Two funny library stories

You might not think of the library as being somewhere where funny things happen, but I’ve come across a few in my time.

There was this guy who came in and asked if we had a world globe that he could look at. We did, and my colleague pointed it out to him – it was standing on a cabinet not far from the library desk.

He took a quick glance but it was clearly not quite what he had in mind. He came back and asked my colleague: “Don’t you have one that’s life size?” She thought for a second and said, “well, in a sense we do, but it’s in use right now. You’re standing on it!”

Here’s one I heard that happened in a library in the UK, where they have a weekly news magazine called The Economist – it’s been running for many years and covers a lot more than just Economics. Way back in May 1981 Pope John Paul II was shot four times by a gunman in St Peter’s Square in Rome as the Pope was being driven along in an open car. Despite being quite seriously wounded he made a full recovery and lived for another 24 years.

Not surprisingly, the event was front-page news across the world, with The Economist being no exception. The cover of the next issue showed the Pope slumped in the car with the headline “The Sins of the World”. This was a quotation from the line in the Catholic Mass that reads “O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us”.

However, the library assistant in one particular library managed to place the usual library stamp on the issue in question immediately underneath the headline, so it now read: “The Sins of the World. NOT TO BE TAKEN AWAY”!