What kind of patrons come to your library?
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We have an odd bunch- from religious groups, to homeless people, disabled and mentally ill. A lot of nuts especially, like a man who thinks people are staring at him all the time, to a man who frequently passes gas in the computer lab.
Even though we're a research library we're open to anyone; still there's a big psychological treshold for, erm, odd people. The ones that do crawl over the treshold keep coming back, because they've found a niche. After a while you get used to them, they become part of the scenery. The last few days a new one seems to have spotted us; he's using our library as a kind of working area, never requesting books, occasionally looking at the newspapers or taking out a dictionary, and tapping away happily on his laptop. The odd thing is that he will occasionally come to the desk to ask if a certain phrase sounds right, or if he should do his presentation with or without slides. If you're not careful, he'll keep you busy for hours.
The whole range; students, people who are lonely, moms trying to get out of the house with the kids, lovers of books, teens gathering, people needing a fast internet connection, the homeless, and a LOT of retired men who seem to need to get up and go somewhere. (Seriously, someone needs to do something for these guys...I see them everywhere with their laptops and books at cafes, bookstores, libraries. It's like they are so used to getting up and going somewhere that they must do so even once retired.)
>4. I'd add, people who are out of work, a depressing number of them. Re the guys sitting around, I've wondered lately if a non-fic book club would pull in men. Anyone tried it? Years ago someone started a history book club in my town and I was the only woman who showed up.
If they're out of works, having them obtain the books themselves might be kind of hard if you do it as a group read club. Maybe author of the month maybe?
I am a Library Associate and we see ALL kinds of people in our little podunk town. We had one a while back that would ask for tissues and then stuff them down his shirt while talking to himself. We also had one (who has a warrant out for her arrest now...scary!) that would walk by someone and start yelling at them to stop touching her! But I saved the best for last! We have one that comes in with pants too tight and shows her rear end. When I confronted her about her "flashing" issue, she said "I can't help it! I have a freakishly long butt crack!" How do you walk away from that without a smile on your face? :)
I am a "patron" of my local library but the staff insist on calling me a customer, even when charging fines on overdue items!! They use the word "customer" in their notices.
So it's not the patrons who are weird; it's the librarians who seem to have forgotten the correct use of English. Ho hum...
@7 Ditto. I was on the staff side of the bench, but now I am on the patron side. Hopefully, I have not become the patron one flees from in terror.
11) Actually when I went through management training for a large region supermarket here in the US, we were trained to use the word "visitor" instead of customers. That's stuck with me over the years as I just think it sounds lot better than customer.
They are after all visiting your location.
If your library is part of a city- or county-wide consortium, you can sometimes pull enough copies of the books from the other branches to satisfy your book club's needs. This means being mindful that you're picking books popular enough that you could scare up the required amount.
Unfortunately, the crazy old bat who runs one of our book clubs keeps picking either really obscure titles which only two branches purchased, or else popular titles for which there are already waiting lists as long as your arm. We keep telling her, and she never learns... :-p
Back to the original point, though, so long as you can get the books so you aren't causing these patrons to unnecessarily tap their wallets, I think Dragonfly's idea is an awesome one.
I totally agree... They come in all colors, shapes and sizes. And there are the homeless, or job hunting, and the bored patrons. We have even named some of them. And then there are the retired who visit every day and we know them, as well as their family members by name. And the computer user, who is offended by anyone who makes a noise, but he himself forgets to shower - for a week or more. We even have a staff member who has named some of them for her book she is writing. It's a great job most of the time! Actually, any job is great right now! Employment is awesome.
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