Posts Tagged ‘librarians’

He’s Baaaaack!

Mr/Mrs/Ms Squirrel

photo: jim mccormac

Some months ago, we had a squirrel who caused some havoc in our library building. We called him Mr. Squirrel. Well, he’s baaaaack! Apparently, it wasn’t goodbye, but “hasta la vista, baby.”

Our first hint was a lot of noise in the ceiling over the circulation desk. It was hard to tell. Had he set up quarters up there and busily loading up the larder or, maybe, and this is still a possibility, was Mr. Squirrel really a Mrs?

But, within a few days, the scurrying diminished and we figured, Mr/Mrs/Ms Squirrel had found a better place to hunker down for the hot weather on its way.

Then, a few days ago, one of our regular patrons tapped on the window and waved us outside. Mr/Mrs/Ms Squirrel was stuck in a vertical drain pipe. The customer, one of the “boys” who hangs out all day at the branch on the computers, said he heard lots of scrambling and scratching and projected panic in the pipe.

Once again, we turned over this problem to a higher authority: administration and/or animal control.

While one librarian called Al, our facilities manager, I called animal control. That was an interesting conversation. It was almost as bad as calling emergency.

“Are you sure it’s a squirrel?”

“Well, no, not exactly. Sounds like a squirrel.”

“Where is it exactly?” (Notice, animal control wasn’t making sex assumptions.)

“In a drainpipe.”

“Where is the drainpipe?”

“Uh… outside the building, kinda goes up and down along the side of the building.”

“Where?”

“Uh, at the side of the building?”

“Can you reach it standing up?”

“What?”

“Can you reach the pipe standing up?”

“Uh… yeah, it goes from the roof down into the ground. So, you can reach as high up as you are tall. I guess. Does that completely answer your question?”

At the moment, I was saved. Gary, our delivery driver (super star savior for all things mechanical), showed up. I told the animal control person I’d call her back if Gary couldn’t handle it.

Good ole Gary did the trick. He got the pipe separated from the lower plastic pipe. Of course, we thought Mr/Mrs/Ms Squirrel would leap out immediately. Not so. Apparently, it was a privacy issue.

We left the pipe open and our customer informed us later that Mr/Mrs/Ms Squirrel made a safe escape some fifteen minutes later.

By the way, in case you’re wondering. When Administration called animal control (they, too, decided to opt for a higher power), they were told that animal control no longer comes out for animals who are having problems outside a building. Instead, we would have to hire a professional to come out and tackle the issue. They provided us with a list of wranglers. That’s right, wranglers.

So, the next time, Mr/Mrs/Ms Squirrel makes a death-defying plunge down the drainpipe, we may have to call a squirrel wrangler. They got ’em in Michigan (so they must be in Maryland even if they’re not advertising yet) and another internet search produces, not only a website, but an 888 number (I wonder if they charge for travel). Please note, however, they do not wrangle dogs or cats.

Going to the Dogs

Generally, when people think of librarians, they think of cats! Lots and lots of cats. And it’s true, I am no different. My family has four cats at home and most of my librarian friends have cats a-plenty. Cats and reading, they go together like Baker & Taylor.

But today, I want to talk about dogs. On our staff, there are lots of dog lovers, from big dogs to small dogs; each one is treasured and many are rescued from the local humane society. We are a conscientious group.

In addition to owning and rescuing dogs, the next level of canine appreciation at the library is dog programs. We’ve had rescue dog programs, police dog programs, and obedience dog programs. (I confess, we have not had any cat programs whatsoever.) Most recently, we’ve had the Karma Dogs in residence. These are primarily rescued dogs who are trained to listen to children read. The kids take this quite seriously. One little girl was overheard asking if we thought her dog would enjoy “Green Eggs and Ham.” He did. Another little boy challenged the handler, saying the dog was asleep. But the boy was assured that the dog was concentrating. The reading continued. The Karma Dog experience also teaches children how to be safe with dogs, how to be good owners and how to socialize with their pets. Several of our librarians are getting their own dogs certified.

And yet, as much as we love dogs, the library still has rules about patrons coming in with dogs. Unless it’s a working dog or performing in a program, dogs simply aren’t allowed in the building, particularly free roaming or on a leash. (Disclaimer: we do tend to look the other way if the dogs are small enough to carry.)

Not long ago, a woman came into the branch with her medium-sized dog prancing along in front of her. As gently as possible, the librarian in charge explained that dogs are not allowed in the building.

The woman stopped short. “What? But you must let her in. It will mean so much to her. I promised her that she could visit the library today.”

Again, the librarian apologized, but insisted that the dog remain outside.

The woman stood for a long moment and contemplated her options. In the end, she looked at the librarian quite calmly and said, “But it’s her birthday.”

Apparently, birthday dogs should be given their heart’s desire and this one, in particular, was looking forward to her dog day afternoon in the stacks. Ah well. Some rules are made to be broken every once in awhile.