Check out the Valentine’s Day Heart Hunt!
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
  • LibraryThing
  • Book discussions
  • Your LibraryThing
  • Join to start using.

Funny things heard at the library

Librarians who LibraryThing

Join LibraryThing to post.

This topic is currently marked as "dormant"—the last message is more than 90 days old. You can revive it by posting a reply.

Edited: Aug 17, 2011, 5:37pm Top

From a six year old and his father.

"Daddy, daddy (and about 20 more). What's this book?"

"It's Black Tower by Steven King."

"Daddy, I want to read Black Tower by Steven King."

"You'll never sleep again if I let you read that."

"Cool. So can I?"

Aug 17, 2011, 6:35pm Top

I heard a bossy big sister (about five or six years old) shush her little sister. The little sister stage-whispered "Why do we have to be quiet in the library?" She was told "Because people are sleeping".

Aug 25, 2011, 7:08pm Top

We used to sell license plate holders, and we had the price inside (where your plate would sit) and we had it hanging over the door to our back room. On many occasions people asked if that is what we charged for a tour of the back room. Many even seemed to think that not only was this reasonable, but tempting!

Aug 26, 2011, 12:05am Top

One of my colleagues returned from his lunch break with a wide grin on his face. He explained that the custodians were mopping the Men's Room and had placed in its doorway a large sign. It read, "Closed. Please use elevator."

Aug 27, 2011, 1:23pm Top

>4 Fjumonvi: Yikes, I hoped they didn't live to regret that decision!

Aug 27, 2011, 1:28pm Top

The "Black Tower" kid is back.

And still wants to read that book. :)

Aug 29, 2011, 4:09pm Top

>4 Fjumonvi:/Fjumonvi
That kind of thing isn't limited to libraries or bathrooms. It can be found in office building elevators, too:

Aug 29, 2011, 4:21pm Top

At the school library :
Librarian: You know you're borrowing the same books for the six time?
Kid: Yes, because I heard the reader with most books will get to meet some author, and I want to go there.
Librarian: you like meeting with authors?
Kid: no, i just want to be anywhere but the school

Aug 30, 2011, 5:27pm Top

>7 AnnaClaire: Awesome!! :)

Aug 31, 2011, 12:59pm Top

>9 sweetiegherkin:
Thank you! (Mostly it was a matter of good luck, good timing, and carrying my camera in my handbag as a matter of course.)

Sep 1, 2011, 10:14pm Top

You're welcome. :) I always seem to have my camera in my bag when it's NOT needed and can't find it when it is needed. Oh well....

Sep 18, 2011, 9:43am Top

Not heard, but in an application for student librarian at my school one of the hopefuls put that she really likes making things 'atheistically pleasing'!
...and it's a church school!

Sep 18, 2011, 1:22pm Top

The other day, while wondering how my son's first day of school was going, instead of saying "Have a nice day" to the patron I was helping, I blurted out "I love you". She just stopped and did a double take and I apparently turned bright scarlet. Very embarrassing, but we still laugh about it, and each time it brings tears to my eyes. Thank goodness it was someone with a sense of humor and wouldn't take it the wrong way!

Nov 10, 2011, 11:30am Top

I believe this falls into the category of Not So Funny When it Happened. (How) Do libraries deal with such things?

(A customer is returning a large pile of overdue books – about 90 for the entire family. She’s waiting while I process them in order to pay the fine.)

Me: “Well, they’re not very overdue. It’s just that there’s a lot of them.”

Customer: “Yeah, I know. I’m sorry they’re late.”

(I scan the last few books.)

Me: “Okay, over the three cards, there’s $50 in fines, but I’ll halve that to $25 as they’re not too late.”

Customer: “Oh, thanks so much. I just couldn’t get them in as we’ve all had scarlet fever.”

(I look at the pile of books, every one of which I have handled.)

Me: “Oh…”


Nov 10, 2011, 1:28pm Top

I had scarlet fever when I was a kid. No fun at all. Hope you don't get it.

Nov 14, 2011, 10:29am Top

We had a patron who came in yesterday afternoon asking if we had a television he could hook up his x-box to. When that request didn't pan out, he proceeded to inquire after my name and age and lamented over the fact that he was so lonely and wanted someone to be with. It was all I could do to keep a straight face when I informed him I couldn't help him with that either (or rather wouldn't, if we're being honest).

Oh, the public library -- never a dull moment.

