Friday, May 23, 2008


An open letter to adults who use a public library:

Please don’t assume that if the library is hosting an author, that all staff has read the book the author is presenting. This is especially so when the staff works in the children’s department, and the book is written for adults. It is especially irritating if you wag your finger at the staff member in question as if to say “shame on you,” even when explained that we can not read everything. (This happened to me today).

If you play with the puppets, blocks and other toys in the picture book room with your child, please don’t ignore the signs that say “Please put toys away when finished.” You are not exempt in this responsibility. If you don’t mind this at home, fine, but please respect our space.

Thanks for asking for a plastic bag to wrap your child’s soiled diaper in, and acknowledging when you’ve changed an atomic diaper in our rest room.

Please don’t question why we don’t allow cell phone use in the library. Would you use one in church? Respect that some people come to the library for solitude, quiet contemplation and to study. They (and we for that matter) don’t want to listen to your trivial phone conversations. Since when have we become so important that we need to be reached everywhere?

When you check out a book but come back and claim you have returned it (no you didn’t) and we check the shelf and other possible locations for its whereabouts and cannot find it, please accept your responsibility and pay/or replace it. We have no secret vaults where these items go. You’ve either returned it or not.

Most libraries have book budgets. Some of our books are donated, but most are purchased from community tax support. Don’t shirk off responsibility for books if you lose or damage them. Your tax dollars and other’s support this service.

Thanks for remembering us during the holidays.

Please don’t watch your children pull a whole row of DVDs off the shelf, and walk away.

Don’t let your cats urinate on our books, or smoke while reading. These smells do not go away and they severely damage the pleasure the next person has in handling and reading these books.

Thanks for appreciating libraries.


Patty O said...

The only thing I don't like about the cell phone use is how librarians can get bitchy about it.

One afternoon, I was using a cell phone, not knowing you couldn't, and the librarian came up to me, yapping at me to shut it off. If she has tapped me on the shoulder, whispered that cell phone use was not allowed, I would have gladly stopped. But she was loud and rude about it.

That's the only thing I have. The rest I totally agree with. The kid I work with and I go to this one library a few days a week, and the librarians have been very good to us, so we try to be good to them.

Hyperher said...

I agree, but librarians tend to have to say the same things over and over again and it often comes off wrong. We post signs saying no cell phone use, and we assume people are literate or read signs. I think we do a real disservice assuming that everyone knows the rules, and or actually reads the signs. I hate telling people no, but I try to be pleasant about it.