Monday, 25 March 2013

As the librarian for

knitting guild I have the unenviable task of trying to keep the too small cupboard in order and seeing that people return the books they have borrowed.
When I first took over the books were "just in the cupboard". They were tidy but they were in no sort of order - unless you count the order in which they were put away.  Okay there were not that many of them and it was usually possible to find what you were looking for.
The library has since expanded. I have catalogued the books. I add new books from time to time.
We also have a borrower's book. People are supposed to write their names, the name of the book and the date in the book.  The limit is two books. Someone is now designated at each meeting to see that this actually happens. At first there was an "honour" system but, as always, some people took advantage of the system. They would borrow more than two - and forget to return things. 
It was and still is my job to try and ensure things are returned. I hate it.
Knitting books tend not to be like other books. If you are not knitting a pattern from one then it is unlikely you need the book for more than a week or so. You should be able to return it within a month. If you are knitting a pattern from it then the loan can be extended and it is (usually) legal to copy the pattern for personal use. So, what's the problem?
I know some people just forget and the guild only meets twice a month so it can be a problem. I tell people,"if you have forgotten to bring your books back just let me know. We will extend them but we need to know where they are."
And yes, people will do that - but not everyone. They escape. They fear some sort of public humiliation - something we never do. It seems to be a hangover from the old-school library days when all was hushed and quiet and nobody spoke above a whisper.
And then there are one or two who have had books out for far too long. We tell them they may not borrow any more until they are returned. Usually they are then returned very quickly.
And then there is one serial pest who has made life difficult for everyone. She has borrowed books. She claims they have been returned. She shows us where the loan has been crossed off but nobody has seen the book. We have told her that she may not borrow anything so she stands at the cupboard, "Just looking". Items have still disappeared.  It makes me angry. A former President recently told me, "I'd like a search warrant for her house."
So would I. I doubt she really knows what she has there. It seems likely that she may even have convinced herself that the books belong to her, that the other items she has borrowed from people over the years also belong to her. I don't think she has any idea what she owns and what she has borrowed. She lives in a different world.
It is now my job to tell her she may no longer "just look" in the library cupboard - and that makes me sad.

1 comment:

Ruth in Ottawa said...

Your "serial pest" sounds like a common thief and is hurting everyone else in the group. I think that if she wants to remain a member then she must abide by the group's rules.