Oct 16, 2012, 11:28pm Top

In real life, my first name is Chris. I'm a librarian at a school that teaches English as a Second Language. Several years ago, we used to have a newsletter, for which students would write articles. On one occasion, a student interviewed me for an article. The topic was "Living Together Before Marriage". Basically, throughout the interview I stated my opinion that I thought it was acceptable to live together before marriage, that I thought it was sometimes even a good idea so that people could get to know whether they wanted to spend their lives together, and that living together before marriage often helped with household finances as the two people could share expenses and furniture and kitchen items. When the newsletter was published, I discovered a learning pattern. Apparently, in the student's first language, adding a voiceless consonant to the end of a person's name is common. As a result, the article referred to me as Christ. Imagine my surprise when I read "Christ approves of living together before marriage." It's a good thing we aren't a religious school.

Oct 18, 2012, 8:22pm Top

Student at my library: "What is non-fiction and where is it?"

Me: "Weeellll...let's logic that one out, shall we?"

Oct 19, 2012, 5:53pm Top

Conversation between 2 8-year olds:
8 year old A: "Dude, what the heck are you drinking?"
8 year old B: "Hot tea dude."
A: "HOT TEA??? Are you an elderly grandmother?? Only old people drink HOT TEA."
B: "No, I'm a young adult, and I like to drink tea, it feels cozy in my stomach."

Oct 22, 2012, 4:33pm Top

8-year olds are considered young adults now? Does that mean that 23 is middle-aged and 40 is ole?

Oct 22, 2012, 5:35pm Top

19, that is freaking hilarious.

A few years ago, this conversation was heard at our school:

Student A: I have ADD.
Student B: I have ADHD.
Student C: I have ADHD too.
Student A to Student D: Robbie, do you have ADD?
Robbie (very thoughtfully): No, but we have HBO.

Oct 22, 2012, 6:39pm Top

20 - I assure you the ones I deal with definitely consider themselves "young adults" and are always very peeved that they can't be volunteers here until they are 14.

Nov 5, 2012, 6:13pm Top

I just had a student ask me for "The Gospel of Little Things." She needed The God of Small Things for her AP English Lit class ...

Nov 5, 2012, 10:30pm Top

One time, I walked through the kids' section and passed a dad with his kid trying to put together one of the baby puzzles. I don't know why I thought this was so funny, but this dad must have been really bored.

Kid: "Daaaad, let me do it!"
Dad: "I'm HELPING you!"

Nov 6, 2012, 11:00am Top

24 - I get that at my Lego group too! Ha! It's about the only Tween activitiy I ever get dads coming to, and they always say they're "helping" and end up building something on their own. =D

Nov 6, 2012, 6:00pm Top

I've been guilty of that! They're so pretty and bright I just can't keep my hands off of them.

Nov 6, 2012, 11:05pm Top

We had that with our Sunday Art Activity program (usually a themed painting or coloring project - but also wire sculptures or papercraft or even safetypin+bead things recently) so now we just say that All Are Welcome and the adults are invited to do their own project if they feel like it. It's been hugely successful - especially when we're using watercolors, and the parents will walk by my desk so proud of their work. :) I figure it just shows how important arts & crafts are for people of ALL ages, but especially for adults who don't have an artistic outlet during the week.

Of course, I'm at a contemporary art museum and not a library, but this particular program is similar to what they have at the library for children, and we've partnered with the library a few times for various art literacy programs.

Nov 7, 2012, 11:27am Top

27- I wish we could do that, it sounds like a WONDERFUL program. Sadly, our higher ups don't particularly like us to do any arts and crafts. They feel it "wastes resources." We try to get around it sometimes by doing projects with recycled materials.

Edited: Nov 7, 2012, 3:56pm Top

Sadly, our higher ups don't particularly like us to do any arts and crafts. They feel it "wastes resources."

Heck, by that way of thinking, wouldn't books be a waste of resources? Paper and ink . . . even the electronic ones require equipment that has environmental impact, with the only "product" being learning and enjoyment . . .

Also, I think your higher ups need a lesson in public relations. Crafts programs are not only a great learning experience, but it also creates bonds with the community that result in more devoted library patrons -- and ensuing contributions which surely help provide "resources."

Nov 7, 2012, 12:54pm Top

Well, shoot, if libraries are in the business of promoting literacy, shouldn't they include art programs for kids? Everything I've ever understood about childhood education and literacy is that the skills gained with art are important elements of learning to read, write, and think critically. Our program emphasizes things like pattern, manual dexterity, analyzing art to understand how shapes or color work for different effects and then using that understanding to make their own versions...

I might be a bit biased, though, as I do work in an art museum where it's in our best interests to talk about how important art is in education. ;)

Edited: Nov 7, 2012, 3:52pm Top

I might be a bit biased, though, as I do work in an art museum

I don't think you're biased at all. It's basic Child Development 101 -- kids learn through activities like crafts and games, not just by reading & being read to. Mind you, reading & being read to are important, but require reinforcement through other senses.

