Monday, January 13, 2014

Miss Information is annoyed by the angry helpless people

Miss Information thinks people should choose--do they want to be helpless or do they want to be angry? She can cope with either, but both is simply too much to ask. She encountered this woman on Friday.

Miss Information is restocking one of the new books displays when she hears a woman yelling at the circulation desk that there is no one to help her. The circulation staff member makes eye contact with Miss Information and suggests that the woman go and stand at the desk because the librarian is probably helping someone else.

Miss Information sighs and goes back to the desk. The woman is angry because she can't find her hold. Well, this is not anything to get mad about. Miss Information can usually help people find their holds. "Why do you make this so difficult?!?" the woman shouts.

Right. Numerical order can be a challenge. Miss Information refuses to lower herself to the woman's level and merely suggests that the hold may be misfiled and if they look together they will surely be able to find the item. She cheerfully marches off to the reserve shelf with the angry woman muttering the whole way.

It isn't far to the reserve shelf which Miss Information is grateful about. She is also happy she is not holding a pen because she would surely have stabbed the woman before they got there. This is a really unpleasant woman.

Still, they get to the shelf and lo and behold there is the woman's book. It's on the lower shelf. "How did you find that?" the angry woman snaps. "It was misfiled, wasn't it?"

Listen, Angry Lady, Miss Information usually lies to customers to make them feel less idiotic but not in your case. She will sleep well tonight even if she destroys your self-esteem. She tries. "Actually it was right in exactly the right place," she says. 

The woman then snaps that the book should not have been on the lower shelf because she can't bend over. She's talked to the library before and they fixed it so her holds were always on the top shelf but now this hold is on the bottom. What has Miss Information got to say about that?

What Miss Information has to say is The Supervisor, this is Angry Lady. Angry Lady this is The Supervisor for this department. Why don't you ask her?

Miss Information let them go at it for awhile but this question remained. Why didn't the angry woman come to the desk and say: my hold's on a shelf I can't reach. Could you please help me? Because Miss Information could have done without all the drama. The "please" is even optional.

There are some patrons, some able bodied, some not who never pick up their own holds. The library is cool with it. Staff wants you to take out books and will help you do it if necessary. 

It's true that sometimes holds are too high or too low for certain patrons to reach but that's the reality of numerical order. You might be on the top of the shelf today but tomorrow an influx of holds might have pushed you down to the bottom. In a big library with hundreds of reserves processed each day, you're not guaranteed the same shelf every time. 

You are guaranteed that staff will help you get your hold if you can't get it yourself. After Angry Lady stomped away, Miss Information asked The Supervisor if she'd mentioned that to her. Of course she had. The Supervisor sighed: Angry Lady doesn't want to do that. She wants the library to change the entire mathematical system so her holds are always on the top shelf.

Miss Information hopes she isn't assigned to the "reorganize numbers" committee.