Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | January 31, 2009

The Usual Suspects: Library-Style



Oh sweet, sweet Saturday.

For most people today is the beginning of a relaxing, restful weekend.

For me, today is Friday. For me, today is one of the longest days of the week. For me, today is a warzone.

See here’s the thing about Saturdays…especially when we’re still technically on winter break…no one, literally NO ONE from MIT is going to be here. Instead, I’m going to get a whole slew of crazies from the outside world that have the most asinine requests/demands/pleas that I’m going to be dealing with for the entire shift.

Here are the six types of crazies that usually wander in on Saturdays…

Saturday Crazy Type One – The Electronically Handicapped

These folks are usually quite visible from the onset. They wander in and head straight for the computers and they make sure to setup camp at one of the three computers facing me, as to ensure they’ll be in my peripheral vision. They then huff and puff and mumble to themselves for awhile. This charming process is generally followed by them frantically pounding the keys and wiggling the mouse in an ill-fated attempt to “speed up the internet.”

Often times they are here to check their email, look at online photos, go to eBay and/or look up a whole bunch of crap for their job that could make or break their career. Yeah, I want that type of pressure on my shoulders…thanks.

The Electronically Handicapped will require tons of attention, tons of time and multiple explanations. Often you’ll find yourself completing whatever task they had set out to do, simply because it’ll shave about two hours off of the process that way.

These people will leave you feeling mentally superior, yet completely dead inside when you realize that you’ve spent an hour and a half of your time guiding them through the processes of printing a coupon to save $4.99 on an entrée at a local steakhouse.

Saturday Crazy Type Two – The Psychiatric Patient

These people—for some reason completely unbeknownst to me—seem to assume that the dude behind the desk is not only here to check out books, but also to listen to their entire life story.

A quick perusal of my job description proves that I am—in fact—NOT here to serve as a psychiatrist to any of these people. This fact, however, isn’t enough to keep them from yammering on-and-on-and-on about their kids, their jobs, their spouses, their rashes, etc, etc, etc…

These people need to be put down with tranquilizer darts, tagged and released back into the wilds of the Northern Maine…not unleashed upon poor library staff that are stranded at the desk with nowhere to run and hide.

By the time the Psychiatric Patient finally leaves, you are left feeling deflated, tired and in serious need of alcohol. These people are awful.

Saturday Crazy Type Three – World Conquerors

These folks are essentially harmless, but all-kinds of annoying and often require multiple reminders that they’re being a pain in the ass.

The World Conqueror usually wanders in with some sort of legitimate scholarly goal in mind, however, they also seem to think that if they throw their shit in all directions they have officially staked claim to the entire computing area.

You’ll usually see it start innocently enough. They put a coat on the chair beside them. Then a briefcase on the table, no worries, right?! WRONG! Within ten minutes they’ve got their coat, briefcase, umbrella, gloves, undies, can of Diet Coke, mismatched socks and glasses strewn all over the place an they’re blocking like three or four other computers and tweaking out any and every single time that someone comes near their things.

These people suck at life. They never had to share anything as a child and they assume that still applies. They will leave you feeling annoyed and more willing to share than ever before.

Saturday Crazy Type Four – Library Virgins

Again, this particular sect of crazies is virtually harmless, but will require an inordinate amount of attention. These are the folks that haven’t been in a library since the Carter administration and/or assume that the Dewey Decimal system is still the proverbial end-all, be-all of libraries.

(Note: these are the same folks who will ALWAYS ask what my major is.)

The Library Virgin will run a gamut of emotions ranging from fear and confusion to empathy and heartbreak when they realize that I am a dude and under the age of sixty. Apparently they are very set in the stereotypical “librarian” mindset.

This is also the group most likely to have no ability to comprehend why they aren’t allowed to borrow materials from our library. They’ll explain (read: rant) about how they pay taxes and pay my salary and blah…blah…blah. At which point I’ll have to explain the complete irrelevancy and inaccuracy of their entire argument. They often leave angry and confused and wondering why I wouldn’t just show them where they drawers with the card catalog were hiding.

Upon their departure you will generally feel an urge to log into Monster or CareerBuilder just to see who is hiring.

Saturday Crazy Type Five – The Alumni

These folks are the faction of Saturday Crazies that you’re most-likely to punch in the face. They are people who have graduated from MIT and assume that allows them the same rights and privileges as those who are currently enrolled.

They often want to look at their thesis or check out some books or something and you’ve got to go through the process of explaining that their thesis is in the archives and not available today or you’ve got to explain that as an alumnus they can still check out books, but they need to purchase a privilege card. Often times the Alumni will not handle these revelations well.

In fact, there is a pretty good chance that they will get huffy and tell you how ridiculous it is and you’ll have to nod along while they chastise you for the policies and practices of the library despite the fact that you’re a 25-year-old who spends his Saturdays listening to this bullshit and not one of the higher-ups who actually make policies and spend their Saturdays at home, bullshit-free.

When these people saunter out the door, you’ll feel enraged. Somewhere deep inside you’ll bust a blood vessel and think about how you never want to be an annoying pain in the ass at your alma mater.

Saturday Crazy Type Six – The Bat-Shit Crazy

These are my least favorite. These are the folks who could potentially waddle in, take a pooper on the copy machine and then be completely confused when you’re getting them trespassed from campus.

When the Bat-Shit Crazy wander in you immediately know…they are often here because they have been run out of every public library within walking distance and, as such, universities are the next logical destination.

Depending on the type of Bat-Shit Crazy patron you’re dealing with the interaction will vary greatly. They’ll either be the kind that bothers other (often legitimate) patrons, the kind that demands help for completely nonsensical tasks, they will ask to borrow money and/or use the phones, they’ll go online but won’t know where to go or what to do, they’ll start ranting and raving about the government (and it’s ALWAYS the government), they’ll abuse the equipment and finally…and these are my least favorite…the ones that think they know me and want to call me out and make a huge scene when I’m asking them to hit the road.

I have lots of people tell me that I look familiar and they think they know me from somewhere, but the Bat-Shit Crazy…they take it to a whole new level. It is like a bad episode of Jerry Springer and they think that I’ve somehow wronged them in the past and they just want to scream at me and blame all-kinds of stuff on me.

When these people leave (and/or are dragged kicking and screaming by the police) you’ve already decided that you’re going to go home and drink yourself into a coma that won’t end until Sunday afternoon…unfortunately, by the time you get home you feel so deflated that you just sit on your couch watching “City Slickers” on TBS thinking that Billy Crystal was never funny…but at least he doesn’t have to deal with the Bat-Shit Crazy. That lucky sumbitch!



  1. […] gone into detail about the many types of library crazies in the past and told many-a-tale of my getting yelled at, but I’ve yet to ever […]


  2. […] I’ve even profiled a small sampling of the many types of library crazies. […]


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