Thursday, May 28, 2015

Case Study No. 1987: Gina Sheridan

I work at a public library
Entry for the "I Work at a Public Library" contest.
Tags: YouTube Capture
Added: 10 months ago
From: joshberkbooks
Views: 1,493

[scene opens with a male patron leaning "seductively" on the reference desk while chewing a piece of gum and holding a piece of paper]
PATRON: Can you help me find this book?
[cut to the young female librarian (long blonde hair, red lipstick, red sleeveless dress) at the desk, as she smiles and points off camera]
LIBRARIAN: Our readers' advisor would be happy to help you. They're located right over there ...
[cut back to the patron, who points at the librarian]
PATRON: Uh, I asked her already. She said only you--
[he winks and clicks his tongue]
PATRON: Can help me find this book.
[cut back to the librarian, with a confused look on his face]
LIBRARIAN: Are you sure? That's a little unusual ...
[cut back to the patron, who again points and gives a creepy smile]
PATRON: You are the only person who can help me find this book ...
[cut back to the librarian]
LIBRARIAN: Alright, what's the title?
[cut to the patron sliding the piece of paper across the desk towards the librarian]
[cut to a closeup of the librarian looking at the piece of paper, which reads "How to Get a Date With a Cute Librarian" surrounded by little red hearts]
[cut to a closeup of the librarian's face, with a look of both realization and disdain]

Cute Librarian ... Micky
Creepy Patron ... Josh
Cinematographer ... Erin



I Work At A Public Library: A Collection of Crazy Stories from the Stacks
by Gina Sheridan

Straight from the library--the strange and bizarre, ready to be checked out!

From a patron's missing wetsuit to the scent of crab cakes wafting through the stacks, I Work at a Public Library showcases the oddities that have come across Gina Sheridan's circulation desk. Throughout these pages, she catalogs her encounters with local eccentrics as well as the questions that plague her, such as, "What is the standard length of eyebrow hairs?" Whether she's helping someone scan his face onto an online dating site or explaining why the library doesn't have any dragon autobiographies, Sheridan's bizarre tales prove that she's truly seen it all.

Stacked high with hundreds of strange-but-true stories, I Work at a Public Library celebrates librarians and the unforgettable patrons that roam the stacks every day.



Gina Sheridan is a librarian in St. Louis. Over the course of her career, she's collected stories of the weird things, people, and situations that arise at the library from her personal experiences. The result is the book I Work at a Public Library: A Collection of Crazy Stories from the Stacks. Neatorama is happy to bring you a sampling of the stories from this funny book.


Reference Work

You don't know if you don't ask. What better place to bring your inquiring minds than the place with the most massive wealth of knowledge in town? It's like the internet, only the information isn't 90 percent false. Anyone can walk into the library and ask anything they please. And we will provide an answer. But when I think about my master of library and information science degree in relation to my average day at work, I have to laugh. Information science. I think about those two words when people approach the desk with questions like, "Where is the bathroom?" or "Can you open this tin of oysters?" or "Where can I copy my face in private?" Information. Science. Peruse the following stories as a frame of reference, and keep in mind, common sense is often past due.

Questions, Fielding

While standing at the desk, you never know what crazy questions will come out of left field.

Patron 1: Can you tell me what babies were born in Cleveland in June 1965? I think I am one of them! I just found out stuff about my family.

Patron 2: Where is the nearest waterfall? I want to dunk my head in it.

Patron 3: Do you have a knife so I can cut this onion?

Patron 4: What is the best way to cure hiccups, 'cause this kid is driving me nuts!

Patron 5: What is the standard length of eyebrow hair?

Patron 6: Has my wife seen this movie?

At, Where I'm

Web chat exchange:

Patron: I'm having trouble finding information through the library's website. Can you help me?

Me: Sure. Are you at the library's homepage now?

Patron: No, I'm at my apartment.