I'm amazed that "higher ups" in a library system wouldn't have that basic understanding of how kids learn. They don't sound competent to be in the positions they hold.

Nov 14, 2012, 5:07pm Top

I work in a Vocational College library (mainly 16 -19 year olds) and today had a request fro a book on "Real Vampires" after asking this student if she meant movies on vampires, fiction, or crime nicknamed Vampire, i got a very stern reply that she would a non-fiction book on real vampires past and present.
So i took her to the law section and showed her the books on tax collection as they were the only "real vampires" I could think of.

Edited: Nov 14, 2012, 5:34pm Top

32 No, there really are people -- not supernatural critters with special powers, but actual flesh-and-blood (no pun intended) people -- who live what they call a "vampire" lifestyle and drink blood and engage in other supposedly vampirish behaviors. It's a kind of cult thing. One journalist, Susan Walsh, disappeared and was never heard from again while investigating this sub-culture. The most famous completed book I know of on the subject is Piercing the Darkness: Undercover with Vampires in America Today by Katherine Ramsland.

Edited: Nov 14, 2012, 6:17pm Top

>22 EliaJuarez: Tell 'em they need to be a staffer's kid first . . . that was how I wound up doing re-shelving when I was eight.

Nov 15, 2012, 6:49am Top

#22 the ones I deal with definitely consider themselves "young adults"

I consider myself a good singer but that doesn't necessarily make it so :(

Nov 15, 2012, 12:35pm Top

>32 Silverlily26: Do you have any books about Vlad the Impaler?

Feb 27, 2013, 3:56pm Top

Random blurt from a 2nd grade student today:

Him: "I watched The Brady Bunch last night."

Me: "Okaaaayyy. Please go sit down and do your work."

10 minutes later, when it's time to check out books:

Him: "Jesse James killed a lot of people. He robbed banks."

Me: "Yes, he did."

Him: "That what it said on The Brady Bunch last night."

Me: ~light bulb goes on over my head~

Him: "Do you have any books about Jesse James?"

Me: "Right this way."

I love the thought patterns of a 7-year old, but I don't always catch on...but now I'm going nuts trying to remember which Brady boy had the fascination with Jesse James...

Mar 6, 2013, 10:53am Top

A girl (about 19 years old, I think) once asked me to help her to translate a note written in Italian. It was given to her by a fellow student in her Italian course. I don't know Italian either, but with what I remembered from my Latin and armed with a dictionary I worked out that it said she was a very pretty girl and that he'd like to walk hand in hand with her. She didn't seem too embarrassed, I hope those two became a happy couple.

Mar 8, 2013, 9:21pm Top

If you know one romance language (French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Romanian) then you can handle the others.

Edited: Mar 9, 2013, 3:40pm Top


I remember that episode. It was heavy.

"Bobby's Hero"

February 2, 1973

When the family learns that Bobby's hero is Jesse James, Mike and Carol set out to teach him the truth about the outlaw. When books and censored movies on TV suggest to Bobby that James was not a villain, Mike tracks down a relative of one of James' victims to share his story with Bobby. That, plus a nightmare in which Jesse James (Gordon Devol) kills the Bradys during a train robbery, finally gets through to Bobby.

Mar 13, 2013, 7:27am Top

Last week a group of school children visited my library. One kid wanted to know what a certain object on the wall was. When I said it was the burglar alarm, another boy replied: "Who would steal books?"

Mar 13, 2013, 7:43am Top

#41 Ooh me! (Well, no, I wouldn't, but if I were to steal anything at all I can't think of anything more tempting.)

Mar 13, 2013, 7:45am Top

Ah yes, but with a screen name such as yours I don't think you'll be making a fast getaway!

Mar 13, 2013, 8:36am Top

zzzzzzz . . . . . uh?

Mar 13, 2013, 3:01pm Top

>41 Bert.Dekimpe: Was this a 3rd grader?
>43 bernsad: and 44. . . You're both full of soup!!!!

Mar 14, 2013, 7:32am Top

>45 ulmannc: Don't know what a 3rd grader is where you live, but he was about 11 years old.

Mar 14, 2013, 9:10am Top

Close enough. . . probably hasn't opened a book since his parents bought him a smart phone and he sits at dinner, uses it, ignores everybody, and his parents love it.. . . .I'm ranting again. . . oh well. . .

Mar 28, 2013, 10:34pm Top

A fictional librarian on TV really made me laugh the other day. The Brady Bunch thing reminded me of it.

Bob's Burger's librarian

The kids go to their school library to get information on Thomas Edison for a science fair project, and the librarian steers them towards a YouTube video of Edison electrocuting an elephant.

