October 02, 2012

My Big Fat Duh Moment

I had a hand-to-the-forehead moment today at my local library. I've been reading a new (to me) mystery series and I've been really enjoying it. During one library visit several months ago, I took stock of the inventory and realized that my library actually had most of the series, which doesn't happen often. In the entire county library system, I'm usually able to find, say, book 3, book 6 and book 8, of a series, but I can never get most of any series and budget cuts have made it impossible to do inter-library loans. So when I saw this almost complete series just sitting there on the shelf, I was pretty excited.

Because of looming deadlines I've been moving slowly. I picked up book #1 a few months ago and only just finished book #3. When I took my 3 year-old granddaughter to story time this morning, I decided to pick up book #4 and take it home with me -- which should have been no problem. After all, I already knew the book was there.

So we gathered, and kids ran wild while they waited for story time, and people got bumped and kids battled for books, and eventually the brave librarians had a large group of three, four, and five year-olds line up and wave good-bye. On my own for the next 30 minutes, I strolled over to the paperback shelves to look for the book I wanted.

No book.

I looked again.

No book. And not just no book #4, but no book #5, #6, #7 either. In fact, I soon realized books #1 and #2 were also missing. I stood there for a minute feeling (and no doubt looking) confused. Was I in the wrong place? I checked the shelves to the left and then the shelves to the right. Nothing looked familiar.

I checked again, just to make sure. Nada.

Beginning to feel a little worried, I walked over to the reference desk to ask for help.
"Excuse me," I said. "I just checked in a book and I can't remember the author's name. Would you mind looking through the return box so I can figure out what I'm looking for?" 
The librarian looked at me strangely, but I've been a loyal member of the story time community for the past 3 years so she complied, lifting up one paperback after another until I let out a squeal of recognition. "That's it! Victoria Laurie. Terrific. Thank you!" The librarian started to hand me the book, but I waved away the offer and assured her I had everything I needed. And then I hurried back to the bookshelves.

Hmmm.

Still no books from the series. In fact, there was a gaping hole where the series should have been. So I went back to the reference desk and asked another brilliant question:
"There's an entire series of books missing. Have you recently cleaned out your shelves?" 
Blank stare.

"Have you gotten rid of any books recently?  The series I was reading is ... gone!"

More blank staring. In fact, her stare was so blank I wasn't sure she could understand the words that were coming out of my mouth. When I realized two librarians were looking at me as if I'd lost my mind, I decided to stop asking and try another tack.

If the librarians couldn't help me, I'd figure it out myself. I toddled over to the computer and checked the library catalog where I found, to my relief, that the series was still listed and that my library still technically had a copy of all the books, but they were all listed as unavailable.

In my defense, I want to say that it's been a pretty rough few months and the past few days have been particularly hairy. As a result, my brain has been otherwise occupied. Which is why it took me another full minute to understand that the books hadn't been sold off or thrown out. Somebody else had checked them out!

Duh! It's a library!

1 comment:

Jacklyn Brady said...

Someone told me they couldn't find a link for comments, so I'm checking to see if I can leave one. So far so good....