These are a Few of My Creepiest Things (Christie G)
The library can be a creepy place, and there are things they don’t teach you in library school. Here Christie G shares five of her creepiest library stories. Insert scary background music and “wooo” noises here.
SWAT is here to lock-down the building
So I’ve mentioned this one before, but it’s got to be on a top five of the creepiest things I’ve dealt with in library world. We got a notification from the SWAT commander that they would be raiding the housing complex next door. Since our parking lot was adjacent to the fence that surrounding the complex, SWAT was going to be IN the parking lot. We weren’t to let anyone in or out of the building, and they would have an officer there in case something happened. We had games and crafts for anyone under 18 in the multi-purpose room of the building, which was the one place that didn’t have windows aside from the staff room, and the adult patrons were allowed to stay in the main part of the library as the windows did not face the complex and weren’t deemed a hazard. Five hours later, we were able to let everyone leave.
Post 9/11 Training
Things have changed, for better or for worse you decide, after 9/11/01, but one thing that I have noticed is that I have gotten a variety of safety training that usually has nothing to do with libraries. Whether this is because I’m on the management side of things or not, I have been trained by FEMA for catastrophes both natural and man-made. I have been trained by law enforcement and other agencies to know how to react with bio-hazards, gunman attacks, terrorist threats, and a host of other situations that I don’t think would have crossed anyone’s minds before 9/11 that would involve a public library (at least, aside from dealing with the public restroom stench or clogged toilets). The only bright side is That Guy has had similar training due to his position as a geek, so I guess we might actually be prepared for the zombies.
One way or another I’m gonna getcha, I’ll getcha, I’ll getcha getcha getcha getcha
I don’t consider myself anything above average, in fact, I consider myself below average. I’m amazed constantly with the fact that That Guy is still with me, and that I haven’t screwed our relationship up. So, when I found out that I had a stalker, it didn’t click. He would be at the library, and would make chit-chat. I always had my wedding rings on (engagement and wedding band) and they were on the correct fingers, and there really is no mistaking them for anything other than what they are, so I’m not sure what the deal was. But I am a friendly sort, so we would talk about innocent things. And then, on my dinner breaks if I happened to be out at say, a certain chain that has a clown and a golden M, he would happen to be there on his way home, and say hi. Then it would be running into him at the local store by work. Could have been happenstance- I’ve run into other patrons. But then my co-workers started to mention it, because he’d ask them about me when I wasn’t there. Then he’d mention that I got a new car. And that I changed my work schedule. And other things. And that’s when he started getting more aggravated when he couldn’t find me, because when he came in, I would move to the work room from the desk, and I would start eating lunches in our break room. Finally he was issued a restraining order from me and from the library because he wouldn’t leave it alone.
Missed the Curb
I never understood how this happened, but one branch I worked at was across the street from a post office, and we had a wonderful view of it from the windows in the public area. It was a nice little post office, with large windows in the public area. I had decided to spread out some work that I was doing on a table out there, and had a view of the beautiful spring day, and saw this car idling at the light. Then all of a sudden, they hit the gas, and turned left, jumped the curb, went through the parking lot and smashed the car through the windows of the public area of the post office. There were a few people hurt, but no broken bones, mostly cuts and scrapes and bruises, and we never did figure out why the driver rammed the post office. They hadn’t been in there that day, and it always freaked me out because they could have just as easily turned right and took out the library’s windows instead.
Thanks for Trying and Caring, Because at Least Someone Did
One of the things that will haunt me is the fact that I might have been able to save a life of a teen. I was scheduled off on a day that a teen of mine that I had been working with called to speak with me. They had been troubled, and I knew it, and I had told them that if they *ever* needed to talk, they could call me. I had even given them my home number, but at the time they needed it, either they had lost it or they couldn’t find it, so they called my work number. Working in a large system, cell phone and home numbers are never given out. So the teen, having hit the wall of the staff, said, well, just tell her thanks for trying and caring, because at least someone did. I’ve never heard from that teen again, and I have no clue what happened. They might have just moved, but I’ve always been scared that they committed suicide because they were suicidal, and that was their reach out.
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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