Dislikes, Likes and

Man: Can you give me a list of fun things to do in Seattle?

Me: I'm sure we could find you a travel book and get some ideas from the Chamber of Commerce!

Man: That sounds good!

Me: Okay, what are some things you like to do?

Man: Let me ask you this: What are some things you like to do?

Me: No, seriously- pick one: hiking, fishing, museums...

Man: But I really want to know what interests you. Come on, don't be shy!

Me: Are you going to Seattle, sir?

Man: If I were, would you go with me?

Me: That is inappropriate.

Man: I really can't afford it anyhow. Can you help me find a job?

Biographies, Dragon

I was helping a mother and her teenage son.

Mom: We need a book on dragons.

Me: I think most of those will be in the children's room, but let me check.

Mom: We want a biography of a dragon. No, an autobiography!

Eunuchs, The Everything Guide To

Patron: I am looking for a book on eunuchs, and it has to have lots of pictures, because that's the way I learn best.

Me: So, you need a book with illustrations. Should this book explain the history or culture of eunuchs?

Patron: Um, no. I need it to take me step by step through the process. And I need lots of pictures so I can follow along.

Me: So you need a manual? On eunuchs? Is there any particular stage of the process you are concentrating on?

Patron: Well, I'm just starting out, just the basics of how it works. How to write the code, you know?

Me: Oh! You're looking for an illustrated manual for Unix!

Databases, Internet Versus

As a librarian, I help a lot of students with research. Often that means educating them on the difference between Internet resources and electronic databases. One day, I was showing a young man how to find good, quality articles using the library's online databases.

Student: Oh, my teacher says I can't use the Internet.

Me: I'm sure he or she just meant you can't use Internet sources, but databases are different. You need the Internet to access them, but they are made up of encyclopedia articles and scholarly journals-

Student: Yeah, I don't think that will work. Do you carry any books here?

Meteorologist, Librarian as

It's been raining like crazy and a man just walked up to the desk to ask about the forecast.

Me: It looks like a flash flood warning is in effect for the metropolitan area until 9PM tonight.

Man: Do you think it will stop raining anytime soon?

Me: Well, this report shows it will likely rain until midnight.

Man: No, do you think it will stop raining soon?

Me: Me? I don't have any expertise with meteorology. We can only go by the weather report.

Man: I'm asking for your opinion.

Me: --

Man: [staring at me] --

Me: Um. Yes, I think it will stop raining soon.

Man: Thank! [Walks away.]

Geography, United States

At my library in California, this surprising exchange occurred.

Woman: Do you have books on different countries?

Me: Yes! What country are you looking for?

Woman: Hawaii.


I Work at a Public Library: A Collection of Crazy Stories from the Stacks by Gina Sheridan is available at Amazon and at your local bookstore -and possibly the local public library! The book has its own blog, where librarians share even more funny stories from the stacks.



From: Librarian, Checking Out the

A patron approached the reference desk holding a title request slip.

Patron: "Can you help me find this book?"

Me [pointing to the next desk over]: "Our Readers' Advisor will be happy to help you!"

Patron: "Oh, um, I asked her already. She said only you can help me."

Me: "Are you sure? That's unusual..."

Patron: "You are the only person who can help me find this book."

Me: "All right. What's the title?"

Patron: "How to Get a Date With a Cute Librarian."

Me: "Oh. I see."

[Part of our Cast of Characters Contest. Submit today! Thanks to the great folks at Bethlehem Area Public Library!]

About the Challenge:
Submit your best interpretation of your favorite I Work at a Public Library post in any medium and I'll post them throughout the month. My favorite entry will be announced on July 31 and the winner will receive a $250 (USD) Visa gift card and a signed copy of the book. Open to all ages in all countries. Submit here or send to gina [at] ginasheridan [dot] com. Multiple entries welcome.

Also: you are all invited to the book launch party in St. Louis, MO on Tuesday, July 29. Details and RSVP here, space is limited!

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