Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hey-y What's That Smell?: Part 3, Library School, What They Don't Teach You in

It was quiet in the Young Adult section.

As usual, the adults were on the Internet computers, on Facebook or watching streaming video. Which slows down the network. Then they wonder why it takes forever and a day to reset their library cards for another hour of Internet access. The System was designed to force them to take an hour break to give other users a chance. SOMEONE in Charge decided it would be a Good Idea to OVERRIDE the System.

The result? I've seen users almost come to blows over who has the right to a computer. And don't get me started on the ones who won't use the computer in Fed Docs (too noisy), the basement (ewww, creepy) or the Info Desk ("I got sick from using THOSE"). The other day at shift change, I pointed out to W, "Look! They are all KIDS using our computers!!! YAY!!!" He asked, "How'd THAT happen?" I said I chased all the adults away. Well I didn't, but I WANTED to!

Back to the topic, which is SMELLS.

And I have a very developed sense of smell, in addition to my usually excellent hearing. Usually because I do have trouble figuring out mumbling. I came home today to some sort of irritating mechanical whine and asked the DH - "Is that sound based in OUR apartment?" He said, no, then it stopped, only to restart later. GRRR!

Smells in the library range from;

  • Too much bad perfume/cologne
  • Someone's lunch or dinner they're carrying around
  • Someone's lunch or dinner they already ate
  • The great unwashed
  • Sweat
  • Mildew from clothes kept outdoors or just in a moist environment
  • Bad body odor

The worst thing I've ever smelled was a combination of the last two. And I've even smelled that combo on an acquaintance or two. Or three. I can only conclude that those people have gotten used to that smell, so that they're blissfully unaware that the rest of us want to flee the room, or, if forced to stay, desperately yearn for a gas mask.

The day before yesterday, the homeless guy who wants to read the magazines without leaving an ID or library card rushed in, bringing his mix of sweat and BO, and proceeded to turn on the fan. Which only served to disperse the aroma over the entire (small) area. He was sharing.

Rey, the security guard, told me that a patron has to complain before this guy can be escorted out.

I think everyone had a stuck nose that day.

Another thing they don't teach you in library school: it doesn't matter if behavior/condition bothers or affects the staff, the situation will not improve or change until the other library users ask for a change.

Another day, another smell...

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