Sunday, December 9, 2007

Take it to the Limit (One More Time)*

I finished my first full week on the check out desk at the library and next week I start the reference portion of my training in earnest. I've met a few of the library regulars, some of whom are real characters, including one whom I shall call the Limit Lady.

Limit Lady approached the checkout desk five minutes before closing with two big baskets of books. One basket of materials she was returning and wanted to check in, and one basket of items she wanted to check out. I told her that I wouldn't waste her time by checking in the materials while she stood there since it could be done after closing. I scanned her library card and tried to check out her first book to her. Oops, no can do, the computer beeped at me with the message "Item limit exceeded! Unable to check out book." What the #&$% ? The limit is 99 items! I tried again and got the same warning screen. Hmmm. I explained the situation and said I'd have to check her returned items into our system before I could check out her books to her. She smiled and nodded as if this was what she expected. I checked in all her returned materials, 23 items, and then went back to checking out the things she wanted. There were 22 items in that basket, putting her total items out back up to 98.

After we closed I mentioned this to a colleague who chuckled and gave me a little pat. "She does this at least twice a week," I was told. "She counts her items to return and takes out the same number pretty much every time. If we had a higher limit, she'd take out more."

You'll never catch me doing that. Even one day late on returning that number of items and the fines would put a serious dent in my pocketbook!

*: If you don't remember, it's a song by the Eagles.

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