assistant let her photocopy the article she needed. Now I come into the story. I discharge the book and thank her. Now she tells me that she really didn't want me to check in the book. Why she gave it to me then escapes me. If she didn't want me to check it in, she should have said, I am returning this book TO so and so. Could you hold it for him? Instead of saying FOR so and so. There's a huge difference grammatically. One's a question and the other a statement(actually a command the way she said it.)
I tried to explain that it actually didn't make a difference since the books was still on hold for the guy. But no, since I am only a librarian I am wrong in her deluded mind.
She goes into this long rambling monologue, which made little sense. Apparently the assistant he checked the book out(not really, but I wasn't going into that) to let her use so she could finish her paper/speech, since if she didn't use this article everyone would laugh at her.(too late) Now she had to give the book back to him, but he wasn't around and she was late, so she was giving it to us to hold on to until he came to get it. Which is what she told me to do in the first place. Uh-no you didn't.
She then launched into another monologue about the assistant and who he was and how nice he is and whose assistant he is(she had no idea). "But he is so nice and generous. He let me use the book, even though he doesn't even know me."
Sigh. I took an informal poll asking about the meaning of the sentence she used. My boss, 2 students(one a former English teacher) and Librarian Loki all agreed that the professor said she told me she wanted the book checked in. The only dissent was Dr. Nathan and we already know he doesn't count.
I wouldn't let her water my plants, never mind check out a book that I was responsible for. But that's me. And she was right about one thing. The assistant is very nice and generous. We shall have to have a talk with him about that.
Being nice is good, but common sense is better. There needs to be a name change for common sense. Not so common sense would be a good contender. I like the sense that everyone needs to have and use, but doesn't. How about what the hell were you thinking sense?
Any other ideas?

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