There have always been recurring issues that all librarians deal with, better known as ‘Librarian Problems,’ however with COVID being a thing, we have more specific problems during this pandemic that can set us a little more on edge.
A lot of the problems I’ve seen personally in the library have been voiced on Twitter – mostly by @lisabrarian – and honestly, her tweets are right on the money!
I also would like to apologize in advance for any snarkiness that seeps through into this post. You can tell I’ve about had it with some of the repetitive things that go on. I’ve been better at keeping my cool, but this post requires the snark. Remember, we librarians are not loving the mandates of this pandemic any more than the rest of you are.
1. Repeat Mask Offenders
As libraries often have, there are patrons that come in multiple times a week if not everyday. Some of these people are now the ones we need to remind no less than 5 times per visit to ‘please pull up your mask.’
2. Schools Close, Libraries Open
As in, your town schools have all switched to remote learning, but hey! Let’s keep the libraries open for people to gather in.
3. All the Time in the World
Restaurants? Get in, eat your food, leave.
Grocery stores? Get your stuff as quickly as you can and leave.
Libraries? Let’s sit around all day doing nothing productive (or maybe some productive stuff) and breath all the air.
4. Numbers go up… allow more people?
5. Again with the masks!
It’s like people think we enjoy telling them to put up their masks. We don’t. We don’t even like wearing them ourselves, okay? But we do because we’re trying to prevent a virus from spreading people! Have some decency for your fellow man/woman!
Also, telling us you have your mask off because you’re eating isn’t an excuse. There’s no eating in the library in the first place. Your logic is invalid.
6. Your books are not late, they are in quarantine
We have this one patron that calls every few days to complain about her books still being out on her account when she returned them. Multiple times we have explained to her that books are quarantined for three days before they are checked in, and are back-dated when we do so. There is no reason to get agitated about a measly 10-cent fine when you aren’t even going to be charged that fine (unless, of course, your book was due before the 3-day backdate).
7. Why aren’t the bathrooms open?
Um, because there’s a global pandemic going on and we can’t keep track of every person that uses the bathroom because we, I don’t know… have jobs to do aside from monitoring the bathroom.
8. Limited public computers
I can’t say this is for all libraries, but ours in particular are all clustered right next to each other. So for the time being we only have three open so that we can distance people who need to use the computers. Patrons get upset if there are none available, even though we encourage people to reserve ahead of time since there are limited computers open. We are working on getting shields installed as to open all the portals, but that’s also depending on how bad this gets in the next few weeks.
9. Limited computer time
I’ve had some patrons get upset they can’t extend their time on the computer, but you know… you can’t just sit there and watch YouTube all day when people coming in need to do actual work because they don’t have WiFi at home or a printer. It’s not all about you, dude.
10. This is not a day-care
This has actually always been a problem. Parents bring their kids into the library, then expect the librarians to police them. While the number of parents doing this has gone down, it’s still a problem with the parents that could care less about the virus. They still want to sit and do their own thing and let their kids play/run amok in the library, only now they get upset that we don’t have any toys out for the kids to play with.
Honestly, you just can’t make this stuff up
Honestly, there are so many more Librarian problems that have arisen during the pandemic, but I won’t bore you with all of them. I encourage you to follow various librarians on Twitter because that’s where you’ll get an insight as to what we’re dealing with here with the public.
And I get it, some people need a place to study, use WiFi, or just be during the day because maybe they don’t have anywhere else to go. But the least everyone can do is not fight back against the new policies in place because we’re doing this for your safety too, not just ours.
Stay safe, everyone!