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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Really...I'm Not the Best Person to Ask!

Tee hee. I have to share two hearing loss related anecdotes from the reference desk.

On my shift today a woman came up to me and complained about another patron talking loudly on a cell phone. Hmm. Okay. I got up from my chair and walked back to the public computer area looking around for the offender. I could see that another person was annoyed about it as well.

"Which person is it?" I asked after not spotting an obvious culprit. The complainer looked at me incredulously. "She's right there by the copier! Can't you hear her?" "No," I admitted, "I'm hard of hearing." Understanding dawned on her face - as if she was thinking no wonder the librarian isn't upset by this rude person.

I was in an awkward spot. It's difficult for me to access whether or not a person is being disruptively noisy. Although in this case having two people complain should qualify. Of course, the patron pointed out to me was one of our more sensitive regulars. I would have to be careful of myself here. I went over and touched her arm gently and said in a quiet voice, "We don't allow cell phone conversations in here." Then I walked away.

Fortunately on my way back to the desk I got grabbed by another person in need of assistance with a scanner so I had a legitimate reason for not sticking around to see if she ended her conversation or not. Noise enforcement is not my forte! While I was helping this person, the cell phone lady came by, touched my hand, and said sweetly, "I'm sorry. I forgot the rule." Phew, glad that played out the way it did.

My other funny story happened on a different day. My colleague was talking on the phone to someone with quite an unusual reference research question. In disbelief, she handed the phone to me saying, "See if I heard that right." Ha, no one ever says that to me! I listened and yes the request was definitely unique. I had no problem passing it on to one of our subject specialists to handle.


jelly said...

lol, I have to laugh at that!
That's to much. But the best part is it all went down easily and not painful for you. Because you never know how people are going to react. It seemed to be handeled well all the way around.

You sound like a cool librarian. I remember our librarians when I was a kid, they were mean, old, grumpy ladies always saying "sssshhhh" and the days of the card catalogs are long gone...its all on the computer now.

Glenice said...

Great stories. You are making miss my library. I might have to go hang out there for awhile. Maybe something fun will happen.

Tara said...

This is hilarious! I know how you feel, I found out in May 2008 that I have severe hearing loss at the age of 38 and am now struggling/learning to adjust. I stumbled on your blog on deaf village.

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Welcome to my blog, Tara. I'm glad to know my post showed up on deaf village. I'll read your blog soon.

John said...

I hear you.

I'm in IT, and I often have to deal with people complaining that their computers are making "a funny noise".

SpeakUp Librarian said...

You totally brightened my day with your comment!!!! It's good to know you understand.

Anonymous said...

Noise enforcement is a nightmare anyway, so I can absolutely see why it would be even more of a headache for you. I tend to go with the 'if it's disturbing the other library users, then it's a problem' rule since noise is pretty subjective.

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Hi Singing Librarian,
Yes, that's what I have to fall back on. If they are loud enough for me to notice, they're probably dancing on the tables too, ha, ha. It's weird because noise in the library used to bother me quite a bit when I was starting my career.
Thanks for visiting my blog,