Sunday, June 5, 2011

100 Word Increments: My Job at the Public Library

“Look at this book!” Leslie says, waving a paperback from the pile of books she’s just checked in. Kathy and I look over at the romance novel entitled “My Devilish Scotsman.”

I snort when I laugh sometimes. It’s very unattractive.

Kathy steps in for a closer look at the buff male model on the cover. “Is that… Is he wearing a mini-skirt?”

Leslie’s hand flies to her mouth. She looks scandalized. “It’s a kilt!” she says.

“It’s a mini-kilt,” I say.

“There’s no such thing!” Leslie scoffs.

Oh, honey, you haven’t been to as many ren fairs as I have.


The cart weighs more than I do, and I’m not exactly twiggy. I take a deep breath to prepare my soul. The young adult section is mine, my baby, and I will see it shelved.

It’s easy to ignore the books at the circ desk – we’re always so busy there, and things go so fast – but shelving is dangerous: I notice the titles, the beautiful covers. I’ll end up with eighteen books to read over the weekend.

But not today! Today, I will shelve these books without stopping to read any of them.

Cue “Eye of the Tiger”.

Bring it!


“May I use your phone?” says an old lady with coke-bottle glasses.

Angela passes it to her. The old lady dials and listens for a moment.

I clearly hear the voice on the other end. “Hello?” I glance at Angela, who nods. She heard it too.

“Hello!” the old lady says.

“Hi, grandma!” The voice is definitely coming from the audio book section. “What are you up to today?”

“Just visiting the library,” she says.

“Really?” A teenager with a cell phone steps out of the stacks and waves. “So am I!”

The old lady hangs up. “Thanks,” she says.


Listen, sweetheart:
Times are tough all around.
No one ever said life was fair.
You don’t always have a choice.
Sometimes, things have to be done and you have to be the one to do them. There’s not always a reason and there doesn’t have to be.
Everybody has to make sacrifices for the good of all.

So when the library director tells you it’s National Donut Day and outright orders you to eat the maple glazed (with sprinkles), then, by God, girl, you eat that frakking donut and you like it.

Now shut up and do your civic duty.


“You owe a fine,” I tell a good-looking man in an expensive suit.

“Can we let it go just this once?” he says, flashing me a perfect smile.

Flirting? Seriously? Does that ever work? “Not for fines over a dollar,” I say.

“What’s it for?” he asks, still smiling.

I open the record. Must… maintain… straight… face… “That would be a cake pan.”

He stops smiling.

I clarify, “A Dora the Explorer cake pan.”

He nods, lips in a tight line.

“Maybe your wife checked that out?”

“Probably,” he says.

“Will you be taking care of that fine today?”



I like processing the new stuff: being the first to see what we’re going to have, the repetitive motion of taping covers and applying barcodes. It’s good work, appreciated by the community. Whether it’s a novel or a DVD or an audio book, someone out there is waiting for me to get it ready for the shelf. Someone will smile at my work.

And if it means that I get the smug satisfaction of sticking a barcode right on top of Bill’s smarmy face as I process the case for Trueblood: Season 3, so much the better.

Go, Team Eric!


Cheri, the acquisitions librarian, polls the three of us at the circ desk: “Zombies or vampires?”

We stop processing books for a moment. “Zombies are more ruthless,” I say.

“But zombies are easy to kill,” says Benjamin.

“So are vampires,” I say.

“Vampires are more romantic,” says Angela.

I nod. “Rotting flesh isn’t sexy. What about werewolves?” I ask Cheri.

“Werewolves are fuzzy,” she says.

“Yes, they’re known for it,” I say.

“I mean they’re a grey area,” Cheri says. “So vampires are cooler but zombies are scarier, is that it?”

“Yes,” we say.

We go back to processing books.

No comments:

Post a Comment