Unwelcome library visitors

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Every library has them.  The customers you’d rather not see but come in day after day.  They come in smelling like wet dog, they make a mess everywhere and then when you very politely ask them to leave they get all pissy on you. 

And that’s just the wildlife.

At my friend’s library they were surprised one Sunday morning by the appearance (goodness knows how) of a lovely ringtail possum mother and her joey riding precariously on her back in the children’s section.  Though very sweet and certainly an age demographic that’s common in the library, council draws a line at providing services to clients outside the human species so the mother and child had to go.

As the crowd of sanctioned users started piling up at the front door library staff tried herding the marsupial couple out the back door.  Mother possum, not being a sheep, would have none of that.  How she got in may have been a mystery, but she made it clear to everyone present that she intended to go out via the FRONT DOORS!

It was up to one brave staff member to show her the error of her ways.  In a way we’d like to deal with may of our customers in this fashion, fortunately code of conduct forbids such behaviour.   The librarian tucked her hands into her jumper, picked up the mother and quickly but gently took her outside.  The mother ringtail showed her distaste for such rude customer service by peeing on the librarian on the way out. 

As with all such cases: the stubborn refusal to follow directions, the blow up leading to bad feelings and wet socks all stems from a need for attention.  For even when safe outside mother ringtail wouldn’t let go of the librarian. 

As I said, all libraries have customers that we sometimes think have more in common with mother ringtail than with generic human beings.  But sometimes we’re the only place they have, and the only place where they get the attention they crave so deeply.  And if that is our role, so be it.  It’s one of the things that makes libraries special, we’re here for everyone …ur…unless you’re marsupial.

Update:  The baby was back today without his mother.  Unfortunately children under 12 cannot be left unattended in the library (or the library workroom) and he was once more sent outside.  Not before letting the staff member know how he felt about it and peeing all over her hands.  Nobody said that working with the public was glamorous.

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