I had a teenage patron approach me today holding up one of our books and asking me, "Do you sell the books?"
I simply shook my head slowly and sadly at her and made a sympathetic face.
Do we sell the books? Do you even know what a library is? You can have it for FREE! It's really a very advantageous system, if you just know how it works. I would have explained it to her, but really, explaining how a library works? "You borrow the books and if you bring them back in a few weeks, it's all free." Really, I couldn't muster the words. Plus she walked away.
Last week a patron came up to me wearing a big coat and his head was covered with a hoodie. He asked me if we were open the next day, and I told him that yes we were, and he gave me this really annoyed look and said, "I can't HEAR you." I then noticed that he had two headphone earbuds coming out from his hoodie, obviously going into his ears and I wanted to say, "Well take out your earbuds, idiot." But I didn't. See? Evidence that I have exercised self-restraint.
Speaking of headphones, when I was working on the "quiet" floor two girls were sitting together at a computer chatting and giggling. I went over and asked if they could whisper. One girl looked up at me and said, "What?" Then she said "Oh," and pulled out one of her earbuds and looked at me. I asked again if she could whisper and she said okay... but seriously. You're on the quiet floor.... chatting... with earbuds in?
Not all of my stories are so distressing. Last week someone called and I answered the phone with my usual, "P___ Library, this is so-and-so, how can I help you?" A lady on the other end said, "Hi, I'm wondering if you have granny smith apples, and if so, how much?" My head was reeling with all of the possible responses that I could do, and I finally asked, "At the library?"
"Oh!... no," she said, "Do you have the number for Sunflower Market?"
See? She was just one step ahead in her thinking. That is understandable, and I could make the same mistake. But get annoyed with someone because I'm wearing earphones and I can't hear them? I hope that day never comes for me.
*I should add a disclaimer to say, okay, I really wouldn't mind explaining to someone how a library works, especially if they really didn't know. I'm a librarian after all. And there could have been more of a good reason for her to ask that... maybe she couldn't get a library card or she needed the book permanently for reference purposes. But I've never been asked if we sell the books before, I had to have some fun with it.