I am at CAP today, enjoying the quiet. I am working with a directed fieldwork student from the iSchool--her second day. She seems to be absorbing things fairly quickly.
About a half hour ago I began to notice a raised voice from across the library. An elderly lady was arguing with an LA. She wanted a stamp in the book with the due date, was threatening to write it in there herself and said the computers were corrupt. I watched to see if things would resolve themselves, as they sometimes do, but it soon became apparent that was not going to happen. I moved into position on the customer side of the circ desk and looked concerned. My belief that the lady was a bit of a conspiracy believer was cemented as she explained that her apartment was being burglarized--although she did not explain what this had to do with wanting a date stamped in her book. Her accusations and complaints quieted slowly to a dull roar as we both stood there listening and she decided to leave. I think she wasn't as comfortable when she couldn't abuse just one employee that was separated from the rest of the staff. The LA was a bit flustered, understandably, and she had done everything she could to make the lady happy, short of damaging the book. She offered the woman a complaint form, explained the receipts, took her barrage of harsh language and explained that she would accrue charges if she wrote in the book.
Just as I was going over to check out the situation, the heavens opened up and we had a torrential downpour of hail. It reminded me of a witch movie from the 80's.
As I was typing the event above, I was called upon to help with another security issue. A gentleman was smoking right outside the doors, which not only violates the city's rule of 25 feet from doorways, but also the library's rule of not smoking on library property. The interesting thing was that the man was talking to his reflection in the windowed door. When we first went outside I expected to be confronted with two people-the smoker and whomever he was talking to, but when we got there the reality was apparent. He immediately moved off, without us having to say anything, so he knew the rule. Maybe he just got sidetracked by the possibility of a conversation partner.
I have also had the enjoyment of helping people today. A woman and her three kids came in with a list of non-fiction they needed for a class project. An elderly couple came in for value line and I answered several computer related questions. We had a security guard come in and things quieted down immediately. Just the presence of a man in a uniform was enough to change the atmosphere.
The variety of patrons here is completely different from any other library in the system. There are hipsters, homeless, middle-aged, middle class, seniors, patrons with mental problems of all ages and classes. There are also families, but not many teens. Usually the behavior issues that I deal with at other libraries involve teens, rather than adults.
Ah, now a wallet has gone missing. Who carries $600 cash in a wallet then leaves it sitting on a computer terminal? I am not sure how that is going to play out.
Yesterday at COL I had just gotten done asking a group of teen girls to keep their volume down when a woman who was in with her two children started talking with another woman right in front of the information desk. There were no natural breaks in the conversation where I would usually ask them if they could be a bit quieter. The woman had also made it known that she knew one of the librarians there, so I felt uncomfortable in case she became embarrassed. I felt like such a hypocrite for not saying something.
Time for a walk about.
Labels: problem patrons