ASSOCIATES (vol. 7 no. 2, November 2000) -

Library Life:
A Column of Eclectic Rantings


Katie Kintner
Los Angeles Pierce College Library

Things you hate to hear when you work in a certain California community college library:

"The men's toilet is plugged."

"Do you hear that alarm going off downstairs?"

Sonic booms.

"I need to see you...NOW."

"Is tomorrow's Los Angeles Times in yet?"

"Since you can't renew my book again, can I return it and then check it back out?"

"What was that buzzing sound?"

"The police are here again."


"Why do I need a college ID? Can't you just look me up in the computer?"

"My paper is due tomorrow."

"What's that grinding sound?"


"The copy machine is blinking at me."

"I can't go downstairs, I'm afraid of heights." ("How did you get up here to the 2nd floor then?" "I climbed.")

"What's that whining sound?"

"The security guard found the front door unlocked this morning."

"The college president is coming for a visit."

"The fire department is here again."

"Who's that lying on the floor?"


"This says you have it on microfilm. What's microfilm?"

"The computers are down."

"The computers are up."

"The printers are down."

"They're doing a study of the library."

"I have a great project for you."

"Can you take a look at my computer? It's acting funny."

"That group study room is being too noisy. Can you tell them to be quiet?" (When the group study room contains six very large, boisterous young men with lots of piercings and tattoos.)

"What does "error no. 3" mean?"

"I know it's only two minutes to closing time but I really need to copy just a couple of pages."

"Why aren't you open later/earlier/on weekends?"

Security gate alarms.

"What's that smell?"

Loud moans.

"The printer is making big black lines."

"Can't I just go back there (into closed periodical stacks) and browse the shelves myself?"

"Why can't you just tell me where I can find the books with pictures of animals?"

"I don't like computers. Can't you just let me sit back there on the floor and browse the magazines for articles?"

"There's a police chase going on."

"Can you turn down/up the air conditioning?"

"I looked it up and that ugly bug you saw was a Jerusalem beetle."

"Can you type? Want to earn a couple bucks?"

"The director is looking for you."

"So you're from Wisconsin. Oh yah, I loved Fargo!"

"That reporter is snooping around here again. Don't talk to her."

"Isn't this the bookstore? Can't I get scantrons here?"

Bells ringing.

"Can you go get this book for me? I can't find it." (when we know the patron never even went into the stacks.)

"There's a couple of lights out in the upstairs (darkest) stacks."

"Do you guys usually close up, like, right on time? I was hoping I could read a little longer."

"They're making a movie here next week so you'll have to park..."

Someone banging on the door and pointing to their watch one minute after closing.

"I forgot my access code. Can I use yours?"

"Yeah, there are black widow spiders underneath the building. Have been for years."

"Can you develop a training manual for_?"

"I can't owe a fine--I've never heard of those books."

"My friend is going to check out some books for me."

"The ants are back!"

"I've never used a library before."

"I don't care if the library is closing! I'm not finished typing my paper!"

"I work over in another department. I don't have an ID but could I just take these over to my department so I can copy them for free?"

Three patrons in line, another waiting on the other side of the counter, the computer goes down and then the phone starts ringing.

"Can you watch the desk while you're here? I need to go to_"

"How much money is left in the budget?"

"We once found a 12 inch lizard in the assistant director's office."

And the absolute WORST thing you hate to hear when you work in a certain California community college library: "You locked someone in the library last night."

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