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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Library cards

I might head up to the library later today. Get a few good books, chat to the friendly librarians. I’ve been going to the same branch for the past ten years so they must be friendly right? They must know me at this stage?  Not exactly. Over the past decade exactly one of them has exhibited normal, friendly behaviour. And to give her her due, another did start making eye contact after about five years.  The rest, all of whom have been working there as long as I have been mooching around, looking at books, reading out loud at the little tables and paying the odd fine are, (as my Dad might have said) a shower of oddballs.

There is the bald one who harrumphs and raises his eyes to heaven if the children do not behave as if they are in a cathedral and when I found a DVD on the shelf that he was trying to fine me for not returning said, charmingly “just bring it over here.” There is the tall managerial one, who is never, never off the phone. She looks up as I approach the desk with books to return, and gives me the same look I give my kids when they interrupt a rivetingly gossipy chat. Reluctantly whispering her farewells (“I have to go I’m afraid, there’s someone here, I will discuss that issue with you at a later date.”), she eyeballs me as if I have kept her waiting ands says officiously “Now. Can I help you?”
One day I told her that I was there to pick up a book I had reserved and committed the cardinal sin of asking for it (an adult book. Yes, adult as in grown up!) at the desk in the children’s section. This desk is approximately six paces from its adult counterpart and she said “I will just ring my colleague and ask if they will do me the favour of bringing the book in here. Just a minute please.” Another time while I was waiting for my little boy to choose which Beast Quest book to bring home, I saw her look furtively around the room, pick up the phone and say in hushed tones “I thought you’d like to know. The eagle has landed.”

There is a librarian with a moustache, another face I’ve seen weekly for the past decade, who also lives on the same road as me. I pointed this out one rainy afternoon and he looked horrified and then muttered something I couldn’t understand (“please don’t stalk me!”/ “Yes I live at number fifty seven.”) But we have been friends ever since. Just kidding, to date the extent of our conversation has been;
“There’s two fifty due on this card.”
“Can I pay it next week?”

This is where I back pedal and say how nice they really are, how I was wrong! And wind up the blog with a little one-liner about a kind, friendly librarian. No. Can’t think of anything. Wait! I’ve got it. My neighbour tells me the librarians in Thurles are very nice. Also on the plus side, this afternoon, when the kids get stuck into Yu Gi Oh GX, I’m going to sneak off and dive into The Man in the Wooden Hat by Jane Gardam, which an unsmiling but diligent librarian procured for me from the Coolock branch.


  1. Well....I had the same experience for the past five years with my local pharmacist. Now, bear in mind I am not just a hypochondriac, but a hypochondriac with a genuinely low immune system and a tendency to be sick VERY often. In other words, I'm gold dust to a pharmacist. That being said, he avoided eyecontact, never made an effort to remember my name or address me by same, and certainly never engaged in chit chat about prescriptions, illnesses, or even the requisitory exchange about the weather! This all changed after I spent five minutes one day gushing praise about a locum who covered for him for a week. The locum was about 70, half deaf, half blind, and really not interested in anything other than the icing on his doughnut with his elevenses. So I think my local pharamacist, knowing this, took my point and now treats me like royalty when I walk through the door. He even offered me samples of Guerlain eye cream the other day....steady on!!!

  2. I love your blog Lucy, where are the July installments? I too get the evil eye upon arriving at Ballyroan Library with 5 boys and a large dog tied up outside, who cries till I reappear. There is hope though, there is a new, young, ponytailed librarian guy. He has commented on some of the fifty odd books we borrow and EVEN ignores fines from time to time.
    I sometimes think they should sound proof a children's section, maybe we could stay longer. I find myself taking a deep breath, grab books quickly and evacuate before all hell breaks loose.