Sunday, September 23, 2007

there are toast marks on my back

i was grilled for over an hour by a scientologist at the reference desk today.

a lot of the answers had to do with explain what our policies were regarding collections, cooperative borrowing, donations, and various fine points about the catalog and how it organizes results. and then, after literally AN HOUR of this, he wants to know how the dewey decimal system is broken down.

"you don't have a handout you can just give me?"
"they don't teach dewey in schools anymore. they just teach politics."
(not rising to the bait on that one.)
"why don't you have a handout?"
"because most patrons come to this desk looking for a particular author, or title, or subject. and i help them get it."
"what if they want to browse?"
"usually they still want a subject area to browse in."
"so i'm a freak of nature?"
"you're one of the more curious patrons we've had in."

other parts of the exchange included explaining that we don't take donations if the donor specifies the book has to become part of the collection, and that just because our branch is big, we may not have all the material on scientology he thinks we should have, but we will get it from other branches. why don't we have it? because there are six other copies of this book in county, and none of them are checked out, and we don't get many requests for it at our branch. therefore, there is an adequate supply.

i kept my cool, but i'm totally drained. i hope to g-d he doesn't come back in tomorrow.

i know that i should not have spent that much time on one patron. i did interrupt him when other patrons came to the desk and i told him i would do so. i do have a fear that patrons with agendas like that are looking for an opportunity to have a problem with how they are treated and to scream discrimination.

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