This weekend I worked at the circulation desk, checking things in and out. Today and tomorrow I'm working at the reference desk, helping people find books, answers, web sites, and (ahem) "other duties as required", as the job description says.

Tonight those "other duties" were pretty stressful. Two library users nearly got into a fight over a computer they both wanted to use. She was running a little late at the end of the time slot she'd signed up for, through no fault of her own (the printer had run out of paper). He wanted her off the computer NOW.

She said he had grabbed her in an attempt to remove her from the computer. I didn't see it, but of course I asked if she would like to file a formal complaint, or speak to the police about it. He said, of course, that he would never touch that so-and-so, and they laid into each other with a few insults before they both turned back to me and insisted I pick a side and declare who was right and who was a lousy so-and-so.

Well, I let them both tell me about the situation and I offered to let them both file an incident report, and that seemed to get them in a less violent mood. I felt really bad for her, since she was visibly shaken and seemed near tears or violence or both. A few teenagers who saw the whole thing told me later that it was mostly his fault. (I certainly would have preferred if he'd asked for help instead of trying to physically dislodge her.)

Aside from that, it was a quiet night -- a question about Native American spirituality, a question about durable power of attorney, and a really interesting (and extensive) question about Florida plants. It was a homework assignment, and the kid's mom brought in the questions for me to help her answer. For about a dozen different Florida plants, she needed to know the kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus and species -- the formal Latin names. It was a trick question, since plants don't have a phylum, they have a "division", but it was great fun finding the answers.