Name (First and Last):
Date and time of incident (MM/DD/YYYY, HH:MM am/pm):
8/16/2013, 12:10 pm (approximately)
Patron’s name (First and Last):
Type of Incident: (Theft, Accident, Property Damage, Other, etc.)
Lost Book, Fine Issue, Staff insubordination
Area of Library Involved (Reference, Circulation, Loading Dock, etc.):
First Aid given?
Emergency services called?
Staff member did call police, but the situation was under control when the police called back.
Responder’s names, titles/ranks:
Describe in your own words the situation:
Reshonda Baker and I were in the makeshift workroom in the back of the main library trailer. Jessie Cartwright came to the back a little after noon and said the circulation staff might need my help. I went out and talked to Melinda McCarthy, an upset patron that had lost a library book and was trying to replace it with another copy that she bought. Library policy states that…
You know what? This is ridiculous. There was no incident. This was a routine library transaction, a misunderstanding of the rules that should have been handled quietly but got blown out of proportion. I want this all on the record.
Ms. McCarthy had a simple problem. Staff chose not to call a supervising librarian and handle the problem themselves. The problem then became one of reaction instead of proaction.
When I was called to the desk by a staff member not involved in the situation, I was told the problem was the patron by a staff member in front of the patron. This caused the patron embarrassment. This was inappropriate behavior.
I did override the library rule about accepting donations in lieu of payment for lost items. The fact that this is an unwritten rule that is rarely enforced and the patron in question has never given the library a problem with lost items should be a factor when considering my decision. I am aware that the patron also had fines, as well as I am aware that I also have fines as do a number of our staff.
The situation did not also lead for calling the police department, especially when the person involved did little wrong other than ask for a supervisor. When I arrived at the circulation desk I saw no sign of a struggle.
Several staff also need to review our policy on looking at personal information on library computers. When a staff member attempts to use a library computer to look up a patron record, he or she should not have to close down twenty windows on how to take care of a sick parakeet. In a best case scenario, staff should remember that we are in a library and should look the information up in a book.
Staff should also remember to look up our policy on answering phones. When not helping another patron, our first step should be to help our remote patrons. That means picking up the phone as soon as possible. This is also relevant to remember after a staff member has called the police and the police are calling back after the staff member hung up on them.
Staff should also look up information on sexual harassment. Making comments on appearance, aptitude, or performance with regards to gender or any other physical, mental or emotional issue is wrong and will never be tolerated behavior by anyone in the library, staff or patron alike. A supervisor asking a staff member to not look up information about her dying parakeets on staff computers while on a public service desk to the point of ignoring patrons is not sexual harassment. A supervisor asking a staff member to answer the phone after the staff member has walked away from the problem (and not sought a supervisor) to call the police over a minor issue with a patron is not sexual harassment. A supervisor asking a staff member to shelve a cart of books that has been sitting full for over two hours while the above misappropriation of time and resources has been going on is not sexual harassment, and this supervisor is both appalled and disgusted that such an accusation is so casually thrown about.
With everything that has happened in the past year, one would think that our perspective would be understood. That the staff would be able to understand how little we have and how little the community trusts us. We need them on our side. Or the library needs them on their side, rather.
Effectively immediately, I, Evan Banned, resign from the Banned Library. I hope the staffing and funding issues level out, but this was the last straw. This is all I can take. I have lost hope that I can do any good here at all.
And I don't know what everyone was talking about. Ms. McCarthy's skirt didn't look that bad.