I wish I was as awesome a librarian as this guy. Maybe sometimes I am.

Mar 29, 2013, 8:32pm Top

I was talking to a co-working about my birthday that was coming up. I answered the phone with "Happy Birthday!"

Apr 21, 2013, 10:36pm Top

The librarian at my school shared this one with me:

Student: Can I borrow a movie?
Librarian: Sure!
Student: Can you help me find it?
Librarian: Of course, what are you looking for?
Student: Fiddler on a Hot Tin Roof

Can I be the first to say that this mash-up needs to happen?
Like now?

Apr 22, 2013, 10:15am Top

I will be the second.

Edited: Apr 22, 2013, 10:24am Top

I just had a guy who always gets movie titles and actor's names confused...

Just now:

You have that movie Patriot with Mel Griffin?

The other day:

How about movies with Claude Damn Vang Dang...

Apr 22, 2013, 10:26am Top


You have to give him credit for at least trying. On more than one occasion I've been with my mother at the library/bookstore and heard her ask:

"Do you have that book by the guy?"

Meanwhile, I feign no relation...

Edited: Apr 22, 2013, 4:27pm Top

I know, it's like a game show, name that movie, only with phonetic clues instead of trivia-style ones...

People I work with think I go to the movies a lot but I mostly read reviews. It's quicker, cheaper and much less disappointing.

On occassion I have been able to get those "Do you have a book by that guy" type queries, they happen often enough.

I'd like to be able to answer: "Yes of course we have that book by that person here definitely somewhere on that topic they wrote about and spoke about on that tv show but not entirely sure what show it was, if it was in the morning or at night, who the host was, it could have been on something I heard on the radio actually, you know where they talk about books and stuff that show, but it definitely has a cover that looks like something I can't describe to you in words, it's pinkish red but not what you are showing me now on the computer, no definitely not that, I would it know if I saw it, where is the other lady you know the other one who sits here sometimes she would know what I'm talking about the lady with the hair and glasses who sits here...you know, with the hair and the glasses...the lady"

Apr 22, 2013, 3:53pm Top

The best books are "red". If they aren't "read", no one will remember them later on.


Apr 22, 2013, 3:55pm Top

This kind of humor, and much more of it, is in this book I bought recently Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores. Having worked in an antiquarian bookstore for a dozen years (1988-2000), I found a number of funny and eerily familiar things in their examples.


Edited: Apr 22, 2013, 4:20pm Top


...you've been spying on my mother at the bookstore, haven't you?

Apr 23, 2013, 10:25am Top

> 55

I hope it may be said when I am dead,
"His sins were scarlet, but his books were read."
Hilaire Belloc

Apr 23, 2013, 2:45pm Top


Ha, it's possible!!!

May 2, 2013, 3:47pm Top

Today in the book fair:
Fourth grade boy, about a book about Justin Bieber:

He's a white boy, and he has an EARRING!

(the student btw, is white...I'm not sure why he thinks white boys don't have earrings, as I've seen plenty...)

Edited: May 4, 2013, 5:11pm Top

> 55 sometimes we do a display of books with red covers. They go off the display shelf fast! It's super easy to restock. We call the display Re(a)d it?

Edited: Aug 17, 2013, 11:54pm Top

Now THAT one #54 made me laugh! Thank you. Chuckle.

Aug 18, 2013, 4:42pm Top

Little girl: Where is The Lady in Red?
Me: *types into catalog* OK, we have many things by that title. Do you know the author, or what it was about?
Little girl: *baffled* She was sitting here earlier.

She was looking for my coworker who was off desk.

Aug 19, 2013, 2:50pm Top

A colleague just last week had an older gentleman walk up to the desk while looking around (as though he were reading the signs in each section), and finally said "So where do you keep your eBooks?"

He had seen the poster near the front door advertising them, and was ready to carry some out with him, I guess.

Aug 27, 2013, 11:08pm Top

Said today by the kindergarten teacher: "Warren, you can go sit out in the hall. We don't lick the chairs in school."

Aug 27, 2013, 11:12pm Top

Who said we don't?

Aug 28, 2013, 10:52am Top

Young boy: Do you have Fifty shades of, euh ...
Me thinking: Oh no, I'm going to have to refuse that.
Boy: ... of purple blue?

It appeared to be the latest title in a popular comic book series.

Aug 29, 2013, 1:13pm Top

> 65 If I were that kid, I might have shot back with, 'so it's okay if I lick chairs at home?'

Group: Librarians who LibraryThing

9,910 members

17,114 messages


This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 132,497,023 books! | Top bar: Always visible