I Can’t Hear You, There’s a Plank In My Eye

Sometimes working with the public can be exasperating. But if your job exists to serve the public, you just have to grin and bear it.

Knitting Lady uses the library quite a bit. I can dignify her with a name now, Tammy, since she is becoming a staple in my blogging life. She’s just an interesting person, and since she is also very outspoken, she creates a lot of stories. She brings her children with her when she comes to the library, which is quite often. I do admire her for this, because I wish more parents would come with their children instead of just dropping them off.

She complained today that a boy was looking at inappropriate websites. I don’t know any more than that– I don’t know how old the boy was or what he was viewing. She said that he invited her son to come look, but her son knew enough to decline. She proceeded to grill me as to why we don’t use internet filters.

I tried to explain why we don’t filter our computers, not even the children’s computers, and she was not happy with any answer that I gave. The only thing that made her a tiny bit happy was that typically, if a patron complains about another patron viewing porn, we will go and ask them to stop. We can do that only because the computers are in plain view of all the other patrons, including children. She told me that every other library she has ever been to has filters on their computers (?) and will boot patrons out of the library for viewing porn. I seriously doubted that, but I did not argue. Eventually I eased backwards and away, and she turned back to the computer, content in her moral superiority.

Just out of curiosity, I checked her computer time log, because she was using a computer that we set aside for 15-minute express sessions. It had a big sign on the wall above the monitor – “Please limit your time on this computer to 15 minutes.” She had been logged in there for 76 minutes. I could have said something, but I chose not to because it was close to closing time anyway. I then checked her patron account and found 17 overdue books and five dollars in past due fines. I just had to sigh. If people would just pay more attention to keeping their own lives in order, they might be taken more seriously when they try to order others’  lives.

I see that at home all the time. I try hard to keep my “house” in order, so I can try to teach my children to do the same. Kids are smart, they can tell when you mean what you say or when you are just blowing smoke out your ears. So far I think I am doing the best I can…time will tell.

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